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Nebraska Game Week depth chart, injury news, press conference notes

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Everything from Star Wars to Bill Connelly!

NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald met with the media on Monday to discuss the team’s road loss against Wisconsin and the team’s upcoming matchup against Nebraska. Linebacker Chris Bergin, defensive lineman Joe Gaziano and center Jared Thomas also answered questions at the podium. Here’s what they had to say:

Pat Fitzgerald

On Nebraska and Scott Frost: “Someone I have the utmost respect for... We’re gonna have our hands full, it’s a great college environment. “

On Special Teams: “Every game plan decision is made on a week by week basis. We look at each week at its own independent challenge and opportunity... its changing things up, changing looks up.”

On changing game plans from Wisconsin to Nebraska: “Each week presents a new challenge and a new opportunity.”

On Adrian Martinez: “He took the conference by storm last year.”

“They make you defend tempo, they make you defend vertically, they make you defend horizontally.”

On Hunter Johnson’s status: “Ill give the injury report on Thursday, but he ran around today which was very encouraging”

On Drake Anderson picking up run blitzes instead of Isaiah Bowser: “Correct”

On Bennett Skowronek’s status: “Bennett’s gonna be out for a little... we’ll say at least a month. It was a freak injury on a normal play... Bennett’s in great spirits”

On the growing Northwestern-Nebraska rivalry: “I’ll go back to when I was a kid... the Nebraska game was always on when I was a kid... it felt like they were playing Oklahoma every week... Did I ever think Northwestern and Nebraska would become a rivalry? As a kid, I think I would say no... This game is really hinged on turnovers... I know both of us are turning it over at a rate that would lead to our offensive inconsistencies.”

On the craziness of past Northwestern-Nebraska games:

“Especially in the second half, there’s been some huge plays... when you think back to last year, we had some huge conversions... its obvious they were getting better coming into our game last year... the way they played the rest of the season was really impressive... they kind of ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday.”

On who can replace Bennett Skowronek’s production: “Riley and J.J.... we need to more production out of our passing game, period. “

On Isaiah Bowser: “A lot of communication with the young man... im really proud of him. He has been relentless in his rehab to keep getting healthier and healthier... A less tougher guy probably doesn’t play.”

“He had such a great offseason... I think the way he has responded shows a lot about his maturity.”

On Bowser and Anderson getting carries moving forward: “Again, we’ll take it week by week and day by day.”

On the defense: “I think they’re getting really pissed off... They’re getting annoyed with our offense and the lack of production... the excuse of being young is over... there needs to be a higher of consistency and play.”

On Hunter Johnson’s struggles: “I think he’s trying to find a way to win and he’s trying to do too much... man, he cares. He’s working really hard and it’s going to get better.”

On the S&P+ disparity: “It’s not good enough. That’s why we’re 1-3.”

On ESPN’s Bill Connelly: “He’s a great dude by the way. Maybe I’ll get on his twitter. But he won’t read it

On the two-point conversions: “You’re down 15 and you make it down 13. Score two touchdowns and you go home. ‘Cats win. You go for it early so as you go through the course of the game... the key thing is if you go for two point conversaion and you make it and I’m a genius.”

“Each game has different circumstances... every possession you have to maximize the points. That’s what we were trying to do.”

“It is a something we look at every single week... it is something that is research driven and really think about it... we are not going up there to tie... last year at Nebraska, we kicked the extra point and went into overtime... we put a lot of research into it, there’s a lot of factors that go into it. It might change next week.”

On running on the majority of first downs: “Number one, we wanted to make sure we found a way to try and run the football. There was some things we thought we could execute... we got a couple of young, experienced quarterbacks. We are trying to take some pressure off of them.”

On not stretching the field in the passing game: “I’d say probably a product of both.”

“Wisconsin was multiple. They ran a bunch of new stuff that we did not prepare specifically for... When we play Iowa, you will see some complements to the base stuff they do... it will be the same thing with Nebraska. It’s going to be a challenge (check on word) to our defense, there’s no doubt.”

On the new California Senate Bill 206: “When we work with our NCAA perspectives,I think I’ve got a pretty good persepective and a pretty good big picture understanding of where we’re at... I really have a huge concern about only making things happen for football and basketball players... Regardless of what we do... the ins and outs of all those details, I don’t want anything just like this. (football and basketball)... I watched the softball team, they work ten times harder than our guys do. I don’t want something that makes it better for football and basketball guys, but not everybody else... I just hope that doesn’t happen... I think we’ve done a really good job listening to our student athletes... I just appreciate our guys candor, that’s why we have a leadership council.... I look forward to whatever the destination is but I really hope the future is not just for football and basketball.”

On the throwback uniforms: We may have not have won the game, but we won the uniforms on Saturday. At least I did something right.”

On potentially teaching a class at NU: “I taught when I was in Idaho, it was a part of a football 101 class... it was a lot of fun. I would love to, I’d more importantly like to have a football major. I’m a SESP major and I’m very proud of that... I’d love to see the major...that would be cool, I would love to.”

Full video:

Jared Thomas

On the free blitzers: “everything starts with me... I’ll take responsibility... we’ve got to see the whole field. We need to keep our eyes open...we didn’t execute in critical times, we have to execute... when we did execute, we had some good things going. It just needs to be consistent.”

On offensive confidence:“We see all of the great things that we can do in practice. It’s just got to translate to the playing field on Saturday... I’ve got to credit our defense. They played their nuts off.”

On Anderson and Bowser: “They’re both great backs... they hit the hole as the see it. It really doesn’t make a difference who is in there.”

On the craziness of past Northwestern-Nebraska games: “Every divisional game, a lot is at stake. I know there has been some close battles here recently... we’ve got to come ready to play... we’re definitely excited to play... it’s going to be loud. That’s when you get in the Big Ten.

On the Nebraska-Ohio State game: “The Nebraska I saw on Saturday and the Nebraska we’ll see this week will be very different.”

“After we score a touchdown, I look at Coach Fitz. If he puts up the number two, I stay on the field. If he puts up the number one, I run off of the field. The rest I will leave up to him and the analytics department.”

Joe Gaziano

On Fitz saying the defense is getting pissed off: “I wouldn’t say that. We aren’t really focused on what happens when we’re not on the field. We’re more focused on making plays when we are on the field.”

On preparing for the different styles of Nebraska and Wisconsin offense“It’s mental preparation. That allows you to be prepared for the plays they’re going to run. If you prepare the same way each week, that’s where you get into trouble.”

On how Ohio State shutdown Nebraska: “Getting to the quarterback is key.”

On playing at Memorial Stadium: “it’s a great place to play. it’s what maeks the big ten so great. incredible fans. incredible atmosphere. i’m 1-0 at that stadium. we’re excited for playing with that underdog mentality we got 74 guys traveling and we’re playing 90,000+.”

Chris Bergin

On preparing for Nebraska’s spread: “A lot of box play against Wisco. a little bit more space against the spread offense.”

On executing Mike Hankwitz’ game plan: “He’s been doing it right for 50 years now or however long he’s been coaching. Whatever he wants to do, we do. And we stand by it.”

Full video of the players: