Bo Pelini upset about leaks

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's hard line with the media on Wednesday morning seemed to be softening by nightfall.

Irritated by some media members' reporting methods, Pelini announced he was cutting off access to players and coaches for three days.

But in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday night, the mercurial third-year coach said he might relent and allow access sometime before Saturday.

"I don't want this place to be Fort Knox," he said. "That's not my nature."

Practices under Pelini have always been closed, except for the first 15 minutes most days. Interviews are conducted after practices.

The ban on reporters came after athletic department spokesman Keith Mann told reporters this week to not use the open period of practice to compile injury lists.

Several media outlets, citing eyewitnesses, reported Tuesday night that linebacker Sean Fisher was taken off the field with a leg injury and that there were a number of fights at practice.

Pelini usually meets with reporters after three or four practices a week, but he wasn't scheduled to speak Tuesday, and he didn't make an exception to address Fisher's injury.

Pelini confirmed Wednesday night that Fisher broke his leg and is out for the season. He also said backup cornerback Anthony Blue tore his anterior cruciate ligament Tuesday and is out.

Pelini said he was upset with reporters who called Fisher's family and high school coach to get confirmation of the injury.

"The kid was still on the [operating] table last night, and people were calling the family," he said. "That's crossing the line."

Pelini said he should be the person to release injury news.

He said he initially decided to ban the media to send a message that reporters should respect his policies. But he said a number of reporters told him that they must answer to their bosses and would continue to do whatever it takes to get a story.

"Keeping out the media for a few days apparently isn't going to change anything," he said.

Pelini said he would continue to ban guests from practices. Typically, former players and members of current players' families, among other people, are allowed to watch practices.

Pelini said a guest posted what happened at Tuesday's practice on an Internet message board.

"The guest was a friend of one of our coaches," Pelini said. "You would think he would have known better."

Pelini has had run-ins with the media about coverage of injuries, players' legal problems and game strategy since taking over as head coach in 2008.

Last week he became visibly angry when a reporter pressed him about quarterback Taylor Martinez's absence from practice the day before.

The 42-year-old Pelini recently said that learning how to deal with the media has been one of the biggest challenges he's faced as a head coach.

Athletic director Tom Osborne, who coached the Huskers from 1973-97, said the media lockout was Pelini's decision and that he would not comment on it.

The Huskers' traditionally strong football program is easily the most scrutinized topic in this state of 1.7 million people. The team has sold out every home game since 1962, and as many as 25 reporters and photographers regularly show up for the team's post-practice media availability.