Head coach Mike Riley addressed the media Wednesday following Nebraska’s practice. Injuries were once again a hot topic, especially after learning that quarterback Tommy Armstrong is in a walking boot.
“I think Tommy’s going to be fine,” Riley said. “It’s a sprained ankle. He had it before and never missed any practice time but aggravated it in the game. They thought the best thing to do was take a couple days of rest, get it healthier. I hope he can do something tomorrow but I think we’ll be really sure he can get going on Sunday.”
As for other injuries, Riley provided an update on wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp, I-back Devine Ozigbo, wide receiver Alonzo Moore and tight end Cethan Carter.
“Ozigbo’s still not practicing,” Riley said. “Alonzo is running and feels pretty good, so I’m hopeful for Alonzo. Jordan and Cethan [are] probably doubtful for the Indiana game but with the bye at least they’re closer to playing in the upcoming games.”
What about right tackle David Knevel who is out with a foot injury? Riley said he is still recovering but his hopeful about his return.
“I’m sure he should be healthy by the time we get practicing next week,” Riley said.
>> Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said the Husker running backs have been using beeping footballs at practice this week. The balls indicate when a football isn’t being held properly, encouraging better ball security. After three fumbles in the red zone during Nebraska’s last two games, Langsdorf decided it was time to “bring out the beeping balls again.”
Held properly, the footballs will beep. What happens if the ball isn’t held the right way? Silence.
“We’ve had to get them beeping a lot this weekend,” Langsdorf said.
>> When Knevel went out against Illinois, backup Cole Conrad stepped in as the “next man up.” Conrad said he was ready for the opportunity.
“I mean, it wasn’t that big of a deal because you practice for that as a backup the whole week so it wasn’t really that big of a change for me, I guess,” Conrad said. “It was good knowing that I had that kind of experience backing up as the beginning of the season started.”
He also said the experience was surreal and a “dream come true” being from Nebraska.
“I just remember Dylan Utter saying, ‘This is fun,'” Conrad said. “And I didn’t really know what that meant at the time but now that I look back on it, it was fun.”
>> Tight end Sam Cotton helped the Huskers secure a big first down against Illinois (which is highlighted in part one of Tale of the Tape) but he said his favorite catches are those that result in six points. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t happy with that catch against the Fighting Illini, but he does wish he hadn’t stepped on his own foot.
“I was trying to find an open slot so Tommy could make a play for me,” Cotton said. “He put the ball in the perfect spot where a defender couldn’t get it and I was able to reel it in but when I turned around, I got a little happy and I put my foot in the ground to cut and what do you know? I put my one foot on top of the other foot and down goes Cotton.”
>> Wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El said the team plans to use the remainder of the bye week to “rest and heal wounds.” He also said he will be working on “better technique and to come out more sound” in his game.
>> Who does defensive coordinator Mark Banker see as the best passing team in the Big Ten?
“Indiana right now, there’s no doubt,” he said.
That’s going to be a big issue for the Huskers as they begin to prepare for the Hoosiers. Riley wasn’t shy about the issues Nebraska has faced as far as a pass defense is concerned.
“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see we needed to be better at pass defense,” Riley said.
>> Nebraska will not practice Friday or Saturday this week. The Husker coaches plan to be out recruiting Saturday during the day and will return to Lincoln that evening. Banker said he plans to use his free Saturday night to attend the Keith Urban concert in Lincoln.
>> Running back Terrell Newby is happy that the Huskers are 5-0 but there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done.
“Like Coach Langs says, a lot of things you wouldn’t accept in a loss, you can’t accept in a win,” Newby said. “So there’s a lot of things we need to work on and we need to hit them during this bye week.”