Lincoln, Neb. Tom Osborne says he expects Bo Pelini’s second Nebraska team to be better than the first, even though it might not be reflected in the win-loss record.
“There are going to be some close games,” the Cornhuskers’ athletic director said Tuesday. “I’m not sure even in some of these first three home games that we might not be challenged more than people think.”
No. 24 Nebraska plays Sun Belt Conference members Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette in Lincoln and at No. 7 Virginia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference before opening Big 12 play.
“Everybody has good athletes, everybody starts the season optimistically, everybody believes they can get it done,” Osborne said. “The fifth, sixth or seventh game some teams start getting beat down and begin to lose confidence. Right now nobody has been beaten down. So you’re going to get a good effort.”
Osborne, who coached the Huskers to 250 wins and three national titles from 1973-97, said the defense should continue to improve and that the offense could be good with first-year starter Zac Lee at quarterback.
Osborne said he was pleased with Nebraska’s 9-4 record last year, but he doesn’t measure Pelini’s progress in wins and losses.
Rather, he said, he looks at effort, chemistry and whether the team is executing well.
“It’s still going to hinge on turnovers, an official’s call, an injury or two to make the difference between winning and losing two or three games,” he said.