Archive for Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cornhuskers practicing selective amnesia

What a difference a week makes for the Kansas football team.

November 4, 2008

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Going Deep

Next up: Nebraska

In Week 10 of Going Deep, Matt Tait and Eric Sorrentino speak with Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star and huskerextra.com. Christopherson talks about the head coaching transition from Bill Callahan to Bo Pelini. Are Husker fans allowing for a grace period for Pelini to turn around the program? Other topics include Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz, NU athletic director and former coach Tom Osborne and who the Huskers' X factor might be against Kansas next Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

In attempting to regroup from last week's 62-28 trouncing at the hands of then-No. 4 Oklahoma, the Nebraska University football team is taking an interesting approach to the recovery process.

In short, the Huskers are acting like the OU game never happened.

Following one of the team's worst losses in recent memory, coach Bo Pelini instructed his players and assistant coaches not to talk about the game in an effort to move on as quickly as possible.

"I think that they know that we're a better football team than the result," said Pelini, whose team will play host to Kansas University at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. "But I told them right after the game, it's time we just need to move on and worry about Kansas. We'll get our mistakes fixed, but there's no sense in beating ourselves over the head with this."

The beating NU took on the field, after all, was quite enough. Within the first six minutes against the Sooners, Nebraska trailed 28-0 after turning the ball over three times and was behind 35-0 at the conclusion of the first quarter. The game marked the first time in the series' history that the Cornhuskers had given up more than 55 points to Oklahoma and represented the team's worst defensive showing of the season.

"I've been on both sides of that, and it's difficult," Pelini said. "But you got to make a play, and we weren't able to get that done. You got to do something to try to get the momentum back, and we weren't able to do that until it was too late."

Saturday's game against Kansas, the 115th all-time meeting between the two teams, represents Nebraska's first opportunity to put last week's game behind.

The Jayhawks rebounded from a similar lopsided loss to Texas Tech two weeks ago in convincing fashion, beating rival Kansas State by 31 points on Saturday, and Nebraska, surely, will be shooting for a similar outcome this weekend when it faces Kansas for the first time since falling 76-39 to the Jayhawks last season.

Pelini was quick to point out that, at 5-4 (2-3 in the Big 12), the Cornhuskers are just one victory away from becoming bowl-eligible this season. And although Nebraska has had little success defensively this season, Kansas coach Mark Mangino said Monday that he didn't put too much stock into the Cornhuskers' most recent performance.

"Hey, listen, we played Oklahoma," Mangino said. "You do a couple of things wrong and they can come roaring out of the blocks. They're a very, very good football team. What happened to Nebraska can happen to anybody against Oklahoma if you have a couple mistakes. So I'm not going to read a whole lot into that."

¢ Harrell continues to impress: For the second consecutive weekend, Mangino watched Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell pick apart a defense.

This time around, though, he did so with the luxury of distance.

A week after Harrell and the Red Raiders torched his team for 556 yards and 63 points, Mangino, who spoke highly of Harrell after going against him two weeks ago, had a chance to watch highlights of Texas Tech's thrilling comeback victory over then-top-ranked Texas last weekend. And what he saw did nothing to alter his perception of the Heisman hopeful.

"I said it before, (and) I'll say it again," Mangino said, "I think the guy is just a terrific player. ... The thing that really jumps out to me about Graham, just from studying him for our game and playing against him, is I think that he is supremely confident in what he is doing. He is in control of what he's doing. He knows the system very well, and he understands where people are going to be."

¢ Game times announced: Kansas' game against rival Missouri, scheduled for Nov. 29 at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium, will kick off at 11:30 a.m. and be televised by FSN, the university announced Monday.

The Jayhawks' home finale against Texas on Nov. 15 is set for an 11:30 a.m. kickoff as well and also will be televised on FSN.

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