Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Huskers Keeping Confident for Rest of Season After Opening Loss

August 30, 2022

Caleb Tannor had to catch himself during Nebraska’s press conference Tuesday.

The team captain and fifth-year EDGE acknowledged that the Huskers’ season-opening loss to Northwestern was “emotionally hard” to move on from relative to past losses. He attributed that feeling to the team’s work over the offseason and the belief that this squad would finally break through. In expressing this, though, he made clear that the loss didn’t change those beliefs.

“We put that grind in and I felt like this team right here — I feel like this team right here is like, man, we the one to bring Nebraska back to where it was,” Tannor said. “So it’s hard, but like I said, I take full responsibility of that and coming with that, you got to get back to work. We don’t got time to sulk about it, cry about it, we got to get back to work.”

Looking at the past years, it’s not hard to imagine why this loss hits Tannor differently. That desire to bring Nebraska back to prominence was the goal when head coach Scott Frost was hired in 2018, yet reality has been far off from what many expected. Tannor is one of few players to have played for the Huskers in all five years of Frost’s tenure, and he’s seen the field in every single game.

Many of Nebraska’s 30 losses since 2018 could be considered just as heartbreaking as Saturday’s. The Huskers have lost four of the last five season openers as well, three of them by a single score. Expectations have arguably been higher than the result each season, but the stakes are now as high as they’ve been.

For Tannor, the heightened impact of the loss also may have to do with his leadership position on the team. As he said, he’s taking increased responsibility now that he’s a captain.

“When we win, it’s gonna fall back on the captains. When we lose, it’s gonna fall back on the captains,” he said. “… I didn’t get my guys prepared correctly for what was to come.”

In particular, Tannor said he wants the guys around him to be “practicing like a pro.” That means working hard from the first practice of the week to game day, and working on things like tackling and running to the ball.

Frost and players expressed that moving forward hasn’t been an issue. Quarterback Casey Thompson said that process started on Sunday as they reviewed the game.

“Right after the game, you feel defeated, but as soon as you wake up on Sunday, at least for me and this team, I think it’s important to try to move on,” he said. “On Sunday, the main takeaway was to correct the issues, acknowledge the mistakes but also see what we did well and improve on the positives.”

That was in line with Frost’s tone, as the coach said the team’s effort was there and it was just “four or five” plays that made the difference on both offense and defense.

Thompson said Monday’s practice also focused on staying positive and energetic, and that the pressure the team faces is just “outside noise.” Internally, Thompson said the Huskers just need to focus on executing.

This week’s home opener against North Dakota, an FCS opponent, is an opportunity for Nebraska to get back on the right track. That classification doesn’t mean the Huskers are taking anything for granted.

“We shouldn’t take any opponent lightly,” Newsome said. “We trying to get our momentum going back, we know this team is going to come in here and give it all they got and it’s going to be a game and we know that nobody’s going to lay down for us. We need to attack every week the same as we would the beginning of the season.”

Tannor kept it simple when it came to detailing what his unit needed to do to avoid coming up short from here on out. He said that each player needs to do their job, and the team has to play better defense.

“We’re here to work, get better, and won’t let it happen again,” Tannor said.

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