Published Monday, October 1, 2012 AT 12:59 PM / Updated at 6:55 PM
Press Conference: Bo and Co. talk Ohio State, Braxton Miller
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Quick hits from Nebraska football’s Monday’s press conference, as the Huskers prepare for undefeated Ohio State:

>>Running back Rex Burkhead said he’s getting closer to 100 percent, but relished the competition he had Saturday night with Ameer Abdullah, who split reps and carries in NU’s 30-27 win over Wisconsin.

“Seeing who’s going to make the big play next — that’s what we do every day in practice,” Burkhead said. “Our opportunities – we want to make the most of them. As a competitor you want to do that. And it’s a healthy competition.”

>>Tons of questions about Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, who serves as the straw that stirs the Buckeyes’ offensive drink.

“If we stop him, slow him down, we’ll be fine,” safety P.J. Smith said.

Coach Bo Pelini contrasted Miller to another of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s quarterback, Florida Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.

“You obviously see some similar plays, but Tebow’s a 240, 250-pound guy. Braxton Miller is like a tailback back there. He’s elusive. He makes a lot of people miss. Tebow’s gonna run over you. Braxton is going to make you miss. Obviously there’s some different plays that lend to each of those guy’s different talents. But they’re both very effective. Very dangerous in their own way.”

>>Pelini said NU was too “keyed up” to start Saturday’s game over Wisconsin and “got outside themselves a little bit.”

“They didn’t have their emotions under control, I dunno,” Pelini said. “They’re 18-to-22-year-old kids. We didn’t play well in the first half.”

Said offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles: “We’ve got to find ways to manage the excitement but stay extremely focused.”

>>Both players and Pelini said the small uniform numbers on the alternate jerseys made it hard for Nebraska’s defense to locate personnel and match up against Wisconsin’s skill players.

>>It’s homecoming for  Pelini, who played at OSU in the late 1980s. Pelini has always strongly deflected all talk of his Buckeye roots, and he didn’t disappoint (or maybe he did, depending on how you look at it) Monday.

“I’m at a different time in my life, at a different place,” Pelini said. “I have a job to do. It’s all I’m concerned with.”

Pelini didn’t know when he’d last attended a game at Ohio Stadium, but he called the Horseshoe a “great atmosphere” and a “good experience” for Husker players to have.

Pushed again to describe how he feels about his alma mater, Pelini pushed back.

“What do you want me to say?” he said. “I do have pride in where I went to school and my career there. But that has nothing to do with Saturday. It doesn’t really make any difference what happened 86-90. It’s a different time in my life.”

>>Pelini did have a memory about current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who served as a graduate assistant on the Buckeye staff in 1986-1987.

“He was energetic and hard-nosed football coach then,” Pelini said. “Same as he is now.”

>>Lots of good talk from Alonzo Whaley, the NU senior linebacker who’s kept his head up despite a up-and-down career. He had a huge game against the Badgers and forced the game-deciding fumble.

See also: Husker Monday Rewind

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. David says:

    Umm, getting the 18-22 year old kids emotions under control is Peilini’s responsibility. The best coaches do that on a weekly basis. Saban, Osborne, etc.

    1. Mark Jimenez says:

      Typo on the ‘Florida Heisman Trophy winner Braxton Miller’ should have been Tebow.

      1. Sam McKewon Sam McKewon says:

        Fixed. Thanks.

  2. MikeG says:

    Sure hope we can eliminate those silly mistakes. And please, oh please, Bo, put in some speed at linebacker to contain Miller. A big LB like Sean Fisher cant get it done. Fisher had a few tackles but about cost us another TD when he watched Ball run right by him on a pass route. Fisher doesnt have the speed to be out there. I dont mean to be so negative about Fisher, but seeing him get run by so many times lately is maddening. To contain mobile QB’s like Miller, you got to have speed on the outside.

