Football Preview: At Purdue

Football Preview: At Purdue

Nebraska hasn’t lost three games in a row in 2019, and doesn’t want to start now.

The 4-4 Huskers travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, Saturday to take on the 2-6 Purdue Boilermakers.

Last Week Out – Practice Quotes: Scott Frost(Monday) Wan’Dale Robinson Matt Farniok Darrion Daniels Erik Chinander Troy Walters Scott Frost(Thursday) – Opponent Preview – Friday Husker Tailgate Predictions

Last Week Out

Nebraska led Indiana 14-3 early but back to back touchdowns gave the Hoosiers a 16-14 lead before the Huskers took a 21-14 lead into the break. That’s the last lead Big Red would have in the game as Indiana scored touchdowns on their second, third, and fourth drives of the second half to win 38-31.

Indiana threw for 351 yards while Nebraska gained 514 yards of total offense. True freshman Wan’Dale Robinson racked up 154 yards of all-purpose yards for the third time in conference play.

Full game report: Nebraska “Just OK” in 38-31 Loss to Indiana

Practice Quotes

Scott Frost(Monday) – Nebraska Head Coach

On Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass’ comment about the Nebraska football staff
“We’ve been scratching our heads wondering what that is about. We don’t have any ideas with it, but I’d be curious to know. I couldn’t have been nicer or more complimentary towards coach before and after the game. We had a ton of respect for their team and where they’ve gotten their team to. I told them that before the game and told them how good of a job they must be doing because of where their team had been playing. I told them that their offensive coordinator was doing a really good job and I told them after the game that I was really happy for them. I have no idea where it came from. If there’s something that we did, I’d like to know, but that’s a dead issue to me. We’re going to treat every opponent we play with respect. They’re certainly having a good year, so they deserve the success.”

On moving forward after Saturday’s loss
“I thought the togetherness got better today(Monday). Sometimes you have to go through some things to get it there. We still have things to fix, we’re still improving, but the guys that want to compete and want to be good handle everything the right way and learn from everything. That’s what our team did today.”

On outscoring opponents except in the third quarter
“We’re scratching our heads with that a little, too. I’ve tried a bunch of different tactics and this week I ripped their butts at halftime to try and get a response. Our defense came out and played well on the first drive. Then we got pinned back and missed a couple things and had a short punt to them where they went out and scored. Even though we started out good in the third quarter, it didn’t go very well immediately after that. We have to play with the same kind of intensity in the third quarter that we do in the first quarter and figure out where it goes from there. That’s something we definitely have to address. I wasn’t aware of that stat specifically with the first, second and fourth quarter, but it’s something we need to continue to look at.”

On Monday’s team meeting
“We always want to be coaches who love on our players and try to help them improve. I really felt during that game that we made some of the same mistakes that we made last year when we were just trying to get the culture improved. The dumb alignments, the dumb penalties, the turnovers, false-starting on first down, making bad plays right when it counted. We made plenty of plays to win that game and some of the same mistakes that got us beat in a few close games last year got us beat again Saturday. There comes a time and a place when you have to rip some tails, honestly. That’s what we did. But I wanted our players to understand the reason we did that, why we did that and wanted them to know that it is never personal. The guys get it. Talking to the captains, they want some of that to make sure guys are conscientious to do their jobs better and more precisely. I still feel like that is what we are missing a little bit is just the guys caring enough to do their job perfect on Saturdays and practice all the time. Because it is close, but, we can’t do those little things and shoot ourselves in the foot. We are not a good enough team right now.”

On the depth at quarterback
“I think quarterback is one example of a position where there is no question, we have improved, gotten more talent in here, [and] increased our depth. All three of those kids are good players and we are in a good spot to have all three of them. I don’t know if I have ever had three on a team that have the talent of the three that we have right now. So, that spells good things for the future and right now they are all three nicked up, so we are going to have to do the best we can in the short term.”

On making sure all three quarterbacks don’t get injured
“I think it is just bad breaks to some degree. To some other degree, we had to put our team in the best position to try to win Saturday and that meant some quarterback runs. I think we just kind of got unlucky that both of them got nicked up. Noah (Vedral) was a little hurt going in and that can happen. It is a little bit unlucky. Eventually, we will be good enough that we won’t have to rely as much on that but, those plays were there Saturday. Obviously, they looked good when we executed them and they will all three be fine.”

On if the plan is for Luke McCaffery to redshirt 
“Our plan is still to redshirt Luke. He is running out of games but if we need him, we are going to use him.”

On Adrian Martinez 
“Our player best interest is always one of my top two priorities. Mission accomplishment and our players-taking care of our guys are my two primary responsibilities. In that game, obviously Noah (Vedral) had to leave the game hurt and Adrian (Martinez) was emergency-only and hurt. We kind of huddled up and I talked to him and (Athletic Trainer) Mark (Mayer) about which guy was most capable going in. Noah gutted it out and went in there and did a good job. I think both of them could have gone into the game if we needed them at that point.”

On the attitudes of the freshmen
“I was around here for a long time. Greatness was expected, demanded, the standard. That is what we need to get back to and part of that is expecting that out of everyone on your team, expecting to win and going out and making it happen. Those kinds of things. I think there are a lot of people old and young on our team that gets that. The more we can continue to build on those kids and the culture we have, the better we will be.  I think there are a lot of young kids who want it to be that way and expect it to get that way and get that way soon. We need everybody on board and pulling the same direction.”

