Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Rex Burkhead Quotes

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska Football
Weekly Press Conference
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
Monday, Nov. 26, 2012
Pre-Wisconsin (Big Ten Championship)

On how his health was after the game on Friday
“It was good. There was no swelling and no soreness after. I’m feeling good. Positive signs after the game.”

On if this is the timetable he expected to come back
“Yes. We were shooting for the Big Ten Championship Game. That was for sure the timetable and my frame of mind as well as the trainers’ and coaches’. We thought possibly this past game against Iowa as well, but we didn’t want to rush it. We wanted to make sure that I was still good to go.”

On if he felt like he had pent up energy playing against Iowa
“Yes. It was good to be back out there; it was good to be back out there with the guys on the field. I missed being out there. It was fun. It was a very cold game. It was kind of a different atmosphere. It was fun to be back out there with the guys and be able to play again.”

On being more fresh than the other backs and how it will help the team this week
“I hope it gives a burst of energy to the team. Just being able to finish off things, finish off runs, fight for those extra yards and just help the team where I can.”

On how important it is for the team to capitalize on the opportunity and win the conference
“It’s very important. We’ve been very close twice and we’re looking forward to getting it done this year. Wisconsin is a great team and we got a taste of them earlier this year so we know they’ll be hungry and we’re going to have to be ready to play.”

On anything in particular he remembers about Wisconsin’s defense
“Yes. They’re solid all around, defensive line and linebackers as well. (Chris) Borland, No. 44, he’s an outstanding player. He’s always around the ball making plays. Even if he’s not in on the tackle, he’s disrupting it somehow. I know he didn’t play this past weekend, but I’m sure he’ll be ready to go; he’s a warrior guy. I’m sure he’s looking forward to playing.”

On what it says about Nebraska playing for its first Big Ten title within two years of joining the Big Ten
“It’s huge. That’s what we set out for. Once we switched conferences it was what we set out for this year. That was the expectations not only for the players, but also for the coaches and this university as well. Just getting in the game is a great opportunity, but at the same time our goal is to win it.”

On if he expects to start on Saturday
“I couldn’t tell you. It’s up to the coaches and whatever they want to do. That’s their job.”

On what percentage he feels
“Pretty close to 100 percent. Not all the way there yet but pretty close.”

On if he feels like he can play and do things the way he normally does on the field
“Yes. I would say so.”

On how big of a difference it makes to play indoors, and if it helps
“I would say so. It was a windy day on Friday so the passing game was kind of disrupted a little bit. At the same time, I think we’re good and whatever the weather is I think our run game can handle the cold weather whether it’s rain or whatever. At the same time, no matter what, you have to go out and do what you’re capable of doing.”

On what lessons can be taken from the 2010 conference title game Nebraska played in
“I guess in the Oklahoma game we were up quite a bit in the first half, so not giving up and not giving in. Keep putting our foot on the pedal and keep driving forward.”

On how much he thinks of the 2009 and 2010 conference championship games
“You think about it, but at the same time it is a whole different team than we had those years. Just seeing the character of this team bouncing back from times when we were down this year, we’re a completely different team with a completely different mindset.”

On the state of mind this team has opposed to recent years going to conference title games
“I think this team is a lot more, I don’t want to say focused, but driven. Just throughout this past offseason our one focus was to win the Big Ten Championship. That was our ultimate goal. The accountability we had this past offseason, during the season and seeing the week in-and-week out improvement of the team, I think is the biggest difference.”

On if the teams in years past were more complacent
“No, they were driven. They were definitely driven. It’s just that I feel like there’s a different character on this team and accountability factor that helps the motivation day in-and-day out. When you have guys pushing you every single day, then that drive and desire to win the Big Ten Championship is always there.”

On how much accountability he contributed in recent years
“I think it’s huge. The level of accountability on your team is how you’re going to play on Saturday. If it’s some of the time or it’s not up to where it should be then that’s the standard you’re going to set for yourself every Saturday. The standards we have this year are higher than they’ve ever been.”

On if it motivates them to seal the deal
“Yes, absolutely. We look at it as a great opportunity. We look forward to getting out there and getting started.”

On what he says to guys with injuries that are going to miss the game
“I talked to Justin (Jackson) right after the game and I felt terrible for him. I was looking forward to playing with him and getting back on the field with him. He’s such a high energy guy. I told him to hang in there and that I wish I could have him out there on the field with us. They’ve done a lot for this program. Every single day they bring it to practice and that respect and everything we have for them is motivation to go out and play for them.”

On what he saw from Taylor Martinez watching the past games from the sideline
“At times when we may have been down or had a turnover or something like that, his attitude is very positive. You could tell he was getting guys ready on the sideline to go back out there and start making plays again. He was never down and never giving in to times of adversity out there. He was always pushing forward and I think that shows a lot of progress for him in previous years.”

On if the accomplishment is diminished at all with Ohio State and Penn State not eligible to play
“No, I don’t think so. It’s still a Big Ten Championship game. Ohio State had a great year, but at the same time, Wisconsin and our team are the ones playing in the game so that’s what I’m focused on.”

On how far the offensive line has come and what he sees in them
“They’ve made tremendous strides all year; it’s not just the past few games. From the beginning of the year and the offseason I think the biggest thing is learning when to get to that next level on blocks and learning how to peel off, in football terms. That takes some experience and some reliance on trusting the other guys in the line that they’re going to get their job done. Just having faith that they’ll get their job done and ultimately you’re going to do what you need to do.”

On how this offense changes without a guy like Justin Jackson in the lineup
“He’s a warrior; he’s a great guy. He’s a leader for the offensive line, but at the same time I think Mark Pelini, or whoever else, is going to step into that position will do a great job as well. I feel like we can still do what we’re able to do.”


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