The only previous Nebraska-Purdue football game was played in 1958, but Cooper knows at least a little about the Boilermakers. His father, Corey Cooper Sr., was a Purdue safety in the 1980s and played with Rod Woodson and Jim Everett, and the Husker junior safety was recruited by the Big Ten school before committing to NU.
Q: What did you like about Saturday’s defensive performance against Illinois?
A: I liked the energy that we played with. When they were driving on us or when they made plays, we didn’t fold or we didn’t put our heads down. We just kept playing and got off the field.
Q: Where did that energy come from?
A: We stressed it in practice. We said that when something went bad early in the season, there was pretty much a snowball effect. We tried to stress that when they make a play — teams are going to make plays — we just got to pretty much bow up or step up, and that’s what we did. And that was a good feeling.
Q: Coach Pelini has talked a lot recently about the focus on communication. Was it better on the field Saturday?
A: People were talking a lot more than usual, including myself, because we did it in practice. And it actually paid off this week.
Q: With you having experience going on the road, what advice can you offer for some of the younger defensive players?
A: It’s football at the end of the day. It’s just on a different field. So it’s not really a big difference.
Q: Is there any adjustment to playing on natural grass when you don’t do it very often?
A: It’s a difference. There’s a lot of difference. But we’ve got a grass practice field that we practice on all the time, so I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal for us.
Q: Being a Chicago guy, how much do you look forward to traveling around Big Ten country?
A: It should be fun, considering these schools were much closer to me and some recruited me. It’s going to be a great experience to play them.
Q: Did your dad ever hint that he would have liked you to follow in his footsteps at Purdue?
A: He brought it up a few times, but he let me make my own decision.