October 26, 2009

Pelini says he's looking for a spark on offense

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini had a tough time explaining what exactly went wrong with his team's offense in Saturday's 9-7 loss to Iowa State.

The one thing he did know was that it would have to get a whole lot better if the Huskers' are to have any chance at achieving their goal of a Big 12 Championship.

During his weekly interview on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference on Monday, Pelini said Nebraska's offense needed someone to step up and lead the way, as the unit has managed just 17 points in its past two games,

"I do believe the offense needs a spark," Pelini said. "Where that spark come from, that's for us to determine where that comes from. I think it could come from a lot of different areas. I can say this - we need to light a fire under (the offense), and somebody's got to step up and make some plays."

Though many fans think freshman quarterback Cody Green would be the one to provide that spark, Pelini said his opinion of junior Zac Lee's play hasn't changed since watching the film of Saturday's loss.

Pelini said Lee actually graded out well, as the offensive struggles were a result of ball security issues and not the play of he quarterback.

"He graded out pretty well," Pelini said. "He did some good things. He did some things, like everybody else, that needs fixed. Overall, I thought he did some good things, but he also had some things that he and us would want back. He's just got to keep working and keep improving in those areas."

Speaking of the turnovers, Pelini said he put the blame more on his players not being able to hold onto the football than Iowa State's defense making plays to force fumbles. As would be expected, he said turnovers and ball security would be a top priority this week in practice.

"Ultimately it falls on us to secure the football and to cover it up and not let that happen," Pelini said. "I don't want to say it was all us, (but) as far as we address it as a football team, it's all us… We're the ones in control of preventing that from happening."

***Pelini said he was pleased with the play of sophomore center Mke Caputo, who played nearly the entire game in place of senior Jacob Hickman, who was held out due to injury.

"I thought Mike Caputo did some good things," he said. "I thought he played pretty well. Like anybody else, he has a couple things he needs to clean up, but I thought he played hard and played well."

Pelini said Hickman's injury was not serious, and that he expected him to return to the starting lineup for this week's game against Baylor.

"Jacob Hickman's getting better every day. I would think he's going to be available for the game of Saturday."

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