September 22, 2009

Pelini promises NU will play with passion on Saturday

It was almost like a different person was talking for Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini during his weekly press conference in Lincoln on Tuesday.

Pelini addressed the media for longer than anybody can ever remember in his time at NU, and it's clear he's done his best to forget about this past Saturday's emotional 16-15 loss at Virginia Tech.

However, when Pelini reflects what his team has gone through over the last few days, he admits it hasn't been very easy.

"I can say that was as hard of a loss as I have ever encountered in football and I've had some hard ones," Pelini said. "That was difficult. You know what, it's time to move on. I've moved on. I really have. It took me a little longer, but I've moved on."

As Pelini looks ahead to Saturday's game against Louisiana Lafayette, he wants his football team to come out with passion.

He said that's something that starts on the practice field and he feels like they showed that type of attitude on Monday.

"It's situations like this that define you," Pelini said. "It's going to help define our football team and it's going to help define me as a coach and a person. You have to rise up to challenges and when you face a disappointment like that, it is a challenge to come back. Each and everyone of our guys on that football team are facing that challenge and I look forward to challenges and I'm going to stare it in the face to make sure we do the right thing to get this thing fixed and that's what we are going to do.

Tuesday press conference thoughts
It was just a "splinter": Starting Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee got a pretty big laugh when he heard that head coach Bo Pelini referred to his injury on his thumb as a "splinter." Lee said his left thumb is partially cracked, but he doesn't expect it to affect him at all for Saturday's game with Louisiana Lafayette.
Henery shows no emotion: One of the reasons why junior kicker Alex Henery is so good at what he does is because of the fact he never shows any emotion. Henery is arguably the most even keeled player on the team, and head coach Pelini joked on Tuesday that it almost "freaks him out" how little emotion Henery shows both on and off the football field.
Pelini impressed with Dillard: After moving from middle linebacker to weak side linebacker for last week's Virginia Tech game, Pelini said senior Phillip Dillard really impressed him on Saturday in Blacksburg. "I thought Phil played well," Pelini said. "He did a good job. He brought a physicality to the position and he did some good things for moving over to that position. He brought some maturity and some experience over to the group. I think he's fitting well there. I'm glad he we made that move. I think he did a good job out there. He played well."
Pelini on Okafor: It was a crazy week for redshirt freshman running back Collins Okafor. The Omaha native left the team on Tuesday but rejoined the squad on Thursday. Pelini talked about what went behind the decision for Okafor to return to the squad during Tuesday's press conference. "Collins was a little frustrated and I told him, you need to be happy with where you are," Pelini said. "He needed some time to kind of figure some things out. My intent was I wanted him on our football team, but he's got to want to be on our football team. I gave him a little bit of time to try to figure out what he needs and what he wants. He came to the conclusion that this is a place where he needs to stay."
"We are going to come out Saturday and I promise you are going to see a group of guys playing with passion. You aren't going to see anybody crying about what happened last week, our guys are going to come out and we are going to play our tails off. That's what's going to happen. I bow that that will happen on Saturday."

As one of the leaders on the team, senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said it's his job to make sure the team comes out and accepts Pelini's challenge this week in practice.

Last season, that was one of the things that made the Huskers a good team. Each time they faced adversity they found ways to overcome it.

"Like coach Bo said man up," Suh said. "Take it like you are supposed to take it. Go about it your own personal way, but get ready for the next game. We are all grown men and move forward and get ready for the next game."

Junior quarterback Zac Lee is also looking forward to getting the chance to redeem himself after a poor performance against the Hokies on Saturday.

However, Lee was backed down from practice on Monday, because of a medication he is taking for an injury on his left thumb. Lee said though he's going to really study the Virginia Tech film and make the necessary improvements this week.

"The way I'm going to look at it and the way I have to look at it is it is going to help me as a player," Lee said. "I think I can learn a lot more from (the Virginia Tech) game then I can from the first two games."

Pelini is hoping the empty feeling his team walked off the field with in Blacksburg on Saturday will be enough motivation in itself to lead to a solid showing on Saturday.

"I told our football team yesterday we need to use the disappointment and rage in some ways as fuel for the future," Pelini said. "Or you can be weak minded and not step up and take accountability for us not coming out on top to divide you or point the fingers. We haven't done that around here.

"The way our football team came out and practiced yesterday, it became really, really obvious to me that they took the message and they understand it. We've moved on."

FEATURED PRODUCT is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2007 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.