Postgame player quotes: 2017 Iowa

Junior Quarterback Tanner Lee

On what changed offensively after halftime

“I felt like we were still doing the things that we were doing in the first half but we struggled to get back into that rhythm. We faltered a few places execution-wise and keeping drives going. We just kind of let it get away from us there. It was disappointing how it ended but not disappointed in what I got out of all this. It was a tough season but I think it made all of us better, and I think we’ll all be better because of it. I don’t think you really realize that unless you’re in that locker room. Very thankful for all this despite it not going the way we planned on it going.”

On the range of emotions in the locker room

“I think guys are just paying attention to the seniors right now. Thanking them for all their hard work and their leadership. We went through a lot together, and I think guys are just being appreciative to their brothers for putting in that hard work for each other. There was a lot of that going on in the locker room. Obviously a lot of disappointment, frustration, but I think the bond we built kind of trumped all that in that locker room. I was able to tell guys ‘thank you’ for the work they put in, and I am really and truly appreciative of all my teammates who sacrificed, everything they do for me and for their other teammates and for coaches, things like that. A lot of that going on.”

On the absence of redshirt freshman wide receiver JD Spielman

“He’s such a dynamic player and so great for us all year, it was obviously tough not having him out there, wish we did. But we got guys that can play, (junior wide receiver Keyan Williams) practiced well all week and was able to go in there and be effective at times, he did a really good job. Wish we could have had him (JD Spielman) out there, for sure.”

On what comes next:

“Just get back to it, get back to work. I’m not sure what next is, I’m sure we’ll have a team meeting here pretty soon and we’ll be told from there. Just hang out with my teammates for now and enjoy their company.”

On playing for Coach Riley

“I think he’s one of the most influential in my life so far. I’d say in a quick two years I’ve learned more from him than I could have ever imagined. I think the way he’s handled this season, I think there’s not another man on earth that could have done it like him. Day in and day out he’s the same guy. He’s a great football coach. I want to tell him this, ‘I can’t wait to tell my kids that I played for Coach Riley’. I am so lucky to have played for Coach Riley, it’s unbelievable. I didn’t know how great he was until he got here and it just grew, daily. I guess the toughest part was not winning for him. I’m just very lucky for having played for him.”

Senior Linebacker Chris Weber

On the second half difficulties

“I wish I could put my finger on it. That’s the frustrating part. We were locked in and had a good first half other than those two drives. They didn’t do much. We just didn’t make plays.”

On finishing the season

“It’s difficult. Anytime you keep getting knocked down, you have to keep finding ways to get back up. For the most part a lot of guys did that. When you get the opportunity to play college football at Nebraska you should be excited to get up for games.”

On playing in his last game

“It was emotional trying to take in every moment. From the tunnel walk to the moment with my family before the game. It obviously didn’t end how I would have liked it to.”

On defense

“We weren’t as comfortable at first, but we knew our jobs. Guys knew what they were supposed to do on each play. The frustrating part is that we didn’t execute that, or a couple guys didn’t execute their job. To play great in defense it takes 11 guys in the right spots, doing their job how they should. When it doesn’t happen like that, it snowballs fast.”

On Coach Mike Riley

“Coach Riley, he’s an awesome coach. The way he’s approached this season, the way he’s stayed the course, even during that transition when he first came in, I didn’t know what to expect. There’s just something about him. You want to play for him, play hard for him. He’s meant a lot to me as a person. He’s helped me grow into a man. I wish him the best.”

On what Coach Riley said to the team

“’It didn’t have to be like that,’ was kind of the overall message. We played them pretty well during the first half and there’s really no reason it should have ended like it did. You credit Iowa for how they played in the second half, but that was kind of the overall message.”

On next year’s team

“I hope they use this year…for me personally, anytime you go through something difficult, you can use it to springboard into the future. You can pull from it and I hope each of those guys use the hard moments of this season – what it felt like – and kind of use they when they’re training, use that when they’re in practice, use it going forward.”

On fans filling the stadium on his last game

“The fans here –  you know I grew up here so I know what they’re like – but they’re incredible. Obviously, we had a difficult season, so for them to still show up and be loud like they were, I’ll never take that for granted. We obviously have the best fans in college football for that. ”

Senior Cornerback Chris Jones

On what changed defensively after halftime

“From where I look at it, from what I’ve seen, it was just little mistakes here and there. Little mistakes turn into big plays and big plays turn into points. That’s what our main focus is, just keeping big plays down.”

On what returning players need to do to make improvements

“I feel this season was a good thing for them, especially experience-wise. They’ll always keep this season in their heads so it’s going to make them work harder over the summer, over the winter. I’m looking forward to what they can do next season.”

On how he viewed his season, starting with the summer and his injury

“The season was a blessing. After I got back, I just wanted each day to thank God to be back because I know that I’m really not even supposed to be playing right now. It’s a blessing for me to back, a blessing for me to finish out my senior year, on to the next chapter.”

On playing for Coach Riley

“I came here, first year, Coach Bo (Pelini) was here and he ended up leaving and then Coach Riley came in. Coach Riley recruits guys that’s going to come in, it’s like we’re brothers, we’re family. It’s a family-type environment in the locker room. That’s one thing I take from Coach Riley is family sticking together.”


Source: Nebraska Athletics