Nebraska’s Pelini: Sideline argument no big deal

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Stafford declined interview requests after the game. Linebacker Will Compton, who also had a tense encounter with Pelini on the sideline, confirmed Pelini’s account.

“All of it was frustration,” Compton said. “Nothing was hitting the fan.”

Pelini said he and Stafford ended up laughing about the incident at halftime.

“The players know this with me: I treat them like a man until they give me a reason not to,” he said. “I’ve had players in my office, and I’ve lit them up in my office. Usually by the end of that, the next thing I do is walk over and put my arm around them and tell them I’m doing this because I care about you.”

Pelini’s behavior has been dissected on social media and radio shows since he took over at Nebraska five years. His biggest outburst came in a 2010 game at Texas A&M when he dressed down quarterback Taylor Martinez on the sideline and spent much of the game berating officials. His behavior drew a reprimand from Perlman, and Pelini made a public apology.

“When you have a mutual understanding between players and coaches, and the players understand you truly care about them as human beings, then you can get away with it,” Pelini said. “If they think you’re a selfish guy and you’re in it for you _ my players understand myself and the staff are not in it for us _ you can have those types of exchanges. Someone from the outside might not understand and, to be honest with you, I don’t care if they understand it.”

Athletic director Tom Osborne was out of town and unavailable for comment.

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