Published Monday, September 10, 2012 AT 1:39 PM / Updated at 5:53 PM
Press Conference Quick Hits, Sept. 10: Bo talks D
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Quick hits from Nebraska coach Bo Pelini’s press conference on Monday, in which the coach answered more than a dozen questions about his defense.

>> The coach and players agreed: The biggest problem in Saturday’s 36-30 loss – Highway 653 – was tackling.

“The ones we missed really hurt us,” Pelini said. “A couple times it was more than just one.”

>> The defensive line, Pelini said, allowed UCLA’s offensive line to dictate terms instead of attacking, getting off blocks and staying aggressive.

“The style of offense we’ve played has slowed down our defense,” he said.

>> The Huskers are “constantly evaluating” personnel. It’s fair to say that more evaluation could be occurring this week. Linebackers Zaire Anderson and David Santos, Pelini said, are coming along but not quite ready for extended game action. Both are believed to be two of the better defensive athletes on the team.

>> NU had 11 tackles for loss/sacks. Pelini theorized that number could have been doubled with proper tackling and execution.

>> Lots of theory talk today from Bo about why his defense is so different now than it was in 2010. Pelini referenced a changing college football quite a bit. You’ll read more about this tomorrow from columnist Tom Shatel. Look for it.

>> Pelini bristled just once: When a reporter suggested the Huskers lacked “want-to” or “desire” in the game. More than one NU player has referenced this from Saturday’s game, but it’s kind of a default answer players give when they’re not entirely sure how to explain Highway 653.

Pelini sure did.

“There isn’t any more ‘want-to’ out there,” Pelini said. “Don’t start questioning this football team’s integrity.”

>> During the game, Quincy Enunwa jokingly asked Pelini to put him on defense. Pelini glared at him.

>> Running back Rex Burkhead remains “day to day” according to Pelini, who added he thought Burkhead’s knee strain was a “10-to-20-day” injury — which would put Rex, at the latest, returning for the Idaho State game. Pelini said Burkhead was ahead of schedule.

Lots more tonight. It’ll be fun.

* * *

Press conference interviews

Will Compton

Taylor Martinez

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.


  1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    Funny how all this is eeeerrrily similar to the Cozgrove debacle, and one thing remains constant, the ”Thud uP” practice system.
    I love this, we should all get t-shirts made with this on it……….frickin CLASSIC!
    A Oct. 27: Michigan, 7 p.m.

    “The style of offense we’ve played has
    slowed down our defense,”

    You just can’t make this stuff up. Cozgrovish!

  2. Spencer says:

    no BO PELINI……………..There is LOTS more “WANT TO” out there and the huskers DFENSE doesn’t have it! not yet anyway. Example: Watch our defense on film verse UCLA, and watch Alabama’s D vs Michigan. you won’t see a single safety/cornerback/linebacker STANDING and WAITING for the runningback/receiver come to them. they run full speed to the ball. i BARELY saw that during the ucla game. i saw runningbacks come through the line and receivers grab a quick pass and i watch DB’s, safetys, and linebackers stand there and wait for them by that time they juked and our defense watched as they made big yardage or scored. i didn’t see ANY “WANT” from our defense agains UCLA. We played SCARED and TIMID. so YES i will question the crap out of the integrity of our defense!

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      Less watching film more field.

    2. rick says:

      I agree Spencer, Hey Bo Pelini if you see that Compton is getting beat like he did on the same play 15 times, why not put in another db with speed to follow that running back where ever he goes? Basic coaching Pelini. I also heard Jason Peter saying that Pelini doesnt do tackle drills in practice because he fears that a player will get hurt.. If you dont do tackle drills in practice then the new uniforms should be cheerleading skirts.. PELINI MUST GO NOW…

      1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

        I rest my case
        Thud up!

      2. tayllor1234 says:

        Sad is it not? Alleged grown adults, measuring their own self worth vicariously through teenagers who are playing a childs game.

        How many of you have teenagers at home? How many of you would be willing to stake your livelihood upon those teenagers?

  3. Spencer says:

    ^^^^^^ Agreed

  4. Spencer says:

    One closing statement. Lincoln Journal Star interview with Alonzo Whaley and i quote “the missed takles has alot to do with “want”

    Pelini: “there isn’t anymore “WANT TO” Out there”

    Sooo………..the players agree there needs to be more “want” but the Coach things that isn’t the problem?

    I think i just Solved the problem.

  5. j gady says:

    the reason this group can’t stop QB’s with speed,is they simply arn’t fast enough. This D-line never smells a QB,hasn’t for 2 years. I feel sorry for the D-backs they don’t have a chance. What the heck happened to Heard,he looks and runs like our tail-backs of old and these clowns give him 4 carries,then lets start passing,HOLY SMOKES.

    1. trailboss says:

      I really like the way Heard runs too, he looks like the classic I-back!

    2. Dwight says:

      2 sacks and a bunch of hurries against ucla. Plus, martin leveled their qb in the second half and he was feeling it the rest of the game. Better tackling is what they need as well as changing up the d and personnel more often.

  6. kk says:

    “Greatest fans ever”

    1. z23 says:

      That’s cute and all, but the product put on the field is a mess and has been for the last two years. I have no agenda against any coach or any of our players. In fact I rather liked Pelini at hire and thought he could be the next TO.

