Pelini says Nebraska not a ‘steppingstone job’

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LINCOLN, NEB. (AP) - Bo Pelini is heading into his third year at Nebraska. Based on his track record, that means it must be about time for him to move again.

The only place Pelini plans to go is to the Big Ten in 2011, and he’s taking his Cornhuskers with him.

Forget that for now. Pelini’s got big plans for the Huskers’ last go-round in the Big 12.

They won six of their last seven last season, came within a second of knocking off Texas in the Big 12 championship game and are favored to win the North Division again this year.

They’ll start the season No. 8 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, their highest preseason ranking since 2001, and some pundits are giving them an outside shot of playing for the national title.

The 42-year-old Pelini has never held a job for more than three years, and he rightly pointed out that as an assistant he wasn’t in control of his job security. Still, he likes to joke that the best explanation for his work history is that he’s not always the easiest guy to get along with.

“I don’t know if anyone wants me around more than three years,” he said.

Given how Pelini has returned Nebraska to national relevance so fast, the fans are more than willing to put up with Pelini’s cantankerous side. They consider him a godsend after Bill Callahan struggled.

Pelini’s quick resuscitation of the Huskers has landed him on the short list of hot coaches, a fact he reluctantly acknowledges.

Another big year, and Pelini could be mentioned for prominent job openings. But he said if he does his job right at Nebraska, he could see himself staying in Lincoln for a long time.

“I don’t think Nebraska is a steppingstone job,” he said. “It’s a great job. You have all the things necessary to win. We have a great athletic director, we have great support. I love my staff. I’m happy.

“Am I going to say you would never ever look or talk to somebody? That’s crazy to make an ultimatum like that. But we’re not looking.”

Pelini has had seven jobs since getting his start as an assistant secondary coach with the San Francisco 49ers.

Pelini, who was Frank Solich’s defensive coordinator at Nebraska in 2003, returned to the Cornhuskers for his first head coaching job after LSU’s national championship season in 2007.

With Ndamukong Suh in the middle, Pelini shored up a Nebraska defense that went from 112th nationally in 2007 to seventh last year.

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