Big 12 Media Days: Nebraska

DALLAS - Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini started his day Monday, the first day of the Big 12 Media Days, by telling the audience that he would not take questions on the Big Ten and that he was there to talk about the Nebraska Cornhuskers and their final season in the Big 12. He did address that he was looking forward to the final go round and even mentioned Stillwater prominently.

"I was telling the players today on the way down that I am looking forward to playing at some of the Big 12 venues we haven't been too lately, like Stillwater and playing in College Station," said Pelini.

"I enjoy going to places that I haven't taken my team, like in Stillwater where they have the tight sidelines and the crowd is on top of you, that is exciting."

Told that his athletic director Tom Osborne has already reserved Stillwater's new high school stadium for a pep rally and a congregating area for Husker fans, Pelini commented that Nebraska fans always travel well and may travel even better with this final go round in the Big 12.

The Oklahoma State game with Nebraska is homecoming for the Cowboys on Oct. 23, and for Nebraska it is a huge "sandwich" game with the Huskers believed grudge match with Texas in Lincoln on Oct. 16 and a possible North Division showdown with Missouri in Lincoln on Oct. 30.

"That is certainly a big three-game swing for us," said Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul. "I know that coach Pelini and our coaches will have us ready for those games, all of them, but i am just looking at it one game at a time and right now I am focused on Western Kentucky," added Paul with tongue in cheek and a silly chuckle.

As for Nebraska there are two questions. Sure, the team is picked to win the North Division of the Big 12 and most experts belive the Cornhuskers are a preseason top-10 squad. However, the first question is whether the defense can come as close to last season as Pelini has said in the offseason. Suh is gone and so is middle linebacker Phillip Dillard and safety Larry Assante. That's the middle of the defense!

"I think we have more depth in the middle and I think that will lead to us playing more people and that will make us better," said Pelini. "I am confident in Crick and that he will play well. I'll admit we don't have another Suh and we lost some very good players but I think we have more players that can come in and contribute and I like the middle of our defense."

The other question is quarterback and who it will be the Huskers man behind center. There is Zac Lee, Cody Green, Taylor Martinez, and former OSU commitment Kody Spano is now healthy and trying to get in the mix.

"Well, it's pretty simple," started Pelini. "We kind of equally rep our guys anyway. We're in no hurry to make that decision. That's going to be one that's going to go at least up until the first game and maybe beyond.

"I mean, I don't know how it's going to play out. I wish I had that crystal ball to say this is how it's going to be. I do know we have some very capable athletes at the quarterback position.

"When I talked about it I mention three guys. Really you talk about ... you throw in the obvious, Zac Lee. We talk about Cody Green, Taylor Martinez. We also have Kody Spano coming back healthy, and Brion Carnes, who's now on the football team. We're excited about him as an incoming freshman.

"I don't know how it's going to play out. I do like the athletes that are there. I like the fact that we have some play makers at the position, and I have confidence in all of them. We'll see how it plays out."

Just like we'll see how Nebraska's final season in the Big 12 plays out.


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