Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Frustrated But Not Checking Out, Watching Football as a Fan and More Notes Ahead of Purdue

October 25, 2021

It’s hard to believe but the stretch run for the 2020 season is here. In the blink of an eye we have hit the final four games of the season for Nebraska. The season hasn’t gone the way that the team wanted it to go to this point. Sitting at 3-5 and 1-3 in the Big Ten West isn’t what the team had in mind for the fourth year of coach Scott Frost’s tenure. Defensive end Casey Rogers feels the disappointment on the team. They are not checked out.

“Yeah, I think there’s frustration. I don’t think anyone wants to be 3-5,” Rogers said. “That’s not our expectations. It’s not our standard. We know how close we are. I think just by being this close it’s frustrating itself. But it hasn’t caused any difference really. If anything, it’s making guys work harder.

“That’s kind of the thing about this team. You would expect people to get frustrated and kind of shut things down. It’s not the case here. When things aren’t going well, we figure out a way to practice harder. Let’s fix those mistakes. And let’s improve on our current situation.”

Rogers noted a key difference with the team this season. They are sticking together now because of the culture that Frost has built. A lot of players on the team are emphasizing that they need to make the best of the situation they are in. The players aren’t happy about it but know they have the power to fix things.

Each player on the team has a way they can get better individually to ultimately help the team fix things. Inside linebacker Chris Kolarevic has been part of a rotation at inside linebacker. He’s in a unique position because he plays both inside linebacker spots. Each has its own responsibilities in the defense. He’s got some specific areas he’d like to improve on over the last four games of the season.

“First of all, I want to be the best teammate I can be,” Kolarevic said. “I want to support my guys as much as I can by being the best teammate I can be. I also want to keep learning this defense better and be quicker with my assignments. Just have it become more natural and be locked in all the time.”

Kolarevic wants to continue learning both the Mike and Will positions. He enjoys being a versatile player but wants to raise his awareness level. Understanding the differences better between the positions will help him play faster. He also wants to continue lifting to develop his body. Staying healthy to finish the year is a big focus for him.

The Huskers need to have a lot of things go right to turn the season around. There is still hope that the season can be salvaged but the clock is ticking. It sounds like the team is in the right spot to put their best foot forward to close the year.

More news and notes:

>> Each player we spoke with said part of their bye week was spent watching football. They all tried to watch the games as fans instead of breaking it down like they would film. The nine-overtime game between Illinois and Penn State was a hot topic. Nouredin Nouili likes the new overtime rules with the two-point conversions, saying those plays feel like fourth-downs where it’s all or nothing.

>> It was noteworthy to hear defensive lineman Casey Rogers say that the slow start at Minnesota was an “elephant in the room.” That feeling lingered after the game and into the next practices. Rogers said that isn’t a normal thing for this defense. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander will get that fixed moving forward.

>> Kolarevic said that while the team tried to get time to recharge last week they still got a jump on Purdue prep. The team did practice a couple of times and also spent time watching Purdue film. He felt like the team was ready to hit the ground running in Monday’s practice with the extra preparation. The team also had more energy and focus.

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