Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst met with the media following Nebraska's 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois on Saturday, and was asked what he would say to upset Husker fans.
"Frustrated, angry, unacceptable, disappointed. Hang in there. We have a good group of young men in that locker room who are working hard to represent us and win ball games, and I would say the same thing about our staff. But everybody’s got to take it up a notch to get it moving in the right direction."
For the second time in three years under Coach Mike Riley, the Huskers are 1-2 to open a season. Dating back to the Wisconsin game last year, the Huskers are 3-6 in their last nine games. Eichorst said he's not focused on how last season ended, but what Nebraska needs to do going forward.
"My obligation is to these young men that are in our program and our coaches and our staff," he said. "We’ll be judged week to week on our performance and today’s performance was not good and unacceptable.
"I didn’t get down here to listen to what Mike had to say, but I’m sure Mike would say the same thing. He’s a professional, but they have to do better; the players have to do better to prepare for next week and nobody’s feeling sorry for anybody. There’s no excuses to be made. We will work hard and hunker down and provide great leadership. I will provide the leadership as I have up to this point, and continue to stay positive. I’m very, very optimistic about what we have. We need to stay together and continue to make progress, but we have to win games. That’s what we’re here to do, and we didn’t get that done today."
While the loss is certain to raise doubts as to Riley's future at Nebraska, Eichorst expressed faith in the direction of the program.
"We’ve had fans that have had doubts since we brought Mike on board, but you’ve got to win ball games," he said. "Nobody knows that more than him. But I have a lot of trust and faith in his abilities. We’ve got to regroup and get our kids headed in the right direction. Lot of adversity, but there’s resiliency. They’ve shown a lot of resiliency, this group . . . There are no excuses to be made and they won’t make them, whether it’s changing schemes or quarterbacks, any of that stuff. Everybody has got their challenges, but we have everything we need to be successful and move forward."
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.