Red Report: Abdullah says players doing well blocking out negativity

2013-09-18T21:45:00Z 2013-09-18T22:27:04Z Red Report: Abdullah says players doing well blocking out negativityBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON / Lincoln Journal Star

Ameer Abdullah admits it wasn't always easy to ignore the criticism that comes with weeks such as this one.

But with time, the junior running back has gotten pretty good at it.

“I know it’s a challenge. When I was younger, it was more difficult for me to block out criticism," Abdullah said. "People definitely don’t know what is going on between the walls here in this program.

"I feel like it’s actually very good, because it teaches you to be disciplined. Be a man of integrity. Be a person who doesn’t respond to criticism all the time. Not because you have just one good game and vice versa. Don’t let the outside critics get to you.”

After Nebraska's 41-21 loss to UCLA on Saturday, it can be difficult to not see some of the negative comments, especially with many players active on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

But for the most part, Abdullah said young players on the team seem to be doing a good job of keeping their cool as they try to rebound this week against South Dakota State.

“I think our younger guys are doing a pretty good job of it. I think it is all in them watching how we handle different situations more than us telling them you have to do this," he said. "The best way they are going to learn is through experience, and this is a great experience to learn how to block out what the outsiders say and focus on your teammates."

A rebound is critical, as Nebraska tries to gain momentum in its last nonconference game before Big Ten Conference play.

Yes, defensive coordinator John Papuchis said after Tuesday's practice that this season is hardly defined just three games in.

“I think sometimes there’s a sense or a feel that you go into a college football season and all your eyes end up being in one basket in terms of the first time you lose a game, the year’s over," Papuchis said. "And we can’t just look at it that way."

* BANDERAS PRAISE: One of the bigger leaders on that defense? He may be a true freshman.

While Nebraska's second-half defensive collapse didn't leave much to highlight, Husker coach Bo Pelini said one player he thought kept his head was MIKE linebacker Josh Banderas.

“I thought (he) did a really good job of taking command and doing the things up front and directing things. He did a really good job," Pelini said.

Even so, the Husker defense had no answers in the third quarter, as UCLA piled up 28 points and 236 yards of offense.

"When it came down to it, at the end of the day on either side, when you have the momentum going against you, somebody has to take it upon themselves to make a play, and to execute their job," Pelini said. "There were some instances in that second half I think we had guys trying to do too much. When you try to do too much and you try to do something that isn’t your job, that creates issues."

* TOUGH TO FORGET: Two days after Saturday's game, Avery Moss was still thinking about the sack that got away.

Yeah, that play. The one where UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley slipped away from Moss and ran for 13 yards on third-and-12. A turning point in the game.

“It’s something that you have to move on from," said the redshirt freshman defensive end. "For me, it hurts too bad to move on from just because of how significant of a turnaround it was for our defense.”

The missed play aside, Moss showed serious flashes of his potential, picking up two sacks and eight tackles, with three of those for loss.

But Moss is more interested in fixing his flaws right now.

He also agreed that NU's defense lost its edge in the second half, playing not to lose.

"I feel like there were times when the focus wasn’t there," he said. "It was in reach, but it wasn’t in my grasp. I feel like that affected the game a lot.”

* RESPECTING THE JACKS: You can no longer take FCS teams for granted. Kansas State found that out.

So does Pelini. He expects a tough test from 3-0 South Dakota State, which the Huskers beat only 17-3 in 2010.

"You just look week after week and there are games you think won’t be close," Pelini said. "(But) I think it was right after we played Washington a couple years ago, they came in and played hard. They are going to be sound in what they do. They won’t be really fancy, but they’ll be sound and aggressive."

Reach Brian Christopherson at or 402-473-7439. Follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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