Nebraska Football
Weekly Press Conference
Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 (Memorial Stadium)
Pre-Penn State

On looking back to the last visit to Penn State
“It was a hectic time in their program. I think the atmosphere this time is definitely going to be different than it was last time. (Head Coach Bill O’Brien) has done a great job with their program, building it back up to national state. I have a lot of respect for (Penn State). It’s definitely going to be a different atmosphere and a big challenge for us going in there.”

On his recollection of the atmosphere in State College
“It’s just different. You could tell that people – all the things that had come out – it was on all the fan’s minds. You want to say that it didn’t affect the players, but I think it affected the players. (The scandal) is in their past and they’ve moved on from it, so it’s definitely going to be a bigger task this time around.”

On the Penn State defense
“They are still Penn State. They are still solid. They have a couple real good D-linemen. They always have good linebackers; that’s what they’re known for. It’s going to be a tough game for us. Just like any other Big Ten game. We got to execute well and we’ve got to hang on to the ball. Got to be able to go in there and do our stuff.”

On the characteristics of this team enabling NU to rebound
“We’ve bounced back before. After the UCLA game, we came back and had a good week of practice and played a good game against South Dakota State and then Illinois. Same thing after Minnesota, didn’t play that well at Minnesota, bounced back and had another good week of practice. I think the same is going to hold out for this game. I think it’s up to us as seniors to be able to motivate these guys and we’re playing for pride now. We’ve got these last two games and the bowl game and we’ve got to win them in order to get our 10-win season. That’s our new goal, that’s my new goal. I think it’s up to our seniors to push everyone along and make sure we finish the season out right and set the program up for a good year next year, too.”

On concern about motivation
“We’ll find out tomorrow at practice. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens at practice. Seeing how guys are responding. I don’t really see there being a letdown, just I think we have too high character of guys to have a letdown in practice and really at the end of the season. I think we’ll be doing just fine. But if there is any lull, it’s going to be up to myself and the rest of the seniors to really push everyone along and make sure we are executing in finishing out the season the right way.”

On there being more respect for Penn State than other schools
“They play hard. They are well-coached. They are a bunch of tough guys. I think the respect comes from how they’ve been over the past years. They are always a solid team. When you think of Penn State, you think of football. It comes with playing up especially at their place at a storied university. You got to have respect for the game because it is a really humbling game, as we found out earlier on Saturday, too.”

On not playing for a championship
“It’s disappointing that we missed our opportunity because it was right there for us. Anytime we turn the ball over like we did and put our defense in bad spots like we did, you’re not going to beat many teams let alone a good team like Michigan State. It’s frustrating we had the opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them, but now it’s up to myself and the rest of the seniors, like I said, to make sure we finish out the season the right way.”

On running the successful toss play against Penn State
“That play is just a good play because it can be blocked against a blitz or a base defense. It can be blocked against anything. I would assume they would try to stop that play just because we were able to run it against them so many times last year. So if they do try and stop that play, obviously we do have other plays in our game plan, but we have to go out there and execute. But really, I would assume they are going to try to stop it. We’re going to go in there with a lot of plays like we always do in order to try to execute and go try and figure out what’s hurting them and try to exploit that.”