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March 1, 2017 | Nebraska pre-spring press conference

Defensive Lineman Mick Stoltenberg

On finding out new positions
“When Coach [Bob] Diaco first got hired, he talked to all of us individually about a few spots where he kind of thought we might fit. After he discussed things with Coach Parrella, they kind of just decided where people would start out at. Things aren’t really set in stone right now, but I think I have a general framework of where I think people are going to play right now.”

On learning Coach Diaco’s coaching style
“We have pulled up some old clips to see Coach Diaco’s old defenses. Stuff to kind of give us an idea on what we are about to do. It’s definitely been a good tool for us, we will probably continue to watch a little bit of that.”

On Coach Diaco
“He’s just a really fired up guy, I’m sure you can tell when you guys do press conferences. He’s just kind of preaches that effort is the ultimate eraser. If you screw something up, you’re assignment is 100 percent correct if you throw in some really fired up effort and fly with the ball and do the right thing there. That can definitely help you out and set you apart from other teams. He’s preached a few things to us but that’s one thing that sticks out to me.”

“I guess its 3-4. All the three down linemen and two gap. It’s kind of designed so that those two inside linebackers can make a lot of plays. As a defensive lineman up front you’re going to have to take care of our jobs and eat up blocks so those two linebackers can run the defense a little bit. We want to keep that attacking mindset no matter what defense we are playing. That’s obviously something that we are talking about is keeping that mindset no matter what defense we are going against.”

On the defensive line
“A lot of good hard work going on across the board as far as defensive line goes. It’s really fun watching the Davis twins [Carlos and Khalil Davis] work. They are both crazy hard workers, obviously lifting a lot of weights and doing things the right way. So it’s definitely exciting to see some of our younger guys develop. I know they are going to be a huge key to our defensive line along with some of the other younger guys. It’s exciting watching them work.”

“I’m definitely excited to take on the challenge. Two-gapping is a little more intricate than probably your traditional defense would look. But it’s definitely one thing I’m excited to learn. Like I said I think it is one thing that will help improve all of our games once we learn how to effectively do that.”

On his new position as nose
“I think it’s exciting to take on that role in the middle of defense. Like I said, obviously knowing what I’m doing in there with the two gap and reduce down and kind of moving towards that 4-3 look a little bit too. I know the basics of the old defense we ran, it’s kind of exciting to take a new challenge. I’m excited to crack open a new playbook.”

On John Parrella’s advice
“Just basically told me when he [John Parrella] was in the NFL, the one thing that set him apart from the others. A lot of guys came out of college only knowing how to do the traditional 4-3, it obviously helps if you know both. So playing zero nose and playing two eye nose, if you know all three that can definitely be a big help.”

On gaining weight in the off season
“I gained about 15-20 pounds since the end of the season, I can hopefully gain a little bit more weight before the fall. Obviously you lose weight during the season so the heavier to start the better, while keeping athleticism in mind.”


Fullback Luke McNitt

On having a new quarterback
“You can definitely expect to see a few changes. First off you probably won’t see as much QB runs as we did last year. Last year with Tommy [Armstrong], he’s got those legs so you want to use them as much as you can. These guys have a different skill set so you might see less QB runs and more of those runs going to all those different backs we have and a few more passing schemes to offset that.”

On Tanner Lee
“[Lee] showing up when he did and then being voted one of the 10 captains in lifting this off season, I think that says a lot right there. I don’t really need to say much but he’s been able to get in there and make that good of an impression, I think that speaks a lot of them right there.”

On changes in the coaching of special teams
“All the coaches during the bowl game kind of split it up [the responsibility of coaching special teams]. There is Nick Smith, he’s a GA here and he’s been kind of taking the role for that right now. I’m not sure what their plan is in going forward but I have a lot of confidence in Nick and the rest of the staff that they will do what is best for the team.”

On getting lifter of the year
“Something I definitely take pride in, it was one of my goals when I got here that I wanted to get that award. It is not necessarily about me but I like to lift other guys up and see them make progress. Everyone in that weight room wants to get better and it becomes more than just about yourself and you’re looking to the next guy and he’s making you better. It’s something that I take pride in. You definitely want to set that standard for the young guys and show them how it’s done.”

