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Rapid reaction: Chinander says “D” dialed in hard when down 14-0; Martinez misses practice

September 11, 2018

Erik Chinander’s feelings in the wake of Saturday’s opener against Colorado were somewhat predictable.

“Not good,” he said. “We lost.”

But the first-year Nebraska defensive coordinator reeled off a litany of positives, and seemed particularly pleased with the manner in which the team responded to a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter.

“One thing I’ll say about these kids is when we went down 14-0, they didn’t blink,” the coach told reporters following Tuesday’s practice. “They were dialed in, they were focused, they were ready to play, they wanted to go back out and play defense.

“I knew if we got out there, I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I knew it wasn’t going to be a ‘give up,’ I knew it wasn’t going to be a ‘surrender.’ I knew we were going to keep playing and things were going to get better.”

Last season, Nebraska scuffled to an 4-8 record in part because the team seemed to let up, especially down the stretch.

Meanwhile, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez walked past reporters Tuesday wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt -- and a sleeve on his injured right knee -- while the rest of the players were in full pads. The freshman missed practiced Monday as well.

“He’s in the meetings, he’s getting some reps mentally and also getting some not full speed reps on the field,” head coach Scott Frost said on the Big Ten teleconference. “We’ll figure it out as it goes along, but we’re doing our best to get every quarterback on our roster at least familiar enough with the game plan to be able to go out there and function and execute. We’ll do the best we can and we just have to keep evaluating it day by day.”

Frost said Monday that Martinez’s status is day-to-day and a decision on his availability for Saturday’s game against Troy may not be made until game day. Martinez injured his knee with 3:29 left in Nebraska’s 33-28 loss to Colorado.

That loss was among the toughest Barrett Ruud has experienced in his coaching or playing career, the Husker linebackers coach said. He compared it to a loss he suffered against the Atlanta Falcons while playing linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It felt that way because we played well enough to win the game, and then did not,” he said.

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