Loyalty Is Not In Question

Talk about a predicament. For now, Bo Pelini is the defensive coordinator for the LSU Tigers as they prepare for the BCS National Championship Game.

Oh by the way, he is also the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Pelini took the job in Lincoln on Dec. 2, the day after LSU won the SEC Championship. He will fully assume the role as head coach of the Huskers on Jan. 8.

And, was it mentioned that Pelini is also an alum and former player at Ohio State, the school LSU will play for the national title on Jan. 7.

Talk about a quandary.

While it seems Pelini is being pulled in many different directions, the third-year defensive coordinator minced no words when he expressed where his loyalties lie when the Tigers hit the turf in the Louisiana Superdome for the BCS Title Game.

"I played there (Ohio State) and had a great experience there, but this is a different time, place and situation," Pelini said. "I have a job to do and that is part of being a professional. You have to have to take your own emotions out of it. (LSU) has done a lot for me, also. I owe a lot to LSU. I love this place and the kids I coach. It's a different time and a different place and right now I'm all about LSU."

Someone facing a similar situation is former Tiger running back Terry Robiskie. Robiskie, who played at LSU from 1973-76 and was an All-SEC performer in 1976, was the first running back in Tiger history to rush or 1,000 or more yards. He ran for 1,117 yards in 1976.

Robiskie's son, Brian, is the leading receiver for the 2007 Buckeyes. The younger Robiskie has caught 50 passes for 800-plus yards and hauled in 10 touchdowns. The elder Robiskie said he has no problem cheering for Ohio State come Jan. 7.

"The game's going to be easy for me," Robiskie told the Gannett News Service. "It won't be complicated. I'll have no problem pulling for my son. I'm just telling you. I still love my school. I wish them well. And all my family is still back there and LSU means a lot to them."

Robiskie visited with Les Miles last week when the LSU coach was in Miami on a recruiting trip. Miles stopped by the Miami Dolphins offices to visit with head coach Cam Cameron, who is a close friend of Miles. Robiskie is an assistant on the Dolphins staff and spent a few minutes with Miles.

"Today I say hello to you as a friend and the coach of my alma mater," Robiskie told Gannett that he said to Miles. "But three weeks from now, you won't be my friend."

While Pelini will be facing his alma mater, he made it clear there is no question about his focus for the game.

"Once you walk between those lines, it's about focusing on what's important," Pelini said. "I talk to our players about that all the time. Emotions only last for a short amount of time. It's about doing your job and being focused on what matters in the football game. Obviously you are going to have some emotions high, but that happens anytime you play in game with stakes like this. I'm used to it, ready to deal with it and ready for the challenge."

As a defensive back for the Buckeyes, Pelini actually faced LSU twice. In 1987, the teams battled to a 13-13 in Tiger Stadium. The following season, the Buckeyes got the best of Mike Archer's LSU squad 36-33 in Columbus.

"I remember coming to (LSU) and it was a great environment the day we played," Pelini said. "We played to a tie and I believe Karl Dunbar blocked the winning field goal. Then the next year it was a crazy game at Ohio State. We should have lost that football game, but we were able to pull it out at the end. (Ohio State) is a quality football team that is extremely well coached with a very talented group."

Pelini was back in Baton Rouge to begin bowl practices on Monday. After accepting the Nebraska head coaching position wearing the colors of the Big Red, Pelini was back in purple and gold on Monday.

Miles joked that Pelini won't be wearing anything but LSU on the sideline for the big game in New Orleans.

"I agreed that he could call the entire defense, call every play," Miles said. "I also agreed that we would be ahead at the end of the game and that if he called a defense that didn't allow that to happen then he would be relieved of duty immediately. We've agreed that he will not wear an ‘N' on his cap when he coaches on the sidelines, and we agreed that he will have the same commitment that he has always had to his players, to our defense and to this team. We very much enjoy the fact that he will be on the sideline one last time."

As for finding a replacement for Pelini after he bids farewell for Lincoln, Miles said he is in no hurry and there is no specific timetable set to bring on his replacement.

"I am operating there with my own timetable and not wanting to really change things at this point," Miles said. "I have a way I would like to go, so I am going to let it play out slowly and take my time and do the right thing."

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