    1. TheGov21 says:

      I love how people don’t understand certain things. Fisher played more against Wisconsin because the Badgers play with 2 TEs and a FB. So you need more linebackers. Ohio State will run more 3 WR sets so Nebraska will be in the nickel more. That means less Sean Fisher. People forget that Fisher hasn’t played a ton this year because Nebraska has played more spread teams.

  3. Corey says:

    I saw an interesting stat about Braxton Miller vs. MSU on this weekend: When the Spartans brought a four-man rush, Miller was averaging approximately 8.7 yards per play, and both of his TD’s came from this pressure. He was far less successful when MSU mixed it up with blitzes. I’m really curious to see how NU handles him this week, and how they adjust during the game.

  4. Waskel Wabbit says:

    “If we stop him, slow him down, we’ll be fine,” safety P.J. Smith said. Doesn’t ring of confidence.

    1. San Diego Husker says:

      Maybe he should have said Miller throws like he skips rocks and how he was going to pressure him so hard he’d break. Worked real well for Wisconsin.

  5. Josh the Skeptic says:

    We’ll likely see a lot more nickel and dime sets against tOSU. Also I think it would be nice to hear Pelini just own his tOSU connection, it almost seems like he takes the questions as some inference of mixed loyalties. I don’t think there’s anybody who thinks that he won’t be trying to win the game, or that it’s a big distraction for him. I would just figure that he would come out and say that he’s excited to go there, had a great experience there, and he’s looking forward to showing off against the hometown crowd for the first time as a head coach. Maybe the media is projecting a bit, and maybe Pelini doesn’t really care about playing his alma mater, but that’s what I would think that most people would say in response to similar questions.

    1. Iowa Husker says:

      wouldn’t you get tired of listening to the same stupid questions? Yes, I played there, Yes, I liked it. Yes, I coach at Nebraska. Yes, it will be fun.
      Cripes, throw the man a bone! I am the first guy to say he can be, and is, a jerk, but good grief. Who cares!

      1. VanCleef says:

        Some people that are a little more in touch with their feminine side care.

        1. A Fan says:

          Spoken like a true metrosexual.

  6. Kansahusker says:

    I fear another game at Ohio State like at Michigan last year. No doubt they will score and do not forget Ohio State has a score to settle from their game last year in Lincoln which if Miller had not got hurt they would have won.All i got to say is i hope i’m wrong, and i no longer get all worked up or badly dissapointed in our outcomes, as i’ve been sterilized by all the disasapointments since callahan an on.

  7. dmhusker says:

    Even if it costs them a couple 3 and outs to start the game, maybe they should play a bit more conservative until the jitters wear off a bit. Script a few plays to start so everybody is 100% on the same page and Taylor’s not worried about making the right read.

    The competition is great, but it’s a bit unsettling to hear the backs are trying to outdo each other. How about take what you can get and then focus on protecting the ball. Every single player in college and the NFL does it but it drives me batty when the ball carrier reaches out and exposes the ball to get a few extra inches. If the receiver (Quincy?) concentrates on securing the ball rather than trying to reach for the goal line, we have a first and goal at the 1 late in the game Saturday.

    Rex is an awesome athlete, team player, winner, leader and everything else but the offense is more explosive with Abdullah on the field. They should get both those guys on the field at the same time.

    1. Tiberius58 says:

      I think we do script several plays based on field position. I think the first questionable call was taking the ball after winning the flip rather than deferring to 2nd half. We obviously were not ready to perform offensively right out of the chute and it nearly cost us the game.

  8. texasHusker18 says:

    Agree with David above. Why aren’t we ready to play when the game begins? We go from nearly giving up on the team after handing Wisconsin a 14-0 lead, then 27-10, only to witness greatness less than one quarter later? CONSISTENCY!

    1. A Fan says:

      That lack of consistency is going to bite us, I’m afraid. We weren’t ready for the whole game against UCLA, and lost. We weren’t ready at the beginning for Wisconsin, came back and won. The comeback formula is not going to work against good teams all the time, especially in their backyard. I don’t think we’ve been down, certainly by 14 – 17 points, to anyone on the road and came back to win in the last 5 years.