Weekly Press Conference
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
Monday, Oct. 15, 2012
On the offense's performance over the first six weeks
"First off, we're not very pleased with the turnovers. We turned the ball over a lot in the first six games. One thing we've done pretty well is we haven't given up when we're down and when we're ahead we're always playing hard."
On Coach Bo Pelini saying they have to win out
"We expect to win the last six. We've played very average up to this point. I feel like we can get a lot more out of our players. That's what we're going to stress this week getting back to practice. I feel like we are capable of running the table. That's been our goal the whole season to run the table with all of our games. At this point now, we have to put our foot on the gas and keep rolling."
On if they have to sacrifice offensive explosiveness to take care of the ball better
"No. I feel like we should just focus on doing your job and taking care of yourself. A lot of times we find ourselves trying to do too much and that's when you get interceptions, fumbles, false starts. We just have to focus on each play one at a time instead of just trying to make the big play every play."
On what they focused on during the bye week practices
"We focused on ball security, consistency and just techniques. A lot of times we get out of our techniques and that's when we get those fumbles, false starts and have a breakdown mentally."
On if they can focus on turnovers too much
"No. The emphasis on ball security should always be there. Obviously we don't want to focus on it so much that we're timid. At the same time we always have to be conscious of things like that."
On their impression of Northwestern
"They're a very good team, very athletic, very well-coached. They're really disciplined. They have a good offense and a good quarterback with a lot of athletes. It's going to be a good game, a hard-fought game."
On Northwestern's defense
"I feel like if we just play our game and take care of us then it's not a team we can't move the ball on. We really just need to focus on ourselves. The biggest team we're afraid of on our schedule is ourselves. When we're playing bad and turning over the ball then we're not capable of being a fluid offense. But when we take care of ourselves and focus on taking care of the ball and being efficient, I feel like no one can stop us."
On how the carries will be split
"We play to win. Whatever's necessary to win then that's what we're going to do. We never focus on how we'll split up carries or anything. We want whoever is in to be the most effective at the time. If it's Rex (Burkhead) at the time, then we need him in. If it is me at the time then I have to be ready to step up. We don't really think about what we're going to do to limit his knee or whatever. We're trying to win out. That's what it's about right now. We're going put in who is best to be that way."
On if the team adopted the win-out mentality from Coach Pelini
"This is not just something that's going around the locker room. Obviously we all want to win out. I'm not going to say we adopted it but we all know it needs to happen."
On if there is too much focus on winning out and not just the next game coming up
"No. We need to focus on Northwestern. We can't be thinking about Michigan State or Penn State or whoever is coming up on the road. We've got a really tough game and we're going on the road again. We haven't won on the road this year yet. We really need to focus on this weekend and just take care of ourselves so we can beat Northwestern."
On if they changed up ball security
"We changed a couple things, but nothing really different. We focus on ball security. It's just mental at this point."
On punt return effectiveness
"It's just the guys we have on that unit. They really work their tails off to make sure that we're able to field the ball. They really bust their tails downfield blocking for me. That's really it, it's just those guys. Tip of my hat to those guys. It's nothing I've done really. It's really been those guys."
On Ohio State on kickoffs
"I feel like we got beat physically. Physically they beat us to the point of attack. The kicker was hanging it up there pretty high. They did a various amount of things. I feel like we just didn't play tough enough. That's something we really have to change this week. We can't put our offense in on drives starting at the 6-yard line. That's too hard."
On if they were lacking toughness all around
"Definitely. I practice with these guys every week. I know how tough we are and what we can bring to the field. I feel like some games we don't bring that. When we do bring that, I feel like we're a very tough team. I'm just hoping that everyone's coming to compete this week in practice and really bring that toughness."
On why they wouldn't bring it every week
"It's just a want to. We've got to get everything going and get everybody re-motivated. It's been a long season. Physically, we just have to get that spark back in everybody and just get going."
On what role special teams has the rest of the season with winning out
"Special teams make a difference. I feel like if you can eliminate a position where the offense has to go on the field by scoring a touchdown or blocking a punt then that can ignite a team and change the momentum. If we can win that phase in every game, then I like our chances winning out."