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They Said It: Nebraska Players on Huskers’ Win Over Bethune-Cookman

October 27, 2018

Nebraska players met with the media Saturday afternoon following the Huskers' 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman.

Defensive tackle Peyton Newell, running back Wyatt Mazou, defensive tackle Mick Stoltenberg, linebacker Mo Barry, defensive back JoJo Domann and quarterback Adrian Martinez all fielded questions from the media. 

Here's the full transcript from their question-and-answer session postgame.

Senior defensive tackle Peyton Newell

On if he told the receiving core to watch out and thoughts after the interception

“Yeah, I gave Stanley (Morgan Jr.) a little… I made sure he knew. I just told him, I mean we were just messing around. Today was a blast for all of us, you can see out there we attacked this week just like any other week and we just went out there and had a lot of fun together.”

On what he saw on the play during the interception

“It was the longest second of my life. The ball was just up there. From day one my dad always told me, you can always control running to the ball so I just ran to the ball like I always try to do. Thanks to (Ben) Stille’s head being right there, it was pretty exciting.”

On if his interception made his journey through college worth it

“Yeah for sure. It’s been a long four and a half years for Mick (Stoltenberg) and for all of us. It was great to see that especially Matt Jarzynka. No one deserves that more than him. He gave it his all the four and a half years he’s been here. For us to do what we did today and for him to get out there, he did exactly what he was coached and taught to do and it paid off for him.”

On what it feels like to play on a scheduled bye week

“Like I said it was just another week for us. None of us were like ‘oh we need this bye week.’ We knew we could trust the coaches with recovering but still getting what we needed out of this week to prepare us as the season goes on.”

On if they work on tip drills in practice

“Yeah we do a lot of those. Defensive coaches definitely emphasize that. We have a thing called zero-period, which we do every day before practice and those are the exact things that we do.”

On if he is disappointed that he didn’t get to run with the ball

“It didn’t even cross my mind to run with the ball. I didn’t realize that Freedom (Akinmoladun) was the one that knocked me down because we were all so excited. Crazy feeling.”

On how he feels the team is at now compared to how they were against Michigan

“Like Coach Frost says, we’re building each and every single week. The little things are finally adding up. It was just a matter of time. We obviously have a ways to go, but we’re on the right track and we can only go up from here. We’re a lot better team than we were with Michigan, we’re a lot better team than last week.” 

Junior running back Wyatt Mazour

On the importance of today’s game

“It was huge for our team to be able to get the younger guys experience. With this redshirt rule, some guys haven’t been able to play because of close games. We didn’t overlook the team at all, but we knew we should’ve put a lot of points on offense and be able to finish it out earlier in the game. So, I came into the game expecting to get a little bit of action on offense, but like you said, it was huge for the younger guys on offense and defense to be able to get experience in a game like this.”

On becoming a fan favorite

“When I get my chance, I try to do as well as I can, try to represent this state. Being from here represents a lot to me. I love all the support and I’m really grateful for it, but at the end of the day I’m just trying to help the team.”

On how special this game was for him

“Actually when they started to put in the younger guys, [sophomore quarterback] Noah Vedral was wondering who the running back was going to be, and I was like: ‘I’m your running back,’ and he looked over at me, we didn’t really say anything but we both knew. It was a pretty special moment.”

On if he thought Noah Vedral was handing the ball over to him at one point

“I was worried, because I know Noah, he wants the carries (laughs). I thought it was a pretty special moment for both of us, he gets to come back and play for his home state. But no, I wasn’t worried at all. I knew with him out there we’d be able to make some plays and he showed what he can do and it’s only up from here.”

On if coaches said at halftime starters would be done for the day

“They didn’t really say it like that, but I know for the offense my position coach just told me I was going to start it out, and then go from there, get a rotation with me and [senior running back] Mikale [Wilbon]. Coach Frost said this would be a game for the younger guys to get some action, and he kind of mentioned that before we headed out, but as far as I know, defense got their starters out for a little bit. They kind of mentioned the younger guys better be ready because they were getting their shot today.”

On his performance today

“I thought I did alright. I was really trying to get in the end zone, but I think I got what… four carries and 55 yards, I’ll take it. It’s honestly all credit to the linemen and the wide receivers blocking down field, that was huge. I’m sure when I watch film we’re going to see some really good blocks down field, the lanes were open every time I touched the ball.”

On freshman running back Miles Jones

“Miles has amazing potential and he’s going to be a really solid player for us in the future. When he first came in here, it was a whole new offense, and for a freshman to come in and try to understand all the concepts and all of that, it takes a while, but he’s taking it in stride and was able to make some plays when the ball was in his hand. We kind of have this relationship because we’re both working the Duck position and we’re learning together, so we’re kind of close in that aspect. But like I said, he has a lot of potential that in the future he’ll be able to put to use.”

