Kill Previews Saturday's Game At Nebraska

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Coach Kill met with the media today to preview this weekend's game at Illinois. You can read a few of the highlights from his press conference below or you can read his entire transcript here


On Nebraska...

"I think what makes Nebraska, in my opinion, better than a year ago, much better is their offensive line. Their offensive line is pretty good. They run the ball with a purpose. And Coach Osborne may be retired, but he's still got a lot of influence there. They still run the toss lead and a lot of things they did when he was there. So there's still some old Nebraska tradition in that football game."

On Nebraska's quarterback...
"I think he's improved passing but their receivers probably physically they catch the ball. They block very well. I think he's got great people around him. He's improved his throwing skills. There's no question about that. But they've also surrounded him with good people.

"Somebody laid an article on the desk. I don't know if they're making me nervous or what, talked about their offensive coordinator talked about they really don't even need to practice or whatever because they're so - so I'd say if you got an offensive coordinator that's that confident in what they're doing, they got a lot of weapons."

On his center situation...
"You know, until we get out to practice and work, Zach Mottla is out for the year and Jon Christenson will be questionable. We'll just have to see. Jon will practice today, but we'll see how he comes along with high ankle sprain. Sometimes those are slow, but he's a tough kid, so we'll see how that goes.
   
"And then Zac Epping finished the game and that would be our situation going into today's practice. If we were playing today, Zac would step in and between we'll be moving him from a guard spot. Then we've gotta fill that in. We'll just see how practice goes. I wish I had a crystal ball that gave me the perfect answer right now, but hopefully we'll get some of that answered over the next couple of days."

On injuries to KJ Maye, A.J. Barker and Derric Engel...
"KJ's fine. He's okay. A.J. Barker, Engel, we'll see how practice progresses. They're both better, but again, if they're going to be able to play on Saturday, I don't know that."

On injuries to the offensive side of the ball...
"I've coached for 30 years. I don't feel sorry for ourselves because each kid went in and did their job and it's much appreciative and it's a good thing we snapped those three guys. It could always be like Maryland. We're not playing a linebacker at quarterback."

On having two running backs who can produce positive yards... 
"I think it's really important. I think Wisconsin has proved that, and Nebraska has proven that, because you know, somebody's going to be banged up and you're going to have an injury. Both of these young kids are really playing well. They're physical. And one's a true freshman and one's a sophomore. So those are good things for the horizon. But certainly I thought Donnell the more he got the ball on Saturday, the more productive he was. I think he got better as it went. And then Rodrick when he got tired, he'd tap out and Rodrick would come in. He's got good hands and got the ball out in the flat and did some good things. So both those two kids have gotten better. There's no question, and that position has gotten better."

On the blitzes that Illinois showed...
"They were blitzing us from everywhere they could come from. I mean it's the most we've been blitzing since I've been here and they were getting to the point where we said we gotta go downhill and take our chances and hopefully somebody gets out of a gap or somebody doesn't do their job or somebody blitzes and runs. And that's what happened. We ran the weak side power and strong side power and outside zone. And was able to have some success."

On what he said to the team after the Illinois game...
"I think the biggest thing is I let the kids - it's hard to win games. It's hard to win on the road, and I let them enjoy it. They were excited.  Let them enjoy it. I probably said less in the locker room than I've said all year."

"So they felt good about it, but as a coach, we're in the coaching deal trying to figure out what are we going to do at center. We're going to Lincoln, Nebraska. You're already working ahead. That's the tough thing about coaching. You don't get a chance to step back and, boy, this is great, because you gotta move forward." 

On playing at Nebraska...
"I will share with them today in the team meeting they need to be excited about it. They need to embrace it and get excited about it and let's go play. Let's go play."

On if Philip Nelson feels any pressure...
"No. He don't say too much. I don't know what he says to you all. He just goes out and plays."

On if Philip Nelson is ready for the crowd and atmosphere in Nebraska...
"We'll see. We'll see, you know. I can't answer that question until you get out there and so forth. But I don't know if you could put any more pressure. He went and played at Wisconsin and that's where his dad went to school. I mean first game, at Madison. I mean that's pretty good opening game to get educated in."

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