Photo by BreAnna Haessler/NU Media Relations

Alonzo Whaley Quotes

By NU Athletic Communications
Nebraska Football
Weekly Press Conference

Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)

Monday, Nov. 17, 2012


Alonzo Whaley
Sr., Linebacker, Madisonville, Texas

On the challenges of playing on Friday
"First off, I want to give an honor to God for being in this position. I don't think it will really be a challenge, because the team as a whole has a high maturity level and we understand the challenges of having one less day to prepare for our opponent. The good thing is they also have one less day. I think we do a great job of understanding the scheme and preparation pretty fast. The team maturity level is definitely raising. I think we'll do a great job."

On if he's ever noticed the one less day of preparation in past years

"You have to notice it because you have to have the respect for having one less day to prepare. You have to take advantage of the little time that you have and make sure that you get enough film study and make sure you understand things in a day less. You notice it, but at the same time, you have to put in more time with that short of time."

On what the defense still needs to do to get to that next step
"Limit the big plays. Those passes down the field and those big runs; we need to just try to limit those. Everything can't go good all the time, so just try to limit those. We do a great job as a defense of calming ourselves down when those big plays come about and making sure we go on to the next play."

On if that's been an emphasis since the Ohio State game
"Yeah, that's definitely been something the coaches have emphasized. They get us to realize that the world isn't going to end just because one big play happens. We need to calm down and refocus. If they don't score, we need to focus on not letting them score. Just because a big play happened, doesn't mean everything is going to go bad."

On how much the focus level has increased knowing they have to win
"Honestly, I don't think it increases the focus level because we've approached every week as if it's the championship game. Without winning the next game, there won't be any championship. We aren't counting on Michigan to lose by any means. We are counting on winning out and getting it on our own without any help. Week-to-week, we treat every game like the championship game because we need every game to get there."

On if the team knows how much this game will mean to Iowa as their last game of the season
"I think the coaches have done a great job of making us realize you have to have a great respect for the game. You can't go in and look at a team and say they don't have anything and we can just go in and get through this. The coaches make us look at it in the perspective of this team having nothing to lose, so they are going to give us everything they've got. They do a great job of getting us to realize you have to have a great respect for the game or else you will be humbled by it."

On what Coach Rick Kaczenski has said about this game since he coached there last year
"I think he's definitely kept his emotions in line when it's come to this. I haven't heard him talk much about it. He circled this game on his calendar for the sake of he's a Nebraska Cornhusker now. I think he's done a great job of making sure that we know that. He's going to come in and coach, but I think he'll be wired up to get to this one by Friday."

On what leadership qualities he's seen from Kenny Bell
"He's definitely stepped up and become more of a vocal leader. He's always led by his play, but I think he's done a great job this year of speaking up when he needs to speak up. We have a lot of leaders on the offense. Justin Jackson and Spencer Long on the offensive line. Taylor Martinez and Tim Marlowe; those guys definitely speak up when it's time to speak up. I think the younger guys have done a good job of picking up the slack of injuries and making sure no one is lagging behind."

On what it means to see so much red in the stands on road games
"It's just the support system we've always gotten since I've been here. It's always been the same. It's a great feeling to know that everyone is behind you no matter where you go. When I really realized we have the best fans in America was when we went up to Washington and I looked up and saw red. It's just knowing that where you go, you'll always have that support away from the state of Nebraska. It's always been a humbling feeling."

On if it makes a difference on the road
"Most definitely because it's almost a home game. The quarterback from Northwestern made the comment that one time they called a timeout because it got so loud from Nebraska fans. It's great to know that you have fans that are so loyal no matter what, and will travel and be behind you. It definitely gives us that confidence to know that they are behind us no matter what."

On whom some of the non-senior leaders on the team are
"Jeremiah Sirles, Quincy Enunwa. Those guys play and are looked up to, but you also have guys like C.J. (Zimmerer). He doesn't play a lot, but he has that vocal leadership. Once he talks, everybody listens. Those guys are guys that people listen when they have something to say. Without the respect you have for them, it's hard to have that respect and bond as a team. Not only those guys that play, but the walk-ons give everything they've got every day to get those looks. I think we have respect for those guys as well. We listen to everything that they have to say, too."

On what their leadership qualities are
"They all offer the same thing. They don't really offer anything different. Like I said, when it comes down to talking and stepping up, there's never people looking around for someone to say something; they all have that voice that if they talk, somebody listens."

On if that has developed over the season
"I don't want to say it's always been there, but I think the whole workout we went through with the program helped. I think that gave guys the confidence to know somebody will listen to you if you have something to say. The worst thing you can do is not say something. I think that also enabled everybody to know that you have to have respect for your teammates as well and listen to what they have to say when you go through that."

On if this feels like a rivalry game
"Like I said, it's just a championship game for us. We are going to go into it looking at it like we need this game. Yes, there is a trophy involved, but at the same time, you need that 'W' more than you need that trophy."

On what this matchup needs over the next 10 years to make it a true rivalry game
"Nebraska already has the best program in the country. I guess Iowa's football program is building up and it really turns into a rivalry game with the football programs. It's a Nebraska-Iowa thing, and I think I've grown to realize we have something towards each other. Just being one of the best football programs in the country, I think Iowa would have to build their program and make it more of a football program as well."


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