Nebraska is officially in South Alabama prep. On Wednesday, the Huskers practiced with their sights set on the home opener. That included a brief walk-through inside Memorial Stadium.
While game-week prep is now in full swing, Nebraska offensive coordinator Troy Walters isn’t ready for the competition to end. In fact, he expects to see that competition ongoing between the offense and defense.
“The competition against the defense has been awesome,” Walters said on Wednesday. “Going against them every day has made us better, so we don’t want to lose that. We don’t want to lose the good-on-good, iron sharpens iron, so we’ll still go against our defense, ones versus ones, twos versus twos, but now the focus shifts to getting a jump-start on South Alabama and understanding their tendencies and what we’re going to see defensively.
“Now, first game, you’re never sure exactly what you’re going to see. We’re going to rep a lot of things. We’re going to go into that game plan doing what we do. The good thing about our defense is that it’s very similar to South Alabama’s so we’ll be able to adjust to whatever they throw at us. Now we’re trying to simulate game day atmosphere, game day situations, guys have to be focused, dialed in. The days of going against South Alabama will help us next Saturday.”
Nebraska and South Alabama kick off next Saturday, Aug. 31, at 11 a.m. CT. Early kickoff a concern? Not according to running backs coach Ryan Held, who said the Huskers are used to getting up early at this point “which is good for us.”
Held also noted that Tuesday’s temperature of 100 degrees was good for Nebraska.
"Because an 11 o'clock kickoff, I haven't looked at the extended forecast, but it could be 100 degrees,” Held said. “We’ve got to be prepared for the heat and whatever weather we'll get."
Just as long as it’s not rain.
More news and notes:
>> Freshmen Darien Chase and Demariyon Houston have been impressive so far during fall camp, but they’re getting challenged by the veterans on the team. That includes players like Mike Williams, Jaron Woodyard and Jaevon McQuitty.
"What I'm pleased and excited with are some of the other guys that have stepped up,” Walters said. “They've made it harder for those freshmen . . . They've kind of over shined the freshman. They've done a good job. A lot of the other guys, McQuitty, Mike Williams, Andre Hunt, you know, they've stepped up their game and are doing well so the freshmen have a battle on their hands."
>> Speaking of the depth at wide receiver, Walters feels good about being able to move guys—like JD Spielman—around. That’s something the Huskers couldn’t do much of in 2018. Ideally, Walters would like to be two-deep with players who could see the field at each receiver spot, meaning he’s have ideally six or seven guys who could play this fall.
“This past week we've had a couple of scrimmages, a couple of game day simulations just to see how guys react,” Walters said. “Definitely guys are separating themselves but I feel good about the depth that we have. I feel good about the guys understanding the offense so that we can move guys around, JD Spielman doesn't always have to play in the slot, we can move him outside if we need him. So we're very pleased with how things are coming and the depth of the group."
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.