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November 11, 2014

Matt Limegrover

Q.  Matt, it's early to put into words what the seniors mean to you.
COACH LIMEGROVER:  You know, it's hard.  It's hard, because, you know, when you work for Jerry Kill, it's more than just kids coming in and out of the program.  You know, they become like extended family.
So to have this group of guys that, you know, some of them we recruited ourselves, some of them that, you know, had only been on campus six months when we got here, it's pretty neat to watch them develop, and you know, even‑‑ you know, for some of those guys who maybe didn't play as much as they'd like throughout their career, with the way things have gone for them and them being part of the development, it's a pretty neat day.  You know, any coach tells you differently, they're lying.  It's pretty special.

Q.  Did you save Cobb's legs a little bit last week, not by design, but he didn't have to carry as much.  Is that a good thing?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Oh, I think so, because we're going to need him this week.
Obviously game‑plan‑wise things were a little bit different for us, and you know, I can tell you this much.  I think that if you ask the Iowa defensive coaches, they weren't going to let David bet them.  And so you know, not trying to, you know, pound all the mud out of that hole, probably was a good thing, both for David and for us.
So we're hoping he's feeling pretty good and wants to get back at it, carry, 25, 30 times this week.

Q.  I know you guys have been trying to figure out ways to best utilize K.J. Maye's speed.  Was Saturday just basically everything clicking on all cylinders for him?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah.  You know, you always try and find the best way‑‑ there's two parts to the equation, the best way to utilize the people that you have and their skill set, and then the best way to attack the defense.  And fortunately on Saturday those two things converged with regards to K.J.  You know, being able to get him on the perimeter.  Not everybody plays the same, you know.
And it was well documented.  I talked about it a lot.  I didn't run from it, you know, terrible game plan last year against Iowa, and was bound and determined not to let that happen again.
Hopefully, I said to myself, I learned a few lessons, and we did as an offensive staff.  So when we went into preparing this time, we said, okay, what can we do differently and that's when a guy like K.J. really became part of the equation because of what they were going to take away from us and what we had to do to be successful.

Q.  Was there any way Max was pulling that ball in?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Oh, absolutely.  I never doubt Max.  All right.  Now, you guys may, but I never do.
You know, honestly, I didn't have any doubt he was going to catch it.  Obviously the biggest thing was, was he in bounds or not.  And pretty happy that he was.
I mean he just‑‑ he does things, and I heard coach Z talk about it on Saturday after the game in an interview.  He talked about Max is the kind of kid that he does that kind of stuff in practice.  We have to hold our breath sometimes because he just doesn't know how to not go after it.  He doesn't know how to pull back, and so I think that just carries over into the ball games.

Q.  Back to K.J. Maye, talk about the decision when you did switching him from running back to receiver, and obviously he has that ability to run the ball, but you needed someone at that spot?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah, you know, and K.J. has done a remarkable job of making himself‑‑ you know, if you remember, K.J. was a high school quarterback, so when he came in, we had an immediate need for someone to help us at running back.  So he was able to jump in there.
We recruited K.J., we said he has a pretty neat skill set from the standpoint of things he can do, and then we said once he gets here, we'll kind of figure it out as we go.  And early on we needed him at running back, and as time went on, saw that his skill set tended more towards receiver.
And I think one thing people don't realize is when you look at a guy like K.J., you think slot receiver, inside kid, you know, can do some stuff inside.  You know, he plays more for us as an outside receiver, and he's going and blocking and going down and cracking safeties and things because you usually don't equate that with a guy his size.
But what you can't quantify is how big that kid's heart is and his desire to go play football.  It's hard to keep him off the field when he's healthy and the great thing is he's healthy now, so he gets a lot of time because he's a dependable kid.  There's ways you can get him the football that are obviously nontraditional for a receiver, and he's worked darn hard to make himself a better receiver.
So there's that combination that now he can play inside for us, can play outside, and he's a kid that we just have a ton of faith in.

