LINCOLN — As important as it might be for the Nebraska seniors to go out with a bang on Saturday, receiver Kenny Bell has tried to remind them — and the rest of his teammates — of something else.
Go out with a smile, too.
Bell was a steady voice within the team starting the week as the Huskers began the healing process after the 59-24 loss at Wisconsin. It wasn’t as much the rah-rah stuff as some friendly advice.
“I’m just trying to let the young guys know that it’s bigger than this game, what we do, and don’t get wrapped up in scores or statistics,” Bell said. “For so long I was wrapped up in that and it’ll make you miserable. Enjoy your time you have with the people you love. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Bell will be among 13 seniors Saturday playing their final home game at Memorial Stadium. Their final regular-season game will be the following Friday at Iowa.
Bell will leave as the Huskers’ all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, but said it will be the relationships that will stay with him far longer than the rest.
“I couldn’t tell you what the score of the Fresno State game was, honestly,” Bell said Tuesday. “What I’ll remember is coming out here every day with these guys and having the time of my life. It’s been one heck of a ride. I’ve loved it.”
But Bell also is aware of the vitriol that has followed the mauling in Madison, the Huskers’ eighth loss of 17 or more points since 2011.
And that’s why he has tried to sprinkle in some perspective as the seniors prepare for their final games.
“There’s been years we’ve been in far worse condition,” Bell said. “Years before we’ve been, what, 3-2, 2-2 at some times in the season? This year, I mean, we’re 8-2.
“I’m from Boulder, Colorado. Everybody knows the Buffs, that I love the Buffs. You know what a fan like me of the Buffs would do for eight wins right now? Man. I’d appreciate it, that’s for sure.”
Bell referred to it as “perspective on life … and that’s way bigger than football.”
“That’s way bigger than wins and losses, and a college football game with 18- and 22-year-old guys,” he said. “That’s just my perspective. Everybody has their own.”
Bell said he has a great relationship with Husker fans and the Lincoln community. At times previously, however, he said he resented some people for the negativity when things weren’t going well, although he acknowledged that came with his choice to play Nebraska football.
His answer was to get away from Twitter and from trying to make everybody happy.
“That negativity, I got a choice to listen to that or not,” Bell said. “And this year I decided not to, and it’s made me a happier person, that’s for sure.”
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