Notebook: The wake-up call

The Huskers look to improve on last week's performance against Southern Miss.

The wake-up call…

Saturday's 37-34 win over Wyoming will likely serve as a wake-up call for Nebraska, who entered the game nearly a 30-point favorite over the Cowboys.

"I think our players will learn a lot from the film," said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. "I don't think we played nearly up to our potential in any phase of the game. Our players will come in this afternoon and will have a really good understanding or a better understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it, and also how to prepare. Especially some of the younger guys that played for the first time. I think we will be significantly better."

Despite giving up over 600 yards of total offense to Wyoming, Pelini said he felt better about where his defense was at in the wee hours of Sunday morning than going into the game.

"I said 'OK, I have a pretty good idea of what this football team can be,'" said Pelini. "I actually like the way we played in some instances. I like how some of the young guys reacted and some of the things we did. There was a lot of positives that came out of it that I think got masked because some of the things that happened in my opinion shouldn't have happened."

Martinez feels fine…

A few days after noticeably hurting his left shoulder on Saturday against Wyoming, Nebraska senior quarterback Taylor Martinez says he's fine.

"We're not going to hit him in practice. We never do," Pelini said during his Monday press conference. "As far as what he can do, he'll be out there and he'll be fine. It's nothing that will restrict him."

Martinez, who also spoke with reporters in the press conference setting on Monday, was asked how his body was holding up after one game.

"I felt pretty sore. It was the first time I've actually gotten hit in about eight or nine months. After this week, I should be perfectly fine on Sundays," said Martinez. "Everybody's sore. I don't get tackled or anything in fall camp or spring ball, so I just have to get used to being hit again."

Martinez, who did not speak to reporters after Saturday's contest, was asked how he felt the offense performed against the Cowboys.

"We played a little sloppy in the beginning. I just don't really think we got in a rhythm. We just have to keep on practicing and learning how to play together as an offense, and I think we'll be perfectly fine," said Martinez. "We were up by 16 with six minutes to go and we blew that, so we weren't very happy with ourselves. We let them back into the game, and that shouldn't happen. Great teams don't let that happen. It's a huge wakeup call. We can't let go at any point, no matter how many points we're up by. We have to be able to finish."

Pelini used Saturday's game as a learning experience

Saturday's contest won't only serve as a learning experience for the players, but the coaching staff as well.

"I learned dealing with a young group on some instances, I think at times we tried to make it too easy for them," said Pelini. "We ended up in a couple of situations that I didn't like by trying to simplify a couple of adjustments, where if we would have adjusted it in a different way we could have put ourselves in a better situation.

"Sometimes you try to oversimplify it, and therefore it may not be the best situation. Even though we got caught in a couple of defenses that weren't good especially against the quarterback draw."

The gap between Santos and Banderas at the MIKE is small.

After linebacker David Santos went down early in Saturday, true freshman Josh Banderas was thrown into the fire with the first-team defense.

"He got a couple of snaps early and then he got a lot of snaps later on, but it shows our confidence in him," said Pelini. "When the game kind of started to get on the line there, we weren't afraid to put him in there, and I think he did a good job. He is going to be good."

The sixth-year head coach says the gap between Banderas and Santos is a small one, despite the edge in the experience factor for Santos, who led the team in tackles.

"I thought he did some good things. I thought he did some things that he would want back, like I said, as much as anybody our Mikes, both David and Bando (Josh Banderas) will really grow from that football game," said Pelini. "I think David, the first time he was really in there making the calls and the adjustments and calling the front, I thought he did some good things. Like I said though, I think he will really benefit from that experience."

Southern Miss preview:

As the week rolls on Big Red Report will introduce more about the Golden Eagles to the masses, but Pelini says don't be fooled by their 13 game losing streak and 22-15 loss to Texas State this past week.

"They have a quarterback that can sling it. They are very good at the wide receiver position. Good skilled people and very aggressive on defense. They are a fast defense that plays very aggressively," said Pelini, who will be facing an offense that turned over the ball six times. "They are obviously better than the score they put up the other day. That is going to happen anytime you turn the ball over that many times. We need to improve this week, but before Southern Miss, we have to get things fixed on things we need to fix ourselves. We need to get ourselves right, and we will get ready for Southern Miss."

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Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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