Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini
Coach Bo Pelini leads NU against 5-2 Minnesota.
Photo Courtesy Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications
Courtesy: NU Athletic Communications
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Nebraska Football
Weekly Press Conference
Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 (Memorial Stadium)

Head Coach Bo Pelini

Opening Statement
“I think we had a good (bye week). We kind of had the same schedule in the bye week we had last time. I felt good about what we accomplished during that time. I think our kids are looking forward after the second bye week to getting out there and playing. We are going on the road here for the second time. We had a good practice yesterday. We introduced a little bit of Minnesota late last week and followed that up yesterday. We are getting ready to hit the ground running tomorrow.”

On Sunday practices
“It’s been a little bit different obviously because two of those Sundays were heading into a bye week. I think our kids like the schedule. I think it’s been good in a lot of regards. It gives us a little more time on Monday. I think it will be good going forward. I kind of like the schedule. It’s a little different for me. There are plusses and minuses to everything. I kind of like the way it’s gone so far.”

On Taylor Martinez
“Taylor did a little bit yesterday. He did some field work yesterday. He took some reps. We’re just seeing how he’s progressing. How he comes out of it. How he feels later on today, tomorrow. We’ll see if we can give him a little bit more on Tuesday and kind of play it by ear as the week goes on.”

On if he’s surprised with the recovery process
“It’s an injury that can take a long time. You just don’t know.”

On Martinez’ performance yesterday
“I thought he had a good day. We didn’t give him a lot of reps. We’ll see how it goes as the week goes on as he stresses it and see where he is.”

On what he wants to see from Martinez
“A lot of it is by talking to him. Obviously he’s got some rust in some areas that he has to get cleaned up. It’s going to be getting back footwork-wise. How he feels comfortable doing all the different movements. Play actions, footwork and the things that he has to do throwing the football and obviously feeling comfortable putting his foot in the ground. I thought he looked good. We didn’t give him a lot. We’ll see how it goes as the week goes on. How he feels. We are communicating with him. We’ll just play it by ear.”

On Martinez planting his foot
“We just called our offense.”

On rotating Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg III in during the first half against Minnesota
“A lot of ifs. We’ll see how it goes.”

On the Legends Division race
“You look around college football. I think everything is pretty wide open. That’s just the nature of college football. In my opinion, you can throw 40 teams in a hat and go week to week and the teams that are going to execute that given week are the teams that are going to win football games. It’s not just the Legends Division. It’s across college football. It’s the way it is.”

On Minnesota’s win at Northwestern
“It didn’t surprise me. Minnesota is getting better. I think they believe in what they are doing. I shouldn’t say I’m glad it happened. Hopefully it caught our guys’ attention. I’m sure it did.”

On Jake Long
“He’s coming along. He’s doing some field work. He’s similar to Taylor. We’ll see how the week goes on and how he feels.”

On Jamal Turner
“No issues with Jamal. Other than that, we are pretty healthy.”

On redshirting Chongo Kondolo
“That’s a possibility. Like I said, we’re practicing a number of guys there and we’re going to go with our best option. That’s always a consideration. We’re not saving him for anything. We’ve got a lot of football left to play this year and we’re going to do what we feel gives us the best opportunity to win.”

On if Kondolo has been practicing
“Not with the ones. He’s been getting reps. He’s been getting reps all along.”

On the guards
“Could we play him the whole game? Probably. Is that what we'd like to do? Not necessarily. We would rather rotate a guy in there and give some guys (time). We have a lot of flexibility on our offensive line. That’s a plus. Right now you are at the point where you lost a guy two weeks ago, so you’re still trying to find the best combinations and the best way to go about it. Some of that plays out in the fact that we’ve had only three or four practices since that time. We’ll play it by ear a little bit. We’re still trying to go on.”

On Minnesota’s offensive and defensive lines
“I think they are physical up front. They have good size. They’re committed to what they do. They’re not necessarily looking to get fancy in some areas. They’re committed to what they do. They want to play ball control offense. They’re heavily committed to stopping the run on defense and they do it well. They have a philosophy and they stick with it.”

On changes in Minnesota’s offense
“I think it’s pretty similar. They go with who’s hot. You don’t see big change in what they are doing offensively by quarterback.”

On Nebraska fans traveling to road games
“We’re lucky. We’re spoiled to a certain extent. Our fans travel. No matter where we go, we always have a tremendous showing by our fan base. That’s always an advantage. You’re pulled into an opposing stadium and you see Nebraska red everywhere and the ‘N’ everywhere, it’s always a good feeling. Our guys recognize it. They understand it.”

On Tommy Armstrong’s progress
“I think he’s gotten better. Like any quarterback, he made some mistakes in the last game. He had some plays you want back. In the games he ended up being really efficient, believe me there were still some things that he learned from that he did wrong. He’s a work in progress. If you ask me three years from now, he’s going to feel the same way. It’s a position where the more you play, the more you see. The more experience you have and the better you get. It takes a long time to master that position because there’s a lot of different things happening. There’s a lot of things going. That’s why at the next level, they pay that guy a lot of money. It’s a difficult position to play.”

On LeRoy Alexander
“I like what LeRoy brings to the table in a lot of different areas. He’s young and he’s learning. I think he’s sharp. I think he’ll tackle. He has good cover skills. He communicates well. He’s developing as a safety. He’s going to be a really good one down the line. He’s a guy at the stage of his career, he’s got a lot to learn.”

On the ensuing six-week stretch of football
“I think it’s a day-to-day thing for our football team. I had a pretty good understanding of what it was going to take to bring this football team along. When I first saw the schedule with the two byes, I wasn’t thrilled with it. As you go through camp and see how the season is going to play out, I thought it was a good thing for us. I think it has been a good thing for us. I think it’s helped prepare us for the six-week stretch that we are about to face. At the end of the day, it’s my belief that we have to get better each day. We have to keep progressing as a football team regardless of who the opponent is. We have to take care of us. I think we have progressed as a team. I think we’ve gotten better in a lot of areas. I also understand that we have a long way to go. We have a lot more development that needs to happen. We have to keep getting better. If we keep getting better as the year goes on, I think we’ll like the results. If we get comfortable and we stop preparing the way we need to prepare and our progress gets halted for whatever reason, we’re not going to like the results. That’s kind of the way it works. You have to keep getting better as the year goes on. I think our guys understand that. They sit there and they watch the film every day. There are areas that we have to get better at.”

On rotating at the safety spot
“I think it makes you better. I think it helps you. The competition makes everybody better. We’ve gotten better at the safety spot. Our understanding is better. Our communication is better. We’ve been playing cleaner as the year has gone on. That was an issue early on. Not with just the safeties but across the board. I’ve seen good progress. Right now I feel with LeRoy (Alexander) playing and Harvey (Jackson) and (Corey Cooper), who I think is really starting to get a grip on what he’s doing. Obviously (Andrew) Green and his versatility helps you as a unit. I think our guys are getting better.”

On the improvement in takeaways
“I think execution helps obviously. When you get pressure on the quarterback, that helps. I think our takeaways have been better. I think there are some reasons for it. We have some playmakers in some areas. I think we are faster than we have been in the past. When we execute pretty well, we have a chance to be pretty good. When we are all on the same page and playing disciplined football, that’s when turnovers happen. Obviously having some speed and some playmakers out there helps you. Our third down defense is getting better. That’s going to be big as the year goes on. Having the ability to get off the field on third down. I think we are executing in that area better. That’s always a big area and something we want to keep working on. It’s something we spend a lot of time on.”


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