Husker head coach Bo Pelini discussed Saturday's game in Norman.
NORMAN, Okla. --
No. 4 Oklahoma hosts Nebraska at Gaylord Family -
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday. ESPN
has the national telecast beginning at 7 p.m. Mike
Patrick will call the game with analysis from Todd
Blackledge. Holly Rowe will provide commentary from
OU held its
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini also met with the media
and complete quotes are below courtesy Nebraska
Athletics Media Relations. View Sooner
for complete information on attending
the game in Norman or following TV, radio and internet
coverage of the Sooners across the nation.
SoonerSports.com staff will blog
from Owen Field during Saturday's game.
Throughout the evening, you can view our commentary
and observations from the field, notes from the media
relations staff in the press box plus fan
and reaction during the game.
On what stands out when he looks at Oklahoma's
Coach Bo Pelini
"They are physical up front. They have a really
good offensive line. Obviously, their quarterback is
very efficient. Front to back, you talk about all aspects
(of their offense), they have playmakers, they have
a good offensive line and they are very well-coached.
They don't try to trick you. Everybody has their special
plays, but they are very efficient. They are very good."
On if this is the best offensive line they'll
face this year:
"I would say that. I don't know about the rest
of the year, but up to this point, probably the best
offense we've seen. They're good."
On how Kansas State was able to put up so
many yards on Oklahoma:
"I think Oklahoma is going through some things
right now, losing Ryan Reynolds hurt them. It kind
of hurt their cohesiveness. He was a leader for them.
I think they just gave up some big plays, which is
uncharacteristic of how they play there, but they just
turned a couple guys loose. It looked like they had
a couple blown coverages, a couple loose assignments.
It hurt them."
On what gives them the edge offensively
over Texas Tech:
"I don't know that. They are different than Tech.
Tech is very good offensively too, obviously. They
are just a little bit different. They are a little
more traditional in what they do than Tech is, which
lends them to being probably a little more physical
up front. Obviously, Tech's numbers and what they do
speak for itself. I don't mean to downplay how good
Tech is on offense because they were very good."
On how TCU and Texas contained Oklahoma's
"I didn't spend as much time on the TCU game,
because they are a little bit different than us. Texas
is pretty good up front. They (Oklahoma) were able
to move the ball pretty well on Texas. They put up
35 points, and really left some points out on the field.
They're good. This group that we are playing this week
is a good football team."
On if you can concentrate on going after
the run or pass against them at all:
"You have to keep them off balance. You have to
do some different things. You have to change some things
up a bit. Obviously, the situation of the game dictates
that. You can't just give them a steady dose of one
thing all the time. One thing about the quarterback
is that he is a smart football player. He knows where
to go with the ball. They have some weapons on the
outside. They have some very good weapons that line
up behind the quarterback to run the football behind
a big offensive line. They are very, very balanced
in what they do and the problems they present. You
have to have some balance on defense. There is some
give and take. You have to defend the run some with
less guys in the box, and there are going to be times
where you need to add an extra guy in the box and take
our chances outside."
On the matchup problem with Oklahoma tight
end Jermaine Gresham:
"I've been watching him since he was in high school.
He's a tremendous athlete, a good football player.
They do a good job getting him the football out in
space. He presents problems for you, he does. He's
a very good athlete and a playmaker. He's a big guy."
On what the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry means
to the game of college football:
"There is a lot of tradition in the rivalry and
that is great for college football. It's changed, obviously,
in recent years going to the Big 12, playing them every
two years and in two-year segments. The rivalry is
special to a lot of people, the fans, everything else.
I don't really get caught up in all of that. It's a
different time, different place for me. It's about
our football team right now, but I think it's a pretty
On if the players need to be educated on
the history of the rivalry:
"I think our players are well aware of what the
rivalry means. Like I said, we kind of take it at a
game-by-game basis around here, day-by-day and how
we approach things. Whether it's Oklahoma or Texas,
the emotion will be there and the importance is there
because we are going in to play a tremendous football
team. Our players understand the challenge that is
lying ahead of us, and we'll approach it accordingly."
On his emotions playing against Bob Stoops:
"I won't be any different than I am for any other
game. I don't change very much."
On the fact that he knows Coach Stoops so
well and their relationship:
"That doesn't really change. It's not going to
change our relationship. It's not going to change how
I approach it. I'm sure it's not going to change how
he approaches it. That is pretty irrelevant once you
line up. Number one, we're not playing. That doesn't
change how you do your job. I'm not playing the game
and he's not playing the game. It's not like we're
going to be out there banging heads against each other
like we used to back at St. Pat's playing basketball.
