Nebraska vs. UCLA
Head Coach Bo Pelini
Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013
“Obviously it was a disappointing loss. I just told our players that's what I call a team loss right there. We got beat in every phase of the game in the second half. I think we showed a little bit of what we're capable of as a football team in the first half, but in the second half, we got away from fundamentals. It's nothing magical. It wasn't anything that they hadn't done in the first half. Defensively, you can't go out and miss tackles and miss your gaps and play undisciplined. Everyone's got to do their job. For some reason, we didn't show up in the second half. We had a number of opportunities to move the sticks, to take the momentum back, to at least gain some momentum to stop what was going, and we didn't do it. The pendulum started to go the other way, and we needed to make a play. We continuously had opportunities to make plays and didn't make them. I thought special teams-wise, we killed ourselves the whole game. The field position at times hurt us, but at the end of the day, we just didn't execute well enough to win the football game and played a horrendous second half. You could talk about it all day, but that's what it came down to."
On the offense in the second half
“We didn't play very good in the first half, either. We scored on two short fields. We're capable of a lot more offensively. Maybe, on the offensive side, they're reading their press clippings too much. We haven't played close to our potential on that side of the football for three weeks now. That's got to change. We've got to get it fixed and move forward because we're capable of a lot more than what we're doing offensively."
On the defensive strategy
“I think you saw in the first half that it works when it's executed the right way. It's worked over a long time. The second half was a lot like it was last year. We made the tackles in the first half. I don't know how many tackles we missed in that second half, but it is a lot. You can't play good defense that way. We missed tackle after tackle after tackle in that second half. It's disappointing."
On the team's second-half performance
"When things started going the other way on us, we lost a sense of what our job was. Some of the basic things that we were doing through one quarter, two quarters, two and a half quarters, we stopped doing. You have to be able to refocus and keep your composure to do your job and execute your football."
On the team's mentality in the second half
"I get the feeling, at times, that our guys, instead of playing to win, are playing not to lose. That's the wrong way to go about it. I'd like to see our football team just turn it loose and have fun. I don't know."
On the defense's performance
"We didn't play well enough up front, obviously, to be the type of football team that we were capable of being on that side of the ball. We had how many drops in that game? A bunch. Those hurt you. Drops hurt you. There were some missed opportunities. Missed checks, in some situations, hurt us. Obviously, penalties hurt us in this football game. How many times defensively were we off the field on a drive? When you couple that with the missed sack toward the end of the first half. Those are big plays in a football game. In some situations, they [UCLA] made the plays and we didn't. I think two of those personal fouls were on third down."
On his feelings during the second half
"I felt we needed something to get our momentum back. We practiced it. The look was there. It was about numbers. I'll have to look at the film to see how it didn't execute, but we ended up in too short. I was trying to get the momentum back for our team. Like I said, I was playing to win, not to hang in there. I thought it was an opportunity. Unfortunately, it didn't work out."
On second-half momentum
"At times, when I looked at our guys on the sideline, I felt like it looked like they'd seen a ghost. Like I said, when that happens, someone has to step up and make a play. We needed to get the momentum turned back the other way and it didn't happen. We were missing tackles. We missed some one-on-one opportunities. We had some plays down the field where it was one-on-one and we didn't make those plays. We just needed to do something at some phase in the game to get the momentum turned back and we couldn't and we didn't. It didn't happen."
On Senior Quarterback Taylor Martinez running the ball less
"Obviously, Tim [Beck] didn't feel that was there or we had opportunities and they took the read away. When that happens, if they try and take the quarterback out of it, you've got to block them up front. You've got to make yards with the running backs. Rushing yards hasn't been our problem. I just feel like we have not been in a rhythm for three straight weeks. It's disappointing. We're gonna sit down and figure it out and get this thing turned around. I know we're capable of a lot more offensively than what we're doing."
On special teams
"We've been playing good special teams until we came into this game. We didn't kick very well. We didn't punt very well. We just didn't execute in that phase of the game and that hurt us. Even in the first half, when we were up 21-3, we were doing it despite our field position. There were a number of reasons for that. We had an opportunity, in my opinion, to put this game away in the first half. Or at least make it to where it would have been very difficult on UCLA. We didn't take advantage of that opportunity. We let them hang around, hang around, hang around and eventually, they got the momentum. We couldn't get a play. They flipped the momentum on us. We couldn't get a play. That didn't happen on our side.
On what he said to the team
"I just told our team they can't worry about what's happening on the outside. We know what we're capable of as a football team. You have to stick together in times like this. I've said it over the first three weeks. My goal, always, is to win every football game. But we have to stay with the process of where we are as a football team and what we have to do to get better. We can't worry about what people are saying outside. It's gonna be negative. By the fans, by the media, by everybody. In times like this, we have to stick together. They only people that can fix it is us and that's a challenge we have. If we worry about what people are saying on the outside, then things are going to go a bad way."