Bo Pelini served with USM Coach Todd Monken on the LSU staff.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Coach Bo Pelini (Sept. 2)

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska Football
Weekly Press Conference
Memorial Stadium
Pre-Southern Miss
Monday, Sept. 2, 2013

Head Coach Bo Pelini
Opening Statement

I think I thought after the game I learned a lot from the film. I think our players will learn a lot from the film. Obviously there are some adjustments that need to be made on both sides. We have to clean up our football on both sides. I don’t think we played nearly up to our potential in any phase of the game. I think it will serve as a wakeup call to our guys in some instances. I think most importantly, I think we will learn a lot from this, from watching the film. Our players will come in this afternoon and will have a really good understanding or a better understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it, and also how to prepare. Especially some of the younger guys that played for the first time. I think we will be significantly better. I felt pretty good after watching the film. Some of the things especially on the defensive side weren’t really physical things. It was understanding. It was reacting. It was adjusting in some instances. I think I talked to you guys about the 90-10, sometimes we let the 10 percent, a couple of things that we didn’t expect going in to affect the 90 percent of what we were prepared for. That’s experience. That is understanding. Like I said, I think we will move forward and really benefit from the other night. I know I learned a lot as a coach the other night, especially regarding the situation that we are in right now. Things haven’t changed for what my expectations are and what I feel this football team will be. If anything, I feel better about it coming out of the other night.

Southern Miss: they are a good football team. I know they turned the ball over, but they threw for a lot of yards. Very good at the skill positions. They have a quarterback that can sling it. They are very good at the wide receiver position. Good skilled people and very aggressive on defense. They are a fast defense that plays very aggressively. They are obviously better than the score they put up the other day. That is going to happen anytime you turn the ball over that many times. We need to improve this week, but before Southern Miss, we have to get things fixed on things we need to fix ourselves. We need to get ourselves right, and we will get ready for Southern Miss.”


On quarterback Taylor Martinez’s injury
“Taylor’s fine.”


On any other injuries
“No, we are pretty healthy coming out. I mean you've got your normal bumps and bruises, but nothing significant.”


On the communication on defense
“Not up to what you like it to be, you know that is always an adjustment the first time, especially playing at home when it is loud on defense. We constantly emphasize that obviously, and talk to them about what it is going to be like. Some of them it was their first time as far as experiencing that and especially at the safety position. It is amplified on defense at home rather than on the road. Everyone talks about the crowd noise that happens, and believe me the crowd noise is great for us defensively because it hinders their communication, but it means we need to communicate that much better. Kind of the same way it affects you on the road on offense. It is something that is there on defense. You have to make sure you are all on the same page.”


On what he learned from the game
“Well I learned dealing with a young group on some instances, I think at times we tried to make it too easy for them. So we ended up in a couple of situations that I didn’t like by trying to simplify a couple of adjustments, where if we would have adjusted it in a different way we could have put ourselves in a better situation. Sometimes you try to oversimplify it, and therefore it may not be the best situation. Even though we got caught in a couple of defenses that weren’t good especially against the quarterback draw. One time our guy just slipped down and fell. I’ll put it this way, you are out on the field it looks worse than it is. They are easy adjustments that you can make, and you can take away some of those big plays that shouldn’t have hurt us.”


On why he feels better about the team
“I actually like the way we played in some instances. I like how some of the young guys reacted and some of the things we did. There was a lot of positives that came out of it that I think got masked because some of the things that happened in my opinion shouldn’t have happened. Like I said, I think we will learn a lot from what happened, and I think we will grow exponentially from that game the other night. I went right to the film afterwards. I was here till the wee hours of the morning watching it and I came out of it - because I wouldn’t have been able to sleep - but I came out of it, I said 'OK, I have a pretty good idea of what this football team can be.'”


On Vincent Valentine's play
“I thought he did well at times. At times I thought he got away from his technique, and at times I think some of it was our fault. Once again, what we were trying to ask him to do maybe was to make it easier for him, but it ended up making it more difficult for him. It might have taken his aggressiveness away at times. I thought there was times he did a good job at the nose. Vincent is going to be fine. I like what he is going to become as a player.”


On the challenges linebacker David Santos faced and how he reacted
“I thought he did some good things. I thought he did some things that he would want back, like I said, as much as anybody our Mikes, both David and Bando (Josh Banderas) will really grow from that football game. There was some real positives that came out from that. I thought Josh Banderas played a good football game. He did some really good things in there. Like I said, I think David, the first time he was really in there making the calls and the adjustments and calling the front, I thought he did some good things. Like I said though, I think he will really benefit from that experience.”


On linebacker Josh Banderas’ play
“He got a couple of snaps early and then he got a lot of snaps later on, but it shows our confidence in him. When the game kind of started to get on the line there, we weren’t afraid to put him in there, and I think he did a good job. He is going to be good. Josh will be a good player.”


On the offense's execution
“Not well. Not as well as we should have. At times it was very good. At times we didn’t finish blocks like we need to finish blocks. We were just OK. We are capable of a lot more. Trust me, we made a lot of mistakes that hurt us and took us out of drives. Two penalties on third down, and I think we had a dropped ball on third down. Those are killer plays that take you out of drives. In some instances we shouldn’t have been in that situation. If we would have executed more on early downs and finished there were some plays to be had. There were some missed opportunities. I’m not talking about short gains, I am talking about big plays that we did not take advantage of. Just like defensively, we did not have a lot to go on, going into that game as in what they were going to do defensively. They were a 4-3 team a year ago, so there was a lot of guess-work that went on to prepare our guys, and you could see that. Our guys didn’t come off the ball. It was almost like they were hesitant at times. That is not how you play great offense. You don’t play with the right physicality that way. At times we were very good and at times we were really average.”


On if he was surprised the offense didn’t click on all cylinders
“No, it is game one. That is why you practice, especially considering going in we had to show them so much because we didn’t know what we were going to see. It was the little things that got us. Like I said, there were some plays for the taking, and a missed block there or a missed read. A couple times if we make the right block or right read, we are hitting our head on the goalpost. Just like I said on defense, I think our offense will learn a lot.”


On USM Head Coach Todd Monken
“Good football coach, know him, know Todd, obviously I worked with him for three years and I know his family really well. He will do a really good job down there. He has a great attitude -tough guy, so his team will play hard and be sound in what they do.”


On Husker punter Sam Foltz
“I’ve said it all along, I feel really good about him. He has a really big leg and he is athletic back there. He is going to be a really good punter for a number of years for us.”


On freshman Nate Gerry
“He was good, I thought him and a number of guys getting their first snaps. He did a lot of good things out there, and he is going to be a really good football player. He will be a lot more confident and he will learn from it.”


On the play of quarterback Taylor Martinez
“Well at times, a little inconsistent. It was probably the hardest on him because he wasn’t sure exactly what we were going to see, especially coverage-wise. I thought overall he did a good job.”


On not taking a lot of offensive shots during the game
“I think we should’ve taken more shots down the field, especially early on. I thought we had some opportunities, like I said you live and learn.”


On Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith
“I thought coming out of the game, Smith, he is exceptional at buying time in the pocket and his pocket feel, something you really can’t teach. I thought that the first time we played him two years ago. I watched that film last week, and Lavonte David had two or three clean shots on him and didn’t get him down one time. He showed that ability the other night just to buy time, and I think what he has is a unique feel for not only scrambling but when to step up in the pocket and when to flush himself. I think he is really good at it.”  


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