what the defense still needs to do to get to that next step
"Limit the big plays. Those passes down the field and those big runs; we need
to just try to limit those. Everything can't go good all the time, so just try
to limit those. We do a great job as a defense of calming ourselves down when
those big plays come about and making sure we go on to the next play."
if that's been an emphasis since the Ohio State game
"Yeah, that's definitely been something the coaches have emphasized. They get
us to realize that the world isn't going to end just because one big play
happens. We need to calm down and refocus. If they don't score, we need to
focus on not letting them score. Just because a big play happened, doesn't mean
everything is going to go bad."
how much the focus level has increased knowing they have to win
"Honestly, I don't
think it increases the focus level because we've approached every week as if
it's the championship game. Without winning the next game, there won't be any
championship. We aren't counting on Michigan to lose by any means. We are
counting on winning out and getting it on our own without any help. Week-to-week, we treat every game like the championship
game because we need every game to get there."
if the team knows how much this game will mean to Iowa as their last game of
"I think the coaches have done a great job of making us realize you have to
have a great respect for the game. You can't go in and look at a team and say
they don't have anything and we can just go in and get through this. The
coaches make us look at it in the perspective of this team having nothing to
lose, so they are going to give us everything they've got. They do a great job
of getting us to realize you have to have a great respect for the game or else
you will be humbled by it."
what Coach Rick Kaczenski has said about this game since he coached there last
"I think he's definitely kept his emotions in line when it's come to this. I
haven't heard him talk much about it. He circled this game on his calendar for
the sake of he's a Nebraska Cornhusker now. I think he's done a great job of
making sure that we know that. He's going to come in and coach, but I think
he'll be wired up to get to this one by Friday."
what leadership qualities he's seen from Kenny Bell
"He's definitely stepped up and become more of a vocal leader. He's always led by his play, but I think he's done a
great job this year of speaking up when he needs to speak up. We have a lot of
leaders on the offense. Justin Jackson and Spencer Long on the offensive line.
Taylor Martinez and Tim Marlowe; those guys definitely speak up when it's time
to speak up. I think the younger guys have done a good job of picking up the
slack of injuries and making sure no one is lagging behind."
what it means to see so much red in the stands on road games
"It's just the support system we've always gotten since I've been here. It's
always been the same. It's a great feeling to know that everyone is behind you
no matter where you go. When I really realized we have the best fans in America
was when we went up to Washington and I looked up and saw red. It's just
knowing that where you go, you'll always have that support away from the state
of Nebraska. It's always been a humbling feeling."
if it makes a difference on the road
"Most definitely because it's almost a home game. The quarterback from
Northwestern made the comment that one time they called a timeout because it
got so loud from Nebraska fans. It's great to know that you have fans that are
so loyal no matter what,
and will travel and be behind you. It definitely gives us that confidence to
know that they are behind us no matter what."
whom some of the non-senior leaders on the team are
"Jeremiah Sirles, Quincy Enunwa. Those guys play and are looked up to, but you also have guys like
C.J. (Zimmerer). He doesn't
play a lot, but he has
that vocal leadership. Once he talks, everybody listens. Those guys are guys
that people listen when they have something to say. Without the respect you
have for them, it's hard to have that respect and bond as a team. Not only those
guys that play, but the walk-ons give everything they've got every day to get
those looks. I think we have respect for those guys as well. We listen to
everything that they have to say, too."
what their leadership qualities are
"They all offer the same thing. They don't really offer anything different.
Like I said, when it comes down to talking and stepping up, there's never
people looking around for someone to say something; they all have that voice
that if they talk, somebody listens."
if that has developed over the season
"I don't want to say it's always been there, but I think the whole workout we
went through with the program helped. I think that gave guys the confidence to
know somebody will listen to you if you have something to say. The worst thing
you can do is not say something. I think that also enabled everybody to know
that you have to have respect for your teammates as well and listen to what
they have to say when you go through that."
if this feels like a rivalry game
"Like I said, it's just a championship game for us. We are going to go into it
looking at it like we need this game. Yes, there is a trophy involved, but at
the same time, you need that 'W' more than you need that trophy."
what this matchup needs over the next 10 years to make it a true rivalry game
"Nebraska already has the best program in the country. I guess Iowa's football
program is building up and it really turns into a rivalry game with the
football programs. It's a Nebraska-Iowa thing, and I think I've grown to realize we have
something towards each other. Just being one of the best football programs in
the country, I think Iowa would have to build their program and make it more of
a football program as well."