Nebraska Quarterback Casey Thompson met with the media earlier this week to talk about Nebraska’s loss in Ireland, the lack of a bye week after an international game, the need to get the run game started, and his feelings heading into his first game at Memorial Stadium. In his first game for Nebraska, the Texas transfer was 25 of 42 for 355 yards with one TD and two INTs.
Thompson is a refreshing character in the football/media relationship. He has something that most players and almost every coach has an aversion to, and that’s to be open and honest with the media. He doesn’t try to duck questions, and he’s willing to push back if he feels the question being asked is unfair. I’m curious about his comments after the home opener. It’s clear he’s excited for his first game at Memorial Stadium. Let’s hope the experience lives up to his expectations.
All quotes are provided by the University of Nebraska Sports Information Department. Find more comments below.
On the Northwestern loss
“I thought the game had a lot of positives on the film. We had 75 plays on offense and we had 55 plays in the first three quarters with over 400 yards and four touchdowns and one turnover. And then the takeaway from the fourth quarter we had about 17 plays. Only 58 or 60 yards and two turnovers. No touchdowns in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter we had four drives. Two of those ended with punts. We had one sack in the fourth quarter. Two drives ended in punts and two drives ended in turnovers. We played good for three quarters and then on offense in the fourth quarter we did not score any points. That was the only quarter we did not score any points the whole game. Northwestern scored more points. The team that scores more points wins the game.”
On the need to get the running game going
“You have to be able to run the ball. Anytime you can run the ball and have success on the ground it sets everything up. You can control the clock. You are able to get ahead of the chains on first and second down and not have to pass it. We had 42 pass attempts. Going into the game I do not know if we would like to have more of those or less of that. Whatever it takes for us to win on offense. If we can establish a good run game that is obviously going to help.”
On the offense
“I think we did a good job at using the tempo to our advantage on Saturday. Obviously you guys know we were moving the ball down the field. Up through two or three quarters we had one punt so we were moving the ball down the field. Like I said, we turned the ball over, stopping ourselves. We went 75 plays with no penalties. That was the first time that we had a scrimmage or a game in a long time here at Nebraska with zero penalties. I think we had like one sack, well two technically because I tripped, but we had one sack the whole game. There is really a lot of positives and takeaways but the tempo is something we like to use to our advantage. We know how to slow down too and control the clock when we need to, but like I said we just need to establish a little bit better of a run game to be able to control the clock.”
On having no bye week
“Right after the game you feel defeated but as soon as you wake up on Sunday at least for me and this team I think it is important to move on. On Sunday the main takeaway was to correct the issues, acknowledge the mistakes, but also see what we did well and improve on the positives. Yesterday’s practice was very important for us just to try and stay positive and energetic. Stay encouraged and push one another to have a great practice. And we did a good job at that yesterday. We have good leadership on this team. We had a really good practice yesterday. Had a great practice today as well. We are going to be fine we just have to move forward. We cannot let one game beat us twice. Today is Tuesday and the game is two days, three days ago and we have to move on from it.”
On North Dakota
“I have watched them. I started watching them on Sunday evening. They play really hard. They have had their defensive staff together for at least three years now. No. 3, their cornerback stands out on film. He is a very good athlete. They have four players from Nebraska, three players from Oklahoma. One of them came from (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M) a junior college in Oklahoma. I am very familiar with. This is their first game. They are usually undefeated on their season openers. They are a good football team. Watching their film they had 11 games last year and they had the lead or the chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Cannot take them lightly. They run a lot of different coverages. They run a lot of different pressures and blitz. They run three-four front. They run four-three. They have shown a variety on film. But we will be OK. We have to trust our training just know that we know football and we practiced enough against all of the different looks, so we will be ready.”
On his first game in Memorial Stadium
“This will be my first live game. I got to play in the spring game here for like nine plays. I threw like four passes. It is different when it is the game. I am excited to play in front of the fans. Husker Nation here at Memorial Stadium will be fun. On game day when I go out there it is just going to war with the same guys I practice with every day. I just try to tune out a lot of the noise. But it will be fun on Saturday to get out there for the first time and see everyone. I am personally excited to have my family come. They did not get to travel to Ireland, so it will good to have 10 to 15 or however many people are coming to the game this week so that will be good.”
On the fans sticking with the team
“I think the fans are really passionate. I come from a football family. I am from Oklahoma. I played at Texas. So I am used to die hard fans. I definitely think it is a close community here, the Nebraska fan base. And I think there are just a lot of Husker fans in the town, at the airport. I will never forget when I first came here in January. I was flying in from LaGuardia Airport and there were Nebraska fans on the flight, and then at the Omaha airport that recognized me. And that was before I even announced (I was coming here). I was trying to stay low-key. There are Nebraska fans everywhere. I really enjoy it, and I am really thankful and appreciative for die-hard fans. And I just ask everyone to stick with us and inside the building we are trying to stay positive. That is the main thing.”
On the team's mindset heading into Saturday
“I have been playing football since I was four years old. This is my first time on this team. It is a new team. There is a lot of new faces and new coaches. But I think we are reacting well because our body language, the energy at practice and the overall demeanor around the building. We have had great practices, we are still having good meetings. I think pressure is more of an outside noise thing. I think internally in the building we are fine and we just have to focus on doing our job and continue to play football and execute how we know how to execute for four quarters. But we have to be prepared to play four quarters every week, so that is the main thing.”
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