September 27, 2010

Pelini confident NU will respond to SDSU scare

The general consensus among the Nebraska football team following its less-than-impressive 17-3 win over FCS South Dakota State on Saturday was that the game would serve as a much needed wakeup call for the Huskers.


On Monday, head coach Bo Pelini stuck with that line of thinking while he reflected upon his team's performance during his interview on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference.


"I think it came at the perfect time for our football team," Pelini said. "It's a wakeup call. I think to a certain extent, our guys bought into the hype. They bought into all the things that were being said about them. They started believing them instead of taking a good hard look at what we talk about each and every day. I'll tell ya, you've got to respect the game, or you'll get humbled.


"You have to keep progressing. I said last week, we're not nearly where we need to be as a football team. We have a lot of improvement that needs to be made. That's going to be the same case six, seven, eight weeks down the road. You have to work every day, and you have to put it on film. I think for our guys, it was a reality check."


As the No. 6 Huskers begin to move forward from Saturday's reality check, Pelini said he had no plans to change up his practice routine for the bye week.


He said the team would stay with the original plan to mix in some "good-on-good" work between the top offensive and defensive units while also beginning its preparation for its Big 12 opener against Kansas State on Oct. 7.


The only real change Pelini said he would make for the Huskers' routine this week would be to incorporate a little more fundamental work, which he admitted was one of the biggest areas of concern on Saturday.


"I'm looking for us to keep making progress," he said "You know, playing the way they've been taught to play. Cutting out the mental errors, the repeat errors. We just need to keep our progression going, which up to a certain point, we were doing. Once again, we just went out there and went away from the basics.


"Fundamentally, we were bad. There were just a lot of things we can learn from and grow from. You don't push the panic button, but I think it does - our players they don't need me to tell them. They know right now how they played and what happened and why it happened. I just told them, it happened at a good time, and this week we have to make progress. They understand that."


Pelini was asked about the play of redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez, who had his first poor performance of his collegiate career after three straight impressive showings to open the season.


While Martinez obviously has some issues to correct before the Huskers take the field again against the Wildcats, Pelini said he was far from the only player who had a bad night against the Jackrabbits.


"I think he's going to get better from what happened," Pelini said. "I think he'll learn from what happened. Really, it goes well beyond Taylor. You look across the board, and our guys, there was no attention to detail. The lack of execution was all across the board. Everyone's going to focus on the quarterback, but it went well beyond that. We just didn't execute. We didn't play the way we've been taught to play. It was just a bad coaching job.


"Our guys just didn't play team football. They didn't apply their rules. They didn't do the things they've been taught to do, and when you do that - that's what we talked about going (into the season) - you have control you. You have to do what you have to do within the scheme and let plays come to you, and that didn't happen."


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