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Hot Reads: On the Ball

WITHOUT A DOUBT? >>> Wisconsin running back Montee Ball told the Wisconsin State-Journal on Tuesday  night that there's "no doubt" he'll play against the Huskers this week. I'll admit to being surprised by this. In the article he says this is the third concussion he's suffered during his career and second in as many months. "What the doctor said is, it doesn't really matter how long you wait, if you pass all of the exams," Ball said. "Having two concussions, you're ...

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Back to Basics

After four weeks of facing spread offenses, Nebraska's top priority this week is getting reacquainted with the base defense it installed during fall camp. "We haven't been in a lot of base defense," defensive coordinator John Papuchis said following Tuesday's practice. "We haven't had a lot of opportunity to run that stuff in practice over the last month though we did sprinkle it in at times. That's probably the biggest challenge at this point." With three linebackers on the field, Nebraska will ...

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Tale of the Tape: Wisconsin preview

This week's film session with a former Division I football coach presented some problems. Namely that Idaho State was easily the worst team to visit Memorial Stadium in recent memory. Thus, looking at the film wasn't nearly as illustrative as it usually is. Most of what Nebraska ran worked, and what didn't work typically didn't matter -- superior athleticism took over. So rather than look at that, our time -- both mine and yours -- seems better spent moving straight into ...

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Hot Reads: Wisconsin Week

BIG NUMBER >>> There's been a lot of point spread talk already this week. For recreational purposes, or rather perceived strength purposes, only of course. With the spread hovering somewhere around 12-points in favor of Nebraska, the Wisconsin State-Journal notes that it is just the 13th time since 1993 that the Badgers are a double-digit underdog. Wisconsin went 3-9 in those games straight-up. If you take out the non-conference cupcakes, Nebraska has been a double-digit favorite 15 times under Bo Pelini ...

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Beck feels better prepared for Badgers

When asked what he learned as an offensive coordinator from last year's Wisconsin game, Tim Beck said he'd "tell (us) about it sometime." Monday wasn't that time, but Beck did say having a game against the Badgers under his belt will make a difference this time around. "It helps looking at a game after you've played somebody and seen how they've played you and have a better understanding of their staff philosophies," Beck said. Last year, Nebraska was leading Wisconsin 14-13 midway ...

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Bo: ‘Business as usual’ this week

On a macro level, all the pieces are in place for a big game atmosphere on Saturday. It's the Big Ten opener under the lights on homecoming weekend. It's an adidas showcase game with both teams wearing alternate uniforms. The conference itself is totally up for grabs with many viewing Nebraska as one of the favorites and, if the Huskers are one of the favorites, this is the time to serve notice. On a micro level -- the day-to-day preparation, avoiding ...

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Hot Reads: Big Ten, Round Two

THE BENGALS PERSPECTIVE >>> There's no need to linger on the Idaho State game. We all know what we saw. Even the game recap from the Idaho Statesman says it right there in the lede to the game recap: It was all about the money. But that didn't stop coach Mike Kramer from playing the role of an angry old football coach: We are going to get on the plane, go home and shower this thing off. Our organization is pretty ...

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It’s Time

That thing that happened in Memorial Stadium on Saturday? It wasn’t a football game. That would imply some sort of competition between two equally capable teams. This was not that. Nebraska and Idaho State are separated by at least a few steps on the college football food chain. The Huskers were the predator, the Bengals the prey and the outcome of this particular game was written into the DNA of both programs long ago. There was no other available outcome other ...

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Hot Reads: Defending Nebraska

MALZAHN'S REVIEW: The full transcript of Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn's comments following Nebraska's 42-13 win were slow coming out on Saturday, but looking over them Sunday revealed a few interesting tidbits. Namely, here's how ASU approached defending Nebraska: Here is what you got to do when you play a team like them - you have to sit on the run. You got to take chances on the run. They are one of the best offenses in college football. They run ...

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Hot Reads: Looking for linemen

BREAKING DOWN THE BREAK DOWNS >>> ESPN's Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett is the latest person to ask what, exactly, is going on with Nebraska's defense? While you could look a number of places for a possible answer, Bennett focuses squarely on the defensive line: It's no coincidence that Pelini's best defense was in 2009 when Ndamukong Suh was a senior. Jared Crick led the 2010 defense before missing most of 2011 with a pectoral injury. Where are the stars up ...