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Jenni Carlson's Q&A with Nebraska linebacker Phillip Dillard

by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 5, 2009 at 12:14 am •  Published: December 5, 2009
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photo - Oklahoma's Chris Brown (29) is tackled by Nebraska's Phillip Dillard in the first half of their NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. AP PHOTO
Oklahoma's Chris Brown (29) is tackled by Nebraska's Phillip Dillard in the first half of their NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. AP PHOTO
Jenni Carlson: You’re playing in the Big 12 championship game, and as a senior, you’ve seen it all — coaching changes, injuries, ups, downs. Is your perspective on this game different because of that?

Phillip Dillard: The last time we were in this game, I was here but I was injured. I didn’t get to play. It wasn’t the same then as it is now. The atmosphere ... it’s like everyone is buying in. It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had.

JC: Nebraska loves its football, but it sounds like the vibe is different.

PD: Oh, yeah. They’ve been ecstatic. In prior years, you’d go to the store and it feels like the whole town died. Now, everyone’s upbeat. It’s just a whole upbeat tempo.

JC: So, grocery shopping is fun again in Lincoln?

PD: Now, it is. (Laughs.)

JC: With your injuries and the program’s coaching changes, was there ever a point along the way where you thought, "Man, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get to a Big 12 title game”?

PD: Kind of. Not while this coaching staff’s been here, but before they got here, yeah, maybe. But when they got here, it was like, "There’s gonna be a change. This is different. All we’ve got to do is just work hard and buy in, buy in no matter what happens.” It ended up paying off.

JC: OK, let’s do some word association. I’ll throw out something, and you tell me whatever comes to mind. First, your head coach, Bo Pelini.

PD: Very, very intense.

JC: What about his brother and your defensive coordinator, Carl Pelini?

PD: Sometimes he can be even more intense.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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