Q.  Lastly, you kind of knocked Nebraska off balance with the receiver sweep thing, and you saw the same tendencies in the Iowa defense?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah.  You know, I'd like to say that we felt like it was going to be, you know, that it was going to be successful just by virtue of doing it, but it was almost out of necessity.  I mean they are so good from tackle to tackle defensively that you watch some pretty good offenses not do a whole lot, trying to run the ball between the tackles, so it was almost a matter of necessity slash survival that we were going to have to get the ball in the perimeter, and then, you know, that's where the work came in is just trying to find the best way to do it.
And at the end of the day I think it probably had a similar effect in what Nebraska did, but you know, there was a time, probably this time last week, where we were all scratching our heads saying, hey, is this thing actually going to work.  I mean there's always that doubt with a team‑‑ you know, Iowa, defensively is better than what they showed on Saturday, and I think they're going to show that the rest of the year.  We just probably happened to catch them, you know, a little bit off guard with the things we did and were able to get rolling.

Q.  K.J. on those runs, a lot of them were to the short side of the field.  What did you kind of see there?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Well, you know what, people would say, why do you run an outside play to the short side of the field.  There's a numbers game to it.  You know, sometimes more is not better.  You know, we may be able to get more people to the field, but so will an opponent, and then what you end up running into is more things that can potentially go wrong.
And so when you go back into the boundary, you can keep things a little more simple, and that's‑‑ you know, against Iowa, that's what they were going to give us, the way they were going to play structurally into the boundary.  We felt like the numbers were good, and even though we were going in the short side, we had a strategic advantage numbers‑wise, and we liked that.

Q.  They had like 14 receptions.  Is that based on the pressure you gave them?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Oh, absolutely.  As far as that goes, I think there's only one guy this year, the Clark kid from Michigan that‑‑ and they seem to have three of them, you know.  They just keep rolling guys in.
You know, the style of their defense is those guys are going to rush the passer every down, whether it's 1st and 10 or 3rd and 12.  They're going to try and disrupt and they're going to try and rush the passer and figure out run after that and disrupt blocking schemes by getting pressure as much as they can.
So it's almost the polar opposite of what we just faced with Iowa.  Iowa is going to hang in, get body on body, try and work you down the line, shed you and go play.  These guys are going to try and beat you with speed and quickness off the ball, try and disrupt your blocking speed that way, so it's a flip of the switch as far as the emphasis goes for us up front.

Q.  Mitchell was real good all around, but on the rollouts, was that something you guys have seen a lot of him doing well in practice, too, especially even going left?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah.  I think that fits into where he's at right now and his comfort level is being able to get on the move on some things.
You know, we want him to get that incorporated as much as we could.  And then, you know, the other thing is is he's healthy and when you're getting the ball on the perimeter and you have a healthy quarterback and he's feeling good, then he becomes a run threat.  Whether he's going to it or not, that stresses the defense as well.  So it just made sense to put some emphasis on that and get them out there and get him moving around a little bit.  And it's something that he does well, so it fit with what we were trying to do last week for sure.

Q.  Seemed like a lot of times those guys were hitting Cobb, they don't know where the ball is.
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah.  That part of his game, it's funny you bring that up, because that part of his game, I think, has been the biggest step forward over the course of the year, because it's setting up with play action and zone read.  He's really feeling comfortable with that part of his game, and therefore, that's keeping the defense even more off kilter, so to speak, and forcing them to be even that much more true with their eyes and their reads and things.
You know, he's doing a really good job of that.  There were a couple of times, to be honest with you, I mean not as long as Coach Kill, but I've been doing this pretty long, and I'm watching David Cobb, and Mitch is going out the back door or‑‑ obviously I know when it's play action, but just kind of seeing how things are reacting up front, you know a kid's doing some things right when you've got safeties stepping up and linebackers filling holes and the quarterback stepping back to throw.  So definitely need to continue that as we go forward because that's part of who we are.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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