Nebraska coach Bo Pelini still wants to have more fun in practice. In his Monday press conference, however, he explained what he meant by having “more fun,” which he brought up after NU's 41-21 loss to UCLA.
“You have fun with success,” he said. “Also by competing and having that success. I had this conversation with a couple of the young defensive guys the other day, I told them, being able to put your eyes and having the confidence to believe what your keys are, and of what is being asked of you. That comes from preparation from understanding, from a focus and discipline of doing what you need to do.
“If you haven't prepared enough, and you don't have that understanding or compete then what happens is you go out onto that practice field and it can be miserable. It is not fun because then you are kind of guessing. You are going to experience a lot more failure than you are success. Success comes with preparation because with preparation comes great confidence and that is when you have fun.”
These comments echoed those by offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles two weeks ago after Pelini had delivered his long exegesis on having more fun. Sirles was again standing in the back of the room Monday when Pelini discussed the difference between how players learn and develop.
“I see Jeremiah in the back shaking his head because it is different,” Pelini said. “The more the competition level goes up the higher level you go to. Detail becomes important.”
Competitive practices take place during bye week
Several players said Monday that some of the work last week made it seem a little different than the usual bye week routine for the Huskers.
Senior quarterback Ron Kellogg said there were healthy doses of the No. 1 offense and defense going head to head, getting “some competitive nature” generated with no game Saturday. Sirles said “we battled back and forth” in Tuesday and Wednesday practices, and even some Friday.
“It was like a camp practice at some points,” Sirles said.
Senior offensive guard Spencer Long said the NU staff found a balance, though.
“We got our rest but we also went hard, too, when we were out there,” he said.
Opponents not changing styles against NU receivers
Nebraska's receivers haven't faced much man-to-man coverage this year, but senior Quincy Enunwa doesn't think that's necessarily a strategic reaction to their athleticism.
Four games in, and opposing defenses have played lots of zone. Enunwa said UCLA mixed in some man, but not to the extent of a team that primarily relies on that approach (like Michigan State).
But the speed and agility of Nebraska's receivers hasn't altered anyone's style, Enunwa said.
“Some defenses just don't play it,” Enunwa said of man-to-man. “It's just their style of play.”
Santos takes slight lead at linebacker position
Pelini said sophomore David Santos has taken a slight lead at the middle linebacker spot after sitting behind true freshman Josh Banderas for three games.
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Video: Nebraska's Monday press conference