On his level of concern about the defense: I'm not concerned. Our approach doesn't really change, no matter what happens. Whether you win by 50 or you lose, you look at what you have to improve upon and you get better at it. Obviously, there are some things that need to get fixed. I look at it really black and white. We ask what we need to do to get better and I have a pretty good handle on that.
On the level of defense statistically compared to the past few years: I don't worry about that. I've been here before. Like I said, I don't buy into statistics. I don't want to get into all the things that I could throw out. There are a lot of things that went on in that game. How they attacked us and threw a lot at us. I had a feeling it would be like that to an extent. The things that concerned me, in all phases, is that we have to get better with technique issues. The communication, the taking care of us and growing up with understanding and adjusting. When you have new guys in the mix that are going through it with a lack of experience, there are times that we weren't on the same page and communication wasn't as good as it needed to be, and it put us in bad positions. Early in the year, we could simplify. But you don't grow quite as much when you do those things. We will grow a lot because of what happened in all phases over the last few weeks. I'm seeing a lot of progress.
On if confidence is a part of growing and believing in what they're doing: Absolutely. That's well said. Confidence in the scheme and trusting techniques, in a high-pressure environment, it is easy to revert back and not trust. You realize those things are happening when somebody will do something right all week and then the first thing you see on Saturday is him doing something he hasn't done all week. Remember what we did, how this works. It is all part of the process. It is why they put 'coach' in front of our name. You stick with it, you don't panic. You look at it for what it is. You work to get it fixed. We stay the course and don't make rash adjustments. You do hold guys accountable. You don't chuck what you do because you know what you're doing works. You have to trust the guys.
On the status of defensive back Alfonzo Dennard: He will be practicing again today. He is doing a lot better.
On Dennard's absence affecting the defense: Obviously, it hurts you. In my opinion, there isn't a better corner in the country. I think he is that good. Obviously, you miss a guy like that. It has also given us an opportunity to look at other guys. You're 3-0 and have looked at other guys and given them opportunities to gain experience. Hopefully it makes you stronger over the long haul.
With the return of Dennard, how much impact could it make: He is only one guy. You have to keep growing up and keep getting better. You have a guy who I think is a really good football player, and you're going to miss him. It is going to help you to have him back out there when he is ready to go. I want him to get out there for him, because right now he is chomping at the bit to play. He is a competitor who wants to get out there on the field.
On Nebraska's reduced penalities translating to less aggressive play on defense:< Yeah, but I think you become more aggressive when you're sure of what you're doing. That will get better over time. Like I said, the things that really get at me are the technique issues. The fundamentals. We can get all of the other things fixed. But guys getting out there and not doing what they're taught, that has to get corrected. You're never at the point you want to be in week three. We have to keep making progress, across the board. That goes well beyond the defense. That is in all three phases. We have to keep getting better.
On the defensive performance against Fresno State compared to Washington: Believe me, I'm not happy with giving up 38 points. Last week was a little different type of game. Like I said, 17 points in the fourth quarter and seven of those were off of turnover. I think the guys relaxed a bit, and I think we got away from what we were doing. I just didn't like how we finished. Once again, I'm not going to get upset. The players understand. Our guys on defense were not real happy with our performance. I don't need to say much about that. I think we will be fine. I just don't think we played very smart Saturday or adjusted well. We didn't do a good enough job as coaches sometimes. I feel like I have a good handle on how to get it fixed.
On whether he could anticipate the defense's issues prior to the game: I meant I knew how they were going to play us. They did a number of things that gave us formation issues and a number of things that we hadn't been shown. What happened was our younger guys didn't react well. They got off kilter and the things we were expecting, got thrown off. It compounded itself and our guys didn't react well. That's part of the maturation process. It's experience. I feel really confident that it will make us better. We can really, really grow from the things that happened, both good and bad. That game will help us in the long run.
On how he has divided his time with the offense and defense: I've been doing that for a while now. Nothing has changed there.
On the younger players going on their first road game: I think it is good to have a road game for the guys to play away from home for the first time. It gives us a dry run going into conference play. Every place is different but there are some benefits to doing this for the first time. It will be good for our team. Some guys have been on road trips but haven't necessarily played a lot of football. It is a good thing to put your guys through.
On Wyoming Coach Dave Christensen's similarity to his days at Missouri: I see a lot of similarities but its not the same. His staff is different. He is a good coach and plays to the strengths of his guys. The overall philosophy is the same but it is adjusted.