LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska cornerback
"That second," West said. "One second."
Since the Cornhuskers returned home in January from their Holiday Bowl thumping of Arizona, they've seen the number 0:01 everywhere. In their locker room. In their weight room. On rubber wristbands made and passed out by walk-on defensive back
What bothers Pelini about the way the Texas game ended is the fact that he and his staff have preached the F-word since their arrival in Lincoln in 2008. "That's probably what hurt most," Pelini said. "That's something we've been emphasizing since we came together. Everything we do is about finishing, be it on the field, off the field, whatever. We didn't finish that game. We had our opportunities."
Pelini doesn't want his players to dwell on what might have been, but he doesn't want them to forget, either. Every time they felt they couldn't possibly push the bench press bar skyward one more time, every time they felt tempted to dog it on the final rep of a drill, Pelini wanted the Cornhuskers to remember how they felt when Texas players victoriously swarmed the field only moments after Nebraska players had swarmed the field for a premature celebration.
"Hopefully, it does make us hungry," Pelini said. "But being hungry, being upset about what happened, that doesn't do you any good. You have to put it to use. You have to learn from what's happened to you. You have to let it make you better. You've got to put it to work every day."
They have. Defensive tackle
Crick can't forget the joy of celebrating the title on the field -- or the pain of watching it evaporate. "You could taste it," Crick said. "That second that all our guys were running on the field, you were at an all-time high.
"You go from extreme happiness down to about as low as you can get."
Nebraska players know that if they take care of their business this season, they'll get another crack at the Big 12 title. Thanks to a ferocious defense, Pelini has quickly yanked the program out of the muck that was the
So while most look to the Oct. 16 meeting with Texas in Lincoln as the ultimate revenge game, the Cornhuskers realize the Texas game is simply another step on the path to the conference title they held for mere moments before Longhorns kicker
But leave it to Crick, who grew up in Cozad, Neb., to inject a little Heartland pragmatism into the situation. As much as it hurt to lose that way, it meant the Cornhuskers could go toe-to-toe with a team bound for the national title game. It meant that with a little more work, all their dreams would be within reach. "I'd rather be closer to winning it than further away from winning it," Crick said. "It sucked, but definitely I liked how we competed against the No. 3 team in the nation and how close we really came to winning that thing."
How close? That's easy. Nebraska players can just look around their locker room or down at their wrists and see the number 0:01. And even the ones who want to forget will remember. Next time, they have to finish.