LINCOLN, Neb. — Frustration. Anger. Disappointment.
Those were just a few of the words Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst said about the Huskers’ 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois, as he stood in the middle of at least two dozen reporters Saturday afternoon.
It’s not often that the athletic director meets with the media after a game, but this was different. Eichorst felt he needed to be present.
“I think it’s important for everyone to understand that when you have tough days like today, you have to stand up and show strong leadership,” Eichorst said. “I’m going to do that and I’m going to continue to do that. I don’t think I’ve hid from any of that stuff. It is what it is. We have to get better. We have to find a way to get better and I’m confident that we will.”
But back to the immediate emotions. After a loss like the one Nebraska just suffered, there are many. Eichorst understands.
But he also understands that a loss like the one to Northern Illinois was not OK.
“You go through all those emotions and tough times,” Eichorst said. “When you’re around these good people and good young men, certainly you think about that and about how to lead. It’s easy to lead when things are going well. But when you have adversity, you have to stand up and think of doing the right things all the time. It’s a gamut of emotions.
“I don’t think there’s any question that it’s not acceptable.”
If a loss to Northern Illinois is unacceptable, does Eichorst see Nebraska improving? It’s the million-dollar question, and Eichorst understands that it might be difficult to see improvement from the outside looking in.
He sees area of improvement, but knows there needs to be more.
“I’m sure [coach Mike Riley] would say the same thing. He’s a professional,” Eichorst said. “They have to do better. The players have to do better. They have to prepare for next week. Nobody is feeling sorry for anybody.
“There are no excuses to be made.”
As for the future, Eichorst plans to continue providing leadership and a positive attitude. While he’s optimistic about the future, he also has a clear goal: to win games.
“That’s what we’re here to do and we didn’t get that done today,” Eichorst said.
And what he’s say to fans? It’s a simple message, but he’s looking for patience from Nebraska fans.
“Hang in there,” Eichorst said. “We have a good group of young men in that locker room that are working really hard to represent us and win ball games. I would say the same thing about our staff, but everybody has to take it up a notch and we got to get moving in the right direction.
“Hang in there.”