Linebacker Corey McKeon

By NU Athletic Communications
Linebacker Corey McKeon is the quarterback of Nebraska's Blackshirt defensive unit.
Linebacker Corey McKeon is the quarterback of Nebraska's Blackshirt defensive unit.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska Weekly Press Conference
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006
Memorial Stadium - Lincoln, Neb.
Pre-Big 12 Championship Game

Corey McKeon
Junior, Linebacker
On improving Nebraska’s tackling
“I know the coaches are having us doing a lot of tackling drills. We start as a unit right at the beginning of practice so we get better. There’s a lot factors that lead into bad tackling. It’s late in the season. Guys are getting beat up.  Especially against Oklahoma because they rotate a lot of guys and they have powerful backs, we have to make sure our tackling is keen, so I’m sure it’s something the coaches will emphasize this week.”

On taking on Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game
“You think, with our schedule, we play Texas every two years and then Oklahoma every two years, and then it’s nice to get a break from one team or the other.  Unfortunately this year, we don’t get that.  We have to play both of them and they’re both very tough teams.  Either one would have been a tough game.  Oklahoma is hot right now.  They have some guys playing very well.  They have a tough defense.  It’s hard to look at them and say that you want to play them as good as they’ve been playing.  It’ll be a fun matchup, but a tough game and a tough week of practice.”

On the Oklahoma running back situation
“It’s Oklahoma, and you know that they’ll have good running backs.  Adrian Peterson casts a very large shadow.  Everyone is concentrating on him at the beginning of the season.  He deserves it.  He’s a great back.  He’ll have a great career, no matter what he does.  But you know there are guys behind him that can play.  It’s Oklahoma, and they have talent.  It doesn’t matter.  You could be the second-best back in the nation playing behind Adrian Peterson, so you know they have guys that can run the ball.”

On the Oklahoma running backs
“They’re tough.  You watch them last week, they racked up some yards.  They’re hard to tackle.  You look at No. 23 (Allen Patrick), he looks just like Adrian Peterson running hard out there.  He’s a downhill guy and he’s going to be tough to play against.  Even if Adrian plays, either one will be tough to tackle.”

On playing a more-running based team as opposed to a spread offense
“It’s nice.  We have a tough front seven and we like playing teams like that. (Bo) Ruud, Stewart (Bradley) and I all joke about finally getting opportunities to make plays. That spread offense moves Bo and Stew out of the box.  They get upset because they don’t get to be in on any plays.  I think those guys are thirsty, to bite into some holes and plays.  I know they haven’t gotten much action.  I know they’re getting a little depressed about it. They want to play and finally, they get to see this.  They’re happy we’re playing Oklahoma because they actually get to play in this game.”

On the importance of experience
“(Experience) is an advantage for them, but you can look at it as an advantage for us.  Going into a Big 12 Championship that we haven’t been in for a while, this team wants one.  They want a championship.  They’re thirsty for it.  Oklahoma can say they’ve been there, they have the experience, but us going in, we might want it more.  We’re the team that hasn’t been there, that’s a new experience.  We don’t have the kind of experience that Oklahoma does, but I think we have a little more hunger for it.  I don’t think they expected to be there, especially with Texas coming off a national championship and then beating them (this year).  They didn’t think that they’d be in a position to win it, and I think this whole season we knew that we were going to be in a position to win it.  They have the experience in the past, but mentally, I think we’ve been preparing for it.”

On going to a BCS bowl game with a win Saturday
“It’s pretty big.  A lot of people didn’t think that after three losses, we’d have an opportunity to be there, but we put ourselves in a position to get a berth (to a BCS game), so that’s nice. I know a lot of a people are thinking about that game as well, but they want the Big 12 Championship.  That’s been a big goal of ours.  We’re not looking past that.  We want to play in this game and, if we go to a BCS game afterwards, that a nice treat.  We need to get that ring first.”

On having over 60,000 Nebraska fans at the Big 12 Championship Game
“I’m not (surprised) by that.  I’d like to see 70 (thousand), to be honest with you.  I’d like to go in there calling that place Memorial Stadium.  It’s going to be a big game, and I know the Husker fans know that and they’re going to be moving down there.  They’re going to be in store for a great game.  I’m happy to hear that kind of stat.  We’re going to need them.”

On OU quarterback Paul Thompson compared to Colorado’s Bernard Jackson
“A little bit.  They throw the ball similarly.  He’s not going to have a lot of attempts, the way the Colorado quarterback did, but he’s dangerous.  He’s very athletic.  Playing a quarterback like that, a two-dimensional quarterback, you have to keep your eye on him, just like the Colorado quarterback.  It’s nice playing against a guy like that last week going into playing a guy like that again, so we have a little work at it already.”

On the affect on preparation of the potential return of Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson
“No (it’s not going to affect our preparation).  They’re backup guy is running the ball for them now and he’s running hard.  Either one we play, it’s going to be tough and we have to prepare for both.”

On playing against OU running back Adrian Peterson
“It’s always nice to play against him.  Last year, we were in a similar situation where we didn’t know if he was going to play or not.  He was coming off an injury, just like now, but we got an opportunity to play him and he got a lot of yards on us, unfortunately.  It would be nice to play him.  He’s a great back.  It would be nice to say that you played against Adrian Peterson twice and we want to play them at full strength.”

On Nebraska facing Oklahoma’s defense
“You look at Oklahoma’s defense, they have some players.  They have a tough defensive line.  They have great linebackers, great secondary.  After they lost their two best offensive players, they kept winning and you look at why, and you look at their defense.  They’re stacked.  They have some great players.  That’s going to count a lot toward our defense because, if we want to win this game, we have to be the toughest defense on the field.  Against Oklahoma, it’s going to be very difficult because they have a lot of talent there.”

On this game compared with other big games over the last two years
“You like to play big teams for the experience.  You have to face bigger teams down the road.  USC, you look at the way they’re playing with a big win over Notre Dame, they’re playing great football.  Texas is still a top-notch team.  Oklahoma is right there with them.  They had their struggles at the beginning of the year, but look at them now.  They’ve won seven straight and they’re playing great football.  Having to play those teams in the past, we have a little experience.  Now, the venue’s bigger in the Big 12 Championship.  After that, any bowl game we play in, we’re going to play a tough team.  They’re big-time.  We’ve had experience, and we’re a big-time team.  It’s going to be a heavyweight fight, two big dogs.”

On the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game
“You see their dominant running game.  That’s the first thing you notice, even without Adrian Peterson, how well they run the ball.  You see Oklahoma State, as tough a team as they are, coming back on them and almost taking the game away from them.  It’s very interesting.  You can’t say they dominated, even though the offense looked like they were moving the ball some times, but then for them almost to lose it, it’s kind of hard to look at that game alone.  You have to look at the games in the past.  You have to look at the games that they won on the road at (Texas) A&M and Missouri, big-time games for them.  They put those teams away.  Those are the kind of games that you have to look at, when they went on the road and dominated guys.  Besides that, that Oklahoma State game was pretty close and it was nice to have them go into a nail-biter right before they play us.”


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