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Archive for Saturday, December 1, 2007

Report: Huskers to hire Pelini

LSU assistant denies rumor; Osborne has no comment

December 1, 2007

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— Nebraska interim athletic director Tom Osborne refused to comment on a report Friday night that LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini will be introduced as the school's coach next week.

ESPN.com, citing multiple unidentified sources, reported that Pelini will coach the Tigers' defense in the SEC championship game against Tennessee on Saturday, and travel to Lincoln for an announcement Monday.

Pelini, the Cornhuskers' defensive coordinator in 2003, denied the report when reached by the Lincoln Journal Star.

"I honestly don't know where they're getting their information," Pelini said in a story on the paper's Web site.

Osborne, when asked whether the ESPN report was untrue, told the Associated Press: "I have no comment one way or the other."

The 39-year-old Pelini would replace Bill Callahan, who was fired last Saturday after the Huskers' second losing season in four years.

Osborne had said when announcing Callahan's firing that the next coach didn't have to have Nebraska ties. Pelini was only at Nebraska in 2003, but his no-nonsense, hardworking style of coaching defense quickly made him a beloved figure.

Pelini was interim coach after Frank Solich was fired following the 2003 regular season, coaching the Huskers to an Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State. As he walked off the field in San Antonio, Huskers fans chanted "We want Bo."

Osborne has interviewed Pelini and Buffalo coach Turner Gill, a former star Nebraska quarterback and longtime assistant, and reportedly spoke informally with Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe.

Osborne said Tuesday that he hadn't offered the job to anyone. Osborne designated himself interim coach on Wednesday, a formality that allowed him to make recruiting visits Thursday and Friday.

"It sure didn't come from me," he said of the ESPN report. "Until we make some official announcement, I wouldn't put much credence in that. There are so many rumors and so much speculation. We'll announce it when we're ready and everything is in place. It won't be too much longer.

"Other than that, I'm not commenting on rumors or reports."

Pelini had been a candidate for the Nebraska job after Solich's firing. Former athletic director Steve Pederson interviewed Pelini but elected to go with Callahan.

The Huskers finished 5-7 this year after losing 65-51 loss at Colorado, a game in which they squandered an 11-point lead.

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