Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis
Nebraska 42, Arkansas State 13
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
Nebraska Defensive Coordinator
On when he knew something was wrong with Coach Bo Pelini
"About early in the second quarter. Not that I knew that there was anything wrong with him, he was just a little less vocal than he normally is. I wasn't too concerned at that point. We received more of a definitive word at halftime that they were going to take him for precautionary reasons."
On managing the game without Coach Bo Pelini
"Tim [Beck] and I did it together. On the field, I assumed those roles of whatever a head coach would do in terms of penalties. Any game management desicions were made with Tim in coordination. I don't know that either one of us took over as head coach. Bo's obviously the head coach."
On the team's reaction to Coach Bo Pelini leaving
"Very business-like. They love Bo. There is no question in our locker room who the leader of this football team is. I think there was a sense of concern initially but, more than anything, Bo would want them to go and play their tails off in the second half, and I think that became the focus of the football team."
On what plans were in place for this scenario
"To be honest, there isn't a great contingency plan for that. We'd roll with it. I've never been a part of anything like that. I don't know if Tim [Beck] has. There's isn't really a plan in place."
On reactions to Coach Bo Pelini's departure
"Bo is as close to me as anybody, so my initial reaction was more as a friend than a business colleague. I kind of had to compose myself for a second because of my concern for his well-being. But then, at the end of the day, he would want nothing other than us to go out and perform as well as we possibly could. We got it pulled together and went to work."
On when Pelini will return to work
"I honestly have no idea, but he's one of the toughest people I know, so if he's able to come back by tomorrow, he'll be back tomorrow. If it's Monday, it's Monday, but there's not much quitting in Bo."
On the coaching staff after the UCLA game
"You know, it's interesting. You hear the term adversity thrown around a lot in athletics, but the theme of this week was how are we going to respond. Going into the week, you'd think that it's just responding to not playing well on the road. That changed as the week went on. It went from not playing real well on the road and losing a game that you were so disappointed in losing to having a little bit of attrition on your football team to going to a game and playing really well in the first half and realizing that your leader wasn't feeling too well. Then not starting the second half real well and then responding. There are so many life lessons that I think our guys can take from this. It's been a very trying and emotional week. I'm glad to see the way our team fought today."
On the defensive plan
"To me, the greatest concern that we had was how fast they tried to go. This is the fourth time I've played against Gus Miles on offense and there's a couple things you know about what they do. First of all, he's going to have a great initial sprint. It's going to be things you've never seen before, lots of motions and shifts. We knew we had to survive that initial surge. You could see that first series, they kind of had us on our heels for a little bit and moved the ball. We were able to get off the field on some third downs with P.J. Smith's takeaway. Once we could settle in, we felt like we had a pretty good handle on how they were going to try to attack us. I was really pleased with the progress we made this week on defense."
On improvements in aggressive tackling
"I thought it was better. I don't ever feel like we're near a finished product, but defensively, we were better. I'm not a huge stat guy in terms of that being the only measurements for success, but to hold that offense to under 300 yards and six offensive points, three of which I was really proud of our guys the way they responded deep in our territory. I thought they played a very good football game."
On his emotional role in the second half
"I think the truth is, Bo is the emotional leader of this football team. The players feed off of his energy and his determination. I do believe that leaders reflect the leadership of their coaches. When you're excited and confident, they're excited and confident. That was the time to show that and I though our guys responded well."