All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.
On Wednesday's show, Adam Carriker talks to Nebraska linebacker Luke Gifford about seven Huskers earning Blackshirts, the Colorado game, expectations for the defense and much more.
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Here's a transcript from today's show:
Adam Carriker: Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show where we check the pulse of Husker Nation brought to you by the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Today I am joined by Husker Captain and Blackshirt, Mr. Luke Gifford.
How are you going, my friend?
Luke Gifford: I’m good Adam, thanks for having me on.
Adam Carriker: Thanks for joining me. 7 of you guys got your Blackshirts this week. Talk to me about what that means, getting your Blackshirts.
Luke Gifford: For the guys that wore them before us and the guys coming up, it’s an honor to be able to represent Nebraska and its history. We just want to be like those old teams, like you guys, you know. And it’s like Coach Chin says, we’re going to do it everyday. Day by day in practices and games, it’s a lifestyle.
Adam Carriker: They have handled Blackshirts a little bit differently this year. What are your thoughts on how those differences have been emphasized this season?
Luke Gifford: I like it a lot. I think that’s the way it should be. It gives guys more incentive. You know, you have to earn that Blackshirt, man. I think a lot of guys felt the same when we did not get them after fall camp. Coaches said they wanted to see it in a game. I think a lot of guys agreed with that. That's partially why you saw guys go out and play the way they did. And that’s not a one-week thing, it’s a weekly deal. But it definitely gives guys some incentive.
Adam Carriker: Now 7 of you have earned your Blackshirts so far. Who are some other guys we should keep an eye on who could be earning their blackshirt soon?
Luke Gifford: Yeah, you know, the Davis Twins and Ben Stille all had good games. They’re looking to put it all together throughout practice and the next game. And on the back end, we had some DBs who had good games just have some stuff to clean up. But there’s a lot of guys who’s mentality is on the way there. It’s exciting to see that and I think we are getting there.
Adam Carriker: You have the second most tackles on the team last Saturday, with 11, and you were tied for second most sacks with 1.5. You lied the seven black shirts with three tackles for loss. I remember your preseason spring game a couple of years ago which was kind of your Breakout game where you got everybody’s attention. To what do you attribute your improvement from that game up until the game last Saturday?
Luke Gifford: Yeah, I’ve come a long ways and my career here at Nebraska. There’s been a lot of ups and downs with injuries and position changes. But a lot of the Improvement I think can be attributed to coach Duvall in the strength and conditioning program. I changed my body a lot to fit my position in what I need to do. I think last year I started to scratch the surface as far as what I could do but with the help of Coach Duvall, the strength staff, and the new coaching staff, I think I’m starting to see my potential. And I’m not happy with where I am right now but I can see myself definitely going up so I’m excited to see what I’m capable of doing for the rest of the year.
Adam Carriker: Talk about the Colorado loss, the team’s attitude, and how you are handling it going forward to play Troy this weekend.
Luke Gifford: Obviously, you never want to take a loss especially on your home turf. Teams can’t come in to Memorial and get a win. There were a lot of positives to take away from that game and the team’s attitude was a lot different than it has been in the past. We came in Monday, attacked the weight room, and attacked practice. Guys were sore, but it didn’t matter. There’s a common goal. We’ve been rolling this week and had a couple of good days at practice. We have a couple more, but I’m proud of the way guys have responded.
Adam Carriker: Talk about being voted a team captain by your peers and the responsibility that comes along with that.
Luke Gifford: Yeah, that’s huge. It’s an honor to know that those guys think of me as a leader. That comes with the responsibility of Being there for all those guys and being an example. Tough losses like last week really come down to the leaders. So myself and the rest of the captains have to look back and see what we need to do to make sure that doesn’t happen again. It is a huge honor, I’ve been thinking about being a captain here since I was little. It’s cool for it to happen my senior year. Now we’re just looking to keep getting better week by week and I think the guys have seen that we can do that.
Adam Carriker: You’ve been to every Husker game sitting in East stadium, for years. Talk about who inspired you growing up and who were your favorite Huskers?
Luke Gifford: Well, I’m going to start off with you. You were a huge motivator for me growing up along with a lot of other guys. Lavonte David, Suh, Prince, Haag… those guys were more my time. But I also heard a lot about the Peters Brothers, Grant Wistrom, Jay Foreman, there’s a lot of guys I could talk about. Also, on the staff right now, Barrett Ruud. He went to Southeast, you know, so I always looked up to him. I’ve seen him in High School, I can barely remember that. Bit I remember him playing at Nebraska. He’s someone I always looked up to, including when he got to the league.
Adam Carriker: Barrett was an upper classman when I was a young guy. He was a beast for sure. I got a question, do you remember the first time we met? It was a couple years ago and very brief.
Luke Gifford: Yeah I do, Actually, walking through the tunnel with your family?
Adam Carriker: Yep, I think it was after the spring game when you kind of broke out. My son, Jacob was with me and he asked “Who's that?” And I said that’s Luke Gifford. Keep an eye out for him, he’s gonna be doing some big things in the near future. So I had a pretty good idea that one day we'd be talking on the show. I was just curious if you remembered.
Luke Gifford: That’s cool to hear, I appreciate that.
Adam Carriker: Talk to me about some things you think the defense did well on Saturday versus Colorado, and some of the biggest improvements that need to be made going forward into the season.
Luke Gifford: I thought the overall mentality and intensity we played with was awesome compared with what it’s been in the past. That’s one of the biggest changes we had to make. I thought for the most part we tackled well, which comes with that. When you run and swarm to the ball and you have four, five, six guys, missed tackles are hard to come by. So that’s a big positive. But there were also some negatives. Those first two drives, the communication was not where it needed to be. Overall, we just didn't execute like we needed to. Part of that I think is not having a game the week before. There’s not 90,000 people at practice, so it took a little bit to get used to that. You have to communicate at a really high level to play good defense here. I think we got that dialed in as the game went on and that's why we had successes, but as for this weekend we need to communicate like that from the jump and play with that same intensity level.
Adam Carriker: Last question, as a Husker team captain and one of seven Blackshirts, do you have a message that you would like to relate Husker Nation this week?
Luke Gifford: No doubt. Thank you for staying with us. The last couple of years have been rough, but this thing is about to get rolling in the right direction. We've come a long way toward that. There are a lot of good people and good players in this program with a common goal, and this thing’s going to start rolling and it’s going to get pretty fun.
Adam Carriker: I like it, there is a lot to be excited about. Husker fans, as far as the Carriker Chronicles, back to a regular season schedule of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. Central Time. And my new baby, #CarrikerLive Sunday nights at 8 p.m. Central Time. Until next time, Husker Nation, GO BIG RED and always remember….
Luke Gifford: THROW THE BONES!
Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.
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