Huskers Turn Focus to Buckeyes

Posted by: Sports

Nebraska Football
Weekly Press Conference
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
Monday, Oct. 1, 2012
Pre-Ohio State

Head Coach Bo Pelini
On the progression of Alonzo Whaley
“I have a lot of respect for Alonzo. He's come a long way. He's had his share of adversity through his career, and he's been through a lot. I think he's grown and he's really become a tremendous team guy. It's good to see him have a game like he did the other night and have success. He's persevered through a lot of things. He's really matured and grown up and become a tremendous asset to our program.”

On what he's persevered through
“Like a lot of kids these days, he had some things he had to figure out on what it takes to have success on the field and off the field. He's never been a problem kid. You grow up and you mature. You grow into your role and what the challenges are of the student-athletes, and I think he's been through a lot of those things. I wouldn't say he's been in the doghouse, because he's never been in trouble with the law and that type of thing. He had some maturing he had to do, and he had some things to figure out and to his credit, he's done that. He's become one of the real leaders on our football team.”

On how Baker Steinkuhler has progressed through his career
“Baker has played a lot of football around here. I thought he played really well the other night and did some good things. I thought our guys up front did really well the other day and that's going to be the challenge as the year continues. We'll be challenged this week. This is a good running football team and a physical football team, so we need him to play like he did the other night.”

On if Steinkuhler's a leader for the defense
“I don't know how vocal Baker is, but people respect him. They respect what he does, what he represents and like I said, he's played a lot of football and he's done a good job.”

On what he's seen from Ohio State's offense
“I think there are a lot of similarities from when (Urban Meyer) was at Florida. They have a different style of runner at the quarterback position, so we'll see some different plays. There are a lot of similarities there, too. He had success with it at Florida, so why wouldn't he have success at Ohio State. It makes sense.”

On the comparison between Tim Tebow and Braxton Miller
“Obviously you see some similar plays, but Tebow's a 240-pound guy. Braxton Miller is like a tailback back there. He's elusive and he makes a lot of people miss. Tebow is going to run over you. Braxton is going to make you miss. Obviously there are some different plays that lend to each of those guys' talents, but they're both very effective and very dangerous in their own way.”

On who they'll use on the scout team as a quarterback to emulate Miller
“We have quarterbacks back there who are pretty athletic. Obviously you're not going to have someone back there who can do everything that Braxton Miller can do. We'll just use the guys we normally do.”

On when the preparation for Ohio State began
“The celebration ended after I walked out of that locker room. That's it. It was time to get back to work.”

On if he felt a sigh of relief after the comeback on Saturday
“No. All I'm concerned about is the next challenge and the next day.”

On if he was expecting what he saw on Saturday
“If I would've seen it coming, I would've probably done something different. I thought our guys were a little too keyed up for the game. They maybe got outside of themselves for a minute. I talked with them about it before the game. They didn't have their emotions under control. They are 18-22 year old kids. We didn't play well in the first half, and I thought they did a good job of coming back in the second half. The execution got better as the game went on, but we've got to get that fixed. We're not always going to be able to survive the mistakes we made in that first half.”

On if he'll be happy not to see the uniforms with the small numbers anymore
“It made some things difficult at times. You couldn't always see who was coming on but you could see who was going off or vice versa, so that created some issues for us. Other than probably one time, we were able to get the right personnel out there.”

On if he expects to see as many people motioning before the snap as the Wisconsin game
“Well I think everyone does that to a certain extent. We've seen that all year.”

On if there is anything going through his mind because he is heading back to Columbus, Ohio
“No. Why would it? I'm in a different time in my life and a different place. I have a job to do and that's all I'm concerned with.”

On the last time he's been to that stadium for a game
“I don't know. It was a long, long time ago.”

On if there is anything different with the way that stadium is set up
“It's a great venue. It's a great environment. You guys have to make your own judgments. It's a great environment with great tradition. It will be a great place for our kids to play. It will be a great experience for our players.”

On what Ohio State football means to the kids growing up there
“It's highly thought of. Ohio State is very popular throughout the state.”

On if he has pride in Ohio State
“Yeah I have pride in where I went to school in my career there. But that has nothing to do with Saturday. It doesn't really make any difference what happened in 1986-1990. That's a different time in my life.”

On what he remembers about Urban Meyer
“He was a graduate assistant at Ohio State. He was energetic and hard-nosed football coach then. It's carried over into who he is today.”

On if he liked matching up with them when he was at LSU
“Yeah, he's a good football coach.”

