2013-14 Year in Review
Season Opener Aug. 30 at UM
Season Opener Aug. 30 at UM
Season Opener Aug. 30 at UM
Season Opener Aug. 30 at UM
Carl Pelini was named head coach of Florida Atlantic University's football team on December 5, 2011. As the second head coach in the FAU program's 11-year existence, Pelini brought to its helm an intellectual thinker whose coaching experience ranges from serving as a top assistant at one of the most storied collegiate programs in the country, to rebuilding programs and teaching the game of football at the high school level. He concluded his FAU coacing stint in 2013.
In his first season, Pelini focused on shifting the culture of football on Florida Atlantic's campus. He began with individual accountability and all while making the change in both the offensive and defensive schemes. The results were evident at season's end with a national rank improvement of more than 20 spots in scoring defense, punt returns, turnover margin (+35) and sacks allowed. A direct reflection of the efforts made towards individual accountability was in the area of penalties. The Owls improved from a 2011 national rank of 117 (68.17) in fewest penalty yards per game to No. 64 (51.15). Pelini successfully mixed the returning players with newcomers that were instrumental in the shift. He and his staff's efforts to take advantage of the on-campus stadium also came to fruition each home Saturday with an average of 300+ unofficial visitors and the strongest recruiting class, both academically and athletically in the program's history.
Pelini came to Boca Raton after serving four seasons as the University of Nebraska's defensive coordinator, a defense that was ranked as the best in the nation for a time during his tenure. In combined totals from 2009-11, Nebraska ranked second nationally in pass efficiency defense, fifth in passing yards allowed per game, seventh in scoring defense and No. 10 in total defense. Pelini's role in the Huskers' defensive dominance was recognized, as he was a nominee for the Frank Broyles Assistant Coach Award in both 2009 and 2010, and finished among the top-five each year.
During his last two years as defensive coordinator at Nebraska, Pelini's defense produced six All-Americans, two first-round NFL Draft picks and two conference defensive players of the year. In four seasons as Nebraska's defensive coordinator, four defensive players earned two-time first team all-conference honors - defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh (2008-09) and Jared Crick (2009-10); cornerback Prince Amukamara (2009-10); and linebacker Lavonte David (2010-11). Nebraska also had five first-team all-conference defensive backs in the past three seasons.
In 2011, the "Blackshirts" had to overcome the loss of three all-conference players, three 2011 NFL Draft picks and two coaches. Injuries bit the Huskers in 2011 when they lost the services of 2011 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year Alfonzo Dennard prior to the season opener and 2010 All-American Jared Crick for the season in October. Despite the challenges, Nebraska ranked among the nation's top-25 in pass defense and pass efficiency defense. Nebraska held six opponents to 14 points or less, including holding three opponents to their season-low point total and a fourth to their second-lowest output of the year.
Individually, linebacker Lavonte David was among four Blackshirts to contend for a major national award in 2011. David accumulated 122 tackles in 2011, and in two seasons under Pelini's direction, he set the school record for most tackles by a two-year player, while becoming the fifth player in Husker history to boast back-to-back 100-tackle seasons. The Big Ten Linebacker of the Year, David ranked fifth in Nebraska history with 274 career tackles, was a finalist for the Butkus Award, and a semifinalist for both the Chuck Bednarik Award and Lott Trophy.
The selection of both David and Dennard as Big Ten players of the year in their positions came on the heels of a Husker winning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in both 2009 (Ndamukong Suh) and 2010 (Prince Amukamara). In 2011, a total of seven Husker defenders earned first, second, or honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors.
The 2010 Blackshirts finished No. 11 nationally in total defense and ranked in the top 10 in pass efficiency defense (third), passing yards allowed (fifth) and scoring (ninth). After leading the nation in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense in 2009, the 2010 unit achieved its lofty rankings despite the loss of three starters selected in the first four rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Pelini produced a first-round draft pick for the second straight-year when Amukamara was the 19th overall player selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. Amukamara was also the 2010 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, marking the second straight season a Husker took home the honor. David was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, while a league-high five Huskers were first-team All-Big 12 selections. Two more earned second-team accolades and two others were honorable-mention picks. Nationally, four Blackshirts were named first- or second-team All-Americans by at least one organization.