That was a lot more fierce than what we will deal with
On how divided the town of Youngstown, Ohio
will be with this game:
"I don't know. You know what, knowing the people
back home, they'll want us both to do well, that's
just the way it is. We share a lot of friends and have
a lot of common friends. Like I said, there are a lot
of people who want to see both teams play well."
On Quarterback Sam Bradford's low passing
percentage in the game against Kansas State:
"He started a little bit slow, but they had some
drops in the game. They left some plays out on the
field. They were able to get way ahead early. It was
just kind of a strange game. In the second half, they
tried to dial it back a little bit, but they were able
to run the ball effectively. That was the telling tale
of the game. I'm not sure what the stats were, but
you watch the film and it's pretty obvious that they
took control with the running game."
On how this is the kind of schedule helps
when developing a program:
"I think it's pretty good. I think anytime you
play good football teams, it helps you. It helps you
to see where you are, where you are right now and where
you want to get to. Texas Tech was obviously a good
test, and this will be a bigger test. In my opinion,
this is probably one of the top three or four teams
in the country. You talk about top-to-bottom and how
they are with talent and coaching, it gives you a good
benchmark to see where you are as a football team."
On if this is the kind of schedule you want
when growing a football team:
"Absolutely, if you want to be the best, you have
to play against the best. I'm all for it. I'd rather
play Oklahoma than I would some Division ll team. It's
good for the kids, that's why you come to Nebraska,
to play in games like this."
On how good their coaching staff is:
"They are very good. They are well-prepared. They
are tremendous coaches and very good people. It was
a tremendous experience coaching down there for a year."
On how much of an impact Bob Stoops had
on his career:
"I learned a lot from him. Obviously, he's had
tremendous success. Right now, I'm at a point in my
career, I believe Bob has been there about 10 years,
and I don't know if I've been here 10 months, so it's
a little bit different. When he took over the Oklahoma
program, it was very similar to the situation when
I took over. I don't know if it was exactly (the same).
"One thing I do know, once the season is over, I will
probably visit him about moving forward and the things
that he needed to do to move forward, as I will with
a lot of the guys I coached with. You learn from people,
that is one thing I understand in this profession.
I don't have all the answers. You learn and you grow
as you move along, and my year there with him provided
me with that much more ammunition to move forward in
my career, as have all of my experiences."
On if he is set up to have the same fast
success that Bob Stoops has had at Oklahoma:
"I sure hope so. I don't want to get into all
the history there, but he won a national championship
pretty much in year two. Is that going to happen here?
I sure hope so. That is what we are working toward.
Like I said, I focus on where we are now and where
we want to get to. We're not at the level I want to
be to yet, but I think we are getting better as a football
On if he bounced ideas off of Bob Stoops the
first six months he was here:
"Not a lot. We visited some. I remember him calling
me after the first month and we kind of talked after
the National Championship game and after I'd been here
for a while. He just called and said he didn't even
remember his first month, it was so hectic. He is a
friend who is always there to lend advice if I need
it and ask for it."
On if there is any ounce inside of him that
wants to beat Stoops:
"I like to win every game. I'm sure he'd say the
same thing. It's not about Bob and I, it's about Nebraska
and Oklahoma and these players and programs. Like I
said, I don't really change who I play or what I do,
how I approach it. There is a certain way to go about
it to try and prepare your team to play the best you
can possibly play every given Saturday, and that is
what we are going to try to do this week. I understand
we're playing against a heck of a football team. We
need to play our best football, which we haven't done
On if he would be in favor of pursuing a
game either non-conference or conference every year
"There are so many factors involved in that. That
is more of a Big 12 question. I think it would be great
for the fans and great for the rivalry. Is it fair?
It just depends on how they set up the rest of the
schedule. That is the key to it all. Ultimately, being
the head coach here at Nebraska, our number one job
is winning the Big 12 North if you want to move forward.
"If you are playing Oklahoma every year, that's great
for us, that's great for the rivalry, but if we're
doing that then some of the other teams in the division
aren't doing that. Is that the best thing for our program?
I don't know that. There are a lot of other factors
involved in that scenario.
"I just came from the SEC
where there are certain rivalries and teams that play
every year regardless of the schedule. At LSU, I loved
playing Florida every year. It was fun coaching that
game, it was fun for the rivalry, but ultimately, was
that real fair? Not necessarily. It all depends on
how they set up the rest of the schedule and what they
do for the other programs and who they have to play
every year, that type of thing.
"I think it'd be great
for the rivalry to play Oklahoma (every year), but
they'd have to set it up in a way that is fair for
everybody, and it still gives us a very good opportunity
to win the Big 12 North if you don't win that game
every given year."
