The bitter taste may linger at least another seven days.
“Hard time for a bye to come after a game like that,” Bo Pelini said Wednesday night during his radio show on the Husker Sports Network.
“It’s been a tough few days. It’s going to be a tough couple weeks.”
But the Nebraska football coach said his team is looking to use the extended time after last week's 63-38 loss to Ohio State to its advantage.
“It gives us a chance to get some things corrected, and get better, and get ready for this stretch run. Because we’ve got a lot ahead of us, a lot to play for, and we’ve got to get better,” he said. “You’re hurting, but you can feel sorry for yourself or you can fight back."
Pelini said players and coaches have closely analyzed the horror film from the Ohio State game, being “brutally honest” in dissecting what went wrong.
“You look at every last possible thing you can do … you point the thumb at yourself,” Pelini said. “You take care of yourself first. You are accountable to yourself first, because only then can you be accountable to the rest of the team. I think everyone’s been doing that. We’re very honest when we watch the film.”
He thinks his team has learned a lot from the experience, but said that can only be determined by what happens going forward.
“That’s the key. Are we able to take what’s happened and make us stronger as we move forward?”
The fifth-year head coach said he hasn’t been paying attention to any criticism following the loss, which dropped the Huskers to 4-2 and out of the rankings.
“Honestly, I don’t listen to what people say. I don’t know what they say. I could really care less what they say,” Pelini said. “Because, at the end of the day, I've got to do what I have to do for our football team and for our program, and do the best job I possibly can. That’s what I’m doing. I believe in our kids. I believe in our team. We just have to prove those people … the only way you shut ‘em up is to win football games, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Pelini said his expectations are as high as anyone — to win them all.
“We’re going to try to win them all. In the meantime, we have to try to stay with the process that we set out. We can’t panic. Unfortunately in sports, you’re going to have some highs and lows, you’re going to deal with adversity both in a game, in a week, in a year. It’s how you respond to it. That’s the challenge we have in front of us.”
A few quick hitters:
* Pelini expects senior running back Rex Burkhead (knee injury) to be available by Nebraska’s next game — Sept. 20 at Northwestern.
“He’s doing well. We’re giving him some days off. He’ll have some time to rest. He’ll be ready come Northwestern.”
* Answering a question about recruiting players for the defensive front seven, Pelini said coaches are looking for “speed and more speed.”
“Really, on the front seven, that’s always the emphasis. You have go get fast guys not only that have speed but that can hold up in the downhill-run game.”
* With it being a bye week, Pelini said most of his staff will be on the road recruiting Friday.
* A caller to the show asked Pelini how Nebraska stops Northwestern, a team that runs a spread offense that gave Nebraska fits a year ago in a 28-25 Wildcat win.
“We’ll have to wait until next Saturday,” Pelini said. “It’s going to be a challenge. (QB Kain) Colter’s a good player, but we’ll be ready.”
* Speaking about Tom Osborne, Pelini said the outgoing athletic director would always be welcome at practice, even when he’s left his current post.
“It’s great to see him out there (at practice). I hope he’s out there for a long time,” Pelini said. “He’s earned the break. I know he enjoys coming to practice. He always has good input for us and hopefully that continues for a long time to come.”