Frost defuses blowback from ‘we get a game we can win’ comments
LINCOLN — What appeared to be early trash talk between head coaches for this weekend’s Purdue-Nebraska game cooled considerably by Monday afternoon.
Frost got the attention of the Boilermakers after Saturday’s 56-10 loss to Michigan when he said, “We get a game we can win next week (against Purdue).”
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm responded to the remark Monday during his weekly press conference in West Lafayette, Indiana. His program moved to 1-3 last week with a 30-13 win over No. 23 Boston College.
“I think that obviously (Frost) was talking after a loss that he didn’t like very much,” Brohm said. “So I get it. But no, I think everything that’s said is heard, and our team needs to respond and understand that we’ve got to show up ready to play and this team will be licking their chops trying to get us.”
Later Monday, Frost called Brohm “one of the best coaches in the country” during his own press conference and complimented the second-year coach on turning around the program and getting it to a bowl game last season.
Said Frost: Both teams need the win and both expect to leave with a victory.
Gifford laments missed gaps, tackles
The thought clearly crossed Gifford’s mind before Monday morning’s practice, but Nebraska defenders did not lose their Blackshirts after a 56-10 loss to Michigan.
“I was kind of conflicted with that,” Gifford said. “But I think at the end of the day, we still have to play with that same confidence and swagger that a Blackshirt would, and what happened on Saturday is never acceptable.”
One bad game, Gifford said, can’t “completely alter the way we play and think of ourselves.”
Gifford said he didn’t believe Michigan overpowered NU’s front seven. Rather, it was Nebraska defenders missing their gap assignments and missing tackles when they had chances to make them.
“Credit to them, because they have good backs,” Gifford said of the Wolverines.
Neal said Husker defenders were “trying to do too much.”
“We weren’t just doing our job,” Neal said.
Bootle in fix-it mode despite strong game
Corner Dicaprio Bootle had five pass breakups on Saturday against Michigan.
But he says he had even more mistakes. One of which cost Nebraska early in the game.
On an explosive play in the first quarter, Bootle said his eyes were in the wrong place, which led to a late reaction, which led to a long Michigan run.
“I mean, going back and watching the game and just seeing the mistakes that were made that made us lose big, they were very, very minute,” Bootle said.
Just like the loss to Colorado, with all the penalties, and with Troy, with all the missed opportunities, it is still the little things catching up to the Husker defense, Bootle said. No one is dropping the ball completely. But enough guys are messing up small things that the defense can’t get stops.
“I just wanna fix all the mistakes I’ve made so far and continue to be a strong mind and come out with the same attitude every game,” Bootle said.
Purdue WR Moore a ‘mismatch nightmare’
Purdue receiver Rondale Moore is just four games into his collegiate career, but he leads the Big Ten in all-purpose yards — including 161 in a win over Boston College. Moore, one of the highest-rated prospects in Purdue history, made an immediate splash against Northwestern on opening night and has continued his strong play.
Neal said Nebraska defenders know the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Moore is a “mismatch nightmare” whom Purdue lines up all over the field in hopes of hatching a big play.
“They’re going to get him the ball, he’s going to touch the ball, and you’ve got to rally and tackle him, because he’s making people miss right now,” Neal said.
The Huskers worked on individual special teams drills Monday, said safety Tre Neal, instead of their usual team drills. Neal said players — including himself — need to show more effort and better discipline on special teams plays. NU has picked up 10 special teams penalties already this season.
“(Players) were just kind of running freely and doing whatever they want,” Neal said of NU’s special teams performance in the opening three weeks.
» Of Nebraska’s new Oct. 27 game against Bethune-Cookman, Frost said NU players deserved the chance to play a full slate of games despite having to play 12 straight weeks.
“I’m just grateful that somebody agreed to come here and play us,” Frost said.
Coaches normally hit the road in recruiting that week. Frost said he’ll try to send out coaches in smaller bunches throughout the season to account for missing that week as NU prepares for BCU.
» Frost said he hadn’t talked to his mentor and former coach, Tom Osborne, yet about the loss to Michigan.
“My impression is he’s fishing Sunday and Monday, so I usually see him about middle of the week,” Frost said.
» Nebraska has won nine straight homecoming games, dating back to a 52-17 loss to Missouri in 2008, and 77.6 percent of its homecoming games overall.
» NU is 18-11 in Big Ten home games but just 1-4 last season.