CHICAGO — Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has a message for potential football players: Put away your phones, tablets and computers, and start practicing your communication skills.
Pelini said Thursday at Big Ten media days that the rapid rise of social media and other forms of communication have had a detrimental effect on the communication skills that are found more frequently in older generations.
“These kids, they’re in a different day and age,” he said. “Getting them to, obviously that goes to communication on the field, but I’m also talking about ... building leaders and developing leaders and getting guys, because to lead you’ve got to be able communicate. You can’t lead anything if you don’t have great communication, and that isn’t natural to this generation.”
“If you had a problem with somebody, our generation just walked up and you confront somebody, you talk to them face to face. Now they send a text.”
The 45-year-old Pelini said communication on the field has become a major point of emphasis for the Cornhuskers.
“We can’t harp on it enough,” he said, “to the point where, you can’t assume anything. You have to constantly enforce it and reinforce it and reinforce it again and demand it.”
A bad word: Kirk Ferentz is entering his 14th season at Iowa, making him the dean of Big Ten coaches. Even if he doesn’t care for the term.
“Never call a football coach a dean,” he said. “That’s a misnomer.”
Ferentz begins the year with a 100-74 record with the Hawkeyes, behind only Hayden Fry on the school victory list. Iowa is coming off a 4-8 season, including four losses by three points or less, and opens on Aug. 31 against Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois.
Ferentz said his long run at the school is attributable to a couple of factors.