It would be easy to assume that quarterback, Joe Dailey isn't exactly the most confident player in the world right now. So much so, even he asked during the post-game press conference after the win over Kansas that people needed to be patient with him, Dailey believing that he would get the system down if just given the time he needed.
When such a plea is made, especially by the player himself, you have to wonder about his confidence and the confidence of the team around him.
The support behind Dailey was obvious. "I think this is a guy that has really tried extremely hard and worked hard at all the little nuances of the game." Head coach, Bill Callahan said of Dailey. "He's a young guy and he continues to develop."
"Joe has come a long ways since the first time we put a ball in his hand during the Spring. I know what I see and I see him improving."
QB coach, Jay Norvell remarked of his confidence in Dailey, "Joe has made a lot of improvement in many areas of his play. But, the one thing that is important for our entire offense is ball security and third downs."
Ball security is probably a sore issue with Dailey most of all as the NU starting QB has found himself on the wrong end of that stat since the season began. In interceptions alone, Dailey ranks amongst the most prolific in giving the ball to the other team.
Back to the confidence issue, though, Dailey says that the ups and downs of the season aren't effecting him as the weeks progress. "I handle it the same way I handle all things in life." He said. "This game is a marathon, not a sprint. Just go week to week, just go about my own business and focus on what I have to do."
As Nebraska stands 3-1 on the season, the easy thing to do is look back on the one game that was lost and how. The turnovers being the largest overriding issue, with Texas Tech coming up, it was an issue during the press conference once more.
And, when a team is near the bottom of division 1-A in that category, you don't ask yourself "if", rather you with some frustration wonder when during the course of any one game that trend will continue.
For starting running back, Cory Ross, he marks those turnovers not just as drive-killers, but it's something that can take the entire team out of sync. "We have way too many." Ross said of the turnovers. "Way too many. "
"The last couple of weeks have been hard on us, but there's going to have to be a time where we explode and this game might be the game for us."
The Red Raiders are coming off a loss, but a much closer loss to the second best team in the country – Oklahoma Sooners. During a season where Oklahoma was averaging over 40 points per contest going into the game against Tech, they came out with under 30.
Callahan himself remarked of this team waiting to explode and Ross said that it wasn't a matter of waiting, because as he remarked, Nebraska couldn't wait any longer. "It's almost like a must, because they (Tech) are going to score some points." He said. "We have to score some points and we haven't been doing that lately."
"We have to."
With the attitude that you have to, you could say that if confidence were lacking in a team, that would equate to even more pressure, especially on the position that's feels it the most from the head coach and the media. Ross said of Dailey feeling too much pressure, it was up to himself and the rest of the team to make sure Dailey knew he didn't have to do it all on his own. "You have to." Ross said of verbally supporting Dailey on a consistent basis. "Everybody has to let him know that we have his back. We're here for you and whatever you do, we're going to back you up."
"And, he knows that. He's doing a great job. He just knows that this offense comes with a whole lot of responsibility and he's trying to take on too much of it."
There will be plenty of responsibility to pass around as NU heads down to Lubbock to face the pass-happy Raiders of Texas Tech. And, it's safe to say that with the potency of the offense that the blackshirts will be facing, it would stand to reason that the Huskers don't want to duplicate what happened in Lincoln against Kansas.
Not just the turnovers mind you, rather the time of possession and the astronomical 82 snaps that defense was on the field. It's something, however, that defensive coordinator, Kevin Cosgrove says that his unit has to be ready for and is if it's required. "We're trained to do that." He said. "Dave Kennedy does a great job training our players and our kids had a lot left in them after Saturday's game."
There's one person that does have the confidence in feeling that Cosgrove's defense won't have to be out on that field that much this time around, and because of who it is, that's good news on both sides of the ball. "I know that if the offense scores points and never turns the ball over, we'll never lose a game." Joe Dailey said. "That's going to be our focus this week – never turn the ball over and make big plays."
It's another night game for Nebraska, so that shouldn't be foreign territory for them, but what will is the fact that they go to Lubbock as underdogs by almost a full touchdown.
To hit on that confidence factor one more time, Cory Ross didn't know about the fact that Nebraska wasn't favored to win, but retorting to the projected outlook, he stated simply, "I guess we've got to prove them wrong."
Defensive End – Adam Carriker and Cornerback – Lornell McPherson are expected back for this game, Cosgrove citing their missing the Kansas game as more precautionary than anything.
Beau Davis is now listed as the number two QB, switching roles with Ryan Goodman. Both Callahan and Norvell said of the switch that it wasn't a reflection of anything permanent and both would still be getting considerable reps.
Mark LeFlore regained the spot he held last year, now number one on the depth chart at wide receiver. Replacing true Freshman, Terrance Nunn, LeFlore's health seems to have finally came back to the point where he can play effectively game to game. LeFlore has been sidelined for almost the entire off-season and first part of the actual football year with what was called a bruised toe.