LINCOLN — Ben Stille saw the black jersey hanging in his locker Tuesday and was surprised. The defensive end immediately asked for his yellow jersey back.
He didn’t think he earned the honor yet of wearing the Blackshirt — given to NU’s starters — after a few poor plays in Saturday’s 53-28 win over Minnesota.
Stille had a sack and was part of a defense that successfully slowed the Gopher run game. But Sunday, he saw a few “backside” plays — run away from him — where his effort wasn’t the best. And those plays, the sophomore from Ashland-Greenwood said, violated what he views to be the principles behind getting a Blackshirt.
Those principles, Stille said, were laid out in the preseason by two former Huskers, Jason Peter and Grant Wistrom, who talked to the team.
“The definition of what I’ve been told from Grant and Jason and those guys that have come and talked to us, it just didn’t sit right with me to put on that jersey if I didn’t feel I’d lived up to that in the game,” Stille said Wednesday. On Tuesday, coach Scott Frost said Stille turned down the jersey because of his work in practice. Stille tied his decision to the game — and the film session afterward.
“Every play is just as important — whether you’re on the front side of the ball and it’s coming right at you or the ball is running 20 yards the other way,” Stille said. “They’re all just as important. The little things add up and, to me, that was a lot of it.
“Effort on a couple of those plays I could definitely do better. I wasn’t going to put that on and fake it in front of my closest peers and my brothers who were in the film room with me. I’m not going to be one way in the film room — when they know how it was — and go out there and put on a Blackshirt and pretend like everything was good.”
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