Nebraska-Northwestern week: Jack Gangwish

Nebraska defensive end Jack Gangwish opened up Northwestern week by speaking with reporters before any other player or coach on Monday.

On if waking up today was a little easier
“Yeah, coming off a win like that really makes waking up today a little bit easier.”

On the defenses performance
“I think that, just like in previous weeks, we’ve continued to grow. We’re getting better at what we do. Our D-line had a helluva game and we made strides in the secondary. We had some guys really step up and play well, especially interior D-line did an excellent job. I think, as a whole, we grew.”

On how Vincent Valentine being back changes the entire defensive line
“It changes quite a bit. Vince Valentine is an excellent player. He’s powerful in the run game and he’s explosive in the pass game. He’s somebody that you can game plan around. He’s a guy that you might make a special call just to try and get him loose, get him free. Vince Valentine is a big boy. If you can get him in a one-on-one a lot of good things can happen.”

On if there’s any talk among the players of having to make a bowl game
“Yeah. The idea is never too low in defeat and never too high in victory. Last week my message to the guys was, ‘Tuck your lip in, we’ve got work to do.’ This week it’s, ‘Don’t get too high, it’s time to go to work.’ It’s another week. It’s another step towards our goal.”

On Northwestern being a dangerous team
“Northwestern is a solid team. There’s a lot of things they can do well, especially on offense, speaking from a defensive perspective here. They’re the type of team that they can bite you, man. They can come out and do some really good things. That’s something we definitely have to respect as a defense.”

On the alternate jersey and if he’s had any thoughts on that
“Uh… no, my focus is not on what I wear. (laughs) Some people are big into it and I think it’s something the fans enjoy and some of the guys enjoy. Personally, I just think it came be a distraction for me.”

On having to win three of the next five games to make a bowl and if he feels, as a senior, a sense of urgency
“Definitely. This year, everything I do, there’s a sense of urgency. I mean this is my last shot. This is my year. I want to contribute as much as I can and lead this team to a good season. So, yeah, there is a little bit of that, but like the emphasis always is, is this week.”

On starting off 2-4 and if it felt good getting this win
“Yeah, definitely. The win felt good. Things, obviously, haven’t been going exactly the way we had hoped this season, so for these new coaches and for the guys on this team especially, going up to Minnesota and playing well and executing the way we wanted to, making the progress that we wanted to, that was big. That was big for us.”

On the defensive perspective after the offense gets a comfortable lead
“Well, obviously, anytime your back isn’t up against the wall it can allow you to play a little bit looser, I think, and go out and do your stuff. I also think it can free up the play calling a little bit. Allow you to do some things that you’re trying to get done out there. One thing that was pretty awesome about this week – I haven’t looked exactly at how many snaps we took – but it felt like, compared to Wisconsin, that our defense took about half as many. That was something that the offense helped us out and that was big. That allowed us to be successful, I think. Our guys stayed fresh longer, had a little more pop in their step towards the end of the game, I think. The offense did an excellent job in that respect.”

On how much pride the defense takes in stopping the run
“Lots of pride, to answer your question. As a D-lineman the first goal is always to stop the run. Our goal, every week, is to go out there and if we can make somebody’s offense one dimensional – if we can make it so they have to pass, so they have to throw the ball – it really allows us to be more successful. It allows us to be more diverse in our play calling and allows some of our athletes like Maliek Collins and Vince Valentine to go hunt. Anytime you can do that you have a better chance of being successful.”

On if the Northwestern game last year was a big game for him
“Yeah, yeah it was. I took a lot of snaps that game. And, you know, they’re a Big Ten opponent and, for me, that was a big step in the course of my football career.”


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