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Spielman: 'Now I Know Not to Point'

n Saturday night’s 43-36 win over Arkansas State in front of another sellout crowd, JD Spielman returned a kickoff 99-yards for a touchdown. That would be special enough on its own as the Huskers' first kickoff return for a touchdown since 2013.

It also happened to be JD Spielman’s first collegiate touch.

The redshirt freshman from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, had a heck of an introduction to Husker Nation.

Spielman has a famous father. His dad is Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, a guy who's seen a lot of football, so of course he had a reaction to the 99-yard touchdown.

"My dad, he was pretty excited for me from a football standpoint," Spielman said. "He was proud of me as a father and also as a coaching figure. At the same time, he also joked around. 'Next time, don’t point.' I kind of learned my lesson on that one but he is definitely proud. He said if you are going to make a play like that at least try not to get a penalty.”

You could chalk it up to being young or just excited about the first touchdown, but Spielman definitely wasn't thinking about potential penalties mid-run.

“Honestly I didn’t even know I wasn’t allowed to point," he said. "I thought it was completely legal until I got to the sideline and everyone started telling me not to point. So now I know not to point. I realized when I started pointing I slowed down a little bit so that’s why I put my hand back down.

"I had to speed up again because there was a possibility of getting caught. I thought there’d be nothing worse than pointing at the 40 and getting caught at the 30.”

There had been a good amount of talk leading up to the first game from Mike Riley about how Scott Booker’s enthusiasm for special teams is infectious. Last week that enthusiasm included the potential for a Spielman return.

“I remember me and him were talking about it the whole week," Spielman said. "He kept saying I had a good chance to bring one back. I kept telling him that I was going to do all that I could to bring one back. So I found him on the sideline [after the return] and I looked at him, smiled and said 'I told you I was going to bring one back.' We laughed a little bit and then we were back to focusing on the game.”

You would think that scoring a touchdown in your first college action would be on your mind quite a bit. Not for Spielman, who said that it didn’t hit him until after the game when people were really talking about it.

Husker fans have certainly taken notice of his first touch being a touchdown. Surely future opponents are taking notice as well.

What you'll find in today's news:

Can the Oregon Ducks continue high-flying ways against Nebraska? Huskers in the NFL.

BC's Breakdown: No, the Wolves did not destroy  the whole picnic

Nebraska football: Work to do after close win over Arkansas State, Huskers in the NFL

Mike Riley, Husker players address defensive struggles as Bob Diaco goes silent

Diaco hopefully understands media is conduit to loyal NU fan base 

Barfknecht: Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco must talk the talk instead of taking a walk

Observations from Nebraska's 43-36 win over Arkansas State    

Nebraska's front five are off to a 'decent start' — but still in line for improvement

Five things we learned in Arkansas State-Nebraska

Former Nebraska defensive coordinator Charlie McBride on Bob Diaco: ‘I think they’re going to get better’  

Media preoccupied with Diaco's lack of comment

Riley says Diaco to talk after games; the noise of Autzen; and an injury report

FIfth Quarter: Nebraska

Spielman: 'Now I Know Not to Point'

Bob Diaco responds to criticism* of his postgame no-show and says he has "never run away from anything" in his life. More from Monday's practice:

Oregon's potent ground game* will test the Huskers' front seven. | Diaco-Taggart history*


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Bob Diaco responds to criticism* of his postgame no-show and says he has "never run away from anything" in his life. More from Monday's practice:

Practice Report, Sept. 4: Bob Diaco responds to postgame criticism, says he's 'never run away from anything'

Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco told reporters after practice Monday that a lack of communication and a misunderstanding led to him not talking to the media after Nebraska's 43-36 win over Arkansas State. 

Diaco said he was "under the impression I didn't have to do postgame media." 

"That's what I was told," Diaco said. 

Diaco said he was depicted incorrectly in media reports about his no-show Saturday. 

"I've never run away from anything in my life," Diaco said. "I've never not stood up and been accountable and responsible to my work and what I've been entrusted to do. That's never happened, and hasn't, and will not ever happen. So to be painted in that light, in that way, is absolutely ridiculous. And very disappointing. And, from your perspective, I can see, with a lack of communication and miscommunication, that that was your perspective. I'm not upset with what was written or said or whatever. It's a product of a lack of communication." 

Diaco said he didn't get to even address players after the game because he got stuck in the freight elevator. 

"I didn't get a chance to talk to Coach," Diaco said.