On if Michigan-Ohio State would be Michigan-Ohio
State if they didn't play every year:
"No. There would be a riot, that's the truth."
On if the loss of linebacker Phillip Dillard
changes anything game plan-wise:
"It doesn't change the game plan, but it changes
us. He's getting better. He played a pretty good football
game last week. I just feel bad for Phil, because this
game would have been special because he's from the
state of Oklahoma. More than likely, he won't make
it to the game. I just feel bad for the kid. It's part
of the deal. Oklahoma is going through that right now
with losing a good football player. I don't think Phil's
injury is as bad as Ryan's (Reynolds). I don't think
he'll be ready for Saturday."
On Oklahoma's loss of Ryan Reynolds:
"Yeah, anytime you take a good football player
out of the mix, which he is, you have to make some
adjustments, especially at that position. They are
going through that a little bit. They are working through
it, and we'll do the same thing."
On who might fill in for Dillard:
"Depends on which personnel grouping we're in.
You'll see Colton (Koehler) in there some. You'll see
Wortman in there some. It depends on the personnel
groupings, Cody (Glenn) can play at the MIKE (position)
in some instances. Matt Holt is a guy that has shown
he can step in and play some. It just depends on what
personnel groupings they have in and we have in."
On what he's seen in Colton in practice:
"He does a good job. He hasn't played a lot of
football. He's fairly inexperienced. He's a guy who
busts his tail, comes to practice every day and we
have confidence. Obviously, he's not game-tested in
a lot of respects, but he went in there the other day
and didn't blink an eye. He went in there and made
a play to his credit. He has a good demeanor. I think
he'll do well."
On if Bradford can be rattled:
"I haven't seen it. He seems like a really calm,
cooled, collected guy. He's a very good decision-maker.
He's very accurate in how he throws, he makes good
decisions, he makes quick decisions. He is extremely
well-coached. Their offensive coordinator and Josh
Heuple, who coaches their quarterbacks, they do a very
good job. He is very decisive in what he does. They
don't get away from what they do. They kind of do what
they do and let the quarterback manage it. They are
just very efficient and they execute very well on a
On if the ball control style of offense
is magnified this week because of what Oklahoma can
"Absolutely. You want to try to limit their possessions.
That will be a little more of a challenge to control
the clock like we have. You like to win the time of
possession, obviously, the less shots you give them
at you, the better, that is always the case. I've said
that in coaching, the best defenses are when you are
sitting on the bench. We have to be efficient and score
points. That was a little disappointing last week.
We moved the ball very well at times and then we left
points out on the field and didn't finish drives. That's
an area that we have to get fixed this week. We have
to play better in every phase this week and execute
more consistently in every phase to go down there and
get a win."
On what has allowed his guys to be so good
at that aspect of the game:
"I like the schemes. A lot of our success comes
back to the quarterback. Joe just manages the game
very well. He's an extension of our offensive coaches.
He makes good decisions. He's been more efficient.
He started off a little bit slow the other day, but
he got better as the game went on. He's just so tough
and competitive. He's playing at a high level. He's
made some plays for us."
On the offensive play calling being about
"I think that is where you ultimately want to
be. You want to be very balanced in your attack and
able to keep people off balance. That's a key of what
we've been able to do. You don't want to be one-sided
all the time. I think that right now we're in a good
On if what he's noticed recently in Marlon
"I just think the last couple of weeks Marlon
has played, I can't really speak on what he did before,
I think he's played his best football in the last couple
of weeks, both in the running game and the passing
game. I can see why he would feel pretty good about
the direction of what we've been able to accomplish
the last few weeks."
On if he ever sensed Lucky trying to live
up to high expectations:
"You know, Marlon has a good demeanor about him.
I talk about that with this football team a lot. You
can't worry about what expectations are outside. You
can't go through life trying to live up to other people's
expectations. You have to do what you do and look at
the truth and sort through and find the facts. As long
as you can look at yourself in the mirror everyday
in what you're trying to accomplish and putting your
work into what you're trying to be, then you are OK.
"I heard John Elway say it a long time ago, if you
try and go through life trying to live up to other
people's expectations, sometimes they are set so high
they can be unrealistic. I'm sure in Marlon's case,
you're such a heroic guy coming in, that was probably
the case to a certain extent."
On if Coach Osborne has shared any thoughts
about the series:
"He just told me to win the game. He told me if
I don't win, I'm fired so I hope we win."
On if Osborne communicated to him that it
was hard for him to do that initially:
"I don't know, he's been away from coaching long
enough, in his mind, he didn't lose any."