On how he balances not being a coach that cusses a lot and when he rips his team like at halftime of Indiana
“That’s really what the team meeting was without going into too much detail. I kind of made a conscious decision that it was time to do that. Again, we got beat last year because we made some dumb personal foul penalties. Then the same thing happens on Saturday. We get beat a couple times last year when we jump offsides at the wrong time. Right when we need a good punt or kick, we don’t get it. I want the guys to understand how important it is to do their job. I learned a long time ago. I played for Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. One of your first rules is learn to take a butt-chewing. As their coach, mission accomplishment number one job is taking care of my players personally and on the field. There is a time when they need their butt chewed. That’s what the meeting was about. That’s not what we’re about. That’s not our character. I don’t want a team where I have to do that. If that’s what I have to do to get some of these things stopped, then we are going to have to yell a little bit in the short term. Most of the kids on the team care and want to be great. If there comes a time where things aren’t changing, then they need to get an ear-full.”

On the coaching challenges in the Big Ten
“I think there’s really good coaching in the Big Ten across the board. I mentioned the Indiana guys. They’ve done a great job with that team. I think their offensive coordinator does some smart things. Defensively, everybody in this league is sound and knows what they’re doing. That’s no different. The Pac-12 is the same way. There’re really good coaches in the American, that’s why coaches win there and are leaving for some of these other jobs. There’re good coaches in every league. The Big Ten is certainly no exception. I think there’s good coaches in this league.”

On how he’s felt his coaching staff has adjusted this season
“We are all in this fight together. We are not a good enough team yet. Nobody is happy with it. The coaches are working their tails off. I think there’s still some details that need to get ironed out, whether that is a coach’s issue, a player issue not doing what we tell them, but again, if the players aren’t doing what we’re telling them, that’s the coaches’ responsibility at the end of the day to get it done. I believe in my guys. Anytime you lose a game or two like we have, people start to question everything. I don’t question my coaches. They know what they’re doing. If there’s issues, we are going to address them. I’m going to talk to them about. We are going to get it fixed. These are the right guys to do it. I need to be better. They need to be better, and the team needs to be better. We’re all in this together.”

On the importance of continuity
“Continuity was key here for a long time and it hadn’t been here until we got here. Continuity is certainly going to help. Listen, what it boiled down to Saturday and what it boiled down to a bunch last year was to me guys caring enough and being conscientious and focused enough to not kind of do their job, but get their job done. We gave up three of four. We were terrible on third down on defense. Absolutely terrible. If we would have been even decent on third down we would have gotten stops and won the game. I don’t have any doubt of that. They did a great job. I give them credit. In those third and fourth downs we were bad on, there was one guy kind of doing his job but getting beat to his leverage or one guy taking his eyes off his man in man coverage and not being disciplined with his eyes. Again, the coaches need to coach that better but at the end of the day when the players get on the field they need to not just kind of do it. Not just be OK at it. They need to get it done. And that falls on me. It falls on the coaches. Same on offense. We missed a couple blocks. A couple of assignments that would have kept a couple of drives going. Those are things that need to be fixed. Now there is a lot of really good things happening on offense. I think the bye week really helped us get better on some things on offense that made us more successful. I thought guys played more aggressive. We worked on tackling a lot on defense. Over the bye week I thought we tackled pretty well. Stopped the run well enough to win the game. We just have to be conscientious enough as coaches and players to make sure that whoever is on the field and has an assignment doesn’t kind of do it. They get it done. That’s a little bit of what’s keeping us from getting over the hump right now.”

On Purdue’s Rondale Moore
“We think Rondale is one of the best players in the country, and I don’t think we are alone in thinking that. He’s a special guy. But I’ll tell you they have some other special guys on that team too. They recruited well. I think he is really smart with the scheme offensively. He’s going to give you some stuff you haven’t seen. We’ve got to prepare for their team. If they have one of the best players in the country available. It’s not really looking at the plays they run with him because they run about everything with him. We have to prepare for Purdue and see if he is healthy or not. I hope for his sake he gets healthy soon.”

On Purdue’s David Bell
“Again, it isn’t just Rondale. Bell’s good. I think they’ve got good backs. They played a couple quarterbacks. Both of them are really good players. This is a team that came in here and beat us at home last year. We’ve got to go there and play the best we can.”

On subbing in defensive backs for linebackers for match-ups
“You know in some of those cases we were double-teaming a guy and gave up our letters on double team. There was one when there was a miscommunication. We were supposed to have their best receiver double-teamed and it looked like we had the wrong guy on their best receiver. Chinander’s on defense, us on offense, we are putting the guys out there that we think will give us the best chance. Like JoJo (Domann) when he is good with his eyes and disciplined he is one of our best guys. So, I’m not sure if it makes sense to sub in for him. There are some other situations where maybe we do need to make one of those adjustments and personnel changes. A couple injuries here and there keep us from doing that a little more. Losing Deontai [Williams] at the beginning of the year has hurt us a little bit. We have had to move Cam Taylor around a little bit. He has been beat up. A little bit of personnel and who you trust to be out there in those situations, but we take a look at all that.”

On if Tyrin Ferguson is available on defense
“Ferguson will be available this week. He wasn’t available last week.”

