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2010 Oct 18

Practice Report 10/18: Tackle, Tackle, Tackle

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By HuskerLocker

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Rickey Thenarse knew he wasn't going to like what he saw when Nebraska's football team flipped on the film of its 20-13 loss to Texas. Thenarse missed crucial tackles on two UT touchdown drives, wildly throwing his shoulder into the ballcarrier instead of wrapping up with his arms.

“It was embarrassing,” Thenarse said. “It's hard to watch. I'll learn from it. I took it like a man. Took the criticism. I'm responsible for everything I did out there.”

The senior safety from Los Angeles had plenty of company, head coach Bo Pelini said. The Huskers – usually a strong tackling bunch – strayed from their fundamentals, Pelini said, which led to more than 100 yards after contact for the Longhorns.

“If you want them to go down, you've got to bring it and wrap up,” Pelini said.

Said sophomore safety P.J. Smith: “We just didn't wrap up and run our feet when we hit them...and that's not like us.”

Thenarse has always been more of a big-hit artist than a tackling tutorial, but his first torpedo bounced off the hull of quarterback Garrett Gilbert in the first quarter as Gilbert extended the drive with a third-down scramble. Had Thenarse made the tackle, Texas would have been forced to settle for a field goal.

“I was trying to knock the ball out Trying to make a play,” Thenarse said. “I kinda was surprised. Then again, he's the quarterback. starting for Texas. He can take a hit.”

Later, Thenarse tried the same thing after UT running back Fozzy Whitaker burned NU linebacker on a circle route. Same result: Whitaker bounced away, going for a 41-yard gain instead of a 15-yard play.

Smith estimated that more than 100 of UT's 271 total yards came after initial contact.

Monday's practice – though conducted in half pads – contained plenty of tackling work, Smith said. It was a competitive day, Thenarse added, with jobs again on the line.

“We had some good-on-good,” Pelini said. “We got a good jump on Oklahoma State.”

The undefeated Cowboys have the nation's No. 2 passing offense. But OSU hasn't played a pass defense with a national rank above 100 in six game. NU is No. 1.

“I love our secondary,” Pelini said. “We didn't tackle well the other day. I didn't like that aspect of it. But I think we match up well on the outside.”

Particulars: Nebraska worked out for two hours inside and outside the Hawks Championship Center, starting a little earlier Monday to account for fall break.

What’s New: There was a more competitive edge and resolve in Monday's practice, players said. Adversity always tends to help these Huskers.

Player Quote: “If we could play all of our games on the road, we probably would play all of our games on the road. Don't get me wrong: It's wonderful playing in our stadium with all of our fans and all that, but there's something about playing on the road.” P.J Smith, on road games

Player Quote II: “I don't think we played with passion at all. Not one play was I out there hyped. Not one. So I don't think that I went out there and played as hard as I can play.” Safety Rickey Thenarse on NU's play vs. Texas

Coach Quote: “It's important to him. He knows, hey, if I want to be the player I'm capable of being and make the plays, I need to come through.” Wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore on NU receiver Niles Paul

Notes:

*Special teams coordinator John Papuchis said Texas added a twist to its two rugby-style punts that went for 55 and 67 yards against the wind Saturday: Punter John Gold, a right-footer, rolled to his right and kicked them back across the field.

“In two years of gameplanning for it, they had never punted back across the field,” Papuchis said. “That was an adjustment they made in their gameplanning and they executed it well.”

Of course, it happened twice. Papuchis said the second successful kick was “our fault.”

*Alex Henery hadn't attempted an onside kick since the 2008 Virginia Tech game. He wasn't successful there and he wasn't on Saturday, either.

“We didn't get a great bounce on it,” Papuchis said. “It kind of popped up in the air into their hands.”

Next Practice: Tuesday

Tags: oklahoma state game, rickey thenarse, bo pelini, john papuchis, pj smith

Comments (2)

Profile image for ryanj25
ryanj25

I agree HBP. The whole dang town and state was pumped up for this game and has been since the B12 Championship last year. How on earth can we come out flat and play with no passion, play like a bunch of scared underdogs. Frustrating to say the least. This was not Nebraska football being "back".

– Oct 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Profile image for HuskerBoPower
HuskerBoPower

Player Quote II: “I don't think we played with passion at all. Not one play was I out there hyped. Not one. So I don't think that I went out there and played as hard as I can play.” Safety Rickey Thenarse on NU's play vs. Texas

What the #uck! I just don't get this! Pelini vowed when he was hired that his teams would ALWAYS play hard, not give up, play with passion, etc. I don't see how the players could not be hyped for this game, regardless of Pelini, given the circumstances. Thenarse is a senior, a starter on defense, a blackshirt, and is known for being a hot-headed guy who struggles to keep his mind in the game and his emotions in check. Even if Pelini game some sort of pre-game speech designed to calm everyone down and just make them focus (and I'm not saying he did - maybe just the opposite, I don't know), how can these players not play with passion in this game?!?

The Huskers looked flat and uninspired. I just don't get that! Not for this game of all games!

– Oct 19, 2010 at 11:18 am

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