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Pelini mindful of raw emotion

Bo Pelini talks to the defense during Nebraska's game with New Mexico State (Heidi Hoffman/LJS)

Family members told Bo Pelini that during last week’s game against Oklahoma, ESPN television cameras several times showed the Nebraska coach in an unfavorable way.

“I regret that,” Pelini said Tuesday during the weekly news conference. “I’m very aware of that, and that’s something that’s kind of out of character for me.”

Television cameras are nothing new to Pelini, he said, after serving as the defensive coordinator at LSU.

“You have to be aware of it, and you’ve got to be careful,” he said. “I’m a highly-emotional guy, but I’ve got to be careful.”

“You try to learn from it, and ultimately use to it make yourself better,” Pelini added.

He has been dealing with his emotions his entire life, Pelini said, adding that he will become more concerned when he starts channeling his emotions at his players.

“I probably get more mad at myself than the team,” Pelini said. “I’m pretty hard on myself. When it’s good, it’s on the players, and when it’s bad, it’s usually on (the coaching staff.)”

Pelini addressed his emotions during the Oklahoma game with Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne in a brief discussion.

Pelini understands that his emotions could possibly have a negative impact on the program’s perception and national recruiting.

“Perception is reality, so that’s something I’ve got to fix,” Pelini said.

Nebraska (5-4, 2-3 Big 12) hosts Kansas (6-3, 3-2 Big 12) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis.

The Huskers will be facing another powerful offense in the Jayhawks. Kansas is 10th nationally in passing offense, 18th in total offense and 24th in scoring offense.

Nebraska will be looking to become bowl eligible with upcoming games against Kansas, Kansas State and Colorado.

“We’re in the last quarter of the season and we need to finish,” Pelini said. “People are going to remember how we finish.”

The extra practice gained by becoming bowl eligible will help the younger players in the program develop, Pelini said.

“That would really help, getting a bowl game, with a number of extra practices,” Pelini said. “That helps develop your younger guys, and we’ve already started with our guys, we had a scrimmage yesterday.”

As the season has progressed, Pelini said it has become clearer what Nebraska’s needs will be in recruiting. Pelini won’t say Nebraska has a lack of talent in the program now, however.

“Our job is take the players on this football team and make them as good as possible, that’s kind of how I go about it,” Pelini said.

“Our job is to maximize the potential of the guys we have here, and we haven’t done that yet. I don’t believe we’ve played up to our potential yet.”

Pelini believes one of the biggest struggles Nebraska has experienced is not finishing games.

“In my mind, I think we could easily be at seven wins,” Pelini said. “I think we left two games out there that we had an opportunity to win, but we didn’t make enough plays to win those games.”

“Pretty consistently we’ve made progress, but the Missouri and Oklahoma games we kind of took a step back, for whatever reason,” Pelini added. “It’s not for a lack of effort. Now we just have to keep channeling that effort and focus it in the right direction.”

Pelini only briefly addressed the Oklahoma game.

“That was a barrage,” Pelini said. “What can go wrong, did go wrong early in the game. You get to the point where you’re playing to represent yourself well. They kept playing hard, I do know that.”

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