|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
January 2, 2000
MODERATOR: Go ahead and ask questions.
Q. Mike, you talked earlier in the week about how you needed a win and finish it off.
Talk about your feelings about finishing this way in this game the way it happened.
MIKE BROWN: I really can't put it into words right now. Coming over here on the bus, I
was just thinking about winning the game. We did that. Now I can always remember my last
game as a W. Right now I kind of have mixed emotions. I'm happy, sad, frustrated, all
those things. I'm just frustrated the way our defense played; happy that we won; sad that
my career is over. I'm just proud of, you know, all that I've accomplished this four
years, all this team has accomplished this year. I mean, that's all I really can say about
Q. Can you comment on Coach McBride's decision?
MIKE BROWN: Coach McBride is hanging them up. You guys all know what he's meant to this
program, to this defense. He's a tremendous coach. He has so much respect on this team.
He's just someone that, you know, puts his heart into what he does. His players try to
give their heart right back to him. He's going to be missed. We love him dearly.
Q. What did he tell you after the game?
MIKE BROWN: He was just explaining how this victory was his best victory of his
coaching career. You know, he was kind of crying a little bit because it's over for him.
He's been doing this for so long. It's over for him now. He's going to move on to a new
chapter in his life. He's going to be a guy that I'm going to keep in touch with, be a
friend of his for life.
Q. You said you were sad about the defense. Anything in particular?
MIKE BROWN: We just made way too many mental mistakes. It wasn't that we weren't giving
great effort. We were playing lights out for four quarters. We made too many mental errors
that cost us. We didn't play the type of football that we're capable of playing. I know in
my heart that we're still the best defense in the nation, no matter who we play. We're
going to compete and be a tough defense to move the ball on. Like I said, I'm very proud
of this black shirt group. It's going to be a group I'm going to remember for the rest of
Q. Can you talk about your future as a pro?
MIKE BROWN: I haven't thought about it, to tell you the truth. I was thinking about
wining this football game here. Now I'm going to have a chance to sit down and really
think about my future.
Q. As a senior, Mike, what do you think about University of Nebraska outside of
MIKE BROWN: Oh, it's a great place to go to school. This University, as you know, it's
built on football. Football is a huge aspect of the University. I mean, that's what what a
lot of people go there for. I know a lot of athletes that got scholarships go for that.
What makes this program is the people we have in our support staff care about you as a
person and want you to success in life. They want you to graduate. Most of our players do
graduate, on time. I think this is a special University in the fact that everyone cares
about you as a person, not just a football player.
Q. Eric, did you guys go in saying that you were going to have to put the ball in the
air? Had a touchdown pass for the first time in a couple months. Was that the game plan?
ERIC CROUCH: Definitely was in the game plan. I know right away we knew we had to
establish the running game, and we did that. We did a pretty good job in the second half.
We also knew that coming out we needed to mix it up a little bit, too, kind of catch them
off guard. There were some play-action passes that we really connected on. I think those
were big parts of our success today. Pretty important plays. Some third down conversions
that really helped us out. That play-action pass for a touchdown was very good for us.
Q. Mike, Coach McBride, did he tell you before the game, did you play with that emotion
MIKE BROWN: Some of us knew before; not many. I talked to the guys before the game
because I was probably really one of only like maybe five people that really knew what was
going to happen. Coach McBride is the type of guy, it's not his style to tell people that
he's retiring so they play for him. That's the type of person that he is. He just went
about it quietly, just go and live life now. He's always been hurt in his knees, his back.
It's sad to see him leave. But I'm also happy that he's going to be able to enjoy his life
Q. Mike, Tennessee's passing attack got going on that one drive. It could have killed a
lot of teams. You guys handled it really well. What can you say about Tee Martin and how
did you defuse the offensive attack?
MIKE BROWN: You know, first of all, we took the running game away from them and made
them one dimensional. They began passing the ball a lot. They had a good scheme, they were
able to complete some passes, make some big plays. But, like I said, we could have stopped
some of it, but some of the plays we weren't able to just because of the schemes. We went
into halftime and made some adjustments. We were playing hard. We were making some mental
mistakes. You can't do that against great teams, they'll make you pay.
Q. Bobby, can you talk about the punt return, what happened?
BOBBY NEWCOMBE: Well, the one thing I remember about that is just our guys doing an
excellent job of blocking. I saw a little crease, tried to accelerate through that. Next
thing I know, Ralph Brown is making an excellent job on the punt, I have to try to run
around him. I ran in the end zone, I'm knocked down, everybody is on top of me.
