Whaley had to get his priorities straight. Three months later, he was starting against Iowa on Black Friday.
Maybe redshirt freshman defensive tackle Todd Peat's story will be similar?
The former four-star high school defensive lineman was left off the 105-man roster this fall after missing all of spring football. Peat had injured his back, but in the process also gained a lot of weight and was out of shape.
He knew he needed to change something in his approach. So while his teammates battled the heat in Lincoln, Peat went somewhere even hotter.
"I went home and did a lot of working out on my own," said the Arizona native. "Being in the heat down there really helped me lose a bunch of weight...I definitely had a fire to get back out there."
When classes started in the fall, Peat resumed workouts with the team, not immediately getting the reps a normal four-star prospect would be getting in his second year with the program.
"It was great. It was really a huge relief after the last nine months or so," said Peat. "My back is good. It's getting better. I would say it's almost great.
"It was bothering me coming into camp, but I'm where I need to be at now. I'm getting back to my old self."
His weight is also coming down. Since the beginning of August, Peat has lost a little over 20 pounds.
"I'm just continuing to get into to shape. That's the biggest thing for me. When you basically don't do anything for six months, it takes a while to get back," said Peat. "It was a big wake up call. I learned I needed to take responsibility for myself and that there were things I needed to take care with no excuses – back problems or not."
His playing time this season is also a credit to picking up the Nebraska defense, something he started to prepare for last season, despite being on the scout team.
"Towards the end of the season, I was in the film room a lot with the two-deep," said Peat. "This spring I also did a lot of studying."
Peat did not record a tackle in Saturday's game.