Nebraska is back to full practices as of mid-week of last week. During his monthly show on Husker Sports Nightly, Athletic Director Bill Moos confirmed that the Huskers are now allowed 20 hours of practice per week.
“We’ve been restricted to 12 hours a week until just a short while ago,” Moos said. “We’re back to 20 hours, which is the standard time you get during a season per week.”
That means Nebraska players have access to coaches and are currently able to wear helmets and the face guards that will be standard for the season. Moos compared the next few weeks to fall camp.
“We’ll go into a buildup to where we’ll be in pads for 29 days prior to our first competition,” he said.
If the timeline is correct, Nebraska will go full-pads for the first time in nine months starting Friday. It was previously understood that teams would be allowed in full-pads starting Sept. 30 when the Big Ten’s daily antigen testing protocols went into place. Either way, Nebraska will be back to full-pads soon, which might take a some adjustment for the players. Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson said “it’ll feel a little different” on Monday.
While the players and coaches prepare for the season, Moos said he’s hard at work getting everything together to make a season possible. That includes morning calls with Big Ten athletic directors to sort out a number of logistics.
“When you’ve got a worldwide pandemic, we’ve never tried this before,” Moos said. “We’re going to have to go to Columbus, Ohio to open up against No. 2 Ohio State.”
For Nebraska, that includes chartering a flight, finding lodging and more. Moos even said it’s possible some teams may fly day-of for a game, and leave right away after. All of that has yet to be determined, but there isn’t much time to sort it all out.
That uncertainty also includes the schedule itself, which has yet to be finalized. When the Big Ten Conference announced each week, the possibility of a Friday night game is there for every team.
“There will be Friday evening games,” Moos said, also noting that the Big Ten had yet to finalize the kickoff times and television information as of now.
One Friday game Nebraska definitely does want is a Black Friday matchup with Iowa. Moos confirmed he and Hawkeyes Athletic Director Gary Barta have requested that game be played on Black Friday, but nothing is official as of today.
“I’m feeling good about the prospects of it being on that Friday,” Moos said.
Some answers, but plenty of unknowns, as Nebraska and the Big Ten march toward the opening weekend of Oct. 23 and 24.
Other news and notes:
>> Moos opened his time on Tuesday by offering his condolences to the Frost family. Larry Frost, the father of Coach Scott Frost, passed away late last week. He was 73.
>> A number of football games have had to be canceled or postponed so far, including the latest, Notre Dame versus Wake Forest. Can the Big Ten Conference learn from those dealing with these changes?
“I think we can learn from them,” Moos said. “We certainly are following everything very closely. Certainly we are hoping there won’t be cancellations in our season but I think it’s pretty much inevitable that it may be. Our footprint covers 11 states form Nebraska to out in Maryland and everything in between. It’s got a lot of challenges to it.”
Part of keeping an eye on it means that the Big Ten is watching how others are handling and responding to their own challenges. Being the “late guys getting into this here,” Moos said the conference will have an opportunity to see how others handle the adjustments.
With that said, Moos also acknowledges there isn’t much flexibility in the Big Ten’s new schedule. If a game has to be canceled, could Nebraska try to reschedule with someone else?
“I’m not sure that’s going to be a possibility,” Moos said. “I was hoping the first time around with the August schedule that if we lost one week, we could move it.”
The 10-game schedule that was announced in August had the flexibility to move a canceled or postponed game to a bye week, but that’s now gone.
“With the eight-plus-one schedule we adopted, there are no byes,” Moos said. “If we lose an opponent for a week, we’ll be in some trouble.”
>> Worried about the sellout streak? Don’t fret. Moos thinks Nebraska deserves a mulligan in 2020.
“We sure do, because if you can’t sell, you can’t sellout,” he said.
>> When it came to the leadership at Nebraska, Moos said everyone was on the same page. That was from Chancellor Ronnie Green, President Ted Carter and the Board of Regents.
“Our leadership in the university has been outstanding,” Moos said. “We all are on the same page. we all want to see football and our sports programs across the board and the young people being able to live their dreams.”
Moos also credited the Nebraska Medical Center for their leadership.
— Husker Sports (@HuskerSports) September 22, 2020
>> Moos called Nebraska’s trip to open the season against Ohio State “a bit daunting.” He said the Huskers will have their work cut out for them, but the they are up for the challenge. “Maybe the best time to play them is early,” Moos said.
He also explained that he doesn’t think anyone had it out for Nebraska when designing the new schedule. However, he acknowledged that everyone wants the best for their teams.
“Everybody wants to look out for themselves, just like I do. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” Moos said. “The important thing along with that is that we keep the unity of the conference and that we’re all in this together in the end.”
>> Moos expects Nebraska to open the new football facility one year later than projected.
The designs will be wrapped up by late October or early November before the Huskers hit the pause button on the project. From there, Moos hopes to have shovels in the ground by May or June and then open around August of 2023.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.