On Coach Chinander
“Chins is one of the smartest coaches I’ve been around. Looking at what we’re doing right now, to me we’re not good enough at the little details on either side of the ball right now and the little details have to get better. That led to some of the third-down stuff. Every kid in our program adores Coach Chinander, they all play hard for him. I don’t think there’s any doubt our players are playing harder than they did or however far you want to look back. I see more hats to ball, I see us tackling well, I see more effort. Guys are playing for him. What’s missing, like I said, is attention to detail to do their job and get it done. Nobody had to tell Jason Peter that, nobody had to tell Grant Winstrom that, or Joel Makovicka that if they had a job if they had a job they were going to get it done. Again, it falls on us as coaches to make sure that happens and some of the responsibility on the players when they have an opportunity to make a play, they have to get it done. Chins is the right guy to make sure that happens.”

On why Dedrick Mills saw reduced snaps in the second half
“I trust Dedrick Mills to go out and make plays. He plays hard. He made one mistake and missed a block. Unfortunately, it led to a fumble and probably a 14-point swing in that game. He’s one of the guys that cares. He’s one of the guys that’s going to give us full effort at practice and in a game. I trust him going forward. To be honest it was more in the second half of it was more of a situation that Wan’Dale was making plays. We needed to make some big plays to try to get back in the game once we got behind. Wan’Dale had missed some practice, it was easier for him to go in at running back than it was at receiver with some of the new schemes we had. So, it had more to do with that than us not trusting Mills. Everybody is going to make mistakes. Mills cares and he’s going to give us everything he has.”

On the red zone struggles on both sides of the ball
“Offensive, I didn’t think we struggled in the red zone. We just turned it over a couple of times and didn’t line up in a formation once. Defensively, there was a couple of assignment busts down there. We need to start turning and playing the ball on fade routes. I can’t tell you how much we work on that. I can’t tell you how much we’re coaching them to do it. We’re not turning around, finding the ball and making a play and we’re getting too many pass interference penalties. It is what it is. We’re going to continue to work on it, coach it, but a couple of assignments on defense, and those things lead to points. Again, a ton of credit to Indiana, they did some unique things and caught us on our heels on a couple and others were self-inflicted.”

 

Wan’Dale Robinson – Freshman, Running Back/Wide Receiver

On his relationship with Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore
“Me and Rondale know each other pretty well. We’ve trained together since I was a junior in high school. Training together we were always competing with each other and doing things like that. He was almost like a brother to me especially going through the recruiting process and asking him about what type of things he had to go through and things like that. He’s just been a really, really big help with me.”

On if he hopes Rondale Moore plays on Saturday
“Yes and no. I hope he comes back obviously because I love seeing him play. I think our games are similar, but I don’t want him to cause our defense any fits either. Either way, I’ll be happy to see him.”

On how he and Rondale Moore help each other
“We were just competing and always going back and forth with each other and that helped us out. He’s part of the reason how I even got here today and seeing how he is and how he approaches the game and things like that. He’s just been a really big help in that way.”

On how Nebraska freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey handled the team on Saturday
“I  think Luke handled the team really well. He’s a gamer. We were all a little shook when he had to go in, but at some points we had confidence in Luke so he started to play really well and we believed that we could win the game whenever he was in. Luke played really, really well on Saturday.”

On how fast McCaffrey is compared to other freshmen
“Let’s just say in the spring and winter conditioning, Luke was winning a lot of the sprints. He was faster than a lot of the guys, Luke is a burner just like everybody else. If you saw him run you wouldn’t think he was a quarterback.”

On why there was reservation when McCaffrey went in at quarterback
“Just the environment and knowing that he wasn’t the original guy going into the game, so we weren’t prepared technically for Luke to go in. As a true freshman, I had jitters going in and I know he had some jitters too, but once he calmed down and was all good he played really well.”

On McCaffrey’s personality
“It’s really upbeat, he’s really funny. If you ever just sit down and talk with him he’ll be like ‘hey anybody got any jokes?’ and that’s just kind of how he is. I love Luke to death. He’s always working hard, he’s a loving person and he cares for everybody. Luke is just what you would want in a football player and what you want in a quarterback.”

On making a big deal about Luke’s family
“Yeah we do sometimes, but at the end of the day we know Luke is his own person and we don’t want to compare him to his brothers and make him feel like he’s another McCaffrey or that we look at his brothers any different. I look at Luke like he’s one of my best friends, not like he’s Christian McCaffrey’s brother or anything like that.”

On what allows him to speak on behalf of the team culture and his older teammates 
“Just knowing that we are going to be part of the change and knowing that we have to say some things that are probably going to make some people uncomfortable and that’s OK. Just at the end of the day, wanting to have the best for our team and wanting the best outcome for our team.”

On the attitude at today’s practice
“It was just focused, just making sure that we were taking care of the little details and some little things that cost us the game on Saturday. Lining up on the ball correctly and making sure that we were having the right fits on defense and things like that. Everybody making sure they’re focused and paying attention to what they need to do.”

On if talk about changing the culture will continue
“We aren’t done talking about it, but everybody knows what’s expected and what Coach Frost wants out of everybody. That’s what everybody has tried to do, just know exactly what he [Frost] wants and give everything you’ve got every play.”

On the reaction of older guys to the comments that younger players are making about attitude and culture change
“I’m sure they felt the same way as we did, not everybody was bought in. I think we are going to get to the point, especially towards the end of the season everybody is going to buy in and I think you’ll see a much different and driven Husker football team towards the end of the year.”

On the quarterback situation
“We have three quarterbacks that can go in and win us a Big Ten football game and that’s something I think a lot of teams don’t have, so that’s a really good thing that we have. All of the quarterbacks, they all have different skill-sets but they can do some of the same things and help our offense and help us win football games.”

