LINCOLN — Jared Crick could care less.
Take the preseason hype, the Nebraska Cornhusker football team’s Top-10 ranking, the fact Sporting News named him the best player in the country and the Texas grudge match in October and throw it all away.
Crick just wants to show up and play football.
“You have to go out and prove yourself every day, every game, and if you don’t do that then it’s all for nothing,” Crick said,” I really don’t look at (preseason stuff), I just go out and prove it every day and if, at the end of the season, I have the same credibility and same hype that I did at the beginning then I did my job. But until I go out there and do my job, it’s all for nothing.”
That’s reassuring to a coach that sounded annoyed by the amount of publicity his returning defensive tackle is getting.
“He is playing at a really high level, and I think if he just keeps it in perspective, keeps it within the scheme and does some things that he’s been taught to do and continues to improve upon how he played last year, he’s going to have a great year,” head coach Bo Pelini said. “How that is going to measure up to what the expectations are outside, that’s not something that he needs to concern himself or we need to concern ourselves with.”
Showing up for work and doing the job is something the Nebraska Cornhuskers concern themselves with everyday. That was the theme for the opening season press conference. It started with head coach Bo Pelini and then was echoed by defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and finally by Crick.
The Huskers aren’t going to be satisfied until they see the job through. That’s the culture the Pelini brothers have instilled since joining the program in 2008.
“The culture is of a very workmanlike attitude,” Carl Pelini said. “I think the guys come every day with their lunch pail, not a lot of talking, not a lot of yakking, not a lot of predictions, they’re just here to go to work.”
You have free articles remaining.
Understandably, Crick’s work on the field is about to become heavily scrutinized as he attempts to replace Ndamukong Suh’s production from last year. It’s not a role he asked for, but the redshirt junior knows what is expected of him.
“Suh saw a lot of double teams, and I’m not really expecting that this year, but I am anticipating it in case that’s what offenses want to do to me,” Crick said. “But last year that gave me the chance to go one-on-one with the blocker and every time I won. I either made a play or helped the defense out in some way, so I’m expecting the guy next to me to do the same to relieve pressure on me, maybe force double teams like I did going my way last year to go their way, but it just comes down to whatever offenses want to do.”
As it stands now, Crick has no definite partner on the inside of the defensive line. It appears the Huskers will try a committee of players to see if one can distinguish himself.
“I think we’re way deeper than we were (last year),” Carl Pelini said. “I think Terrence Moore has played really well this camp. Baker Steinkuhler has had a great camp and Thaddeus Randle has had a great camp. They’re all going to play and are going to make big plays for us and play at a high level. I feel great about where we are up front.”
Regardless of who teams with Crick, he’s still expected to turn in similar numbers to the ones he had last year. But just like the preseason hype and the accolades, Crick doesn’t care about stats either — he just wants to execute the game plan.
“No one (on the defense) is really big on stats,” Crick said. “Suh wasn’t big on stats, I’m not big on stats; but the biggest thing was as long as we were doing our job on the defensive front, then that’s really all that mattered.”
This Saturday, he finally gets a chance to “go to work” against a different team as the Huskers open the season at home against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
“I’m really excited. I can’t wait, but we still have a couple days (before then). But it’s definitely going to be a great feeling going out and hitting some other team,” Crick said.