Barnett: Loss Going To Hurt For A While

Gary Barnett took responsibility, but said his team's poor play surprised him after Nebraska dominated the Buffs at Folsom, winning 30-3 Friday. Inside, quotes from Barnett's post-game press conference.

Opening Comments
Gary Barnett:
The most obvious thing is one team responded to the challenge of this game, and one team didn't. My team did not. I take full responsibility. I did not see this coming in any way. I didn't see it in preparation, I didn't see it in any way.

We got out-coached, we got out-played. My hat goes off to Coach Callahan and the whole Nebraska team. They played harder than we did, played smarter, played better. They had good plans and executed well, did all the things in football that you want your team to do. They did a great job with that.

For whatever reason — I can't give you one, and you're going to ask me — but we just didn't respond to the challenge of this game. We put on a very poor performance in a very critical situation.

Q: What do you mean by out-coached?
GB:
When we could hardly get a first down in the first half, when we put three points on the board, when we gave up a number of big plays in the pass game, part of that's execution. But coaches have to take responsibility for that. We're as much a part of that.

Q: Can you talk about the opportunity you had to contain them after you were down 3-10 and you got a personal foul (on Alex Ligon for pushing the quarterback after timeout had been called)?
GB:
That's one of those plays in the game that happens sometimes. Alex didn't hear the whistle. I really didn't hear the whistle. I felt the ball got snapped, and if he was calling for a timeout, I don't know how it got called that way. I'll have to see the replays. That was a big play in that drive.

Q: The thing that happened (yelling and finger-pointing) at midfield – did that cause you to lose focus?
GB:
No. I wasn't out there, so I'm not quite sure what happened at midfield. We always gather out there and leave the field from there.

Q: Are you a Kansas fan now?
GB:
It'll tell you what – right now I can't think about anything. Maybe tomorrow I'll be a Kansas fan. But right now I've got a bunch of kids that are hurting emotionally. And the seniors that have been so terrific for this program and this university, they're hurting. My mind's with them.

Q: Did you ever consider changing quarterbacks?
GB:
There was a point when we discussed it, but we felt like our best chance to come back and win was with Joel.

Q: Did Nebraska do anything that you hadn't seen on film?
GB:
I don't think so. I have to look at it a little bit closer. They just played harder and better, I think, more than anything else. They had a couple wrinkles that we hadn't seen. But that wasn't the game.

Q: On Zac Taylor
GB:
He's a terrific competitor. He gets rid of the ball, and we couldn't get any pressure on him. They did a great job of picking up our pressure. And Cory (Ross) had a great game, as I knew he would. They played their hearts out.

Q: Was there a point where you looked in your kids' eyes and just didn't see it?
GB:
No, no, no. There was never a point where I didn't think we were going to win the game until the fourth quarter, maybe.

Q: You talked about your kids hurting — what do you say to them?
GB:
I don't have words for them. I really don't. I just expressed my pride in them, and pride in what they've done. Even though we experienced a bitter loss, it doesn't reduce how proud I am of what they've accomplished here. I just feel so badly for them that they had to go out with a game like this.

Q: What did you think about the display by the student section (some people threw objects on to the field in the fourth quarter causing a long delay)?
GB:
They probably felt the same frustration that all of us felt at that time. They just had some things they could throw. I think they're just a microcosm of what we were feeling inside, we just couldn't do anything about it.

Q: As much as 62-36 was a surprise, was this a shock the other way?
GB:
Yeah, it was. It was.

Q: After Hugh's 45-yrd run, do you wish you went for it on 4th and 1 on the team's first drive?
GB:
No.

Q: How will you rebound if you end up in the Big 12 championship game?
GB:
That'll be a challenge. We'll have to deal with that after we put this one to rest. This one's going to hurt for a while. Maybe the Iowa State game hurt us more than I thought it did, and longer than I thought it did. But if that's the opportunity we're given, then we'll find a way to make the most of it.

Q: Is it daunting to know that this Nebraska team across the sidelines from you is a (poor) Nebraska team?
GB:
You didn't hear me say that, and you didn't hear anybody who watches them on film or are around the game. I told our crowd at lunch on Wednesday that if they think this team isn't a good team, they've got bad information. They really can be a good team. They've got a quarterback that's growing in the system. They caught the ball. They didn't make any mistakes tonight. They didn't turn the ball over. We had to get turnovers to win the game, and we didn't create any.

That's a much better team than it's gotten credit for. You didn't hear any of our coaches in our meeting rooms say anything that wasn't anything but tremendously respectful of this team, of their abilities, of their coaches and their potential.

Q: Is there a reason Lawrence Vickers sort of disappeared today?
GB:
We couldn't get him the ball. We couldn't protect our quarterback. When we ran the ball, we never could get any yards. We couldn't get a rhythm. Then all of a sudden, we're down and we have to throw the ball.

Q: Is this the most inexplicable game you've had here with everything you've got on the line?
GB:
Oh gosh. Yeah, I don't understand it. It's just life. You get tested. You've got to answer the test. I'm dumbfounded. I don't know what happened.

Q: What would you like to address on offense going into bowl season?
GB:
I don't know that I can identify that.. We sure didn't protect our quarterback well tonight. We could not run the ball very well. We dropped passes. There isn't any one particular area that's going to get addressed more than another. We had a total meltdown on offense. Somehow we've got to put the pieces back together and become the type of team we have shown that we can be this season.

Q: Do you feel like you caught a break at the end of the first half (when NU couldn't get a play off from the 2 yard line?)
GB:
In some ways, yes. But we've run that play in practice 100 times, and you can't snap the ball and get it clocked in 2 seconds. It can't be done. From that standpoint, no. But from the standpoint that they were down on the 2-yard line, yes.


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