On how he felt after Saturday
“Sore, but at the end of the day that’s what I’m going to do, if I have to take a hit, I’ll take a hit and it’s not going to phase me too much. I’ll get back up and keep going at it.”

On if the hits Saturday were harder than previous games
“I don’t really try to pay attention to how hard I’ve been hit or things like that.”

On freshmen who are coming along behind the scenes
“Rahmir Johnson, Bryce Benhart, Ethan Piper, Darien Chase, those guys are working hard every day in practice just to hopefully get their shot on Saturdays and show what they can do.”

On being tough as a smaller running back
“All my life I’ve been smaller than most of the guys tackling me. I’ve taken some hits all my life. That’s just how I’ve always been, being tough is something you can’t question. If you’re playing football you have to be tough. As a small guy I’ve always prided myself on being tough and being able to get right back up even if I get hit hard.”

On having over 20 carries Saturday
“Like I said in the press conference on Saturday, I don’t care how many times they need me to carry the ball. If that’s 30 times I’ll carry it 30 times, if it’s 10 times I’ll carry it 10 times. Whatever they need me to do I’m going to do and whatever to help our team win.”

On communication with Rondale Moore
“We text, we facetime, snapchat, we do all those things. We’re still friends at the end of the day, I’m sure we’ll talk at some point this week. I’ll try to get word if he’s playing or not, I don’t know if he’ll want me to put that out there though. That’s a really good friend of mine that I’ll always keep in touch with.”

On if there’s any trash talking with Rondale Moore
“Nah. We’ll joke around and trash talk, but it’s never really intense where we are getting under each other’s skin or anything like that.”

On training with Rondale Moore at home over breaks
“Yeah we’ll still meet up at the gym in Louisville with Chris just working on the same things that we have been since high school; breaks, catching the football and doing things like that.”

On being able to finish drives
“Usually it’s just making that one little mistake and we know that mistake and we can clean it up. We watch the film and you can tell that it’s one play away from breaking for a touchdown or keeping the drive going. We know exactly what we need to do to get in the end zone.”

On if executing is a mental thing
“Yeah I think it’s more of the focus, knowing you have to execute, and doing things the right way.”

 

Matt Farniok – Junior, Offensive Lineman

On offensive executive
“For the most part, yeah. This offense really just comes down to executing what we need to do. We did what we were supposed to do. We scored. Now, we need to make sure that we maintain that level of focus. That level of execution and that’s just a personal thing that we need to just drive home in everyone.”

On practice
“We moved in the right direction but we didn’t move far enough. We still had mistakes that never really should happen in a game. It’s turned to a point where you yourself need to find a way that you’re going to do your job and you’re going to do your job as perfect as you can. There’s no excuses. You just got to find a way to get it done.”

On the mistakes 
“A lineman error is false starts. Those are things that really shouldn’t happen. We know what we’re supposed to do and it’s just a lack of focus. We’ve just got to correct it, and I know we will.”

On the last offensive play against Indiana
“Just a missed assignment. Just trying to think of what exactly the protection is. He got flushed out of the pocket by pressure and that pressure really shouldn’t have happened. In doing so, it threw him off his rhythm, it threw everything off his game. That’s a [missed assignment] on knowing who you have, knowing what you’ve got to do and those are things you have to take personal and you have to just get it done. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. Doesn’t matter how you feel in the game. Doesn’t matter if you feel a little banged up. Everyone’s kind of banged up. You just have to have an intent and a drive to make sure that your job is going to be completed and it’s going to be completed as perfect as you can make it.”

On Nebraska quarterbacks Noah Vedral and Luke McCaffrey
“They both did a great job. I don’t really know how they could have done it better themselves. They sold out and did everything that was asked for them. We’ve got to make sure that we continually give him as much time as possible. Give him a clean pocket and then on top of that we need to make sure that our run game is as good as it can be because honestly all of our quarterbacks are great players and they’re really good at what they do. We need to make sure that we can allow them to do what they do.”

On gaining more than 500 yards in total offense against Indiana 
“We did alright. Our grades really just come down to technique. We did a better job of getting our jobs done. Staying on our man. Just cleaning up techniques still. [Offensive line coach Greg Austin] is also pretty picky on that. Which is a great thing. If it’s not perfect, you’re not getting a check mark on it. That’s one thing I really respect. If it’s not perfect, it doesn’t matter. He’ll say you got the job done, but it can be better.”

On a good game 
“We did a much better job finishing our blocks. Technique was still a little bit off. For the most part we did a much much better job of just staying on our guys and driving guys off the ball.”

On Frost’s comments 
“It comes down to just being personal. Take every rep personal. In practice you can’t ever relax. You can’t ever take a play off. [Like] I’m kind of tired, I’ll go 75 percent. It needs to be 100 percent every time because those little things, they add up and they will show. Those little things, like easing off the gas, those show up in the game. Those lead to the lack of focus. That’s what leads to us making mistakes. I think everyone kind of took it personal. We know he’s right because we’ve hurt ourselves now. We’ve hurt ourselves to losing two games for sure. We just shot ourselves in the foot when we needed it most. We lacked the focus to get it done. We’re finally kind of understanding how and why we need to be so intent and so focused on what we do.”

