Below are excerpts from Nebraska Head Coach Bill Callahan's weekly press conference. Quotes are courtesy of Huskers.com.
"I'll say this about Oklahoma - they are one of the most dominating teams in college football right now. Over the last four years, they have been dominant in a lot of areas, and they're the most complete team I've witnessed on film as we study them and prepare for the contest. They're very, very sound in everything they do structurally. As you begin to watch them, their athleticism, and their depth, and their playmaking ability just shows up time and time again. This will take a great effort by our team, and I feel we're very capable of doing that. If we play the game we're capable of playing, anything can happen. That's what excites us about going down to Oklahoma and playing in this game on Saturday night."
On the OU-Nebraska Rivalry
"We're extremely excited to be a part of this great rivalry. I know I'm excited personally to be involved in such a great historic series. It's one of those series you follow as a kid on Thanksgiving weekend as one of the great rivalries and match-ups in college football. It's very respected by our staff and me personally. It's great to be a part of this competition and this rivalry. It will be a lot of fun. I know our players are excited about this game. They've indicated that to me on several occasions. It is a big game for us."
On the hype surrounding the rivalry
"It's out there. It is what it is. I approach each game as the opponent being a faceless object anyhow. I can't control that aspect of what people think or point spreads or anything like that. All we can do is inspire our players, motivate them to the best of our ability, and try to draw out of them their very best. We have not displayed that collectively. We've done it in spurts, we've done it individually, we've done it positionally. We haven't done it collectively, so this will be a great opportunity for us as a team to go down there and generate that collective effort and passion that we need to win."
On getting his team motivated to play Oklahoma
"If you can't get motivated for this one, you can't get motivated for – if you're a football player, you've got to love to be in this contest. It's a great challenge. The ranking of Oklahoma right now at No. 2, that's significant. They're fighting for a national championship. Obviously we're going to go down there and do the best we can. I believe our guys will go down there and fight. I'm very confident in our players that they'll compete, and they'll compete hard. They understand the significance of this game and what it means to our goals as a team of trying to stay in this divisional race with the potential of not playing Oklahoma once, but potentially twice. Anything can happen. That's the great thing about college football. That's the great thing about sports. We're getting prepared for this game. It should be a lot of fun."
On Oklahoma's defense
"They're not underrated. You don't hold a No. 2 ranking in the country by being underrated on defense by any stretch. They're very athletic. What they've done over the years is they've formulated a great system from when Bob was at Florida . They've implemented the same type of philosophy – very aggressive. They mix up their fronts and coverages. They have great athletes across the board and guys who can change the complexion of the game at any time. (Dan) Cody, as Jay (Norvell) was talking about, is one of the premiere players in college football. You have to have an eye on him, but as you get your plan together, you have to know exactly where he is. He can be anywhere, and they utilize him in that fashion. That's going to be a challenge. Then you put so much focus on one player, and I don't want to be disrespectful to their other players because they're all great players, and they have a tremendous front that feeds off of each other. They have good inside players. They're physical. They run with great speed. Their closure to the ball is the best I've seen. They play the pass well, and despite the past couple of weeks, they've played some pretty good teams. As I assess them as a team, the championship teams have the ability to come back from behind in the fourth quarter, which they've shown the ability to do. That's the great mark of a champion – have that ability to come back from behind when you're down and take the lead when it counts. They've certainly proven that, and that's why this will make for a great competition and a great challenge for us as a team."
On his most memorable OU-Nebraska game
"The 1971 game with Johnny Rogers' punt return – that one sticks out over and over in my mind. I remember watching that game as a kid. It impacted me a long time ago when Bob Devaney was here, and I can remember watching that game in my youth. That was one of the great things about Thanksgiving Day weekend – that you could sit down and watch that rivalry and really get a feel. At that time, I don't think there were that many games during the early 1970s that were being televised, so that was a game of importance in the Big Eight Conference at that time. As I sat down and watched it, I always enjoyed watching the great players year after year. It was a lot of fun to sit down and watch those competitions."
Callahan has high praise for Oklahoma
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