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Courtesy: CUBuffs.com
Release: November 24, 2003
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Head coach Gary Barnett.   By CUBuffs.com
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BOULDERThe University of Colorado held its weekly press conference Monday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center, as head coach Gary Barnett addressed the media about this week's matchup with Nebraska at Folsom Field (Nov. 28, 10:10 a.m., ABC).  The following contains quotes from the afternoon press session.


GENERAL—“The whole situation is black and white. We either win and keep playing or we lose and that’s it. There is no guessing, no wondering and no speculation – maybe some speculation as to exactly where we would go. But there is no questioning the fact that if you win you go (to a bowl game) and if you don’t win, you don’t go. That in itself provides motivation. I don’t think that in this game it is necessary, but it is a plus. We’re going to be fairly healthy for this game " as healthy as we’ve been all year since the Washington State game. By the nature of the way we have approached this game throughout the year – it’s a big game and we play hard in it – I would expect that to happen in this case.”


ON NEBRASKA—“Nebraska’s defense is really, really good. The only teams to beat them have done so with a running quarterback. We’re not going to do that obviously, so we are going to have to beat them with a more conventional – Colorado conventional – method. Offensively, they are just who’ve they’ve been through the years. They are going to line up and get you by running the option " five or six different ways. Interestingly, two of the three tailbacks on this team are from Colorado (Cory Ross, Josh Davis), and so are a wide receiver (Ross Pilkington) and a starting offensive lineman (Jake Andersen). You know they are going to come in here and play well in front of all their home folks. Normally by the time you hit your 12th game everybody is tired and having the week off more or less rejuvenated me and rejuvenated my energy and excitement to get back on the sideline and back on the field and play again. You sit around and watch all the big games and all the excitement that goes on, and you realize how exciting this game is and you just can’t wait to get back out there and do it again. In our case, and I’m sure in Nebraska’s case as well, everybody is just excited for the chance to go out and play one more time. This bye week really sets it up and makes it a little more exciting for the players. Instead of being the 12th game, it becomes the last game you get to play after having two weeks off and watching everybody else play.”


ON THE 2003 NEBRAKSA DEFENSE—“They’re not a man-free team. They played a lot of man defense the last couple of years and they’re not doing that anymore. They are a zone team and they’re running the national defense right now, which is a zone-pressure defense. That means they will bring five or six guys and play zone behind it. They’re doing that very well and that scheme really fits their players’ talents " they’ve found a nice combination there. Some of those kids they were playing with a year ago have grown up and are better players " they’ve been around the game another year, they tackle well and they don’t give up very many big plays. More importantly than that, they get many turnovers. Last year they were turning the ball over more than they were getting them, but now they’re ranked 5th in the country in turnovers. They are a faster defense this year " both of their linebackers are smaller and faster guys. They’re a really good defensive unit up and down the board.”


“What you’ll see Nebraska do is create the kind of coverages that will take our two big guys (receivers) out of the game. I anticipate them to have all sorts of bracket coverage on those guys, or they’ll roll the corner up on D.J. Hackett and play half coverage behind so that they’ve always got two guys there on him. It is there scheme, so I now more than likely they will do it, but based on who we are, If I was playing us, that’s what I would do. I anticipate a lot of bracket coverage, and both (Derek) McCoy and Hackett getting double coverage. Some teams have double covered (Jeremy) Bloom and let us have Hackett and McCoy. Maybe that’s they way they’ll go with it, but our game has been a short passing game and if they want to be most effective against that, they’ll probably create some way to bracket those two guys. We are going to have to throw the ball and everybody has got to be in the game. Vickers, Calhoun " we’re going to have to disperse the ball. One, Nebraska is going to force it, and two; we want to do that anyway. This should be one of those games where everybody catches the ball a few times.”


“There are some things that you do (to run the ball against Nebraska), but mostly you just block a little bit better. You hope that the amount of pressure that you put on them in the passing game keeps them in a front that will allow you to run the ball a little bit. For us to run the ball against an eight-man front is going to be difficult. What we may have to do is throw the ball; we’re not going to try to run it into that. A year ago we had no choice, but now we have choices and that’s what we’ve done. They’re looking at all 11 films and that’s what they’re seeing.”


“Josh Bullocks is good player and their defense puts so much pressure on the quarterback that they end up getting some throws made to them. You are always aware of a guy that’s got those kinds of numbers (10 INTs), but their whole defense has 27 interceptions so he’s got a third of them. It’s not like you can just keep the ball away from him, the other guys have done a good job too.”


ON NEBRASKA’S SPECIAL TEAMS—“They’re better on special teams than we’ve been. Their productivity is better than ours and that’s an area that I’m critically concerned about in this game. They’re fifth in the country in net punting and their punter is third or fourth in the country. They haven’t been great on punt returns like they were a year ago, but still their special teams have been good. We’ve been real inconsistent; there have been games where we’ve been really good and there have been games where we’ve been awful. Last week, for example, we didn’t have a single special team that stood out. So, we’ve spent a lot of time these last 10 days trying to get those areas better.”


ON NEBRASKA’S CHANGE IN OFFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY—“Tommy Frazier had an impact, and then Eric Crouch took it to another level. But, Frazier did a lot for them in the option. Before that they were more of an I-formation team, but once Frazier came along they really got dependent on the option. Then Crouch, because he could run and throw, became the ultimate guy back there, and I think they are still looking for him again. It’s never been fullback dominated, but they always sneak the fullback in on you because you become so wound up in trying to get to the quarterback and tailback that the fullback always becomes a big player. They’ve been an I-back team through the years, and then the last couple of years a quarterback team.”


ON THE CU SENIOR CLASS—“You have to look at where they came from as freshmen. Most of them (guys in their fifth year) came here after a two-week period of time where there was no coach and nobody talking to them. Those four or five guys that committed at that time continued to stay with Colorado. And then you have the guys that came after the signing date, and you can almost say that no other Division I team wanted these guys. Then you look at the fact that their sophomore year we went 3-8, the next year they are integral in winning the Big 12 Conference, the next year they win the Big 12 North and this year when they could’ve cashed it in, they didn’t. They’ve been patient, and now at least they have retrieved some of their integrity by playing the way they have the last four weeks. This last game gives them a chance to take another step along those lines. None of them are going to be proud of a 5-7 or a 6-6 record, but that isn’t the way they are going to look at it. They are going to look at what they did the last part of the year, what they did the last five games or last game, and that’s what is going to be important to them. You look at all the things these guys have gone through and how they’ve persevered this year, to me it’s a wonderful statement about these guys.”

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