After back-to-back losses to a pair of top-ten opponents, Nebraska finds itself in a similar situation to last season. Last year, there were questions on how the team would rebound after an overtime loss to Wisconsin and a drubbing at the hands of Ohio State, but the team bounced back to beat Minnesota and Maryland.
Now, they head into a bye week to lick their wounds and see if they can find some mojo before the season completely gets away from them. Kicker Drew Brown has been here before and spoke abot the team’s mindset heading into the bye.
“We were in the exact same situation with the same two teams, losing both of them," he said. "I think it’s good for the guys that we have a bye this week and we kind of rejuvenate and recollect ourselves going into this last part of the season. We still have a lot to play for. The 18 seniors on the team including myself, this is our last go around as Nebraska Cornhuskers. We don’t want to be remembered as that team that wins 6 games or doesn’t win 5 games. We want to keep competing to the very best of our ability with all the hard work we put in this offseason and the summer and I want to help the team do that.”
This time, on the other side of the bye week, awaits a Purdue team looking to put a marquee win on the wall of first-year head coach Jeff Brohm. While the Boilermakers aren’t a team Nebraska can afford to overlook, this is a game you would normally expect the Huskers to win. These aren’t normal times though, so what was Mike Riley and Bob Diaco’s message after the game Saturday?
“Coach Riley talked about pulling together leading into the bye week," Diaco said. "[He] talked about staying together, talked about working, talked building brick by brick. We’re building a team and it takes time. That’s what he talked about.
"I talked to the defense about preparation. I talked to the defense about where we were, where we are and where we can be. I talked to the defense about a lot experience and experiences that are happening in a positive way for our players that are in a lot of instances young. I talked to them about the future and the opportunities in the future. That was what we talked about.”
So how does a team go about picking itself up off the mat while preparing for a bye week? Brown also got into that post game and talked about what younger players have to learn in this situation too.
”We just gotta keep working at it. You have to give Wisconsin and Ohio State credit. They are two incredible teams and they have been for a while. We played hard and no one gave up which is a great sign, not that we expected anyone to. Like we said to the younger guys, this isn’t a game that you are going to consistently go out and win every week. If you’re Alabama or any of those couple teams, it’s a little bit easier but the Big Ten, it’s a battle every single game no matter who you play. I think for those younger guys they have to realize that once they start to play a bigger role on the team, no matter how the season goes or a game is going you have to keep grinding. You have to keep pushing yourself to be better than the man lining up across from you on the line of scrimmage.”
There was lots of talk after the game about the bye coming at the perfect time for this football team mentally and physically. So, which is better, playing right away and getting that taste out of your mouth or being able to decompress for a week? The answer isn’t so simple according to Brown.
“Obviously, you want to get back out on the field and play and get that game out of your head, but at the same time you have to appreciate this week off that we are about to get. We can put in great work for our next game and we can really focus in on the things we’ve been doing right and wrong. I think it’s good for us to just mentally take a break. Not that we needed it but you have to take advantage of it when it comes.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.