Blackshirts brace for ‘explosive’ UCLA
While Nebraska’s offense drew headlines with its 632 yard performance on Saturday, UCLA put together its own offensive fireworks show in the season opening 49-24 win over Rice. The Bruins had 646 yards of total offense, topping 600 yards for the first time since the 2007 season opener against Stanford.
“I think they are explosive,” defensive coordinator John Papuchis said following Nebraska’s practice on Tuesday. “Obviously, they had 650 yards of offense and scored a lot of points in a hurry. Their skill guys are explosive and athletic, and they are pretty solid up front.”
Mobile quarterbacks have presented problems for Nebraska the past few years and UCLA has one in redshirt freshman Brett Hundley. Hundley raced 72 yards on his first career carry for a touchdown against Rice and also completed 21-of-28 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
“Any time you play any version of an option-style offense, discipline and taking care of your job are the keys,” Papuchis said. “That’s obviously the emphasis this week; making sure that each guy is taking care of his responsibility.”
As the biggest game on the non-conference schedule, Nebraska started focusing on UCLA way back in the summer. Despite having a new staff and personnel, Papuchis said the Huskers, unlike last week against Southern Miss, have a pretty good grasp on what to expect.
“There were a lot of similarities between what we thought we were going to see and what they did in the Rice game,” Papuchis said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
A few other news and notes from Tuesday’s practice:
–Running back Rex Burkhead was in shorts and a shirt for practice but seemed to be walking without much of a limp.
–Cornerback Mohammed Seisay could suit up this week after missing last week with a lingering ankle injury. “We’re going to let this week dictate,” Papuchis said. “He was good in practice today, but he’s got to have a good week of practice to be prepared to play that position.”
–Papuchis expects true freshman defensive linemen Avery Moss and Aaron Curry to play more as the season progresses. The pair appeared towards the end of the Southern Miss game.
“The reality was we were careful,” Papuchis said. “They’re babies. Until we knew exactly what was going on we didn’t want to put them in a position where they’re not going to have success. They’ll play more and more as the year goes on.”
–Nebraska will likely be in a lot of nickel and dime sets again against UCLA’s spread offense.
“We’re a personnel-match defense,” Papuchis said. “If they have three and four wideouts out there, we’re going to play nickel and dime. That’s just what we do and what we believe in. The offensive personnel is going to dictate a little bit who we play at linebacker.”
Against Southern Miss, Will Compton and Alonzo Whaley took the majority of snaps for Nebraska.