With the injuries to David Wilkerson and Jason Gibson, redshirt sophomore linebacker Nick Forbes may have arrived a little sooner than anyone could have expected. After making a surprise start against Ohio State earlier this season, Forbes has continued to improve each week, making plays all over the field – and as his blocked kick against Arizona State showed, even on special teams.
“I'm getting a little bit more comfortable with the process, as far as getting ready for a game,” Forbes said Sunday. “How to dissect plays during the game, how to approach series during the game. Every week I'm trying to build on more and more, so I feel like there's been a lot of growth going on – that has gone on – since the beginning of the season, but there's a lot that's left ahead.”
His improvement has been aided by the other members of a very deep unit.
“Rob [Mullins], J.P [Hurrell], along with Chris [McCain] have had a lot of experience. Scarlett, Jalen, all of us together, this linebacking core is really tight-knit. A lot of people have had their hand in the game, so we all help each other when it's needed - if somebody has advice, if somebody has a little bit of motivation, words of encouragement here and there…it's been a collaborative effort.”
Saturday was Forbes' first Big Game, which he described as, “A very emotional week as far as preparations went and stuff. A little bit disappointed in myself and how I performed. There were a lot of mistakes made out there, and you gotta use this as fuel and motivation to prevent it from happening again. Put in more work, more prep.”
Losing the way the Bears did was tough, Forbes said. “It's not something that anyone anticipates or wants to deal with. It's disappointing…This is one of the richest rivalries in college football. You train all year. Every game's important, but this one has a little bit more passion involved, so it's hard to lose to your rivals.”
“We gotta take it one game at a time. We gotta go back to work. If you want to get a better outcome, you gotta do more than what you did last week. The mindset is that you gotta go to work, go back to the practice field, the drills, the film room, and put in the work.”
As to why Stanford was able to rush for 252 yards, Forbes said, “There were too many mental mistakes as far as technique was concerned.”
“Guys were not looking at the right things, not reacting to the right situations. We're looking at those things to correct on film for next week.”
Utah awaits the Bears next Saturday, a team that Forbes complimented for a rapidly improving Travis Wilson and a really good running back in John White IV. To beat them, Forbes said, the Bears would have to get back to their fundamentals and clean up a lot of the mistakes they made last week.