Taylor Martinez started his 2013 campaign with relative efficiency passing ball against Wyoming, completing 77.2 percent of his passes, but for 155 yards. Nebraska receivers coach Rich Fisher said Monday Wyoming’s adjusted defensive scheme limited Nebraska’s options.
“I think any time when you are playing an opponent where you really understand what they’re doing, like I said, we didn’t quite know what Wyoming was gonna give us,” Fisher said. “They changed their whole entire front and coverage from what they did a year ago, and they gave us some coverages they hadn’t shown. You want to make sure before you start chucking it up there that everybody’s on the same page, especially with what we’re doing offensively.”
Fisher said the opportunities Nebraska had on the ground made that simple.
“Obviously they were giving us some stuff in the running game,” he said. “Any time you run for what, 375 yards obviously you’re doing something right. We could have rushed for it seems like for more than that.”
Like with the game plan, Fisher said he had hoped to give more snaps to back up receivers like Alonzo Moore, Jordan Westerkamp and Brandon Reilly, but Wyoming’s fourth quarter surge kept the starters on the field.
“At one point in time they probably would have played a lot more,” he said. “Once the game got a little bit tighter, I’m gonna stick with the guys we needed to make plays.”
–Offensive coordinator Tim Beck said Nebraska’s lack of passes simply meant that the Husker were playing the hot hand, whether that was Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross or Terrell Newby.
“I’ll be the first one to say we probably could have had opportunities to throw the ball, but I mean, we took three drives and drove down there. We converted some third downs running the ball, we had a lot of big gains. Why would you not continue? What makes you all of a sudden get out of a rhythm just to throw the ball to say we threw it?”
Beck said there’s “no question” that Nebraska will have to open up the passing game – namely the vertical passing game – eventually to be successful, but Saturday night wasn’t the right time.
“We were in a dogfight,” he said. “We needed to rest the defense a little bit, keep their offense on the sideline, run the football, eat up the clock.”
–In his best Cris Carter impersonation, wide receiver Quincy Enunwa hauled in two passes against Wyoming, with two coming in the endzone. He’s still got a lot to prove to himself however, he said.
“I’m not gonna order that one performance higher that anything I’ve ever done,” he said. “I got two touchdowns’ I’m proud of myself for that, but I didn’t do anything special besides what I normally do in practice.”
–Enunwa’s close call in the endzone was never a question, according to the senior reciever.
“I looked at the replay just to see what the ref saw,” Enunwa said. “Once I saw that they were wrong, I kinda went to coach Bo and told him.”
Enunwa was noticeably adamant on the sideline that he wanted the officials to take a closer look at the catch.
“Yeah well, take it with a grain of salt, right? Those guys are always in,” Fisher said with a grin. “Obviously Quincy’s that kind of guy, I could tell by his reaction.”
Enunwa said his close tip-toe catches (along with Jamal Turner’s) can be credited back to coach Fisher and his “toe-tap” and “hydrant” drills.
“When we practice it as much as we do, it’s gonna happen in a game, and when it happens in the game, it kind of just flows out naturally. Coach Fish kind of hammers it into our head that when your by the sideline, either tap your toes or drag your feet, and that was one of the things I did.”
–Martinez said Monday morning that a communication error caused his interception on a throw intended for Sam Burtch. So what did Burtch do incorrectly on his end?
“Nothing,” Fisher said. “Burtch was fine. He ran the right route. I wouldn’t say it’s on anybody. Burtch did the right thing.”