Diaco said he told a Nebraska media relations worker that he was told he didn't have to talk to the media, but that he'd be in the coaches locker room if he needed to come down and chat with the press. 

As for the game itself, Diaco said he thought Nebraska had "a good plan, but onward and upward." 

Diaco said NU's defensive coaches "really don't care" about statistics, except for points allowed. 

"That's the defensive objective: To defend the opponent's scoreboard," Diaco said. 

Husker defenders "gained valuable experience in the game," he said. 

Another note: After practice Monday night, Diaco, his assistants and players were doing up-downs as some kind of recompense for whatever happened in the game. When asked why, linebackers coach Trent Bray, out of breath, smiled and said "Top secret." 

Will the Nebraska defense perform better against Oregon?

Nebraska gave up 5.58 yards per play against Arkansas State, which ranked 93rd nationally last season in total offense. Will the Huskers give up fewer yards per play against an Oregon team that scored 77 points against FCS Southern Utah on Saturday?

Here is the Presser where Coach Diaco addresses the media for the criticism he received for not being available after the Arkansas St., Game.

Reading on another Blog site I have read both negative and positive comments about Coach Diaco's comments.

I don't agree that he was attacked by the media for not being available but then Mr. Diaco goes on to say he understands why the media reacted the way it was printed.

So the issue was a lack of communication or miss communication

At least this was better than previous press conferences were we were constantly told the coaching staff just wasn't getting it done and they would have to coach them up.

What are you thoughts?


“We know Oregon has a very good team,” Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella said. The Ducks ran for 348 yards against Southern Utah on Saturday.

Oregon's run game, with its eye-popping numbers, will test Nebraska's defensive front

LINCOLN — In Oregon’s offense, coach Willie Taggart explained on Monday, “everyone gets to eat.”

The Ducks put up some eye-popping numbers in their 77-21 win over Southern Utah on Saturday.

More than 700 yards of total offense. Receptions from 10 receivers. But most of all, 348 rushing yards on 52 carries, a good chunk of which came from Oregon senior running back Royce Freeman, who had 150 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

“Royce is our guy,” Taggart said. “Everyone else will get their carries as we go, but we’re gonna feed our horse. We’re fortunate to have three really good running backs that can come up and start.”

Stopping the run will be the main task for the Nebraska defensive front on Saturday, something the Huskers didn’t really have to do in their home opener against Arkansas State.

The Huskers kept Arkansas State to just 82 yards rushing on Saturday. The Red Wolves averaged 3.9 yards per rushing attempt but also elected to pass far more often.

Which means now, the test for Nebraska’s front seven is on.

“There’s a lot of window dressing, but they run the football and they run it well,” defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said about Oregon’s offense after practice on Monday.

Diaco faced Taggart’s offense three times when he was coach at Connecticut and Taggart was coach at South Florida. Diaco’s teams were 0-3 against Taggart, but Diaco says he knows the Taggart style well.

“(Running has) been a hallmark of all his teams. They’ve always run it well. And this team is no different.” Diaco said.

Despite the change in coaching staffs over the years, coach Mike Riley said he thinks Taggart’s offense is close to what he’s faced against Oregon over the years, including what the Huskers faced last year with coach Mark Helfrich’s offense.

A year ago, Oregon ran for 336 yards on 47 carries.

“Spread is spread,” Diaco said. “It is a triple option attack. You have dive, alley and (side) being attacked on every down. They’ll do some things to stretch you vertically to keep you off balance, but, although it is not exactly the same, there are some similarities. More run.”

Freeman is accompanied by senior running back Kani Benoit, who had 107 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries against Southern Utah. Also getting reps at running back is junior Tony Brooks-James, who had nine carries for 32 yards on Saturday.

Freeman had 31 yards on five carries a season ago against Nebraska. He left in the first half with an injury and didn’t return.

This year, a healthy Freeman awaits Nebraska in Eugene.

“He’s just a complete back,” Bray said. “He has the size and strength to make him very tough and difficult to tackle. And he can run in between the tackles, but he’s got elite speed where he can get on the edge and run.”

Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella said he knows his defensive line is up to the task. He’s been pleased with the way his unit has worked in practice these last few weeks, so it’s business as usual heading into this weekend.

“We know Oregon has a very good team, a very good offensive line, and we’re just gonna get better every single day, work our butts off and go out and play well,” Parrella said.

Oregon's potent ground game* will test the Huskers' front seven. | Diaco-Taggart history*

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