Nebraska-Rutgers: Jordan Westerkamp Presser

Nebraska wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp took some big hits on Saturday against Michigan State.

On his status
“I’m all right. A little banged up. I took some pretty good hits, but the win definitely made it feel better. I’m really proud of our guys, really proud of this team. We really fought hard, and it showed out.”

On the specifics of the injuries he sustained Saturday
“That last one, I just caught the ball and kind of went helmet-to-helmet with the guy, and I had already taken a bunch of hits earlier to the head. It was one of those stingers that went right to the head, so I was just a little bit shaken up. I had to sit there for a second and just breathe, just because I had a little bit of a headache going. I was trying to be more safe than sorry with anything. Just walking back, we were getting really close, about to score, so I was amped up and lucky to be able to walk off the field all right.”

On if he went through concussion protocol on Saturday
“Yeah, I think I came out of the game in the second quarter for a good portion, I went to the locker room and they did the whole concussion protocol thing and I passed it, but they wanted to be safe, so they held me out until the second half.”

On if he went through the same protocol after the game
“Yeah, after the game, they brought me in, talked to me and I passed.”

On whether he could have returned to the game
“I don’t think they would’ve let me go back in. I don’t think so.”

On if this was the most pain he has ever played with in a game
“Yeah, I mean it wasn’t like hurting a shoulder or anything like that. It was more just hitting your head a couple times, you’re more just out of it than anything. I’m feeling better today, so that’s good.”

On the challenges faced by not having had a bye week so far in the season
“It’s been tough. Last year we were fortunate. We had two byes last year. They were pretty well spread out, so it worked out well, but we’ve had a long run here. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, I think after we go to Rutgers and hopefully get out of there with a win, it’ll be nice to have a little bit of a break.”

On keeping focus after a big win
“We’ll be focused. This was a huge win for us. It’s extremely motivating for the rest of the season. I know that’s how the guys see it and we’ll be extremely focused this week. It’s another big opponent, hopefully we’ll be able to go in there and handle our business.”

On if he had talked to Tommy Armstrong Jr. about passes putting him in tough positions
“He’s not doing it intentionally. It’s part of the game. (Michigan State’s defensive backs) were ball-hawks. They got to the ball fast. They were making big hits, big plays. They’ve got a really talented defense. We had to be well-prepared and we executed really well.”

On his thoughts before the final drive started
“We never stopped believing. Actually, I remember on the sideline Tommy and I just being like ‘Hey, let’s go. We can do this. I believe in our team, we can do this, we can do this. Keep fighting.’ We started on the 9-yard line, not ideal field position, but we hit two post routes right away. They were playing a defense that’s really vulnerable to the middle of the field, so we hit them right away. Two great play calls. We just kept fighting, kept driving. Brandon (Reilly) had the touchdown at the end there, that was obviously the play of the game. It was just a great experience, great moment. This team has been through so much. It was great to have one go our way at the end.”

On what he did Saturday night after the game
“I just hung out with a bunch of family that had come out to the game. My family always travels to the games, so I just hung out with them.”

On his thoughts on the game-winning touchdown
“According to the rules, he was forced out and came back in, so it’s all legal. They definitely made the right call.”

On whether more defenses have been keying in on him
“From what I’ve seen, normally if they’ve got a guy who’s one of their better defensive players they might bring him into the nickel playing by me. That’s kind of what Minnesota did, but for the most part, I get bracketed between a linebacker and a safety. It’s hard to do that with our offense because we have so many playmakers all over the board, so they can’t just key one guy. If they key me, Brandon’s going to have a huge game or Alonzo (Moore’s) going to have a huge game. Somebody’s going to have a big game. They can’t just key on one guy, which is huge in this offense because we have so many playmakers. That just makes our offense so much better.”

On if he was surprised he got so open twice on the final possession
“Crazy, right? I was a little bit, but we knew what kind of defense they played in two-minute situations, sort of a “3” look, so we just high-lowed their safety and made him come up. We had Cethan (Carter) do a hook route in the middle of the field and the safeties would fly up and then I went behind them. It was great play calls by Coach (Danny) Langsdorf. Tommy made great throws. Everything worked out our way that last drive.”

On why Nebraska has had success through the air against tough pass defenses
“I think it goes all the way back to being in fall camp with just the preparation we’ve put in and, obviously, the pass game has really been emphasized recently and we’ve had a lot of success with it. But like I said before, we’ve got so many playmakers on our offense and it’s been showing all year long. Being able to have Coach (Keith) Williams as our receivers coach has made us so much better. It’s been a great year for us and we’ve had a lot of injuries, but guys have been stepping up and making plays. Our receiving corps is extremely talented and deep.”

On it it’s possible to not have energy around Coach Williams
“It’s impossible. He’s one of the most energetic people I’ve ever met and it’s great to have him as our coach. He wants us to be the best we can. He’ll get on us sometimes, but it’s for the better. He’s improved us so much and I credit a lot of the big plays we make to him.”

On how much Saturday’s win has changed perception of the season
“Oh, it’s huge. It’s huge. Like I said, this season’s kind of been a roller coaster ride. It’s been up and down. That was a huge win, the biggest win of the season, beating a ranked Michigan State. No one was picking us to win, so we had a lot of motivation going into that game, and we’re going to have a lot of motivation finishing the season as well.”

On if he had played a game before in which he had absorbed the beating he took Saturday
“Not that I can remember. Which isn’t a good thing.”

On Tommy celebrating a birthday over the weekend
“Probably his favorite weekend ever. It was his birthday this Sunday, so we had a big win Saturday night and he got to enjoy it (Sunday) and he had his family here as well, so I know he’s enjoying it.”

On the focus on getting him the ball more following the Illinois game
“We really didn’t have a conversation where we sat down about me having to get the ball more. I would never do anything like that. More the playcalling, Illinois was just a tough game overall for us with the conditions. I’m not going to sit here and blame anything, but the conditions weren’t very good, we just weren’t making throws and catches. Our game plan’s been really similar throughout the entire year, it just sometimes works better than others, other days. That’s just football, and that’s just how it is.” 

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