Published Monday, September 9, 2013 AT 7:31 PM / Updated at 8:13 PM
Practice Report, Sept. 9: Martinez motivated, Beck wary of Bruins’ D
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Quick hits from Nebraska’s Monday practice, as the Huskers started prep for UCLA.

>> Scratch just a little beneath the surface, and you get the sense that the Bruins’ game means a lot to the Huskers, especially the kids from California.

Quarterback Taylor Martinez: “”I don’t think I’ve ever felt so bad after a loss before, especially since it was against UCLA and just because they didn’t offer me out of high school. And that as a kid I watched them and I wanted to go there. They beat me. So this last go round, hopefully I can beat them.”

Cornerback Joshua Mitchell: “I’m not going to lie, those guys, they’ve been keeping me motivated with the trash talk. It’s all friendly talk. We’re all boys. We’re all friends. It’s nothing negative, but it could potentially be the last time playing these guys. I can’t end my career with two Ls on the list.”

Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa: “It was an early game. It was one of those games we wanted to win to jump up there in the rankings. We kind of didn’t play our game the way we should have. A few mistakes out there. I was pretty upset, obviously.”

>> Offensive coordinator Tim Beck applauded a good practice, then downplayed the week as a whole. He doesn’t want to make the UCLA game “bigger than it is.” Which is why Husker defenders spent more time on the field after practice than they have since the start of fall camp.

>> Beck said NU has to be on its “A game” because of UCLA’s personnel — most of which played against Nebraska last year. He called Bruins hybrid defender Anthony Barr “a terrific player” who can make plays in space or as a pass rusher.

“You gotta know where he is,” Beck said. “You gotta make sure you got bodies on him and you’re finishing blocks on him. He’s got good technique.”

>> The Bruins can switch defensive strategies and looks mid-game, as they did last year when a blitz-heavy strategy didn’t work against Nebraska in the first half, while a base look — with just three pass rushers — did in the second half. Beck said defenses like UCLA’s can disrupt a quarterback’s rhythm. Wyoming and Southern Mississippi, Beck said, used that three-man rush/soft zone approach against Martinez.

“I thought (Martinez) did a good job of seeing it,” Beck said.

Martinez said USM used “trap coverages” to try and bait him into bad throws. He didn’t make any.

“These past few games, they really prepared us for the game up ahead,” Martinez said.

Video: Nebraska’s Monday press conference

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.