Joseph wants more takeaways from Husker defense

2012-10-19T15:30:00Z 2012-10-27T02:42:13Z Joseph wants more takeaways from Husker defenseBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON / Lincoln Journal Star

OMAHA — Plenty of words have been said about Nebraska's struggles in the turnover department.

The Huskers come into Saturday's game at Northwestern 104th nationally in turnover margin.

For good reason, most of the talk has centered on the offense, which has turned the ball over 15 times in just six games.

But at the Big Red Breakfast on Friday morning, Husker secondary coach Terry Joseph said Nebraska isn't getting enough turnovers as a defense, either.

"We still need to get more takeaways," Joseph said. "And I think you get takeaways from two main components — effort and toughness. Because, not only do you have to get to the ball, but you have to have a bad attitude when you get there. Because that's going to get the ball out.

"I told guys to truly get takeaways, you have to be angry when you get to the ball carrier."

Nebraska has nine takeaways this season, having recovered six fumbles and picked off three passes.

Put all the numbers together and Nebraska is averaging one more turnover than its opponent in each game this season.

The Huskers were minus 3 in the turnover department against Ohio State in a 63-38 loss.

That defeat made for a very, very long couple of weeks, Joseph said.

"Obviously, when you have 63 (points) by your name on ESPN and every station in America, it's probably not a good two weeks to be a coach," Joseph said.

But he felt the time allowed players to focus more on their individual responsibilities and what those responsibilities mean to the defense as a whole.

"Everybody has a different opinion. ... The bottom line is we didn't do our job," Joseph said. "We all need to be better, because that is not Nebraska football, and that is not acceptable. I was ashamed, Bo (Pelini) was ashamed, our coaches, our players. We know that is not the product we need to put on the field."

Joseph knows Northwestern, which is 6-1, will present another serious challenge. He said quarterback/wide receiver Kain Colter is someone who has "Braxton Miller-type ability."

But Joseph said he believes the Huskers are prepared and ready to perform well.

"I think you're going to see a team play with a tremendous sense of urgency," Joseph said. "Because that's what it is, a sense of urgency that you know 'This play is the play.' And when that play's over, 'This play is the play.'

Some quick hitters:

* Joseph was asked what he knew about the Blackshirt tradition and what his thoughts were on the practice jerseys not being handed out yet.

He said he's heard a lot about the Blackshirts from fans since arriving in Lincoln in March, but is still learning about the tradition.

"I think one of the big things that probably needs to be determined is, 'Is a Blackshirt for accomplishment or is a Blackshirt for motivation?'" he said. "And the whole decision on that deal is really above my pay grade. ... I'm a soldier, and whatever Bo tells me, we're going to do it."

* About defending mobile quarterbacks: "I think one of the biggest things that you can't do, whether you contain or pressure, is play passive. ... You still gotta go 100 mph."

"I always tell them, 'If you worry about getting a speeding ticket, you're still gonna get one. Sometimes you just gotta speed.'"

* One thing Joseph wants to see this week is his players not dwelling on any negative plays that might happen.

He pointed to Ohio State quarterback Miller's 72-yard run.

"We have to do a better job as a football team of saying, 'Move on. He made a play. Let's go to the next play.' Because he made a play there. But that play affected us for the next 10 plays."

* Joseph said junior cornerback Andrew Green seemed to lose some confidence in recent weeks. "That's why I went with Stanley (Jean-Baptiste against Ohio State)," he said.

He expects Green and Mohammed Seisay will both see action Saturday, though.

Joseph said earlier in the week that Jean-Baptiste and Josh Mitchell were likely candidates to start again at the corner spots.

* Any redshirt players impressing?

Joseph mentioned linebacker Thomas Brown first.

"Nasty guy, I mean, whoo," he said. "This is a guy you want standing next to you when you get off the bus."

He also mentioned linebacker Michael Rose and wide receiver Alonzo Moore.

"This guy has special playmaking ability," Joseph said of Moore.

* Joseph played baseball at Northwestern State for Dave Van Horn, the former Husker coach.

The two still talk about twice a month, he said.

Joseph was drafted by the Chicago Cubs, and played in the minors for about four years.

"Then I realized they threw sliders. Couldn't hit those," Joseph said to laughter. "It's the truth. Hey, you can ask my players. I do tell the truth."

* Joseph called the Wisconsin game "truly the best environment I've been in."

"It was truly an electric atmosphere," he said. "All our recruits said the same."

* The first-year Husker assistant seemed to be a big hit in his first visit to the Big Red Breakfast.

"I liked Terry Joseph," said an older woman as she left. "Bottom-line guy."

* The final word from Joseph:"Not a lot of sleep was gotten but we helped our program in the last two weeks."

Reach Brian Christopherson at or 402-473-7439. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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