On the focus
“I’d say it’s getting a lot better. We’ve learned that everything you do needs to be intentional. Everything has to be driven. Even today it was much better. Everyone made sure that their job was getting done. They didn’t care how, what they had to so, but they made sure they won and they did their job correctly.”

On bowl importance 
“It is as important as always. We don’t want to stop playing football. We want to try and play football as long as we can. With this team you only get one shot. This team is the only team that’s going to be like it. When the seniors are gone, the team’s going to be different. We love those guys all across the board and we want to make sure we can spend as much time, play together as long as we can because there are some great guys there. They’ve been working their tail off. They’ve been working as hard as they can, and they’ve been trying to set the example. I personally want to make sure they get that right.”

On the extra practices bowl games allow 
“Those always help. The longer you get to play football, the more you get to execute and you get to work on the craft of the game. Those extra practices are as vital as anything.”

On Wan’Dale Robinson 
“He’s a special character. It’s been pretty evident ever since he even got here. He’s a great worker. He’s a hard worker. He doesn’t really have the freshman mentality of waiting. He wants to just attack and he’s going to find a way to make a play happen. It’s pretty awesome and when we  do our job right and we get him out in the open field or we get him off the edge, there’s not too many people who can catch him. He’s one of the fastest people I think I’ve ever seen. When we get him to the right spot and use him properly, get him through the holes, good things happen.”

On freshman speaking out 
“He’s right. If it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough. It doesn’t matter. If you feel that it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough. In my opinion, there should never really be a doubt. If there’s a doubt, it’s not good enough. He voices his thoughts and how he felt and he’s not wrong. If that’s how he felt, that’s how he feels and that means we’re not doing a good enough job of really keeping the culture. It is what it is. How he says it and I know how we’re moving and how it’s going. We’re just going to keep working on it.”

 

Darrion Daniels – Senior, Defensive Lineman

On how much he played Saturday
“Five snaps.”

On how disappointing it was to only play five snaps
I believe we got complacent with the little things. I feel like that is what got us killed. Just not being dialed in absolutely every single little detail. Little things become big things in the end, which caused us not to pull out a win we should have had.”

On if he is OK for this week
“Yeah, I should be.”

On what he has seen from this team in the last 48 hours following the loss
“One thing I think the coaches have done a great job of is finding the issue. Now, it’s the next step of solving the problem. I think today in practice we took a nice step in fixing some of those issues.”

On what those issues are
Like what I said, little details. We were complacent with the little things. We are now just really keying in on them and making sure those little things are not overlooked or ignored again.”

On what it means to him as a senior when he sees underclassmen speaking about culture
It’s actually a huge reminder. He’s [Wan’Dale Robinson] is doing something I feel like all of the seniors should be doing. To see somebody younger trying to keep some of the older guys to a standard, I think that’s phenomenal. It motivates me to do more and say more.”

On what happened at the team hotel Saturday morning
“I like to say things when I feel like something needs to be said. For the most part, I keep to myself. I try to fix things around me. If I see something around me, I’ll be vocal. That given situation, I feel like that something out loud needed to be said. Just in the situation, before a game I just thought that we needed to be more focused in that position. Things were said, but I also feel like things were being ignored. I wasn’t the only one to say something. I was just the one to enforce it.”

On what signs he saw that the focus wasn’t where it needed to be
“I feel like that situation right there just shows that we got complacent with little things. It started out pretty strong at the beginning of the season for the most part. As time went on, one little thing that was ignored became a habit. It trickled down to other players, and it became contagious to where the majority of the team was doing it. The bad thing is the majority instead of the good thing. It just showed me as a collective group that we were not 100 percent dialed in. When 100 percent of the guys aren’t dialed in, that leaves a lot of room for error, and it showed up on the field.”

On what those little things were at the hotel
“Yeah, that’s Flow. Flow is to be getting our body woken up. It’s something that’s not as serious as a game, but it should be taken serious because it’s game day. Like I said, that’s one of those things that we took for granted and let go. Things like that. Things like Flow, when we start taking care of those things again, we’ll get better results.”

On what he saw at the hotel
The thing is, everybody was doing everything correct. I feel like a lot of us were just going through the motions, not executing. We weren’t really taking it serious. We were just filling time instead of executing it. Like I said, people were doing, but I also heard little chatter. The day of the game, everybody should be dialed in. There is a time and place for everything. During that Flow period, we should have been dialed in, and a lot of guys agreed. They were overlooked.”

On where Flow is held
It’s in a conference room.”

On what kind of things happen during Flow
“It’s just like a warmup for us. We do down and backs, high knees, butt kicks, lunges and things of that nature.”

On the pass rush
“It’s something that we do in practice. We have active quarterbacks. I feel as if we anticipated the run too soon. It’s obvious that we’ll work a good pass rush move and get quarterback level and expect him to go ahead on a run. So we were preparing for a scramble before we even finished rushing. I think that was the biggest issue we had.”

On the performance against the run
“Coach Chins [defensive coordinator Erik Chinander] mentioned it this morning. Monday and Tuesday practice were phenomenal, which made us minimize the run completely. Wednesday practice we let it get out of hand and it showed on third down. When they passed the ball heavy, we couldn’t complete it because we weren’t completely dialed in and focused on Wednesday’s practice.”

