Nebraska I-back Ameer Abdullah grew up in Southeastern Conference territory and knows the SEC reputation in college football.
But the sophomore cringed Tuesday when another question came about what it might mean to beat an SEC team when NU plays Georgia in the Capital One Bowl.
“I hate when people say 'beat an SEC team.' It's a football team,” Abdullah said. “You know what I mean? It doesn't really matter what conference a team comes from. It's how good they are. There's a lot of good teams around the country. It's not just because they come from the SEC that they hold some kind of special powers or something like that, where they're so much better than other conferences.”
The SEC mystique has grown with the league winning the last six national championships. Georgia would have had a shot at this one if not for falling a play short in the SEC championship game against Alabama.
“I feel like Georgia's a good team,” Abdullah said. “At the same time, if we were playing like an Oregon, beating an Oregon ... a lot of people don't look at the Pac-12 and think they're that good, but Oregon's a very good team.”
Abdullah comes from Homewood, Ala., and drew interest from several SEC schools, including Tennessee, Auburn and Vanderbilt. Despite his proximity to Georgia, he said he didn't follow the Bulldogs growing up.
“In the film room I've learned more about Georgia than I did growing up,” he said.
Georgia's offense similar to Spartans
Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis said the Georgia offense starts with a physical running game, and the Bulldogs have an experienced and strong-armed quarterback with Aaron Murray.
Throw in the Georgia wideouts and the Bulldogs' route concepts, and Papuchis said there might be some slight similarities to Michigan State among the teams NU has faced this season.
“That's a rough comparison, but probably the closest thing that we've played in the Big Ten,” Papuchis said.
Georgia ranks No. 27 nationally in total offense (458.3 yards per game) and No. 19 in scoring offense (37.2 points per game).
“I've got a lot of respect for them on offense,” Papuchis said.
Martinez ready for Bulldog defense
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez respects the Georgia defense, calling it “fast” and “tough.”
But Martinez added: He's seen these defenses all year in the Big Ten.
“They're like any other Big Ten defense,” Martinez said. “Big Ten defenses are the best in the country. We're going up against a good Georgia defense.”
Martinez also said he wouldn't focus too much on Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, who roams all over the defense and finished with 77 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks.
“He's just another football player out there,” Martinez said. “It's not that big of a deal. That's just the way you have to look at it.”
Bits and pieces
Offensive coordinator Tim Beck shrugged off any notion that he was a major candidate for any head coaching jobs, but conceded that he is interested in becoming a head coach when the time and situation are right. ... Graduate assistant tight ends coach Vince Marrow will coach NU through the bowl game before joining Kentucky as a full-time assistant. Beck said the Huskers would take their time in naming Marrow's replacement.
— Rich Kaipust and Sam McKewon