Q. Coach, Mike talked about this being Coach McBride's last game. Could you comment on
COACH SOLICH: Has Charlie visited with you guys or anything of that nature?
Q. Not yet.
COACH SOLICH: I think probably it's best, you know, before I make any kind of comment
that maybe you check with Coach McBride.
Q. (Inaudible) were you wearing him down? The two drives, 99 and 94 yarder like, that
what did that do for momentum, what did it do for your offense?
ERIC CROUCH: I think definitely that was a turning point in the game. It was definitely
motivation for our offense. The first drive that we had was 96 yards. I think it showed a
lot of stamina, a lot the heart out of those linemen, runningbacks, pretty much everybody
on the field. I think it had to do with a lot of the sidelining motions, too. Everybody
was into it, helping one another out. After we scored that touchdown, we just told
ourselves, "Hey, we're going to have to do it again, this time it's going to have to
be 98, 99 yards." We told ourselves that we could do it. We did it already. We went
down and scored each touchdown. It was a great feeling knowing that we could do that. You
don't see that a lot. I think it says a lot about the physical play that we brought to the
Q. Is that what you said on the one yard line, "Let's do it again"?
ERIC CROUCH: Definitely. I think a lot of guys felt the same way. Kept telling those
linemen. They rallied around that. I think that's, you know, one thing this team has
always done this whole year, it's what has put us in this place. Every time we come to
play, we come to play together and we're playing for one another.
Q. Coach, all of the seniors that we talked to, I know you're proud of all of them,
they were particularly happy for Mike, the night that he had in front of his hometown
family and friends. Can you talk about what that means to you?
COACH SOLICH: Sure. You know, we all wanted Mike to end it with a bright note,
certainly in front of his home fans, his friends, his relatives. He's had a great career.
Everybody felt that, without question, we wanted to see it work well for him in this game.
And it did. But, you know, I was really pleased with all the seniors. I wanted all of them
to go out in style because they are special in how they operated this year, in a lot of
ways, talent-wise, character, leadership. It was delightful for me to see those guys be
able to go out on top.
Q. Coach, can you talk a little bit about coming out early and throwing some early
passes, then also about how you took Tennessee's running game away?
COACH SOLICH: The plan was to try to get them off balance a little bit early in the
game and hopefully be able to come up with some formations that we'd be able to do a few
things out of. We wanted to be as multiple as we could early in the game offensively. We
did enough running. The types of running plays that we were doing, we had, we felt, a
pretty good number of play-action passes to come off of those. So we used some of those
early on in the game and were able to make some big plays. We wanted to make sure we got
something going early in this ballgame. So that played out pretty well for us. Then, of
course, in the second half, I thought it showed great character that our team was able to
change the momentum after we got down a little bit there. We were able to come back. Of
course, Tennessee probably, in punting it inside the five twice, forced us into running
the ball some. Once we started running, found out that maybe we can keep running it.
That's what we end up doing. That worked very well. Then, of course, stopping their
running game, we've been able to do that really throughout the year. That's always been
something that this defense stepped on the field wanting to do regardless of the style of
play that the other team is, and that's to stop the run first. We were intent on doing
that, despite the fact that their receivers can also hurt you badly in the passing game.
Q. The two big drives, can you talk about those, 95 and 99 yard drive, also the trick
play Tennessee ran there, did it catch you guys off guard?
COACH SOLICH: Yeah, the two drives, one we started on the four, the other we started on
the one. When you're caught in that kind of situation, you're running our offense, it
really limits you because you're a little nervous about running play-action passes, you're
a little nervous about the option game so deep in your own territory. So you start off
with a little bit of a power game. We were able to bust a couple of those plays very well
on the first drive, trying to come out. We got that first down. That was big. Then on the
second one, I think when Eric threw to Jon Bowling and we were able to get the first down
on that one to keep that drive alive, that was a big, big play. Then, of course, we were
able to mix in with nothing but runs really the rest of the time except for the pass on
the one drive that scored for us. The other part of the question?
Q. The trick play Tennessee ran to get the first down.
COACH SOLICH: Everybody runs trick plays in bowl games. You hope they work. We had a
couple that probably didn't look like trick plays, but to us we call them that.
Tennessee's one was really a well-designed play and they executed it perfectly. Give them
a chance to get them back in the ballgame is what it did.
Q. Coach, is there anything you learned this season, this game, that you're going to
build on with these two tremendous athletes on your left and right?
