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Pelini Confident Entering 2009 Season
Posted Jul 28, 2009
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini really likes his defense and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who he believes may be the best defensive tackle in the nation and capable of getting better. Pelini also likes his running backs in Roy Helu and Quentin Castille. Pelini believes both will have a big impact on the Huskers expected success (picked to win the North in the Big 12 media poll) this season.
Pelini is well aware the skeptics point to inexperience at quarterback, but he is happy about that position too.
"Zac Lee came out in the spring. No one's won a job yet. We still have a whole camp ahead of us before we play the first game. Zac came out as the clear-cut favorite. He'll go into fall camp as a starter. We feel like he's had a great -- he's followed up his spring with a great summer," Pelini said.
"I think he's confident. I think he's really looking forward to the upcoming season. He's very talented. He can make all the throws. He's a very athletic young man. He's a natural leader. I'm excited about what he brings to the table and what he can become as a football player.
"Backing him up, we have a number of inexperienced but very talented young man. One being Kody Spano. He got hurt in the spring. He had an ACL injury. Now he's back 100 percent. He's had a great summer and he's really worked his tail off to get to this point. He was having a great spring before he had the knee injury. I think that now that he's back to 100 percent, I expect big things out of Kody.
"We have a true freshman in Cody Green, who's fairly limited. He had kind of a freak injury during the spring, before spring ball started. Nothing real serious but it kind of limited him a little bit during spring ball. He's very talented. We're excited about his future in the program and what he can bring. Just see how fast he can develop and see how quickly we'd see him on the field.
"And then a young man we moved back from linebacker last year because of injuries at quarterback, who really surprised us all with some of the things he brought to the table at quarterback in Latravis Washington. We feel real good about the quarterback position, and I know there's enough talent there to get it all done.
"Not only are they good football players, they're good leaders," added Pelini. "They're tremendous character kids. And I believe that the quarterback position is in very good hands."
Cowboy fans will remember Kody Spano as the Stephenville, Texas product that was committed to Oklahoma State and got frustrated when OSU didn't have a scholarship for him to come in at mid-semester.
The Huskers have a solid team, better on defense, and solid enough on offense to withstand wome quarterback instability early. The schedule includes a rough nonconference game at Virginia Tech and a key conference opener on the road at Missouri. Pelini feels his team's attitude is where it needs to be.
"The sense of accountability to each other, to the program," said Pelini of what he likes about the 2009 Huskers and their preparation for the campaign. "I think right now our football team understands what it means to put a good hard day's work in.
"A year ago, I thought we were up and down. I thought we were more inconsistent than we are now or weren't exactly where we want to be. Not quite yet. I believe the program is getting firmer. I just feel better about where we are right at this point. We're not the finished product yet. I understand that. The players understand that.
"I just believe that right now, just the sense of anticipation of where we can -- where we're headed. And the football players, I think right now, they're starting to sense what we can be, what we can become. And they're working hard at it. You know, I felt when I first got around this group that there was a sense of dread sometimes when they came over to go to workouts, and they were more looking for the easy way out. Now I think they're looking to get better. That's a great thing.
"Right now they understand what it means to compete and to go out there and work hard every day. That gives us a chance to be a good football program."
That and a great defensive tackle, solid safeties, talented running backs, and a quarterback to come through.
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