#17 Nebraska 49, Southern Miss 20
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini
"I said going into the game that this would give us a starting point, that's all it was. I just told the team, it gives us an assessment of where we are and what we need to get better at. I thought there were a lot of good things out there. I thought there were a lot of positives, but there's a bunch we need to fix. The penalties, obviously we were good in the penalty area, we didn't put the football on the ground, no turnovers. That's a pretty good recipe for success. I thought we were very efficient on offense, and I thought we executed pretty well most of the time on defense. They gave us some things we didn't quite expect. I thought they did a nice job. They gave us a variety of offense with a couple different quarterbacks, but I thought our guys adjusted well...reacted well. We called a lot of defense in the game to offset what they did, and I thought our guys handled that very well. We got a lot of guys snaps. There were a lot of positives from our standpoint, but really all that gave us was a starting point. We've got a lot of work to do from here."
On Taylor Martinez's performance today
"It's what I expected from Taylor. I've been seeing a lot of good things. I thought, to be efficient, he's got to handle the offense well. I thought he directed things very well. He got us out of some bad plays and into some right plays. For the most part, made good decisions. I know he has one throw that we were lucky to get back, but for the most part, I thought he played very well, very efficient. (He) made good decisions, and he distributed the ball well. I thought there were a lot of positives there."
On what he saw in the process of developing defensive playmakers
"I thought it was good. I thought we played a pretty good number of guys. It's not easy, because a lot of the things that we saw, especially some of the schemes we saw up front. We had no idea going into the game really what to expect. I thought our guys reacted pretty well to it and adjusted well. I thought we played pretty well in the backend, the one touchdown pass I know Drew (Andrew Green) would like back, that shouldn't have happened. But other than that, I thought there were a lot of positives. I thought (Alonzo) Whaley did some good things out there, (Corey) Cooper played well, Harvey Jackson...you know, I thought we were pretty solid."
On what his concerns were defensively
"Anytime you get spread out all over the field, we really didn't know what they were going to do with the quarterbacks. Toward the end of the game there, end of the third quarter, fourth quarter, they were running a wildcat-type offense with their quarterback. You just do the math. It's not easy to deal with that, especially when you don't know what sets and what structures they're going to do it out of. There were some adjustments that needed to happen, and I thought our guys reacted pretty well. I thought we did a lot of good things defensively. My biggest concern was on special teams, and it wasn't really going in. We didn't execute very well. There is a lot of things we need to shore up in the special teams area, but I do know this: everything is very fixable. It was obvious breakdowns from our standpoint."
On the status of Rex Burkhead
"He'll be fine. He's day-to-day, week-to-week. I don't think it's anything long term. He'll be fine."
On what he told his team right before halftime
"I didn't tell them anything magical, it was just keep doing what you're doing and stay the course. There was a couple things in that first half that we'd obviously like back, but you stay the course. I felt real good about where we were and how we were playing. I had a lot of confidence that we were going to take care of business in the second half, and I think our players felt good about it, too. I think they were mad at themselves, mad at the situation. We kind of had control of the game and we let them back in. We can't do that."
On how he thought some of the new receivers responded
"I think it's obvious. You saw a lot of guys make catches. I don't know the number, but I thought it was pretty good across the board. We had a lot of guys play, and I don't know that there was anybody in there that didn't catch the football, or didn't have a catch. It's a pretty good job of distributing the ball."