Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini Wednesday night made his monthly “Nebraska Football Show” appearance on the Husker Sports Network to discuss NU’s 63-38 loss to Ohio State and preparations for the bye week and the second half of the season.
Pelini took roughly ten calls. Here are the highlights.
>> Running back Rex Burkhead, Pelini reiterated, will return for the Oct. 20 Northwestern game.
>> Pelini said his coaches and players were “brutally honest” in film review of the loss to the Buckeyes, and the team is “hurting,” it has to “fight back” instead of feeling sorry for itself.
“It’s been a tough few days,” Pelini said. “It’s going to be a touch couple weeks. Hard time for a bye to come after a game like that. But it gives us a chance to get a few things fixed.”
The staff has worked most of this week on fixes, and NU will again practice Thursday. On Friday, Pelini said, much of the staff will head out on the road to recruit.
>> Pelini said the Huskers have to be more consistent in their handling of adversity and “stay with the process” of constant improvement.
“You can’t panic,” he said. “Unfortunately in sports, you’re going to have some highs and lows. You’re going to deal with adversity, both in a game, in a week, in a year. It’s how you respond to it.”
>> A caller asked what Nebraska’s staff was doing to address tackling problems that stung the Huskers in losses to UCLA and Ohio State.
“Keep working at it, keep stressing it,” Pelini said. “Nothing magical you can do. We practice tackling just about every day. What are you gonna do?”
Pelini said that tackling against a spread offense is more important because a missed tackle can lead to bigger plays.
>> A caller asked if “pundits” who claimed that NU’s defenders didn’t align right in the second half were accurate.
“People can say what they want,” Pelini said. “I’ve coached football for a long time, and I’ve coached defense for a long time. And I’ll just say it straight: They don’t know what they’re talking about. Let’s leave it at that.”
When another caller asked if Pelini should have rotated his defensive linemen more vs. OSU, Pelini said the Huskers’ defensive issues “went well beyond the defensive line. We didn’t execute very well. That falls back on me and the defensive coaches and trickles right down to the players. We’re all in this thing together. We didn’t get it done. We didn’t execute. There are no excuses. We weren’t tired or beat up. We didn’t get it done.”
>> A caller asked Pelini what defense he was trying to set up just before OSU quarterback Braxton Miller’s 31-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. Pelini said he had the defense he wanted, but NU didn’t execute the scheme.
“We didn’t execute what we were trying to do right there,” he said. “The play they ran wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before. Once again, they made the play. It’s disappointing that it happened.”
>> Nebraska’s emphasizing the “do your job” mantra popularized by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who visited during spring football.
“You are accountable to yourself first, because only then can you be accountable to the rest of the team,” Pelini said.
>> On how Nebraska will try to contain Northwestern dual-threat quarterback Kain Colter, Pelini said: “You’ll have to wait until the following Saturday … we’ll be ready.”
>> Pelini rebuffed his and Nebraska’s critics.
“I believe in our kids. I believe in our team. The only way we shut them up is to win football games.”