COACH SOLICH: Well, I think the thing that I think I understand, our coaches
understand, probably everybody out there understands is we have two tremendously talented
football players in Eric and Bobby. We will try to utilize them as best we can to make big
plays because they are that type of athlete. Our offense is pretty multiple. We will
design certainly a good share of it around guys, those two guys, hope that we're able to
move the ball with some consistency knowing that we'll get some big plays from them.
Q. Coach, your opening drive in the fourth quarter, ten plays, 99 yards, over four
minutes knocked off the clock. Earlier in the game you were scoring quickly with big
plays. Did that drive symbolize what Nebraska offense, the legend of Nebraska football?
COACH SOLICH: I think if you talk to anybody on our football team, they will tell you
that that is the case. That is what Nebraska is known for, what's that Nebraska has been
all about over the years. That's what we also want to be known for. We want to be
multiple. But we want to be able to run the football and get something done when we do it.
Certainly to control the ball like that, I thought was vitally important. I had mentioned
before the game that I thought the team that was able to put together those kind of drives
would have an edge. Now, we did in the running game; they did in the passing game a little
bit. Both teams were able to put those kind of drives together today.
Q. Eric, Tennessee talked a lot this week about how they learned about physical
football two years ago in the Orange Bowl. Why is Nebraska still able to beat them
ERIC CROUCH: The best way I can react to that is, you know, I think the way we play
football, we're not going to talk about how physical we are. We just know how physical we
are. We're going to come out on the field and show it come game day. There was a lot of
talk about us not being a very physical team, the style of blocks that we had. There was
just a lot of commenting on that. I thought, you know, that probably wasn't appropriate.
For the most part, we just came out and we had to play it on the field. We had to be the
most physical team. I think it showed. It seemed like every five minutes, someone was
laying on the ground, they were a little bit injured, they were laying on the ground for
maybe five, ten minutes because they weren't in good enough shape, I don't know what the
case was. I think we went out there and proved we were the most physical team today.
COACH SOLICH: Coach McBride would like to make a statement. If you have a moment, we'd
like to have him come up.
COACH McBRIDE: Well, I guess it's pretty obvious. Some of the people have already said
this. This is my 37th year of coaching. Over the last few years, I've contemplated
retirement. I didn't want to take anything away from this football team with that kind of
thing. Eventually it kind of got out. I have so many people to thank, especially this one
right here, 38 years (referring to his wife). She's a legitimate coach's wife and raised
three legitimate great sons. I can go back. I don't want to talk a lot about this, but I
do want to say one thing. My first win was when I was coaching at Arizona State with Frank
Kush at this stadium, and my last win was here, too. It meant so much to me. If you can
only know the players that I had over the years, especially this group, and I've said this
is a special group, folks. They're self-motivated, and they can play like hell. I honestly
love them. We talk about them. That's a word we're not afraid to use on our football team.
I love my family very much. I think it's time for them. So I'm going to pull the plug. I
just want to thank everybody. I want to thank Coach Solich. Frankie was great to me. I was
my son's coach in high school. He came with us. As you know, he's going to turn into one
of the best there is. I want to thank Frank Kush for giving me my first job as nothing but
a little graduate assistant up at the University of Colorado. He had faith in me to give
me a job to start my career. I can't help loving the man for it. We've stayed in touch.
He's a great person. He probably taught me as much in three years about football and about
young men as I've ever learned in my life. Coach Osborne and all those people have just
been like Saints to me. They've all let me coach. That's really important, I think, for a
football coach, that they turn around and let you coach. So thanks to everybody. I'll have
more to say, I know, when I get home. I don't want to take away there this football team
because they deserve this big win. As far as I'm concerned, they are No. 1. There's no
question about it. I don't have any hesitation in my mind. Anybody that wanted to step up
against us, we can win. Thank you, very much.
COACH SOLICH: Certainly Coach McBride is known around the country as one of the great
and maybe as great a defensive coordinator as there is. I know that we would not trade him
for anybody. It's really in a lot of ways a sad moment for Nebraska football. He has been
with our program a long, long time, as you know, as a coaching staff. Most of us have been
together and been through an awful lot. It's very difficult to see one of us step aside.
He has been outstanding. His players have always played very hard for him. There's a
reason why Nebraska has had great defensive football teams over the years. Coach McBride
is that reason. He talked about love. His players love him, and they play for him. Along
with being just an excellent coach in terms of schemes, in terms of calling a game
defensively, he has the whole package. He will certainly be missed by our program, by our
coaches, by our players. He'll be missed in a lot of ways. Thank you, very much.
End of FastScripts