Two separate press conferences. Two parallel themes. Nebraska’s Bo Pelini and Georgia’s Mark Richt were in Orlando Thursday to help promote the Capital One Bowl matchup.
Both coaches tackled similar topics Thursday — because, really, their teams (which fell short of their preseason goals last weekend) seem to be in somewhat comparable positions. The highlights are below…
ON BOUNCING BACK
>> Said Pelini: “Everybody who plays the sport of football or plays athletics
goes through a tough time. The way you’re defined isn’t by what happened to you, it’s by how you react to it. Our guys are looking forward to the next opportunity to go out there and play.”
>> And Richt, whose Bulldogs lost a 32-28 thriller to Alabama in the SEC title game… “We didn’t quite get to the mountaintop like we wanted to, but these guys still have a lot of pride, a lot of great leadership skills, and they want to go out here and leave our program on a high note, and in a first class manner. I don’t think we’ll have trouble getting the guys ready to play.”
ON ORLANDO’S AMUSEMENT PARKS
>> Here’s Pelini: “There’s time for work and there’s time for play. Going to a bowl game, it’s a reward, a reward for a lot of hard work that went into it, a lot of sacrifice. Believe me, we come down here and get our work done, but when you’re free, you’re free.
>> Richt echoed that sentiment in his comments. “I don’t mind them going out and having fun. I don’t even look at it as a distraction. I look at it as a reward.”
ON STOPPING THE RUN
>> Pelini described Georgia’s attack as “physical,” comparable to several teams NU’s played this season. But said his defense will be ready. “We won 10 games for a reason. It’s not easy to win 10. ”
>> Richt mentioned that the Bulldogs have struggled lately against the run (they’ve allowed more than 300 rushing yards to each of their last three opponents). And the Huskers have “some very dynamic players,” he said. “Martinez of course is a great quarterback but they’ve got a couple I-backs that are outsanding as well.”
>> Pelini said he hasn’t yet spoken to his brother Carl about Georgia. Carl, the head coach at Florida Atlantic, took his Owls into Athens, Ga., on Sept. 15. The Bulldogs won 56-20. Said Bo: “I’ve been pretty busy jumping on and off the airplanes trying to recruit.”
>> Bo went out of his way a number of times Thursday to compliment the Capital One Bowl staff for its organization and hospitality. “They made it easy on us (last year). It’s first-class all the way,” he said.
>> Richt was asked about the impact playing in Orlando could have on Georgia’s recruiting process. Probably wouldn’t influence the 2013 class, Richt said. But… “Hopefully there’ll be some young players form the area that are very talented that watch the game — maybe even get a chance to come in person — and see us play and like what they see and get excited about Georgia,” Richt said.