What’s that old saying? If there’s smoke there’s fire? You’d swear something was ablaze over the past day or so in Lincoln. It turns out that rumors of former coaches dumping metaphorical toxic waste into the Nebraska football locker room are true according to former Cornhuskers' defensive lineman Jason Peter.
Lincoln radio station 93.7 The Ticket’s Gaskins and Stephens Show had Peter on as a guest to discuss the scuttlebutt and he didn’t disappoint. He railed against the current player mindset, his feelings regarding Alex Lewis and the topic on everyone’s mind: who dunnit?
According to Peter, former defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski is one of the few former members of Bo Pelini’s staff still in Lincoln and has been in contact with current players and not vice versa.
"He should be embarrassed, you know? That's the bottom line. He should be embarrassed,” Peter said.
Kaczenski, Nebraska’s defensive line coach under Bo Pelini from 2012-2014 was dismissed following current head coach Mike Riley’s hiring.
"It's fine to communicate with players that you've worked with that you cared about, but if you truly cared about them, you'd want them to do well,” Peter said. “You wouldn't be sitting there...in your house hoping that this team failed and this team wouldn't win another football game."
He then compared Kaczenski to former Nebraska defensive coordinator Charlie McBride, a coaching great in many Husker fans’ eyes and said if the former defensive line coach is offering tips or advice, nothing is working.
"The fact that you have other former coaches that are trying to even the score or wishing ill will upon this new staff, I've got news for you former coaches. It's not this staff that got you fired. It's your former head coach that got you fired. So if you should be mad at anybody, be mad at that guy not the guys that are trying to work down there.”
He went on to say that he understands that players may still be upset about Pelini leaving and that adjusting to a new coach like Riley can be difficult.
However, Riley and company aren’t in a situation like Urban Meyer where players and fans automatically assume there will be an immediate uptick in performance (and would be correct more often than not).
Peter brought the hammer down hard on any ex-Husker coaches that may be contacting players after that.
"You're only making it harder and you're only cheating your kids, the ones that you coached if you're in their head telling them 'don't listen to this guy' or 'transfer here next year' or 'don't do this' or 'don't do that'.
You're done. You're not coaching at Nebraska anymore and these kids are persuaded too easily. They look up to a guy like that who's coached them for years. They don't know any better though, they don't."
Peter’s feelings are clear and now we know that at least Kaczenski is trying to help tank Nebraska’s football program. Does that excuse a 2-3 start under Riley? No, but it doesn’t help. In fact, it makes the process of moving forward and accepting a new culture harder.
That’s something I believe he (and any potential other offender) knows all too well by abusing his relationship with these young men.
One name has been uncovered and hopefully more will be. These are absolutely intolerable actions and worthy of being exposed for the players' sake if no one else’s.