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.
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Press conference interviews