On the importance of getting to a bowl game
“It’s always crucial to get to a bowl game because nobody wants to play for no reason. I think it’s important for our team to get to a bowl game this year for the fact that we have a lot of young guys. The underclassmen to upperclassmen ratio is lopsided. There’s a lot of young guys, which is good for the future. I think as a senior class, what we need to do is end the season on a good note and start next year off to a good start. Going to a bowl game gives us more time with the younger guys to help lay a foundation to show them the way a team is supposed to operate. I believe we have the talent and I feel like we have a lot of guys who care about Nebraska football and care about doing the little things right. We just have to lay the ground work to let them know that it’s OK to not get bored with the little things.”

On defensive struggles
“The little things. It’s little things that coach points out to us at practice and little things that he points out to us during film. It’s one of those things that you do it once and you’re complacent and we think it’s taken care of. So we put duct tape over the situation instead of filling the hole. From this point on, we have to continue to be on each other about those little details of stepping with the right leg instead of the left. Or being in the A-gap and not getting bumped out if it. Making the right call and hand signals when we change calls, having better communication. Once we focus on that everything else will get fixed.”

On consistent mistakes
“Almost every first drive of the second half, we’ll come out and it’s always failure of little things where it blows up. I’ve turned on film and watched a majority of those drives and you can see that the calls were there and the play that’s there for the players to make is poor execution. It shows. Then coach gets on us and that’s when we start performing better, but it needs to be on a play-to-play basis rather than coach has to get on us to get it out of us.”

On Head Coach Scott Frost’s message after Saturday’s loss to Indiana
“One thing I think we do really well as a team is we don’t stray away from each other. I feel like we have a really good bond and we trust Coach Frost a lot. It’s frustrating, putting ourselves in these positions and not being able to take ourselves out of it. Coach Frost shares the same frustrations as us because he puts, if not more, into it than we do. Going into this week, we just have to try to continue to encourage the good things instead of focusing too much on the negative. We have to make sure that we’re always doing everything right. Being complacent, it’s a long season, we’ve been going at it since camp. We had a bye week, but it’s still football. It’s one of those things where we have a lot of young guys and we just have to continue to trust Coach Frost and all of the coaches on the staff and continue to not get bored with doing everything correct.”

Erik Chinander – Nebraska Defensive Coordinator

On what didn’t happen to stop Indiana’s passing attack
“The problem was very clear: we didn’t get off the field on third down. We had a lot of chances. I think, just about 100-percent of the drives where they scored points we had a third to medium to third to long. Bad executions. A couple bad technique errors. We didn’t get off the field on third down. That’s it. Did a good against the rush. Did a good job on second down. Didn’t get off the field on third down.”

On why the defense struggled to get off the field on third down
“That game it was a little bit of everything. There were some times where we didn’t get a very good pass rush when we were rushing four. Some times where we had some coverage errors, some alignment errors. One time we have a guy double teamed and he catches the ball. That stuff can’t happen. There’s a multitude and it’s not one group, not one player. It’s a lot of guys.”

On generating more pass rush
“We’re gonna put them in the best position we can to rush with four, but when they have five blockers and you have four rushers, somebody has to be able to win a one on one battle. Somebody is getting a one on one. More than one guy is getting a one on one. Somebody has to be able to win a one on one battle.”

On making adjustments during the game
“Just because something is going well doesn’t mean they’re gonna allow you to do it. If something is working against 11 personnel they might get away from 11 personnel and put it 01 and get in a bunch of empty. They might get in 10. They might get in 12. You have to be able to adjust to every single personnel grouping. Then if they get into a different personnel grouping, something else might be working well, they’re gonna switch. Something might not be working good, they’re gonna stay with it then you gotta switch. That’s kind of the game you play. It all depends on field position and what grouping they’re in.”

On if players have responded well to adjustments on the fly
“Sometimes, sometimes not. We’re in a position right now where there’s some injuries, which happens in football. That’s life. We’ve got some guys playing different positions so it’s not as easy to get full sail adjustments. But that is what it is. That’s where we’re at.”

On figuring out what the issues are on third downs
“It’s pretty easy when you watch the film and you show them what happens. They know it. As soon as they come off the field they know what they did wrong. Why it’s not being executed right now: we didn’t practice very good on Wednesday last week. That’s when we do third downs and it showed up in the game. We practiced really good on Monday and Tuesday; first and second down were really good. Practiced bad on Wednesday; third down wasn’t very good.”

On if it is more frustrating that the players understand what isn’t being executed
“It’s all frustrating. I don’t know if it’s more or less. It’s all frustrating, but that’s why we’re here. We have to get it right. The players gotta execute, 100-percent, but we have to find a way to get it done. Period.”

On red zone defensive issues
“Indiana had a good plan for unbalanced formation against us, and we had to get that thing corrected this week. That’s where those chunk runs came. Once again, Wednesday is a big red zone, goal line, third down day. Practice was not good last week.”

On the reasoning for the bad practice last week
It’s hard to tell sometimes why practice isn’t good and why it’s really good on Monday and Tuesday and it’s not as good on Wednesday. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell. I’m sure there’s a lot of factors. But everybody that walks out onto that practice field, me included, we came here to Nebraska because Nebraska’s about being tough. If you’re not tough enough to practice on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, we need to find somebody else. Period.”

On support from Frost and others for him at Monday’s press conference
“I love football. I love Nebraska, and I love these kids. I’m going to coach them as hard as I freaking can for as long as I’m here, and I hope that’s for a really long time,” Chinander said. “This program is going to be really good. We have to find a way to make it better. There is no such thing as a quick fix. I know everybody wants it. I want it. The players want it. That’s not realistic. We have to build this program to where Coach Frost wants it. If that happens in the next four games, great. If that happens next year, that’s probably not good enough for everybody, but we’re going to keep pushing until we do it. There isn’t one person in this building that doesn’t love Nebraska.”

