LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee’s voice slightly cracked. He’s not one to get overly emotional but when asked about the senior class, his voice wavered just a bit.
“I think guys are just paying attention to the seniors right now,” Lee said after the Cornhuskers’ 56-14 loss to Iowa on Friday. “Thanking them for all their hard work and their leadership. We went through a lot together and I think guys are just being appreciative of their brothers and putting in that hard work for each other, so there was a lot of that going on in the locker room.
“And obviously a lot of disappointment and frustration. I think the bond we built, it kind of trumped all that in the locker room.”
Redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Stille responded to the disappointment of the season on Twitter. He expressed how sorry he was not only to the seniors, but to coach Mike Riley, former players and fans.
I'm truely sorry from the bottom of my heart to every senior, coach, former player and fan who have invested so much into this university. Gonna do everything in my power to help turn this around #gbr
— Ben Stille (@b_stille_) November 25, 2017
As for senior kicker Drew Brown, he had wanted to be a Cornhusker since the day he was born. In fact, Brown was at Nebraska’s 1995 national championship game when he was only 3 months old. He quite literally was “born to be” a Husker.
That’s why Brown was visibly emotional walking off the field one final time after Nebraska’s loss. It wasn’t about the outcome of the game at that point. It was about the end of a chapter for Brown and his senior class.
“I don’t know if I’m going to get another shot at playing at the next level, so this could have been my last competitive game or sport in general,” Brown said. “That’s really it. I’m just going to miss being around all the guys and coming every day to prepare as a Nebraska Cornhusker. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
And though the seniors were rightfully upset, the common theme was to move forward and use this season as a lesson. Senior linebacker Chris Weber, for example, hopes the 2017 season serves a greater purpose for those that come next.
“I hope they use this year … for me personally, anytime you go through something difficult, you can use it to springboard into the future,” Weber said. “You can pull from it and I hope each of those guys use the hard moments of this season – what it felt like – and kind of use they when they’re training, use that when they’re in practice, use it going forward.”
From Stille’s tweet, it sounds like those younger players hear what players like Weber and Brown are saying. They want to turn around the Nebraska ship, which is exactly what the seniors want to be gained from all of this.
Brown’s eyes gave away the pain he was feeling postgame, but his intentions for those younger than him never wavered. He wants to see Nebraska on top once again, even if it couldn’t happen during his time in scarlet and cream.
“I just hope they use this as motivation for the years coming,” Brown said. “It’s not fun being a senior and not having a chance to go to a bowl game and ending the season losing 6 out of your last 7 games. Certainly we’re not going into a game anticipating to lose. We’re working our butts off, and they need to keep doing that. They need to work even harder this offseason than they did this last offseason, and they have to come next season with a chip on their shoulder to do everything they can to send the senior class out on a great note.
“I think that’s great motivation for them.”
Thankful for an amazing 4 years, I’m forever thankful to live out my dream as a Husker! Thank you to my family for always being there for me and supporting me no matter what, what am amazing ride #GBR #Forever27
— Drew Brown (@Drewdbrown34) November 25, 2017