Pelini's practice scrambled by quick getaway to USC clinic

March, 28, 2009
3/28/09
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

LINCOLN, Neb. - So much for much relaxation between Nebraska's practices on Saturday and Sunday for Bo Pelini.

An invitation to speak at Pete Carroll's USC Football Clinic in Los Angeles prompted a trip to the West Coast for Pelini between the end of Saturday's practice and the Cornhuskers' 5 p.m. work on Sunday.

The chance for some exposure to California head coaches was invaluable for Pelini, even if it means he won't have much down time between the practices.

"It's a really good opportunity," Pelini said. "Pete Carroll came and asked if I would speak at the clinic. Obviously, that's a big recruiting base for us. And to get in front of all those coaches, they get a chance to know me better and I get a chance to know them."

Pelini's staff has targeted recruiting opportunities in California with six players from the state in their most recent recruiting. That total ranked second among all states in the class behind only Texas with eight recruits.

That opportunity outweighed too much study of Saturday's practice and the preparation of more work the following day.

"Obviously, this time of year, it's not an ideal situation to go out there," Pelini said. "I wish I could stay here and watch this film. It makes for a busy weekend, but it will be well worth it because I get exposed to guys I wouldn't normally be exposed to."

And it also didn't hurt that he was asked by Carroll, his coaching godfather. Pelini started his career as an NFL assistant when Carroll was defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers in 1995-96. He then followed Carroll to the New England Patriots when he was hired as their head coach in 1997.

"Pete is a big part of who I am and why I'm here," Pelini said. "I was with him for five years and we still stay in contact pretty closely. I wish I could stay longer out there than I will."  

Among the other coaches scheduled to speak at Carroll's clinic was Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

The Cornhuskers practices on Saturday and Sunday are relatively rare. But Pelini decided on them because several key players, most notably center Jacob Hickman and quarterback Zac Lee, could not attend practices on Monday and Tuesday because of class conflicts.

"It's not ideal, but it's the best thing for us right now," Pelini said. "I think the players actually like it. We'll give them a couple of good days off to kind of rest and get going next week."  

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