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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After struggling through a miserable season, Nebraska needed an shot of confidence.
Enter new coach Bo Pelini, who has pumped the Cornhuskers with inspirational leadership that has made the players excited about his rebuilding project after the disappointment of last season's 5-7 record.
"The game is fun again," Nebraska offensive lineman Matt Slauson said. "We're playing for a coach we can really relate to. Coach Bo is a real fun guy to play for. He's a player's coach. He's a guy you want to work hard for because he's working as hard as we are."
Slauson said he almost imagines that Pelini would still like to continue his football career, considering the enthusiasm he has brought after taking over the program.
"He still wants to be a player," Slauson said. "You can tell he would love to strap it on every day like us. I don't know how old he is, but he's still a college kid at heart. He's an easy guy to play for."
Pelini, 41, said he's not ready to turn back the clock and practice again. His own career ended at Ohio State, where he was a fiery inspirational leader and overachieving free safety for the Buckeyes when he graduated in 1990.
"I don't think my body would stand up very well now," Pelini said, laughing. "But the great thing about sports and about playing sports in general is playing. I like to compete and it's in my personality. Now that I'm a coach, it's the same thing. I like the relationship with the players and getting to know them. When they are having success, I'm having success. But I don't know about playing."