On Purdue’s offense
“In the run game they do a lot of different things to get a lot of groupings in there. You’re gonna see 10 personnel. You’re gonna see 01, 02, 12. They even get into some pro style runs, which not a lot of people do that are a spread operation. They’re trying to find some ways to run the football. They’ve done a good job of finding ways to run the football. They haven’t had a ton of success, but some of that stems from they’re really good at creating formations to get you in a disadvantage passing-wise. You’ve just got to be ready for a lot of groupings. I don’t know if Rondale Moore is gonna play, but you gotta be ready in case he is. David Bell has emerged as a big time receiver. Their tight end has become a really good blocker and a really good target in the pass game. The young quarterback can make a lot of throws. He’s had some ups and downs too, but he’s done a really nice job. The hard part about them is you have to be ready for the whole passing attack and then you have to be able to stop the run.”

On comparing coaches, offensive coordinators between Big Ten, AAC, and Pac-12
“Football is football. There’s a lot of really good offensive coaches in the AAC. Just off the top of your head, Mike Norvell at Memphis: he’s as good an offensive coach as there is, in my opinion. They do a lot of really good stuff. We played Gus Malzahn in a bowl game. I think he’s pretty darn good. I think a lot of people will think he’s good. When we were in the Pac-12, you saw a lot of really good football. It’s a little bit of a different style. There’s really good coaches in this league. The offensive coordinator from Indiana, Kalen DeBoer, he came from Fresno, and he does a really good job. They do a really good job offensively. There’s really good play callers in this league. There’s really good play callers in the Pac-12. There’s really good play callers in the AAC. It’s a little bit of a different style here, but there’s a lot of good coaches at a lot of different levels.”

On problems with zone defense coverage and how that might get exposed against Purdue’s Rondale Moore
“You have to have a way to double team him some, but you can’t do it the whole game because then, they’re good play callers. If you’re gonna take one guy out of the game, they’re gonna exploit you other places. You’ve gotta have a way to double him sometimes, and a way to not, a way to play some zone on him, a way to play some man, but you gotta have a different look, especially with a young quarterback.”

On watching film to correct mistakes or simply moving on to the next game
“We’ve always thought, what I’ve always thought, what I’ve always learned…when we were in the NFL or when we were at Oregon, it doesn’t matter, the mistakes that happen, if you let it continue, if you just move on, they’re gonna keep happening. Offenses should be…it’s a copycat situation. If they see something that’s exploited on film, it’s gonna happen next week. If you don’t stop it when it comes out the following week, you’re in trouble. You have to watch that film. You have to figure out why things broke down, why did the player do this when he shouldn’t have, what is the structure scheme, what is the deficiency there. Is it a player deficiency? Is it a structure deficiency? Is it a scheme deficiency? You have to figure those things out, and then you also have to get ready for the next one.”

 

Troy Walters – Nebraska Offensive Coordinator

On outside practice with cold, snowy conditions
“It’s good for us. Saturday may be cold, may be snowing. Who knows? It’s good to go out there, create some mental toughness. The guys responded. They went out there. It’s windy, snowflakes, snow flurries. The guys went out there and did a good job of executing. We’re ready for any conditions that may happen on Saturday.”

On use of short passes and screens
“Really in this offense we want to be able to stretch the defense put stress on the defense, with long throws as well as short throws. The screens, they gotta cover the entire field. With a JD [Spielman] and Wan’Dale [Robinson], you get the ball in their hands right at the line of scrimmage, they can make something happen. It also helps the line out to get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands. They don’t have to protect every play for three or four seconds. It changes it up. It makes the defense, keeps them on their heels as to what’s going on. The screen game is definitely a huge part of this offense. Then when they stop the screens, and they’re up on the line of scrimmage, that creates those opportunities that you can go deep.”

On Luke McCaffrey’s execution of the screen plays against Indiana
“Did a great job. On both of those we cracked the linebacker because the linebacker had Wan’Dale [Robinson] man, so the quarterback did a good job of just buying time, allowing that X receiver to come in and crack. He found a window, gave Wan’Dale a nice throw, and then when Wan’Dale gets the ball in his hands, he’s pretty special.”

On the toughness of Wan’Dale Robinson
“He doesn’t seem like a freshman. He doesn’t seem like a 5’9”, 175 pound freshman. He plays tough, with an attitude. He’s not afraid to run over a guy. He understands the game, the situations, when he needs that extra yard he puts his head down. Very pleased with his performance. This week at Purdue, it’s gonna be another tough game. They got a tough defense. They fly around, play hard. We’re gonna need more performances like that from him and other guys on the offense.”

On red zone offense this year
“We can be better. In this league, when you get down into the red zone, inside the 20, you’ve gotta score. We’ve had some struggles at the kicking position, so we gotta take it into our own hands. Instead of settling for field goals, we’ve gotta go and score touchdowns. Against the offenses we’re gonna play, touchdowns are gonna win games so we can’t settle for field goals.”

On why this was the week to practice outside
“Coach Frost emphasizes toughness. We’re playing on a grass field. The field may be sloppy. It rained a lot last week there at Purdue. It may be a sloppy track so we wanted to make sure that we got out this week and practiced on the grass, got used to the elements, got used to the conditions so that if it is sloppy, and rainy, snowy, whatever, that we have confidence that because we prepared and because we practiced on it that we’ll be ready to go.”