On if having several walk-on players in action today sends a message about the program

“I would say that when you get your chance here, it’s a really special opportunity. Everybody can see what we’re building here, and we had the rough start, nobody wanted it. It happened, it’s in the past. As you can see, now our offense is rolling, our defense played well today. It’s only up from here. For those Nebraska kids, I know personally being one, you really want to help the program turn it around and now it’s the time.”

Senior defensive tackle Mick Stoltenberg

Opening Statement

“I just want to start by giving a shout out to Matt Jarzynka, number 47 from Loup City, Neb. Came in with that kid five years ago, you know he’s a walk on here. He’s worked his ass off every single day and didn’t complain once. He’s given all he’s had to this program and for him to get out there and make that TFL that was awesome, just all the Nebraska kids watching the game for them to see that and realize that if you’re in this state and you love football, you can play here, you can get on the field, you can make the most of your opportunity, so that kid epitomizes what Nebraska is about. Just shout out to one of my best friends, Matt Jarzynka.

On Matt Jarzynka coming back to play this year

“It was no question, it was no question. He had opportunities in the summer to go and do a job internship for a great merchandising company, that’s what he wants to do that’s the line of work he wants to get in to. You know the coaches worked with him, they allowed him to leave and not participate in the summer workouts and then come back in the fall and rejoin the team and play on the scout team and do what he had to do to help us win. You know he didn’t have to come back, but it was no question that that’s what he wanted to do.”

On getting back on the field 

“It felt good, it was a good game you know, good for me to get back out there and kind of feel it out, see how the knee’s feeling and everything. It felt good, it held up. I don’t know how many plays I got necessarily, but I’m feeling really good right now.”

On being tentative or going full out

“I was ready to go. By the time we got through the tunnel and everything we were out on the field I was fired up to go.”

On if one of the goals of the game was giving backups the opportunity to play

“Yeah absolutely. You know especially looking at the remainder of our schedule we saw this would be an opportunity where if we did what we had to do and executed, we could be up big and let some of those young guys get in. There were representatives from all over the state of Nebraska today so that was awesome.”

On his reaction when Matt Jarzynka got the tackle for loss

“I don’t even know if he celebrated or whatever I just started tears, you know, super emotional just to see him get that moment. And he played it perfectly that was exactly what his assignment was to have the quarterback on that play. He didn’t miss a beat, didn’t break stride once so that was great.”

On Damian Jackson playing

“Him [Damian Jackson] and Chris Walker, Fyn Anderson, you know all those guys. Those are guys that give the offense hell on scout team every single week. They work their tails off, they really care about this place so it’s great to see them out there and getting some plays. Damian is a guy who’s obviously never played football before he came here and he’s continued to get smarter and smarter and learn more about the game so that’s a great opportunity for him going forward.”

On how driven he was to get back on the field

“I had those conversations with Mark (Head Football Athletic Trainer Mark Mayer) and Drew (Assistant Athletic Trainer Drew Hamblin) and the guys in the training room, it was just what can we do, is this the type of thing where I’ll be able to come back. They set out a plan where I can get back in about four weeks and that’s what we did. It’s tough when you’ve been dealing with that type of stuff throughout your career, but like I said earlier in the week I’m just blessed that I get a few more opportunities with these guys and with this team. It was tough and when it first happened I didn’t know how the surgery was going to go, what was going to be done, or if I was going to be able to return this season, so I’m glad it all kind of worked out here.”

On going to Ohio State next week

“It’s a huge opportunity, we’ve got a lot of huge opportunities coming up and this one’s the next one up. It’s a great team, it’s a great place to play, great atmosphere so we are going to be chomping at the bit. This has to be a week where everyone shows up on Monday and be ready to go.”

On how much better the team is now

“From my vantage point, someone who has been sitting from more of a birds eye view for the last few weeks, that’s what’s so frustrating about the way some of those games went. A few weeks ago we realized how much better we’ve gotten and we’re improving so much, we have made so many strides from last season to this season. We really are a better team, its tough when some of the breaks don’t go your way or you make some mistakes that kind of go the other way. This team is improving, they’re in the right hands with this staff and they’ll continue to improve.”

On getting prepared for this game with no bye week and having Monday off

“With Monday off the most important thing coaches told us was Tuesday’s got to be lights out. Guys showed up Tuesday and they were focused, they were detailed, and they were ready to play. Obviously that was kind of a different circumstance, us not getting a bye week, I got like four bye weeks so it’s a little different for me, but it was a good week to slow things down early in the week and amp it up throughout the week and get ready for the game.”

