Pelini: 'Don't need' Tommie Frazier

Updated: September 17, 2013, 12:37 PM ET
By Mitch Sherman | ESPN.com

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini responded sharply to criticism from Tommie Frazier on Monday after the former star quarterback called for the removal of the Cornhuskers' defensive coaching staff following Saturday's 41-21 home loss to UCLA.

Frazier I said what I said. He's right: He doesn't need me. He needs someone to help him. But what he's doing is not what Nebraska fans deserve, period.

-- Former Nebraska QB Tommie Frazier

"Since I came back here, I've embraced former players," Pelini said. "If he feels like that, then so be it. We don't need him. That's a shame.

"Until you've sat in this seat, until you've sat here and done it, anybody can have an opinion. It's easy to point fingers when you stand outside and throw stones. So I just take it for what it is."

Frazier -- the 1995 Heisman Trophy runner-up and one of the most beloved players in Nebraska history as a two-time national champion -- didn't hold back on Twitter after the Huskers surrendered an early 21-3 lead to the Bruins.

"I hate saying this but this crap is getting old," Frazier tweeted. "How in the hell do you not make adjustments or put your players in the position to compete? If this is what is going to happen for the remainder of the season, count me out. I don't care if we lose a game but the way we are losing is just not what #Nebraska fans deserve. I have fought, bled and cried over this program. I didn't do all that for the program to become what it has today. Time for change!"

Later Monday, an audiotape from 2011 showed Pelini going on an expletive-laden tirade before a postgame interview after a win over Ohio State. The tape, given to Deadspin, has Pelini repeatedly using an expletive to refer to what he calls "fair-weather" fans.

The 39-year-old Frazier, recruited to Nebraska by former coach Tom Osborne, has remained visible around the program and formerly worked as a fundraiser in the school's athletic department. He lives in Omaha with his family and works in the medical industry.

[+] EnlargePelini
Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY SportsNebraska coach Bo Pelini is searching for answers after his defense has given up 206 points in its last five games. "I want our players to get back to having fun again. I want them playing to win and not worrying about losing the game."

Frazier, who was honored at halftime Saturday for his recent election to the College Football Hall of Fame, continued his criticism Monday afternoon.

"I said what I said. He's right: He doesn't need me," Frazier said by text message. "He needs someone to help him. But what he's doing is not what Nebraska fans deserve, period."

Pelini, one of 11 coaches in college football history to win nine or more games in each of his first five seasons at one school, is 50-21 in his sixth year at Nebraska.

Nebraska, however, has not won a conference title since 1999 or played in a BCS bowl game since 2001.

Pelini spent much of his news conference Monday taking responsibility for Nebraska's recent play. He said he has "done a lot of soul searching" since Saturday and determined that he created a culture around the program that placed too much pressure on the players.

That will change, he said.

"I push, push, push," Pelini said. "Believe me, there's got to be some of that, but there's also a fine line. I want our players to get back to having fun again. I want them playing to win and not worrying about losing the game.

"I didn't feel that was the case on Saturday. I saw it in their look. I saw in their demeanor. I've been around long enough to know that it starts with the guy in charge.

"Accountability goes both ways. It starts with me. It ends with me."

Pelini's defense was again gouged Saturday as UCLA scored the final 38 points en route to handing the Huskers their worst home loss to a nonconference opponent since 1961. UCLA, which trailed 21-10 at halftime, outgained the Huskers 236-57 in the third quarter alone.

Nebraska has allowed 206 points in its past five games, dating to a 70-21 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game last season. The Huskers have allowed more than 500 yards four times over that period.

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