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“They say you shouldn’t coach perfection because it’s a road to failure, because nobody is perfect. The people who say that are losers,” Pelini said, according to Whaley.

No one is asked to do more in the Nebraska defense than Whaley and David. They not only must take care of their own responsibilities, they must make sure the secondary and front seven are working in sync.

And they also must master nuances that the casual observer wouldn’t notice.

“We’re in a pro-style defense,” Whaley said. “I watch other linebackers on Saturdays, and their footwork is horrible, and they don’t get off blocks. I wonder what coach Pelini would do with them. It’s a lot harder to play here than at other schools, I would guess.

“He’s an old linebackers coach. He coaches perfection every single play. There’s no play that he won’t be on you critiquing something. There’s nothing you can’t do too well.”