On how players responded to the weather during outside practices
“Good day. We had a good day yesterday when we were outside. Good day today. They focussed in. A lot of times you go out there and it’s cold, snowy…those guys were focussed on the game plan, focussed on what we have to do. We definitely go better today.”

On keeping players engaged when the season isn’t go as planned
“We told them the standard is the standard. When things aren’t going your way, we try to teach life lessons. If things aren’t going your way in life you can’t quit. You have to just keep plugging, keep grinding, keep doing the things that are going to help you be successful. I also told them we have four more games, guaranteed, and let’s make this the best four games, individually, of the year or season and collectively.

“The guys have done a great job responding, being dialed in. No one has checked out. We all want to win these next four to guarantee a fifth game and then win a bowl game and finish this season off the right way. They understand that, and they understand when their number is called they have to be ready to go.”

On fine tuning offense after seeing success against Indiana
“We showed the offense we had four clean series where we didn’t have a penalty, didn’t have at turnover, there was less than three tackle for losses. When we had clean series we scored four times. When we don’t beat ourselves then we’re pretty good. Now the goal is when we do have a penalty or a mistake, which is gonna happen, we gotta be able to overcome that. If you get in a first and 15, we gotta find a way to overcome that and score touchdowns. When we’re clean and we don’t beat ourselves, we’re a pretty good offense. We gotta continue to master the fundamentals on not beat ourselves.”

On Purdue defense
“They’re banged up but they play hard. They play hard. They play as a unit. You wouldn’t tell that those guys are 2-6. Those guys fly around. Up front, they’re very active. They’ll get in some three man fronts. They’ll get into some four man fronts. They’ll bring the house and play cover one behind it. They mix it up too, so you’re never really sure what you’re gonna see on any given play. We gotta be dialed in. Offensive line has to be dialed in with the different fronts they’re gonna present. They play hard and we remember them from last year. They got after us last year and got a lot of those guys back. We’re expecting a tough game. We gotta be mentally prepared to go in there and fight.”

On what it would mean if Adrian Martinez is able to return this week
“It’s huge. Adrian’s our leader. He’s our guy, and so to get him back, I think, will give us a lift and guys will be psyched that he’s back. He’s ready to go. Even when he was out, he was engaged; he was focussed; he was around the team. I think he’s chomping at the bit to get back and prove what type of quarterback he really is. If he’s able to go, we’re glad to have him back.”

 

Scott Frost(Thursday) – Nebraska Head Coach

On how Adrian Martinez looked this week
“Adrian looks like he’s got dark hair and weighs about 225 pounds. That’s how he looks.”

On how the week of practice went
“I thought the guys did some things better this week. Still things we’re working on and working through but things got better. Bottom line, we just gotta show up on Saturday and play and execute. We gotta be better on third down on defense and we gotta not make mistakes on offense. Aside from that, there’s a lot of things that we a lot better last Saturday, but you can’t overcome those type of things.”

On player response to outside practices in the cold
“Bottom line, we gotta be on the grass. We’re playing on grass this week. We got some guys that embrace those types of things.”

On Marquel Dismuke
“I don’t want to say too much. There was a missed court date that we have to get taken care of and we’re working on that. I don’t know much about it yet. I just found out about it walking off the practice field. I know we gotta address a missed court date.”

On confidence in players to fill roles while someone is out in the secondary
“Whoever is called on has gotta be ready. Certainly had a few issues with a few guys back there. I’m missing a couple guys. Whoever’s called on has gotta be ready. Purdue does a great job with their scheme. They’re gonna give some stuff we haven’t seen and try to give us some tricks and gadgets that our guys can’t fall for. Experience is gonna matter and attention to detail. Whoever’s out there has gotta do a good job.”

 

Opponent Preview

While Nebraska leads the all-time series 4-3, the series in West Lafayette is even at 2-2. Purdue needs to win out in order to become bowl eligible. Despite the injuries and lack of wins, the Boilermakers are one of the Big Ten’s most explosive passing teams, averaging 301.2 passing yards per game and completing 60 percent of pass attempts.

Purdue is in the top ten nationally for not shooting themselves in the foot, with only 38 penalty yards per game. Rushing the ball has been an adventure for the Boilermakers, who are last in the Big Ten for rush attempts on the season(232) and for rushing yards per game(68.6).

Defensively, Purdue ranks ahead of Nebraska in both scoring defense and rushing defense, while Nebraska holds an advantage in passing defense.

Individually, players to watch are freshman wideout David Bell who has 44 receptions on the season and is averaging 14.8 yards per catch; redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Plummer has performed well after taking over for injured fifth year senior Elijah Sindelar, throwing for 1,361 yards in five games, including completing 80.5%(33-41) of passes for 420 yards against Maryland; and freshman defensive end George Karlaftis who has 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks.

The big question mark is sophomore Rondale Moore, possibly the most explosive player on the field any time he suits up. Moore has only played in four games this season while being hampered by a hamstring injury.

Friday Husker Tailgate Predictions

Jack Mitchell: Nebraska 31 Purdue 28

Brenden Stai: Nebraska 28 Purdue 14

Kaleb Henry: Nebraska 45 Purdue 24

Cole Stukenholtz: Nebraska 31 Purdue 21

Kellan Heavican: Purdue 34 Nebraska 28

Full Friday Husker Tailgate Show