Roy Helu praised fellow running backs Rex Burkhead, Lester Ward and Marcus Mendoza Tuesday.
Photo by BreAnna Haessler/NU Media Relations

Fan Favorite Helu Says itís Not about Him; Itís about Improvement

By NU Athletic Communications

When Roy Helu walked off the field Saturday night, Nebraska's junior running back had 152 yards rushing and two touchdowns on only 16 carries.

With a 7-yard per carry average over his last five regular-season games, dating back to last year, Helu clearly has become a fan favorite. In a Fan Poll immediately after the game on, Helu collected more than 1,800 of the 3,071 votes cast for Nebraska's player of the game.

With Husker Head Coach Bo Pelini indicating that Helu might be as good as "any back out there", launched another poll, asking fans for more detailed opinions after the season opener.

Not surprisingly, 44 percent of 2,000 voters so far see Helu becoming an All-Big 12 running back. Fifteen percent envision him becoming an All-American, and 12 percent see Helu eventually becoming one of the best Nebraska backs of all-time.

Expectations are high for Helu, who moved up nine spots Saturday to become No. 45 on Nebraska's all-time rushing chart. Just don't expect Helu to be in the camp that buys into hype or keeps track of personal accomplishments.

Throughout a lengthy press conference Tuesday at Memorial Stadium, Helu was soft spoken and more than a little self-critical of his season-opening performance.

Once, he even felt compelled to say: "It's not about me. It's about this offensive unit."

He then said he may be the starter, but his top three backups are capable of "doing what I do" at running back.

Encouragement is a huge part of team unity, Helu said, and confidence is built on daily repetition.

According to Helu, if everyone had performed as expected, Zac Lee would have finished with only one incompletion in his debut as the Huskers' starting quarterback.

Nebraska's leading rusher also said that offensive guard Ricky Henry did an "awesome job" in leading the Huskers in pancake blocks.

Daily improvement is the Huskers' mantra, especially with an Arkansas State team visiting Saturday. The Red Wolves upset Texas A&M, 18-14, last year in their season-opener in College Station and bring a solid defensive team into Lincoln.

Helu was well prepared for the last question of Tuesday's press conference. When a reporter asked him if he'd set some personal goals for this season, Helu said, yes . . . "but none I'd like to share."


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