Nebraska came into last week averaging 284.8 yards rushing and had allowed just three sacks in its first six games, so not having Spencer Long on the offensive line might have been a factor at Minnesota. Qvale, a senior left tackle, says the line must adjust and be better as the Huskers prepare for Northwestern:
Q: It was the first week where you guys knew you wouldn’t have Spencer going in, so how did you handle his absence?
A: We definitely missed him, just because he was our top lineman and our leader and one of our captains. But Mike (Moudy) did a good job and we’re just going to keep working on getting better, and getting ready for this last five-game stretch.
Q: When you went back and watched and graded film, what did you come away thinking?
A: As an offensive line I think we were assigned right, we just didn’t have very good detail in our game. That’s something we talked about yesterday in our meeting room, getting back to being really detailed and focused, and just continuing to get better.
Q: Can you pinpoint why the line and the offense might have gotten away from some of the success of recent weeks?
A: It was just execution. It’s just nothing seemed to go right during the game. It was just frustrating, because we were getting these big gains, and then we’d get down into the red zone and have to kick field goals, and that’s never good. Just things like that, that you can’t afford to have happen if you want to win.
Q: The offense had been pretty efficient in the red zone until Saturday. Any reason for the lapses?
A: It’s just execution of plays. That’s what it came down to. Just guys needed to make plays and it just didn’t happen.
Q: What’s the mood been like the last couple days?
A: It’s been good. We’re in the same spot we were last year. We need to win these last five games. Obviously that’s not going to be easy, but it’s what you’ve got to strive for. If we can win out, then we’ll be right where we need to be in Indianapolis.
Q: Can you gain confidence or draw from that experience of winning six straight to finish the regular season last year?
A: Yeah, I think so. We got some younger guys who weren’t a part of that last year, but they need to step up and we need to get going. It’ll be nice to be back for a home game, and Northwestern’s a good team, so we need to execute and get on the right path and just take it one week at a time.