Nebraska vs. South Dakota State
Head Coach Bo Pelini
Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013
“I'm, obviously, glad for the win. I'm really happy for those two quarterbacks [Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ron Kellogg III]. I thought they did really well. That was our best rhythm, offensively. I thought we came out and got done what we needed to get done. We've got a lot of work to do over the next couple of weeks. I thought that was our worst performance defensively for a lot of different reasons. The number of missed assignments and just basic things, there's just no excuse for. I just told the defense that they have to make up their mind of what we're going to be and how we're going to approach it. We can't play like that. We have a lot of work to do, and it starts with us coaches. It wasn't anything fancy that hurt us. We hurt ourselves. We didn't play with technique. We didn't play fundamentally. In the end, we didn't play nearly as well as what our standard needs to be. I don't want to take away from the win, but we need to make a big jump from now to two Saturdays from now."
On what the priorities during the bye-week defensively
“Getting off blocks. Let me tell you, to start that football game, we had missed assignment after missed assignment. I know we're young and, trust me, there were some young guys who made those mistakes. But that can't be our excuse. It is what it is. We have some young guys, but that can't be an excuse. Trust me, I tell that to the coaches. That can't be an excuse. The amount of times that we shoot ourselves in the foot is ridiculous. They don't even have to do anything well. I'm not taking anything away from South Dakota State by any means, but when you just blow your gap or flat out bust or don't align with the right guy. The amount of times that happened in the game was mind-boggling to me. That starts with us coaches."
On South Dakota State's offense
“We've seen what they did. They didn't do anything fancy. They didn't have to. When you don't line up right, they didn't need to do anything fancy. It wasn't anything magical that they did."
“We tackle in practice. You stress it. You drill it. You do tackling drills. I just told our guys, 'Let's face it, guys. There has to be a mentality. You have to have a certain kind of mentality when you take the field.' I just feel like sometimes, we're sitting back, taking it. There has to be a sense of urgency. A big part of playing defense is having an attitude. Right now, we don't have the right attitude. That starts with us as coaches. We've got to coach it better."
On how to coach attitude
“You've got to have a killer instinct. I see Jamie [Williams] back there. We've talked about football. In football, no one's going to give you anything. You've got to take it. You've got to earn it. If you don't have that kind of approach, it's not going to work out well for you. Right now, that's how we're playing. We're not playing with a type of attitude that you need to take to the field defensively. There has to be a sense of urgency every time you line up. There has to be a sense of urgency. For some reason, that isn't the case right now. That's the first thing that we need to get fixed. It's the attitude, the sense of urgency you've got to take the field with. Then, of course, the execution part of it - the focus, the discipline, the missed assignments - there's no excuse for them. None. I'm tired of seeing it and we need to get it fixed."
On defense in the first quarter
“I thought it was the worst in the first quarter. We had eight men in the box at one point to start a drive. Eight men, gapped out defense, and they ran the ball I think plus 13 or 14 and plus eight. There is zero, zero excuse for that."
On the offense
“I thought they played fast and aggressive. On the offensive side of the ball, we had an attack mentality, which is kind of the opposite as what we played defensively. We played on our heels and indecisive deffensively, where as offensively we had an attack mentality. A big part of this game is your mental approach. It's a huge part of this game. I think that our offensive coaches did a lot better job. I think that we condensed what we were doing. I thought it helped us. I thought we played fast offensively."
On the fans
“Obviously, I appreciate our fans. I've said it and I'll say it again. We have great fans. I think everybody involved knows that what came out is not indicitive of how I felt or how I feel about them. I think our fans understand that. They're great fans. They've been around me for five years. I think they know who I am as a person."
On comfort with the alternate quarterbacks
“Obviously, this helps. I've said all along that we have confidence in Tommy [Armstrong] and Ronnie [Ron Kellogg III]. The way we practice helps develop our guys. We do two stations a lot, two team works. Our guys are getting a lot of reps. It's not a lot of guesswork like a lot of teams where the backup isn't getting much repetition. We see them do that on a daily basis. To me, when you see them do it and you see them perform and you watch them get better and they're understanding and getting that amount of repetitions, it's a lot easier to have that kind of confidence. They were the guys today. Especially with Tommy starting the game, it makes you feel a lot more confident."
On Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg III
“You have to make plays. I thought they did that. They managed the game well. They both played with a lot of confidence and locked into that huddle with a lot of swagger. I think that's important for that position."
On the safeties
“I think Coop [Corey Cooper] is playing pretty well. We have to get better at the other safety positon. They're playing too tentative. To play that position, you have to be aggressive. We weren't aggressive. We played passive in that position at times. That hurts us. That's an important postion in our defense. We rotated a lot of guys through there. We were hoping to play Charles Jackson a little more in base in this game, but they didn't play a lot of base. They played a lot of 11, so they had us in nickle a lot more. In hindsight, I wish we would have gotten him ready to play. Charles, if he can get down the mental part of things, I think he's a guy that could help us. He's still a work in progress, but he shows me he's a playmaker. I know he'll tackle well.
On the young players
“What's evident is some of our breakdowns that we had. It wasn't just the back seven. We didn't get our blocks up front. That was our worst game that we played up front. We've been making really good progress with our young guys on the defensive line, but we didn't play well up front. We didn't play well fundamentally. We didn't play well technique-wise. We didn't get our blocks the way we need to get blocks."
On the young wide receivers
“They're getting better. We've just got to work on their consistency. I thought Jordan Westerkamp played well today. Jamal [Turner] didn't play the way he wanted to a week ago, but I think he did some better things. Quincy Enunwa continues to play like a man. He's a full-grown man. He's a good football player. He's playing at a really high level."
On Taylor Martinez's role
“He just supported his teammates. I thought he did it well. He was into the game on the headset. He was talking to those guys as they came off."
On if Taylor Martinez will be ready to practice Tuesday
“I don't know. I want him to be 100 percent when he comes back. He's a lot better. He's feeling better. But that's going to be up to how he progresses over the next few days and what the doctors and trainers tell me."
On the improvement of the team
“We have to work on consistency. It's an interesting mix of youth and experience on this team. The potential's there. As I say and will continue to say, every day we walk out onto the practice field for this team, it is important. We've got to continue to grow and we've got to continue to work better. That's all we can do. It's not about where you are, it's about where you're gonna be two weeks from now and then the next week after that. We keep progressing each week. We'll be fine. There can never be a sense of complacency with this team in any regards. That's not how we're going to reach the goals that we want to reach. We're nowhere near where we want to be. I bet you coaches across the country are saying the same thing I am. I don't know if they say it in public the way I do. At the end of the day, we've got a lot of work to do. All you can do is roll up your sleeves, go to work and try to make each day better."