|Pelini's no-nonsense policy on discipline evident|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 04 August 2008 17:14|
Pelini opened the Cornhuskers' media day by announcing that defensive lineman Kevin Dixon has been kicked off the team for an undisclosed violation of rules.
Dixon was ticketed twice by university police in July, once for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Pelini wouldn't comment Monday on the specifics of Dixon's dismissal.
``We move forward,'' he said.
For Pelini, that means starting work on turning around a program that has had losing records two of the past four years. The Huskers were 5-7 in 2007 and tied for last in the Big 12 North.
``They're excited, ready to go and looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead,'' Pelini said. ``They're all anxious to get on the field and get to work.''
Nebraska goes into preseason practice with Joe Ganz the clear-cut No. 1 quarterback, a competition between Marlon Lucky and Roy Helu Jr. for the starting I-back job, and an experienced offensive line.
The line, however, will be without projected starting right tackle Jaivorio Burkes for at least the first few practices because of an undisclosed medical problem, Pelini said.
``We're going to be very multiple on offense,'' Pelini said. ``There are going to be some things you're going to see that are going to look similar. There are things that are different. I do know this: We're going to be physical and we're going to want to run the football on people.''
Pelini's primary concern is strengthening a defense that was 112th in total defense (477 ypg) and 114th in scoring defense (37.9 ppg).
All four starting defensive linemen are back, but there will be three new starters at linebacker: converted running back Cody Glenn, Phillip Dillard and Tyler Wortman. Keys to the secondary are first-year starters Rickey Thenarse at free safety and Anthony West at right corner.
``These guys have been together for a while now, and the bottom line is that the guys want to be good, and there is leadership on the team,'' Pelini said. ``There are guys who have played a lot of snaps around here, and you see them starting to step out, and that needs to continue to happen.''
The secondary will be without sophomore corner Anthony Blue until the fall semester begins. Blue, who played in every game as a freshman, was held off the 105-man preseason roster as he continues to recover from surgery for a knee injury suffered in winter conditioning.
And the loss of Dixon, who would have been a senior, is a blow to defensive line depth. He was listed as the top backup to Ndamukong Suh at nose tackle and to Ty Steinkuhler at the other tackle spot.
Dixon played in all 12 games last season, starting four.
University Police Capt. Carl Oestmann said Dixon was ticketed for littering July 4 after police spotted him urinating in a campus parking lot.
On July 13, Oestmann said, Dixon and a woman were in a vehicle that was stopped for having no license plates. The officer spotted a small plastic bag of suspected marijuana in the vehicle, Oestmann said, and Dixon and the woman were ticketed for marijuana possession and released.
Both cases were dismissed July 24, a Lancaster County Court clerk said.
Dixon's departure, Suh said, should get the team's attention. He said he doesn't think Pelini is too tough.
``Some people might see it as a short leash. I think it's a reasonable leash,'' Suh said.
``As long as you take care of your own business, you're in your house and not trying to get yourself attention through the media or difference sources, you're going to be fine in his book. Be a team player, basically. That's what he wants.''