It was a quiet Monday as the Nebraska football team was off enjoying its fall break. Head coach Mike Riley still met with the media, as well as safety Kieron Williams and I-back Terrell Newby.
Riley kicked off the weekly press conference by calling Nebraska’s performance against Indiana a “mixed bag.” He felt the defense had a nice day but that there were plenty of areas that need improvement.
“It was good to win but then we had to watch the film,” Riley said.
Unlike the defense, Riley felt the offense did not have a good day against Indiana, noting that production was down. He was also not happy with the two turnovers and felt Nebraska lacked consistency.
When it came to a few jet-sweep runs, Riley said the team could have gone much further. In many cases, he would have liked to see them go for touchdowns versus shorter runs. Riley felt a reason for this was poor blocking.
A bright spot on the offense? Riley thought that was T. Newby.
“He was really a man there at the end,” Riley said. “He made some really tough runs.”
On to some other news and notes from Monday’s press conference:
>> Riley updated the status on many of the team’s injuries. You can get those updates here.
>> Speaking of injuries, Riley said Nick Gates played injured against Indiana.
“He stayed in there and played like a real warrior,” Riley said.
>> Riley wishes he had never let kicker Drew Brown attempt the long 56-yard field goal attempt against Illinois. He said Brown would be perfect without it.
“They should take that off the books and put ‘bad coaching’ in there or something,” Riley said.
>> Nebraska continues to be impressive in the fourth quarter, often when needed most. It’s something Riley recognizes and appreciates about his team.
“I think they have tended to play their best ball at that time exactly when we need it,” Riley said. “Two games in a row, two drives like that in the fourth quarter that were big. I think the ability to pull it together is as much mental as it is physical.”
>> After losing to Purdue in 2015, the Huskers have gone 9-1. Was there a turning point?
“We’ve just grown in the scheme,” Williams said. “Our coaches have coached us up and we just have more time to learn the ins-and-outs of the scheme and the best ways to play with each other.
“Right now I think we’re playing great with each other. We’re working together. We know what each other are good at. We know Aaron [Williams] is great at man coverage. I’m a good over-the-top guy. When you put everything together like that, it’s just working well and helping us to play great.”
On the offensive side of things, Newby sees the Huskers improving also.
“I feel we’ve been playing pretty good so far,” Newby said. “A lot of things personally that I think I can improve on and things we can learn as an offense as well, so the ceiling is very high for us.”
>> Riley said that the team loves its 6-0 record right now. They’re aware it has come under scrutiny but it doesn’t faze them too much.
“All this stuff right now is just fun for everybody else, but it’s exactly the record that we want and we have to get better,” Riley said. “No matter what he record was, that’s the story I’d be telling you anyway.”
Williams agreed, focusing more on Purdue and the next games versus the rankings.
“We work very hard,” Williams said. “We’ve put in the time and we’ve put in the effort to be where we are. I think the rankings are for them to do but every win and every game we have won. The results have shown at the end of the game what they’re supposed to.”
Riley also added that it doesn’t matter much where you are mid-season as a team but where you are by the end.
“First of all, it’s just like I told the team and what I’ve always believed about football. Whether you start off good in a season or you start off bad in a season, your identity is basically… the story is told by how you finish.”
>> Purdue fired head coach Darrell Hazell on Sunday, leaving wide receivers coach Gerad Parker in charge as the interim coach. Will that affect Nebraska on Saturday? Riley doesn’t think it will too much, but admits it could present some new wrinkles that the Huskers are not ready for.
“Well, when you coach in the Canadian league, that’s sort of the way of life up there,” Riley said. “That part of it is not brand new, but there is some mystery to it.”
>> Will the Huskers be playing for revenge against the Boilermakers? Don’t count on it.
“I think when you play out of revenge, you’re not playing the right way,” Williams said.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.