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September 22, 2009
Pelini promises NU will play with passion on Saturday
It was almost like a different person was talking for Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini during his weekly press conference in Lincoln on Tuesday.
Pelini addressed the media for longer than anybody can ever remember in his time at NU, and it's clear he's done his best to forget about this past Saturday's emotional 16-15 loss at Virginia Tech.
However, when Pelini reflects what his team has gone through over the last few days, he admits it hasn't been very easy.
"I can say that was as hard of a loss as I have ever encountered in football and I've had some hard ones," Pelini said. "That was difficult. You know what, it's time to move on. I've moved on. I really have. It took me a little longer, but I've moved on."
As Pelini looks ahead to Saturday's game against Louisiana Lafayette, he wants his football team to come out with passion.
He said that's something that starts on the practice field and he feels like they showed that type of attitude on Monday.
"It's situations like this that define you," Pelini said. "It's going to help define our football team and it's going to help define me as a coach and a person. You have to rise up to challenges and when you face a disappointment like that, it is a challenge to come back. Each and everyone of our guys on that football team are facing that challenge and I look forward to challenges and I'm going to stare it in the face to make sure we do the right thing to get this thing fixed and that's what we are going to do.
As one of the leaders on the team, senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said it's his job to make sure the team comes out and accepts Pelini's challenge this week in practice.
Last season, that was one of the things that made the Huskers a good team. Each time they faced adversity they found ways to overcome it.
"Like coach Bo said man up," Suh said. "Take it like you are supposed to take it. Go about it your own personal way, but get ready for the next game. We are all grown men and move forward and get ready for the next game."
Junior quarterback Zac Lee is also looking forward to getting the chance to redeem himself after a poor performance against the Hokies on Saturday.
However, Lee was backed down from practice on Monday, because of a medication he is taking for an injury on his left thumb. Lee said though he's going to really study the Virginia Tech film and make the necessary improvements this week.
"The way I'm going to look at it and the way I have to look at it is it is going to help me as a player," Lee said. "I think I can learn a lot more from (the Virginia Tech) game then I can from the first two games."
Pelini is hoping the empty feeling his team walked off the field with in Blacksburg on Saturday will be enough motivation in itself to lead to a solid showing on Saturday.
"I told our football team yesterday we need to use the disappointment and rage in some ways as fuel for the future," Pelini said. "Or you can be weak minded and not step up and take accountability for us not coming out on top to divide you or point the fingers. We haven't done that around here.
"The way our football team came out and practiced yesterday, it became really, really obvious to me that they took the message and they understand it. We've moved on."