LINCOLN, Neb. — There was a different tone to Nebraska coach Mike Riley’s voice when he took the podium on Monday morning. After losing 42-35 to Oregon on Saturday, Riley spoke about his team’s inconsistency and predicted that he’d have a “hard time watching some of that film.”
Two days later, the film revealed exactly what Riley expected. For that reason, he feels his post-game comments were correct in wanting more from the team.
“It’s one of those things where my comments after the game were real about our ability after a really bad start to get it together and play better football, especially defense in the second half,” Riley said Monday. “There’s a chance to build off how we finished and a really good opportunity to learn from how we started. In saying that after the game I think that was right.
“The reality after watching the film Sunday or on the plane back, it was really disappointing. It felt like a lost opportunity. It was disappointing. I think we can all get more from what we do.”
Riley also called the defense’s performance on Saturday “the tale of two halves.” As for the offense, he saw an inconsistent group that struggled to get into a rhythm.
Wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El felt the same way. Looking back at the film, he saw a lot of missed opportunities.
“That’s a lesson learned,” Pierson-El said. “We were in it but we fell short, and that’s on us.”
With the loss to Oregon behind them, the Huskers are looking ahead to Northern Illinois on Saturday. As practice begins for the week, Riley’s message is simple.
“We should be so hungry to practice today,” Riley said. “When they look at that video, they should be sick. They should want to work and be better than that. I don’t care if we’re playing the Green Bay Packers or whatever, it should be about us wanting to be better than that.”
More from Monday’s press conference
• Nebraska released an updated depth chart on Monday. No major changes, although running back Tre Bryant had the ‘OR’ dropped behind his name. The starting spot is officially his.
• Speaking of Bryant, he banged up his knee against Oregon but the injury is nothing new. Bryant struggles with knee problems and the staff works to maintain it. He’ll likely sit out a day or two this week, with a final decision about his participation for Northern Illinois made by Wednesday.
• Safety Joshua Kalu (hamstring) walso as injured against the Ducks. Riley calls it doubtful that he’ll play Saturday.
• Many have asked why Devine Ozigbo hasn’t seen the field much yet this season. After playing and producing on the field for Nebraska the last two season, Ozigbo has been placed as the No. 3 running back.
When asked, Riley said it came down to evaluation, adding that when Ozigbo is called upon, he “will play well.” The staff is preparing Ozigbo to be ready for when he is called upon, which could happen on Saturday if Bryant’s knee is an issue. But Riley still acknowledges that the lack of rotation could be difficult on the junior.
“I think it’s really hard for Devine, because Devine cares a lot,” Riley said.
• Best shirt of the day goes to Pierson-El. He sported a red T-shirt, featuring the gorilla and ‘W’ hands emojis, to symbolize “gorilla wideouts” for the Nebraska wide receiver corps.
— Erin Sorensen (@erinsorensen) September 11, 2017