Nebraska vs. Illinois
Head Coach Bo Pelini
Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013
“I'm happy to get the win. I thought there were a lot of positives in the game and a lot of things we need to get better at. We're still a work-in-progress as a football team. At times, I thought we were pretty good. And at times, I thought we were our own worst enemy. That's got to get fixed. We weren't efficient enough, especially in the second half. We left a lot of points out there in the second half. We couldn't finish the way we wanted. But I saw a lot of good things out there. So, it's back to work to get ready for Purdue."
On the defense
“I liked a lot of things we did defensively. I know there are some things we did alignment-wise and we didn't execute that didn't hurt us that could hurt us moving forward. Overall, I saw some good things. I saw definite progress, but nowhere near where we need to be."
On Illinois' offense
"They throw a lot at you. A lot of formations, a lot of shifting, a lot of different personnels. You have to be able to think on your feet. You have to be disciplined to get lined up. I thought, for the most part, we handled it well. Obviously, at the end, you want to get a lot guys in and you have a lot of different combinations going on. That was disappointing at the end. We had a couple guys that kind of screwed some things up there at the end. But, overall, I thought we handled it well. And, I'll say it, [the officials] didn't officiate it right there on the last drive. It was like they were just trying to get out of there. But, at that point, we just wanted to get a bunch of guys in the game."
On freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr.
"I thought Tommy played well. He made some mistakes that I think he'll learn from. Overall, I think he did some really good things. He was throwing off his back foot especially early on. When that happens, your ball sails on you. I thought he corrected that after a while. Dealing with the wind, I thought, was a good experience for him because you're going to have to do that going forward. I thought he managed the game very well. He brings a calming, confident presence to the huddle. But there were some times where we left some points out there and a couple of those were on him. He was going the wrong way when we probably would have walked it into the end zone and one of those final drives. He made some mistakes, but I thought he played well and I think he'll learn from those mistakes. I think he'll become a better player because of it."
On the two-quarterback system
"We wanted to do it very similar to South Dakota State. We were definitely going to start Tommy [Armstrong] and then give Ronnie [Ron Kellogg III] the thrid series. Then, from there, we were just going to play it by ear. But we definitely wanted to give Ronnie a couple series as we moved forward."
On junior running back Ameer Abdullah
"I thought Ameer played great. I thought he would and he did. I thought the game plan and the running game was good. I thought it set up well for Ameer. On top of that, he made a lot of guys miss. He's a good back. I thought he played very well. But, obviously, we blocked well up front."
On redshirt freshman linebackers Jared Afalava and Michael Rose
"That was Jared's biggest chunk of playing time because of the way the game plan dictated. I thought he did some good things. I think he did some things that he'll want back. I thought (Michael) Rose played well. We didn't want to play Zaire [Anderson] unless we had to. Zaire got a bad bone bruise on Wednesday. It was day-to-day. He could have played, but Zaire couldn't push off his leg and he was having a lot of pain. He'll be fine in the next few days. But I thought Michael Rose performed pretty well. He looked very confident. It looked like he did a lot of good things out there."
On the defense's response to Illinois in Nebraska territory
"Defensively, we played hard. I thought we executed pretty well. I thought they competed. We had the chance to get off the field a couple of times and we didn't. But, overall, I thought our guys played well. They stood up. At the end of that first half, first we got a penalty and we back ourselves up. I think we'd want that call back when we got that safety. But that could have been a turning point in the game and our guys stood up and did a good job there. Like I said, I saw a lot of progress in this football team today. Is it where we want to be? No, not yet. We've got a lot of work to do. But I did see some good things. I saw our guys respond well. I saw progress and that's what you want to look for. I saw our guys take some of the things that we talked about during the week and transform it to the field today. We did a lot better job as far as that's concerned. That's what you want to see as a coach."
On missed extra points
"That's a big level of concern. It's inexcusable. It's not acceptable. That's the way we kicked during the week. We didn't miss any extra points, but they have to raise their sense of urgency. They've got to get it figured out. We weren't good enough in practice during the two weeks. I had to jump them a couple times in practice. Our consistency there has got to pick up. If it doesn't, it's gonna cost us a football game. It can't happen that way. Fortunately, it didn't hurt us today. But that'll kill you down the line. So we've got to get that figured out and fixed."