Nebraska Can't Really Believe Its Record
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Can’t Really Believe Its Record, and Neither Can Opponents

October 15, 2018

Nebraska feels like a team that's so close. The Huskers keep progressing. There's talent on the team. Coach Scott Frost keeps mentioning how much better practices are every single week.

And yet the record remains 0-6.

Things are different, though. Ask sophomore cornerback Dicaprio Bootle about it. He'll tell you how different the 2018 season is from 2017.

"I think last year a lot of the times when the going got tough, we quit and we laid down and we just let bad things happen," Bootle said after Monday's practice. "When bad things happen this year, I see a lot of fighters. I see a lot of people trying to fight back, you know, and not taking no for an answer and just trying to keep things close and trying to win football games. Last year when things went bad, we weren't trying to win football games. We were just trying to get through the quarters.

"This year, things are going bad and we're still fighting. Down by however many, we're still fighting."

Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez sees that fight coming from continued belief in one another, "despite our 0-6 start." It's about the hard work and the Monday practices that keep getting better and better, and knowing "it wasn't for nothing and that we have the capability to win games and play well."

And a big part of that is not losing faith in one another.

"I think it's more of a thing where it's late in the game and it's tight but believing we're going to win this because this is what we do as opposed to getting used to having that feeling of doubt," Martinez said. "In my mind, I always play like we're going to win regardless of who we're playing or what time it is in the game.

"I don't lose that faith."

That doesn't mean the 0-6 record doesn't come with a little bit of shock. It's not surprising to just Nebraska. Opposing teams can't really believe it either.

"Even when you talk to the guys after games on the other team, it’s always like ‘I don’t know how you guys are 0-6. We’ve watched you guys on film,'" senior linebacker Luke Gifford said. "It’s happened almost every week. It’s frustrating but you have to keep going and keep plugging along.”

So Nebraska will keep doing just that in hopes the first win is just around the corner. For someone like Martinez, it'll be more than welcomed when it finally arrives. He hasn't won a football game since his junior year of high school, after all. (He tore his labrum in his throwing shoulder during basketball his junior year, sidelining him for his senior football season.)

But don't take the time between wins for Martinez to mean anything. Same goes for his teammates. Because this team knows it's close to that first win, even if the record says otherwise.

"I think the winning culture is [instilled] in me," Martinez said. "I don't think I'm doing anything different throughout my life. I want to win and I believe we're going to win. I'm a competitive guy. I don't think I'm used to losing and I don't think people here are either.

"We want to win and we're going to do everything we can to win."

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