Even though he's known for his intensity, Bo Pelini knows when it's time for a good laugh.
Photo by BreAnna Haessler/NU Media Relations

The Inside Story of Coach Bo's Latest Prank

By NU Athletic Communications

Watch Bo Pelini Pull a Fast One on His Team

Randy York's N-Sider

Official Blog of the Huskers

On a Friday, Aug. 16 evening meeting, Bo Pelini was looking for a unique way to tell his players that because they were working so hard, he’d decided a movie that night was in order. Nebraska's head coach thought Two Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, was a worthy reward to replace that night’s practice. To make the announcement more fun and inspiring, Pelini wanted drama, impact and celebration. So he came up with a plan and a plot to match his passion. Why not take his team down a notch before dramatically building it back up? Wouldn’t that make the movie even a bigger treat?

“Bo wanted to surprise the players,” said Mike Nobler, Nebraska football’s video coordinator who worked with Pelini at Oklahoma before he joined Bo at Nebraska. Somehow, Pelini decided the best way to surprise his players was to fake out the whole team and then, at the end, say Got Ya!  The result is Bo's latest prank, which went viral early Friday afternoon, locally, regionally, even nationally.

Randle Only Player Totally Clued in on Prank

It was Bo at his best, orchestrating a scenario that clued in only one player – Thad Randle, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound defensive tackle from North Shore High School in Galena Park, Texas. Randle’s a smart, no-nonsense young man who graduated earlier this month with a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies.

You might question the Randle solo theme when you watch the video because Ron Kellogg III pulls out a camera and starts shooting his stunned teammates when they know they've been tricked, but understand this. Kellogg was our Huskers.com video-shooting partner for this year’s Fan Day, so we asked him to shoot this particular team meeting as well, thinking it might qualify for a celebration if Bo should somehow replace that night’s practice with a movie or some other special treat.

Only Bo, his coaches and Nobler were clued in on the real script. Kellogg knew something was going to happen but had no idea what it would be. Players also were unaware there were hidden cameras in the front of the room and in the back. 

Nobler: Video All Bo's Idea, and It Worked!

There’s no need to break down the plot. The video stands on its own. Nobler thinks Pelini could not have picked a better player than Randle as his supporting actor. “It was all Bo’s idea, and it worked,” he said. “I mean, I was in on it and felt the tension myself.”

Nobler could not resist asking Bo a simple question: “How long do you want me to wait before I hit the screen with the Got Ya!’” he asked Bo, who replied: “You’ll kind of know when to do it. Just give the rest of the players enough time to get really nervous.”

Watch the video, and you’ll understand why it works and why it has drawn more than 450,000 views in three days. The real inside story is this: The phone that rang in Randle’s backpack in the video was Bo’s cell phone, and the call was made by Nobler, who pressed the button on his own phone sitting behind the lectern where he usually stands in team meetings while running slides or showing video. Who's phone did Bo pull out of Randle’s bag at the peak of his anger so he could pound it with the hammer he brought back into the room? That was an old, beat up phone of Bo's, too.

Calmest, Coolest Customer? Taylor Martinez

Yes, it was intriguing to see a room full of players sit in stunned silence. When they realized they had been hijacked by their own head coach and a popular player, there was jubilation. Kenny Bell goes as gaga as anyone in the room, racing around the auditorium with an animated victory lap like he’d just won a gold in London. Josh Mitchell was on the other end of the spectrum, stretched out on the floor and still emotionally shocked despite the energy, excitement and exultation around him.

Watch the video right down to the final seconds, and you’ll see who the calmest, coolest person in the room is – Taylor Martinez. Sitting by himself in the front row, his smile says it all. Makes you wonder who could possibly enjoy tension and pressure as much as he does, even when it’s manufactured and has an ironic twist at the end.

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