Minnesota plans to be in Lincoln on Saturday. Playing a football game.
Despite not having played football since Nov. 20 due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the team, Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck said on Monday that the Gophers are back to practice. In fact, Minnesota was able to go through a full practice on Sunday. It was the first time the team was back on the practice field in at least two weeks.
What does that mean for Nebraska?
“It’s 2020. It’s COVID. It is what it is,” Nebraska offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said on Tuesday. “We all have our own issues. I know they’ll be prepared.”
Long story short? Nebraska has no plan to change its approach, nor should it.
“They kicked our butt last year,” Lubick added.
Nebraska fell 34-7 to Minnesota on the road in 2019. It’s a game the Huskers would rather not repeat in 2020, but defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said the team will have to “hold the thing down.”
That means keeping an eye on Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who Chinander believes will be part of testing the Huskers’ tackling on Saturday.
“He’s a heck of a back,” Chinander said. “He does really well in their system. He’s gonna get the ball rolling downhill.”
Nebraska is also just grateful to be playing football on Saturday against Minnesota. That’s especially true as others—like Ohio State and Michigan—are forced to cancel their upcoming game and Purdue halts practice to evaluate recent COVID-19 testing results.
“It’s real football, but it’s like being on a different planet,” Chinander said while reflecting on the season to date.
For now, Minnesota plans to be in Lincoln on Saturday. And so the Huskers continue to prepare for whatever is ahead.
More news and notes:
>> With Myles Farmer out for the remainder of the season, Chinander mentioned that both Noa Pola-Gates and Isaac Gifford are “ready to roll” at safety.
>> What does Chinander think about Nebraska’s run defense as of late?
“We’re continuously getting better. . .” Chinander said. “And I think it’s showing up the last couple weeks.”
>> Seniors are able to return in 2021 if they want, as the NCAA allowed an extra year of eligibility for fall sport athletes. While the seniors are not thinking about that yet, Chinander said he hopes to get the Huskers’ senior defensive backs back for 2021.
>> Nebraska has not given out any new Blackshirts since the original announcement post-Penn State. Chinander said the Huskers have wanted to keep the jerseys with the starters.
“Don’t want to water it down by adding a whole bunch more,” he said.
>> What did wide receiver Wyatt Liewer think when he got into the endzone against Purdue? He thought it was too easy so he turned around looking for a holding flag or for something to have gone wrong.
>> Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher isn’t a fan of the transfer portal, but he does wish those that have left Nebraska the best. With that said, he does have a thought for those leaving programs all over the country.
“It’s given a lot of young kids a way to opt out of this thing, and it’s not doing any of them any good,” he said.
>> You can watch both of Nebraska’s coordinators talk here.
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.