« Pinto's Points

Reestablish Identity

by Dan Gunderson

Over the weekend, we saw the University of Minnesota defeat the University of Nebraska 34-23. This was the first win for the Gophers over the Huskers in about a million years. Dirt was still in its infant stages and fire was the newest fad.

As a Husker fan myself, I winced at the product put on the field by UNL. It was ugly. No heart really. They were getting beat up by a less talented Gopher team that just wanted it more. It seemed that Nebraska felt it could show up and win because they were Nebraska.

That type of attitude is indicative of who your head coach is. Bo Pelini, the head coach of the Huskers, has lost his team. He is now on the verge of losing his job. The only way he saves his spot as head coach is if the Cornhuskers win the Big 10 title and the Rose Bowl. The possibilities of that happening are as great as me getting a date with Kate Upton.

You know who does run a tight ship and is a proven winner? The head coach of the North Dakota State University football team Craig Bohl. You know where coach Bohl wemt to college? The University of Nebraska. I don’t need to finish the connection for you.

The other day, my boss Mike McFeely wrote an article on why the University of Nebraska would not be a realistic spot for coach Bohl to land. He puts together some strong points, including the ugly exit coach Bohl had from Nebraska in the early 2000's and the unwillingness of Nebraska to hire a Football Championship Subdivision head coach.

Great job and we all applaud you for the solid representation but I have to loudly disagree. What Nebraska needs to do to get back on the winning path is not win a press conference. They don’t need to trot in a Chip Kelly or a Nick Saban. They need a coach that can get them back to their identity.

To me, that identity lies in the state of Nebraska. While the University itself can recruit the highly talented four and five star recruits, what about those three or ever two star recruits that just want a shot to wear the red and white?

Nebraska has one of the most successful walk-on programs in the history of college football and this isn’t by chance. When you play in a state that has no professional sports teams and the only thing people care about is the college football team, you are going to find some guys that will run through a brick wall for the school.

Coach Bohl would understand this better than anyone. He has modeled his system at NDSU very similar to what worked for Nebraska. Two players from small North Dakota towns come to mind; Matt Anderson and Travis Beck.

Both players were unreal in high school but played in relative obscurity. Coach Bohl was able to have them buy into believing they could be something special playing for their state’s college. Both played right away as freshman and while Anderson’s career was stalled a bit due to injuries, Beck’s career has been spectacular.

To me, those types of players are the foundation of Nebraska football. To get those type of players, you need to be able to sit in their living room and make them believe they can become something special for their state’s college.

Coach Bohl can do that and he can bring back that identity to the University. That is why Nebraska needs to make the call to the former defensive coordinator. So they can have someone bring back the passion of Big Red.

I see that NDSU fans don’t want this or believe this will happen and I also understand that Nebraska fans don’t want their next coach to be from the FCS. Frankly, if I was in Lincoln right now, coach Bohl would be the last person I would think of.

I still believe you have to take that shot. You have to make that call and test the waters. I think you are making a huge mistake if you don’t pursue coach Bohl. I don’t think it is a mistake that Nebraska can afford to make.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.