In 2009, the Huskers led the nation in scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and red zone defense, and was ranked in the top 10 nationally in sacks, rushing defense and total defense. Nebraska surrendered just 10.4 points per game, posted two shutouts and allowed only two opponents to reach 20 points. Nebraska held eight opponents to 10 or fewer points, including seven in single digits. Six of Nebraska's 14 opponents failed to score an offensive touchdown against the Blackshirts, while each of the team's opponents failed to reach their season average in points and only one reached its average in total offense.
Ndamukong Suh was the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft after being named a Heisman Trophy finalist and the winner of the Associated Press National Player of the Year; Bronko Nagurski Trophy; Rotary Lombardi Award; Outland Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Suh was second on the Nebraska career chart in tackles for loss, including a school-record tying seven TFL in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Defensive tackle Jared Crick set the school record with 5.0 sacks at Baylor University, while Matt O'Hanlon intercepted a school-record tying three passes against the University of Oklahoma.
In Pelini's first season in 2008, the Nebraska defense finished second in the Big 12 in total defense and ranked among the top 25 nationally in rushing defense. In the process, Nebraska allowed 127 fewer yards per game than in 2007.
Pelini joined the Nebraska staff after three seasons on Frank Solich's coaching staff at Ohio University. He played a vital role in helping the Bobcats turn around their football program, including a nine-win season and bowl game in 2006. Those marks were firsts for the university since the 1968 campaign. The Bobcat defense continued the turnaround the following season, ranking in the top 30 nationally in scoring and total defense in 2007.
Pelini spent 2004 as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Minnesota State Mankato, under head coach Jeff Jamrog, a former Husker player and assistant coach. Pelini helped the Mavericks to a 6-5 record after a winless season the previous year. Prior to this, Pelini spent the 2003 season as Nebraska's defensive graduate assistant, where he worked with the defensive line and helped Nebraska to rank No. 2 nationally in scoring defense and takeaways and 11th in total defense.
As the head coach at Austintown Fitch High School in Austintown, Ohio from 2000 to 2002, Pelini rebuilt a program that had not had a winning season for eight years before his arrival. His coaching efforts culminated with a 6-4 record in 2002.
Pelini previously was the head coach and athletic director at Winnetonka High School in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1996 to 2000, and also served as the defensive coordinator at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kan.
Pelini played two seasons at Columbia University in New York, before transferring to Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, where he earned his bachelor's degree in English literature in 1989. He was a defensive graduate assistant on Bill Snyder's staff at Kansas State University throughout the 1989 and 1990 seasons, and then served as a restricted earnings coach in 1991. He also received a master's degree in journalism from KSU in 1991 and a master's degree in education from Ohio State University in 1993.
The Pelini File
2012 - Head Coach, Florida Atlantic University
2011 - Defensive Coordinator, University of Nebraska
2008-10 - Assistant Coach/Defensive Coordinator and Line Coach, University of Nebraska
2005-07 - Assistant Coach/Defensive Line, Ohio University
2004 - Assistant Coach Defensive Coordinator/Line, Minnesota State University
2003 - Graduate Assistant (defense), University of Nebraska
2000-02 - Head Coach, Austintown Fitch High School (Ohio)
1995-99 - Head Coach and Athletics Director, Winnetonka High School (Kansas)
1993-94 - Assistant Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Blue Valley High School (Kansas)
1991 - Restricted Earnings Coach (defense), Kansas State University
1989-89 - Graduate Assistant (defense), Kansas State University
1987-88 - Assistant Coach, Cardinal Mooney High School (Ohio)
1983-84 - Columbia University