Seemingly more eyes went to the Husker players leaving practice out of uniform than in Tuesday evening. Taylor Martinez, Ameer Abdullah and Jamal Turner left practice in street clothes without practice, Turner with a slight hint of a limp. Tuesday morning Bo Pelini said the status of Martinez hasn’t changed, and Tim Beck said Ameer Abdullah was held out for precautionary reasons.
“He’ll be ready to go,” he said. Beck was also asked if the roll up on Abdullah’s ankle Saturday had anything to do with the injury.
“That’s part of it,” Beck said. “Sometimes when you got a guy like that playing the way he is, going mentally he’s getting his reps ready to go, I know physically he’ll be ready.”
Beck said in absence of Taylor Martinez, both Ron Kellogg and Tommy Armstrong are preparing for starts against Northwestern.
“They’ve kind of had to be here before because Taylor’s wait-and-see with his injury,” Beck said. “Their work habits are good and their study of the game’s been really good…we’ll see how that all plays out.
–Tim Beck drew some comparisons to this year’s Huskers from last year, when the Huskers suffered an early loss to a conference opponent. However Beck said the loss to Minnesota was a harder one to figure out.
“It’s just weird, we just didn’t play well offensively the last game all-around. Everybody took their turn not doing what they had done,” Beck said.
As for the remaining schedule, that comparison fits much better.
“We just kind of refocused and said ‘hey listen, we’re in the same exact position we were last year; 5-2 with one conference loss.’ In fact we have the same exact opponents coming up as we did last year, and we control our own destiny.”
–With at least one upset loss in each of his three seasons of playing, wide receiver Kenny Bell said it’s impossible to simply drop a loss and put it behind him.
“When you invest so much time into something and you work really hard for it and you fail at it, it’s not something where you’re just gonna be like (snaps fingers) ‘feeling pretty good about it.’” Bell said. “As much time as these guys in this building invest into the football game, trust me, it hurts when you lose.”
Bell said it’s tough to say whether the upset losses like those to Minnesota actually hurt more.
“A loss is a loss is a loss,” he said. “None of them feel good, so I don’t want to take away from Minnesota or Wisconsin last year or any of that. I think losses all hurt the same.”
–Tim Beck said after the loss of Spencer Long and the rotation at guard Saturday against the Gophers, Nebraska may need to rotate even more in the future. Against Minnesota, the Huskers didn’t get the chances; the Huskers held the ball for fewer than 25 minutes.
“We didn’t have a lot of plays. We’re used to playing 77 – in the high we had 90,” Beck said. “There’s not a lot of room to ‘hey this guy needs a blow’ or ‘let’s give him a rest.’”
In the first and fourth quarters the Huskers had just 14 plays, Beck said.
“Fourteen plays, they almost did that in five minutes of practice.
–Beck also said that losing Long had a big effect on Andrew Rodriguez at right tackle, the guy he lined up next to on nearly every offensive play.
“That’s a lot of smash mouth over there,” he said. “It’s like losing your partner. They gotta get reacquainted in the calls.”
Beck said there’s confusion with what to do in the event of double teams as well. Other times Rodriguez and different guards came off the line separately or even at the same time incorrectly.
“Sometimes that stuff happens,” he said. “You hate for it to happen but sometimes it does.”