Loquacious Ekeler promises mayhem from Nebraska LBs
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler has the reputation as one of the best quotes among the Big 12 coaches.
It may be early August, but Ekeler already is in mid-season form if some of his comments to the Lincoln Journal-Star are any indication.
Ekeler thinks the Cornhuskers' linebackers need to be more physical this season. And he gave them a lot of verbiage to fire them up.
"We have to know our system inside and out," Ekeler said. "We have to communicate like crazy, and we HAVE to become a physical group.
"Last year we weren't a physical group."
Ekeler's disappointment last season came despite the Cornhuskers winning six of their final seven games, capped by a dramatic victory over Clemson in the Gator Bowl.
So much for resting on laurels. Ekeler just wants to hear pads pop every day in practice from his group during the rest of training camp.
"We have to get to the point where there are no free passes," Ekeler said. "If a receiver's going to drag across the middle, we're going to take his damn head off.
"We're going to be physical in the run game. We're not going to take a side on a fullback. We're going to hit him right under the chin -- split his chin -- and get off and make the play."
I'm looking for some noticeable improvement from the Cornhuskers' defense in the second season under coach Bo Pelini's staff. Ekeler's words obviously will keep the Blackshirts excited -- and reporters' notebooks filled -- as they get ready for the start of the season.
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35 Final Rutgers 40 North Carolina 21 Final North Carolina State 34 UCF 27
Final Cincinnati 17 Virginia Tech 33 Final 15 Arizona State 36 Duke 31 Final Miami (FL) 21 South Carolina 24 Final/OT Boston College 30 Penn State 31 Final Nebraska 42 24 USC 45
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State