It's not like the Husker team as a whole doesn't have experience coming back from disappointing games. Yes, there was the 52-17 drubbing at the hands of the Missouri Tigers this year, but going back to last year there were a lot more reality checks for this team.
It's hard to say how Nebraska will come back for the Kansas game after coming off such a disappointing contest against the Sooners, where Oklahoma had four touchdowns on the board before they were even five minutes into the game. But despite all that the Head Coach says that the focus is already on the team they are getting ready to play. “Their attitude is good, and they are excited to play Kansas, I'll tell you that. I'll tell you that right now,” Pelini said. “The spirits are fine.”
His starting junior nose tackle agreed.
“We just have to move forward from it and forget about it – take our mistakes from it that we can take and go out and execute against Kansas who is our next opponent,” Ndamukong Suh said. “You've really just got to forget about it. That's a tough thing to do, but that's what you've really got to do.”
For coaches like first-year running back coach Tim Beck, he said that it's about understanding what you can and can't control and moving on from there. “There's nothing you can do about that last game. There really isn't,” he said. “We could sit there and beat guys up watching the tape over and over again about why did you miss this play, miss this block or not do this, but what does it get you?
“You can't take it back. So, the thing right now is to improve, get ready for the next opponent and coach the guys up to not let it happen again. That's the key.”
One of the things the team did today, perhaps to get minds off the past and more toward the future, is give many of their future players an opportunity to do something they don't get to do much of at all. For redshirts and those players who are serving time exclusively on the Scout Team, they spend most of their time replicating what the opponent is going to do rather than running what their own team runs on either side of the ball.
To get them more involved and a little more acclimated to what they might be doing in the future, Coach Pelini let the youngsters go at each other for a bit of scrimmaging today. “We have been doing a lot of young-guys work. We had a young guys scrimmage, and a lot of the scout players scrimmaged today,” Pelini said. “When we go good-on-good, the GA's and such take the young guys we have been practicing and giving them some reps, and just teaching the basics, the terminology and keep working with them. As the season goes on and hopefully up through bowl practice we give them a lot more work and keep these guys coming along.
“We like the group. They fly around and attack each other. It's a good looking group of kids.”
Those players are, of course, for another time, and the more immediate concern is the game coming up this weekend, the home-stand against the offensively potent Kansas Jayhawks. Coming off a game the likes of which Nebraska is, Pelini said that the most important thing for the next game is to take what happened from the previous game, learn from it and move on.
He said adversity is just part of the deal and how you handle it is what determines what kind of team you can be. “We faced it after Missouri and now we faced it again. You face adversity in a lot of ways during a season,” he said. “I think our guys have stared it in the face a lot this year and have responded the right way. I don't expect anything different.
“I look for it. I think we are going to play a good football game on Saturday. I really do.”
The Huskers may go in with the right attitude, but they will more than likely go into the game still short a few players. Junior linebacker Phillip Dillard, who suffered an ankle injury against Baylor, will more than likely not be available for the game, the Head Coach saying after practice today that they looked at his injury as a two to three-week process before he can come back. The status of senior offensive tackle Lydon Murtha is still uncertain following a foot injury suffered against Oklahoma. Murtha had an MRI today, according to the head coach, and his status will be more certain by tomorrow when Nebraska holds their weekly press conference before a game.
Junior wide receiver Menelik Holt is day-to-day, Pelini said after practice today, his injury also occurring against Baylor two weeks ago. Holt's injury was to his left knee.
If Murtha can't go you will more than likely see sophomore Jaivorio Burkes move to that right side and sophomore Mike Smith will move up to the starting spot at left tackle. Burkes had started at left tackle this last game, but the two have been swapping starting spots on the left side most of the year.
Sophomore wide receiver Niles Paul will continue to get increased reps as he has over the last few games. Over 70 percent of his total reps for the season have came in the last four games this year.
Nebraska will return to the practice field tomorrow, and remember to stay tuned to the site as we will bring you audio from tomorrow's press conference as it is happening, and bring you the rest of it following its conclusion.
Full Post-Practice Audio with Bo Pelini
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