Nebraska Alamo Bowl Press Conference
Interim Head Coach Bo Pelini Quotes
On San Antonio
"It’s a great city and it’s in driving distance which makes it a real benefit to our fans. We hope we will have a nice crowd down there and we always have a good turnout no matter where we are. Everybody knows our fans travel and hopefully that will be an advantage to us."
On Michigan State similarities to opponents
"I would say their offense is a little bit like Colorado’s. They spread you out, spread you around the field. I would say there are some similarities there. I would say they are fairly unique. They are definitely a passing football team, a team that throws the football first and second, and runs third. They want to put the ball in the hands of their quarterback and let him do his thing. They have some talented receivers, and they really have two or three pretty good backs. They don’t run the ball a lot, but when they get the ball they are fairly dangerous and do a good job. It’s obvious they have come a long way in a short time under Coach Smith."
On difference of playing in a dome
"The field is still the same size and you still have to do the same things. It is not like a game in a dome in the NFL where you have 75,000 cheering against you and the speakers turned up. It’s a neutral site and I don’t think it will be an issue."
On the season as a whole
"I think we’ve made a lot of progress defensively. It is really what I was in charge of. I think our guys have come a ways and shown progress and made strides. Our players have gotten better and are developing their talents and that has created a certain level of satisfaction from us as a staff. You have to give our players credit. They’ve come a long ways."
On Josh Bullocks
"I knew Josh was a good football player. It was obvious from the start that he is talented. You can never really expect someone to lead the country in interceptions. He has made a lot of plays and I think he has got a ways to go still. He is going to keep getting better. I think he is a very good football player, very tough and has a lot of different things he brings to the table. I feel the same way about his brother. Daniel’s a good football player that has done a heck of a job. They are both talented, high character guys that practice hard, play hard. They are the right type of guys that you want in your program."
On distractions of bowl game
"I think our players know me pretty well and I am going to give them enough time that they can enjoy their experience. They have earned it. If somebody doesn’t do what they are supposed to be doing, they will be standing next to me on the sideline or on the next flight home. They understand that. They’ve always done what they are asked to do. I am going to treat them like men and ask them to act like men down there and take care of their responsibilities, be responsible and act with class and integrity and character in everything they do, and represent the program the way they need to. That’s what is expected of them in every part of their lives here as student-athletes and that is what we are going to ask them to do down there also."
On adjustment in first year at collegiate level
"I haven’t adjusted at all. I treat people the same way and I haven’t had a problem with a guy all year, not one. They know what I expect of them and they know what to expect of me in return and there is a natural relationship that we have established. There is no gray area. They know where things stand. I think that is when you don’t have problems with people. If you teeter on the edge on any issues, they don’t know how to act and they don’t know what to expect. I don’t treat guys at this level any different than I treated guys at the NFL level. That is just what I believe in and I think it is the best way of going about things."
On Demorrio Williams
"Demorrio is a playmaker. He has had a tremendous impact on our football team and on our defense in many ways, on the field, off the field. He’s done a great job for us. We try to use him in a lot of different ways and utilize his talent in as many ways as we can and put him in situations where he can make plays for us and also where other teams have to account for him. Obviously he has done that. He has had a tremendous impact on our defense. I give him a lot of credit. He has come a long ways in the last 11 months."
On balancing offense and defense in the bowl game
"I will continue to call the defense like I have all year. I obviously take a lot of input from the staff. We work on things together. It is a team effort. I will familiarize myself as we get closer to the game with what they are doing offensively and have more dialogue with Barney as the game gets closer. I am in a situation right now where we are going to run the offense that Barney has established this year. He is a competent, good, excellent football coach and I have a lot of confidence in him. Now would not be the time for me to change the offense, and that is not going to happen. I have all the confidence in the world in Coach Cotton and the offensive staff and I am going to go with it."
On connecting with the offensive players
"I think the offensive players know me pretty well. Obviously I haven’t had as much interaction over the last 10 months with those guys as I have the defense. They know what Bo Pelini is like and the things I expect and they have heard it over and over the last couple of weeks. There are no problems there."