      I only know that our football product is very clearly sub-par. I don’t see how this can be denied. Close? We’ve been “close” for the past four years. Yet we’re always breaking down mentally and make some of the oddest decisions; fourth quarter UN offense on Saturday being the most mind boggling play I’ve seen in a long long time.

      Sorry, but Bo is officially in the hot seat in my eyes. He’s just not getting it done.

  7. Al says:

    Yeah, I’d just like to know why Nebraska is all of a sudden a training ground for coaches. If someone hasn’t been a coordinator, they can go elsewhere. Bring in someone with experience, this isn’t junior college. If your coaches can’t recruit, get some experienced ones in that can. And fire Barney Cotton, the offensive line was getting beat all second half. Can’t get talent to come to a school known for producing great linemen? Get a real line coach! If the Huskers aren’t tackling in practice, Bo’s a goner——that’s some Cosgrove garbage.

    1. Eduardo says:

      Every fans seem to hope ‘this is the year’. Pelini is 3-12 vs top 25 teams. And those teams that won were compromised mainly of Callahan talent. NU seems to lose at least one game per year that they should win, Northwestern, Iowa State, now UCLA… Pelini has NEVER outcoached anyone though I do admit he can outyell and outcuss most of the country.

  8. Mike Querry says:

    I was at the UCLA game and what I saw was cause for concern. On offense when the tempo was fast UCLA didn’t have time to make adjustment calls or get assignments in for the next play. Once NU slowed down, UCLA started figuring out the offense. Speaking of the offense, looks like we have 4 plays in the book. Toss to the right, zone read, FB dive, and pass to the middle of the field. Watching Martinez as he took the snap, he would stare down his receiver and never look the DB off. A few of his passes should have been picks.

    No time for Martinez to check down to other receivers either. Whatever happened to rotating OL in and out for a quick breather? Beck really needs to get more creative with play calling. Whatever happened to running the option 5-6 maybe 10 times a game?

    Why was Imani Cross okay to play the first game for a few carries but not at all this game? The guy is a beast!

    Defense was plain bad. Signals weren’t being called in until 2 seconds before UCLA snapped the ball. What’s that about? Give the kids a few moments at least to recognize their reads according to the play! No pressure from the front 4 at all, an when they did get pressure, no one to contain the scramble because our 6 DBs were 30 yards down field. Compton isn’t enough of an athlete to cover RBs out of the backfield.

    Why didn’t the defense ever adjust to cover the receiver in the flat? Never had an answer for him.

    Lots of questions going into Week 3. Hopefully Bo puts the defensive wizard hat back on sometime soon.

  9. Nathan says:

    Never out coached anyone??? Hmm, that’s silly. Look at title game against Texas, Colt MCCoy was at the time, the winningest QB in CFb history, our defense destroyed him. It wasn’t just Suh, it was a fantastic scheme! Yes, he has been out coached, no doubt about it, my question is: have you ever been out performed in your job. Do you work for a successful company? Does that merit a review on a weekly basis to let all these internet “experts” throw you under the bus? How about a nice sit down, evaluation with the boss, maybe even some encouragement, and back at it! Go Big Red! I believe in the Husker program!!!

    1. Eduardo says:

      Your analogy is exceedingly weak Nathan. Pelini makes $3,000,000 per year. A successful company that consistently underperforms under a CEO that made 3 MILLION per year would axe him in short order – especially if he were a hot head. Im glad you believe in mediocrity. He was not hired to lose 4 games per year. Hiring Pelini was a mistake. When will Husker nation eat crow and admit it?

      1. Nathan says:

        Do you have the details of his contract? I’m assuming there’s nothing in there about a certain number of wins, rather there is something in there about leading student athletes. Bo has done a tremendous job of graduating players, go support the SEC if you don’t care about the kids, and only care about wins

  10. Dave says:

    Really thought this could be the year to compete and get into a BCS game…same old “D”…NO SHOW!!!!!

  11. BigN says:

    I thought TM played well enough to win, the problem was he needed to be Cam Newton or RGIII to win behind that abysmal offensive line play. Its pretty disappointing when you have an experienced NU OLine that gets completely trucked in the 3rd and 4th Qrt. TM has improved to the point were if you give him more then 1.5 seconds he can find his check down receiver and make a decent throw.
    The most concerning thing is the continued play of the Black Skirts. Spread O or not you score 30 points in a game you better win it. In the past 10 yrs we have had a total of “1″ top 10 Defense (7th in ’09) and only 3 in the top 25. Its not about the Xs and Os its about the Jims and the Joes.. except w/our Defense.. it looks like both. Too slow to cover sideline to sideline and not big and/or strong enough to overpower. Stuck in the middle is a bad place to be.

  12. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    Pelini throws all the evaluation ‘process’ on the players, should be looking at his staff, is Pelini really using the spread as an excuse?

  13. pbrening says:

    Our players just flat out… are NOT in shape physically to compete for four quarters…(yet) Both, the offense and defense fell off in physical dominance in the second half. When tired,,, you’re going to miss tackles…. not be able to hold your blocks…. and your response athletically in the back field or open space, is diminished considerably when you’re beat tired… it’s not that there isn’t a “want-to”… the boys are just no prepared physically. this is the coaches fault… PERIOD.

  14. Terry says:

    Bo knows he will get the team back where they need to be. We will be in the running. We live in the past where we always won won won those days are over. Its a different time in the sport of football. Its seems like if were not winning we can’t support the team. You just wait Bo will bring home the title.