Pelini Answers Questions on Ohio State
By Brandon Castel
From 1987-90, Bo Pelini was a hard-nosed safety for the Buckeyes. A product of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney High School in Ohio, Pelini was a co-captain as a senior and a two-year starter under former Ohio State head coach John Cooper.
Now Pelini will return to Columbus for his first big game in Ohio Stadium as the head football coach at the University of Nebraska. Pelini took some time this week to talk about the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer, and returning to his alma mater.
Q. What have you seen from Ohio State’s offense?
Pelini: I think there are a lot of similarities from when (Urban Meyer) was at Florida. They have a different style of runner at the quarterback position, so we'll see some different plays. There are a lot of similarities there, too. He had success with it at Florida, so why wouldn't he have success at Ohio State. It makes sense.
Q. Any comparison between Braxton Miller and Tim Tebow, who you faced at LSU?
Pelini: Obviously you see some similar plays, but Tebow's a 240-pound guy. Braxton Miller is like a tailback back there. He's elusive and he makes a lot of people miss. Tebow is going to run over you. Braxton is going to make you miss. Obviously there are some different plays that lend to each of those guys' talents, but they're both very effective and very dangerous in their own way."
Q. Anything going through your mind because you’re is heading back to Columbus, Ohio?
Pelini: No. Why would it? I'm in a different time in my life and a different place. I have a job to do and that's all I'm concerned with.
Q. When was the last time you’ve been to that stadium for a game?
Pelini: I don't know. It was a long, long time ago.
Q. Anything different with the way that stadium is set up?
Pelini: It's a great venue. It's a great environment. You guys have to make your own judgments. It's a great environment with great tradition. It will be a great place for our kids to play. It will be a great experience for our players.
Q. What does Ohio State football mean to the kids growing up in Ohio?
Pelini: It's highly thought of. Ohio State is very popular throughout the state.
Q. Do you still take pride in Ohio State?
Pelini: Yeah I have pride in where I went to school in my career there. But that has nothing to do with Saturday. It doesn't really make any difference what happened in 1986-1990. That's a different time in my life.
Q. What do you remember about Urban Meyer at Ohio State?
Pelini: He was a graduate assistant at Ohio State. He was energetic and hard-nosed football coach then. It's carried over into who he is today.
Q. Did you enjoy matching up with Meyer while you were at LSU?
Pelini: Yeah, he's a good football coach.
Q. Do you relish the chance to match up with an offensive guy like Meyer?
Pelini: Neither one of us is playing. It's our football teams going against each other, and it will be a great challenge for us.
Q. Would you say Woody Hayes is the Godfather of Ohio football?
Pelini: In my lifetime, yeah, it's Woody Hayes. But there's a long tradition of good coaches there, and a lot of people going through there. There's a lot of tradition with that university with regards to the football program.
Q. What mistakes did you guys make in trying to stop Braxton Miller in the running game last year?
Pelini: We made some mistakes. We missed a couple tackles where we had opportunities to tackle them. I thought we did some decent things. It wasn't all Braxton Miller during that period, trust me. He's a good football player. He's going to make his share of plays. You're not going to shut a guy like that down from the quarterback position the whole game. You're not going to just shut them out. We know that going in.
Q. Anything besides Braxton Miller that concerns you about their offense?
Pelini: It all runs through the quarterback, but they have some good players. They have some good backs. They are physical and well-coached up front. They have some wide receivers that can hurt you down the field. They have some good pieces around Braxton Miller, too. He gets a lot of credit deservedly so, but he has some talent around him that is pretty good.
Q. What challenge does Ohio State’s run defense present?
Pelini: They are a good defense. They are strong up front. They have a couple really good players on their front four. They are well-coached. Their kids play hard. It will be a heck of a challenge for our offense. They are good defensively."
Q. Are you surprised Ohio State is playing well, even though they can't win the conference?
Pelini: You'd expect that. Kids have pride and the coaches have pride. What happened to them is in the past and all they can control are the games that they are allowed to play. That's the attitude they've taken, and I give them credit for it.
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