On handling coaching distractions
"I’m a professional and these coaches are professionals. This is what I was hired to do. You can’t let personal issues or any outside circumstances affect you in the job you were hired to do. You have to do the job that you were hired to do in the best possible way, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what you are dealt with. That is my job. I’ve always approached my jobs that way and I always will. I am not going to let anything distract me from it, and if it does you have to sit down and re-evaluate and you need to get your focus back. It is just like when a player has a bad play in a football game. You evaluate it. You learn from it and you refocus on the task at hand. I’ve always been able to do that and I am going to do it now under these circumstances. I have a lot of confidence our staff will do that as well."
I think you have seen our players able to respond the correct way all year long. We have fought back from some tough times in football games. It is reality and that is the way you have to approach it. That is life. If you are not able to do that you are not going to be successful. No matter what profession you are in, you have to be a pro. You have to be into what your are doing and you have to fight through tough situations and have enough resolve to take care of business. If you can’t you aren’t going to be successful."
"We’re making strides in recruiting. Obviously the circumstances with the coaching situation right now, it obviously makes the situation a little bit different than most programs would be recruiting at this time if there was a full-time coach. The situation is what it is. You try to do the best you can under the circumstances with the cards you’ve been dealt at the time. You do what you have to do and in time it all works itself out."
On Barrett Ruud
"Barrett is the leader of this defense. He calls the defense. He is the center point obviously. He is the middle linebacker. He’s involved in a lot of different things. He has come a long ways. He is a tremendous football player. He brings a lot to the table. He is intelligent. He is tough. He is smart and he has made a lot of plays this year. He’s fought through some injuries and showed toughness there. He has had some nicks and you’ve never seen him take a game off. He has missed very few plays. When I first got here I knew he had a chance to be good, but he has surpassed expectations up to this point. He still has a long way that he can develop. He is a good football player.
On his experience at Nebraska
"It has been a great experience for me so far. I’ve learned a lot. It’s a totally different game, when you go from the pros to college. It’s been a great experience. No matter what, I feel like I’ve grown through this whole experience. There are a lot of different situations I’ve encountered and it’s been a good experience for me. I’ve enjoyed it. I like it here. It is a first-class place, a great place to live, a great place for my family. There has been nothing negative that has come out of this year. It’s been a great experience for myself, and my family, professionally and personally."
On a win in San Antonio
"A win always means something to me. I play this game to win. I’m here to compete or I’d be doing something else. I don’t care if I am playing backyard basketball or badminton, I am going to compete and I am going to try to win the game. I am going to try my best to win. If I don’t win I am not going to be happy. Never am, never will be.
On Nebraska being 4-0 against Michigan State and 3-0 in the Alamo Dome
"I don’t believe in omens. I don’t believe in circumstances in the past or the future. There is going to be a game played on the 29th and somebody is going to play better than the other team. Someone is going to make plays and somebody is not. That’s football and that’s why you play the game. It is a different circumstance. It is different football teams on both sides. It will be a heck of a football game I believe. It is two good football teams going at it."
On first bowl game since being a GA at Iowa
"It’s a football game. After all the hoopla and all the things that happen, you have to come out and play. You have to execute and do the things you need to do to win the football game. In essence you have to block out any distractions and personal feelings and zero in on what your football team has to get done. I was in the bowl game of them all in the Super Bowl years back at a young age and I didn’t treat that game any different than any other game I’ve been a part of. That’s how you have to approach it."
On the offense in the Colorado game
"I think our offense played well in the Colorado game. They put points on the board. They used up clock and the time of possession was good. They’ve answered the bell all year long. They’ve done a lot of good things. Obviously I have a lot of respect for the guys on that side of the ball, both players and coaches. I’m sure it will continue on the 29th.
On Bullocks chance of returning punts
"Yes, absolutely there is a chance that could happen. He has been back there catching punts. He started a few weeks back. There is a chance he could get a shot back there in the game. He catches the ball well. He has very good hands. I think you have seen after some of his interceptions he has the ability to run the ball and make some people miss. He has good strength and speed. He has all the things you look for. It might be a good opportunity to give him a chance to get back there."