LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -The players are backing up their coaches, and coach Bill Callahan is backing up his players.
No one was willing to play the blame game on Tuesday, three days after Southern California throttled Nebraska 49-31.
Cornerback Cortney Grixby said it wasn't the coaches who were missing tackles and otherwise messing up against the Trojans. Grixby said he and his teammates are well-schooled in the fundamentals of defense and that they simply didn't perform well.
``What was on the field is not what we're coached on an everyday basis,'' Grixby said. ``That's on us.''
Defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove has been targeted for most of the fan criticism, accused of failing to get his players in position to stop a USC running game that gouged the Huskers for 313 yards.
Callahan gave Cosgrove a vote of confidence.
``He's hurt. He's down. I tell him to keep his head up,'' Callahan said. ``He's got my full support. He's going to get back at it. He'll do a great job this week as he hits the field. There is nobody who wants to do a better job than Cos.''
Though Callahan said he was disappointed in the play of the defense, he expects the problems to be corrected by the time the Huskers (2-1) host Ball State (2-1) on Saturday.
Instead of breaking into position meetings for Sunday's film study, the entire team met as a group for three hours.
Callahan said it wasn't a ``rip session.'' It was an opportunity, he said, for the Huskers to be unified, learn from their mistakes and put the game behind them.
``I'm not trying to deflect any type of criticism or blame to the players. I want to be very clear about that,'' Callahan said. ``I accept that full responsibility in that regard. It still falls on my shoulders. I do accept that.
``We have some things to clean up. It's still a team effort, still a team game. So we're all in it together.''
Callahan had no player personnel changes to announce, but said there would be competition for a several spots on both sides of the ball.
Nose tackle Ndamukong Suh said he expects to have to fight for his job against Brandon Johnson and Shukree Barfield.
Suh said it's always embarrassing when Nebraska loses, but even more so when the loss is so lopsided.
``They should not have had 300-some rushing yards,'' Suh said. ``If they're going to beat us, they're going to beat us. But it shouldn't have happened that way.''
Suh was at a loss to explain why the Huskers fell flat in a nationally televised game against the nation's top-ranked team.
He said he didn't play with enough intensity.
``For me personally, it wasn't there,'' he said. ``They knew what they wanted to come in and do, and we didn't put up too much of a fight to go against that.''
Callahan said he's confident his players will bounce back against Ball State. He said many of them stopped by the football offices on Monday, a day off, to study film.
``If they didn't really care about their performance, I think they would be at their houses, apartments or dorms,'' Callahan said. ``They do care. They're hurt. They want to rectify the error. They want the best.''

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