Missouri coach Gary Pinkel submitted a hit by Nebraska safety Courtney Osborne for league review earlier in the week, putting the Huskers at the center of the debate over illegal hits for a second consecutive week.
Pinkel later clarified that his review request was more self-educational than an accusatory complaint, but after Nebraska linebacker and special teams contributor Eric Martin sat our Saturday's game, Pelini admitted on Tuesday he's sick of discussing the legality of hits.
"It just seems like I was sick of it three weeks ago. Obviously, nobody wants anybody to get hurt," Pelini said. "I think they just blew it up so much. I just don't like that it seems like the NFL dictates so many things now. I'm a little bit tired of that."
Pelini contended that Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert ducked into a helmet-to-helmet hit by Osborne in the fourth quarter of Nebraska's 31-17 win, and still frames from the game appeared to support Pelini's assertion.
"Officials try to do a good job of talking about intent," Pelini said. "I think every situation is a bit different, and it has gotten to the point where it is hard for officials to call it. It's a difficult thing. There is such an emphasis on it, and it is so blown up. It is damned if you do and damned if you don't for the officials. I kind of feel for those guys at times. And really everybody involved in the decision and enforcing it and what the media has done with the whole issue. It's not an easy thing right now. It's hard to coach."
The Big 12 announced its suspension of Martin on Wednesday last week, but notified Nebraska in search of contention earlier in the week. Pelini said Tuesday he had yet to hear from the league on any disciplinary action toward Osborne, whose hit had Gabbert slow to get up, and caused a fumble that was ruled dead on the field.
"We don't teach anybody to do that. I don't think anybody is out there intentionally doing it. I really don't. I think sometimes things happen in the emotion of the game, but I don't think anybody is out there intentionally trying to hurt anyone," Pelini said. "It's a physical sport and things happen fast. It's not an easy thing, and it is something we are all working through together. Coaches, officials, conference officials, everybody. Players alike, everybody is working through this together and it's not an easy thing. It takes time. Like I said, you just have to keep educating people on it."
Education is the first step, but finding full-fledged solutions to resolving the debate over hits -- illegal or otherwise -- isn't a simple exercise.
"I think they are trying to handle it the right way. I mean, I think the intent is there. It's not an easy thing for anybody involved," Pelini said. "Things happen in the sport and they happen fast. It isn't easy to call or easy on people setting the rules. It isn't easy to coach or for the players. It is going to take time."