On the vibe of the team throughout the week

“Just like I said it was guys continuing to show up for work and wanting to put the pedal down. Guys showing up and wanting to make an opportunity for us to have a big win here, so that was definitely the mentality. 

Junior linebacker Mo Barry

On the importance of getting other players into the game that don’t play as much

“I said on Monday, I came into this game, one of my vocal points I was saying that I want to be a better football player this week. I want to play faster, I want to tackle harder, stuff like that. I think that’s what I told my teammates also that we have to become better players this week because we know who we have the next week. We’ve got to finish our opponent off, have a great defensive performance so our brothers can get in and get some shine because they’ve been working. They’ve been having scrimmages every Friday, working on their craft and also and have them come in and do a good job. It was good for everyone.”

On how the first defensive unit played

“We played well. We could have played better, but I think overall we played well. I’ll have to look at the film and assess some things but we played well.”

On how encouraging it was to get three takeaways 

“It was real encouraging because one, the play before (an interception), I had a mistake and Peyton Newell made up for that. Plays like that, that’s what great defenses are made of when one player makes a mistake and another makes up for it. When you have a lot of guys that can do that then that’s what a great defense is. So a lot of people did their job this game, and we had a mistake and someone stepped up and had a big play.”

On if the team is a more prepared team than they were earlier in the season

“Oh, way more prepared. I don’t think we knew what kind of team we were. I think we had a lot of doubt with each other, conflicts within, and a lot of that is gone. We have a lot of confidence in each other. Some players are real consistent and you just know that this game they will give their best and they will have a standout performance.”

On how his sack felt

“Oh, real good. When I saw (the quarterback’s) back turn, I thought ‘oh, it’s done for you.’ So to get that, that was good.”

On what it means to see the younger guys get a chance to play

“I was one of those guys, and I wish I had this opportunity so I know how hungry they are. So to see them come out and not be nervous and just play the game of football that they love and you know make plays, be hype, stuff like that. That’s a good thing, that means they love the game. That means when we’re practicing technique, and when we are practicing every day, they’re not taking that lightly. They are actually coming out there, and they are honing in on their craft and they’re making it work when they get their shot.”

Sophomore defensive back JoJo Domann

On if he is getting back into a rhythm

“Just getting reps on defense is a blessing and just being able to go out there and make plays. I just hope they keep coming my way and I keep capitalizing on the opportunity.”

On if his position switch feels like a big change

“No, no. I play football, all aspects of it, so just them putting the packages to get me on the field… that’s the place I want to be in.”

On causing turnovers

“We want to make plays. We’re just trying to play football out there, really. Making plays is just part of it. So yeah, we like to get on each other’s hats after we make plays, for sure.”

On if the turnovers had to do with coaching

“Coach [Ron] Brown made a point before the game and said ‘You are what you put on tape and no matter who you’re playing, you don’t want to be on tape being lazy.’ We really emphasized just getting to the ball and just trying to make plays, and we really did that today. So I’m proud of the guys, for sure.”

On the defense turning a corner

“The more guys you have on defense that can make plays, it allows the coaching staff to really be able to indulge in their defensive schemes. As players, we’ve just got to come to work every day and make plays and show the coaches that we know our jobs, and let them put us in the best position possible.”

Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez

On the importance of getting off to a quick start

“Most definitely. I think regardless of the game a good quick start, a score, is really helpful for both sides of the ball.”

On whether his improved poise in the pocket was the result of a conversation with Coach Mario Verduzco

“No I wouldn’t say we’ve ever really had a conversation about that, honestly. I think it’s more about getting comfortable and gaining confidence throughout this process that it’s been for me.” 

On how much the offensive line has to do with that

“They’ve improved a ton and they’ve really done a great job of taking care of me. Like I said, last week, people don’t talk about them as much as I think they deserve. They’ve been doing a great job, especially in the last few weeks. As a team we’ve just been getting a lot better. Better communication and everything.”

On how the team has grown between going to Michigan and now going to Ohio State next week

“It’s hard to put words to it necessarily but we have grown. We’ve grown in our confidence and in our chemistry. I wish we could have had it a little earlier in the season obviously, but we are where we are now and we feel great as a unit. Confident we can beat anyone.”

On whether he gets excited about tests like Ohio State

“No question. This is what the Big Ten is about, playing the top teams in the country, and Ohio State is definitely that.  We’re going to their place and we’re going to have to come to play.” 

On his own performance

“I played okay. Obviously I threw that interception, couple mistakes. I believe I was 15-of-22, so obviously room for improvement for myself but happy that guys picked up where I fell off. Devine [Ozigbo] had a great game, Mo [Barry] played great, receivers were catching the ball. Stanley [Morgan Jr.] made a couple really contested catches. So I think that’s what it’s about, just picking each other up.”

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