Senior Wide Receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El

On his thoughts on the quarterbacks

They’re [Tanner Lee and Patrick O’Brien] both good, they’re both great at what they do. They’re kind of similar, just one throws a little bit quicker. At the end of the day, and they both get the job done so it doesn’t matter as long as they throw the ball.”


On his thoughts on Tanner Lee

[Tanner Lee] is a little bit taller. He looks more comfortable and more natural throwing. He’s been at that level before, he’s played games before, and he’s been in an offense before. He kind of knows what to expect. He throws a quick ball. P.O.B. [Patrick O’Brien], he’s comfortable, he’s confident, he throws a good ball. It goes hand in hand. It’s not a bad choice with either one you go with.”


On his thoughts on Patrick O’Brien

[Patrick O’Brien] is funny, he’s trying to step up. He’s taking a lot more of a leadership role. He’s competing. He asks us [wide receivers] about certain things, he tries to communicate better on how he can get better or to understand how each of us run routes better so he can be on time and in sync with each of the wide receivers.”


On his leadership role

In the wide receiver role, I’m one of the older guys. I’ve been in the system, I kind of know what is going on. When people ask questions, if I have the answer, I have the answer, if not then we go find the answer.”


On his physical improvement

I feel a lot more confident, a lot more comfortable. I am moving a lot better. My numbers in the weight room have gone up. I am more fluid in and out of routes, there are still simple stuff to fix but it’s nowhere near how it was in Fall Camp so I feel great.”


On his thoughts on special teams

It’s never a plus when you lose a coach but we were all comfortable and kind of knew his [Bruce Reed] scheme with him being here. I think one of the GA’s who was under him is taking it over now. I have been watching film with him and talking to him. At this point I don’t know who it’s going to be. The first day is when I pretty much find out who is like really taking on the responsibility but I know during the season it was GA’s and certain position coaches. So we’ll see on the first day.”


On the wide receivers

The receiver corps is hungry. I think everyone is eager to show what they can do. We have players that have played and we have a lot of players that haven’t but they’ve practiced and they understand what to do and what not to do. We have young guys that are coming in that might be able to step up but at the end of the day, we are all in this together. We are as strong as our weakest link. We’re going to be fine. Stan [Stanley Morgan Jr.], Keyan [William], [JD Spielman], Conor Young, [Brady] Pelzer and Gabe [Rahn], all those guys know what is going on and what to do. We feel comfortable with what we are going to bring to Spring Ball.”


Junior I Back Devine Ozigbo

On running back competition

This should be a good one. We have a lot of good backs returning like Mikale [Wilbon], Tre [Bryant], [Austin Rose] and [Adam Taylor]. We’re all in a fight for time so I think it’ll be a pretty good battle.”


On run game

That’s definitely going to be a key this spring and that’s something that all the coaches talk about. As soon as the season was over last year, we knew what we needed to do. We’ve been talking about and we will continue to talk about.“


On what needs to improve

Probably pass protection and once I break through the line and once I get a decent gain just try to get every bit of it. Just try to get every bit of the run and don’t leave any yards out there. Each carry I need to maximize opportunities.”


On pass protection this season

The emphasis [on pass protection] will probably still be there. I don’t think it’s going to change much because Tommy [Armstrong Jr.] had a pretty good feel for the pocket, so things were going wrong he would get away from it. As long as we do our jobs, the quarterback should be fine. I don’t think it’s going to be much different.”


On his thoughts about the offensive line

I feel really good. We had really good seniors leave last year but I feel like the guys coming in are going to be able to step in. They’ve made a pretty big impact pretty early so we’ll see what they have. We also have a bunch of guys returning. So the line is going to be one of our strong points this season.”


On his thoughts on the offensive line

They’re athletic, they can move. Like Jerald [Foster] and [Tanner] Farmer, we’re going to have to see what’s going on with center but I just like the way they move. [Nick] Gates is out there to push people which is a good thing for me.”


On his expectations of the quarterbacks

I expect them [quarterbacks] to be leaders on this team. I feel like they command the field. We go out there and do little player throwing sessions. Both of them [Tanner Lee and Patrick O’Brien] take the bunch pretty confidently and they understand everybody respects them. So they have the team’s respect and the team behind them. So I expect them to be pretty good leaders and they are going to throw the rock because they do it every day.”