On if he relishes a matchup with an offensive guy like Meyer
“Neither one of us is playing. It's our football teams going against each other, and it will be a great challenge for us.”

On if he's watched game film from Ohio State yet
“Yeah. It's all there.”

On what's with Joe Ganz's hands
“You'll have to ask Joe. It cost me a couple dollars with that one though.”

On how important it is to have a good showing in Ohio for potential recruits
“Just like anything else with regards to recruiting, if you win, it's good for you. I don't really put a lot of stock into that. We're trying to be the best football team we can be. We're going to try to play the best we possibly can on Saturday and try to win the football game. How that applies to recruiting, you'll have to ask the recruits.”

On if he'll do any recruiting on Friday night
“No. We don't think we'll be doing that.”

On why the state of Ohio has so many high caliber recruits
“It's a big state. There's a pretty large population. They have big cities. They have really good high school football coaching. They have a pretty big emphasis on high school football back there. It equates to having pretty big numbers.”

On how it's cultivated over time compared to the other big recruiting states
“When you look at all the states, I think they have similar characteristics. Texas football, California football, Ohio football and Florida football. They have big population bases and tradition over a long period of time. Guys gravitate to places that have good high school coaching. I always believe that with coaching period, you kind of become a product of what you've been exposed to growing up. That tends to repeat itself, so I know myself, and I'm sure Urban Meyer would tell you the same thing, that if you're coached the right way growing up, and you have a good experience, and you get a foundation built that will establish what you need to do to have success in your career and those things, it gives you a little bit of a leg up going forward and probably happens at high school ranks as well.”

On if Woody Hayes is the Godfather of Ohio football
“In my lifetime, yeah, it's Woody Hayes. But there's a long tradition of good coaches there, and a lot of people going through there. There's a lot of tradition with that university with regards to the football program.”

On what mistakes they made in trying to stop Braxton Miller in the running game last year
“We made some mistakes. We missed a couple tackles where we had opportunities to tackle them. I thought we did some decent things. It wasn't all Braxton Miller during that period, trust me. He's a good football player. He's going to make his share of plays. You're not going to shut a guy like that down from the quarterback position the whole game. You're not going to just shut them out. We know that going in.”

On if limiting his yards is the biggest concern
“They use him in so many different ways; scrambling, design runs, zone reads, options. He has the ball in his hands a lot, so yeah he's a big focal point.”

On if there is a moment that stands out from his days at Cardinal Mooney
“I have a lot of great memories from growing up where I grew up and playing at Mooney. That was a great time.”

On what it's like to go back now and recruit that area
“I always enjoy going back, because I have a lot of family back there and a lot of friends back there.”

On if he ever talks to Vince Marrow and Tim Beck about the Ohio days
“It comes up every now and then just joking around. I don't talk a bunch about that anymore.”

On the challenges of their run defense
“They are a good defense. They are strong up front. They have a couple really good players on their front four. They are well-coached. Their kids play hard. It will be a heck of a challenge for our offense. They are good defensively.”

On if there is anything besides Braxton Miller that concerns him
“It all runs through the quarterback, but they have some good players. They have some good backs. They are physical and well-coached up front. They have some wide receivers that can hurt you down the field. They have some good pieces around Braxton Miller, too. He gets a lot of credit deservedly so, but he has some talent around him that is pretty good.”

On how Nebraska's corners covered on Saturday
“I thought we had some plays we'd obviously like to have back. We had a couple of pass interference calls sometimes where we could've played the ball a little bit better. We had a bust early in the game where Josh Mitchell should've had some help a little bit quicker. I thought he could've played the ball better. I think there are a lot of things from that game across the board that we can learn from and will make us better down the road.”

On how close wide receiver Tim Marlowe is to coming back
“He had an X-ray over the weekend. I'm not exactly sure where the doctors are on that. It's whenever the doctors give him the go-ahead.”

On defensive tackle Thad Randle's status
“Thad will be ready to go.”

On the fact that Ohio State is playing well, even though they can't win the conference
“You'd expect that. Kids have pride and the coaches have pride. What happened to them is in the past and all they can control are the games that they are allowed to play. That's the attitude they've taken, and I give them credit for it.”

On the difference between facing pocket quarterbacks and mobile quarterbacks
“Every game is different. The challenges they present to you are different. You've got to be ready to meet those challenges. You can't just lump all those offenses and everything they are doing into one category. You have to defend what people do and make plays on Saturday.”

On if the way they use Miller reminds him of anyone they've faced
“Not necessarily. Their offense is kind of unique to itself.”