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Monday, August 25, 2008

Keys to Victory...........Motivation

As the season opener looms just six days away, Pelini and staff will undoubtedly be looking for ways to maximize effort from every Husker player that sees the field. This sounds obvious, but I don't think there is any question that last year's effort, at least on the defensive side of the ball, was less than inspiring. Although I wasn't in the locker room for any pre-game last year, I don't think anyone is confusing Bill Callahan's pep talks with Jim Valvano's speech at the 1993 ESPY awards when he received the Arthur Ashe Award, which ranks as the only YouTube clip considered acceptable for a man to cry while viewing. Part of a college coaches job is to motivate players to leave everything out on the field and play with maximum effort. If you watched any of the arm tackles during the USC game last year, which were several, it didn't seem like any of last year's coaches motivated the Husker defense to play and play hard.

On the suface Bo Pelini seems to have a more "fiery" personality than any Husker head coach in recent memory. Who can forget the 2003 Kansas State game, where the first year NU defensive coordinator confronted Bill Snyder for running up the score in the 4th quarter? Prior to the 2007 Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame, LSU safety LaRon Landry had this to say about the biggest characteristic of the defense: "getting all 11 (pairs) of hands to the ball, wherever you see the ball that's where all the defenders are; we give 110 percent all the time just being dominant out there, creating turnovers." After this comment, all Bo Pelini's LSU defense did was hold Notre Dame to two TD's, picking off Brady Quinn twice, while limiting him to 15 of 35 through the air in a 41-14 embarrassment of the Fighting Irish.

I haven't the slightest idea of specific motivational tools that Pelini and staff might employ prior to kickoff this year. I do think you will see guys play more inspired this year, compared to last. I hate to call out Kori McKeon again, but who could forget his mid-season rant about the game not being fun anymore? With walks ons like Wortman and converted RB Cody Glenn most likely getting starts this weekend, I'm looking for Pelini to inspire these guys to run through walls for him, and play with maximum effort. Whether you are a walk on from Grand Island or a 5-star recruit out of California, one key to winning ball games will be motivating guys to play with intentsity. Bo, if you are a DXP reader and looking for motivational tools, I'll suggest the following clip from the best movie in the Rocky series, with the greatest motivational soundtrack ever assembled. I'm of course referring to Rocky IV and the scene after Ivan Drago kills Apollo in the ring and Rocky's wife just tells him he can't win. It almost makes you miss the days of the cold war.