When it comes to Blackshirts, interim head coach Mickey Joseph and interim defensive coordinator Bill Busch are on the same page. When asked on Tuesday if it had been considered whether or not to return the coveted jerseys following Rutgers, Joseph’s reply was simple:
One day later, Busch expanded on that decision. The reason is not because of poor play. It’s quite the opposite, according to Busch.
“We got a great pack of kids playing right now together,” Busch said following Wednesday’s practice. “They’re going to stay just like that. If Coach Joseph decides to give them back, I’ll support him 100% but right now, we’ve got a very good mindset of how we’re going to play as a unit. That’s all we’re worried about right now is being one big unit.”
As for the players, they have been in full support of taking the jerseys away. Defensive lineman Ty Robinson shared on Tuesday that it has motivated him and the rest of the defense to do “whatever it takes” to earn the Blackshirts back. What will that take?
“It’s unreachable in a sense,” Robinson said, “You just have to come out every day. It keeps you on your toes.”
Busch echoed on Wednesday that he hasn’t received any concern over the decision from the defense. In the end, it sounds like everyone—from the head coach to the position coach and the players—are on the same page with this one.
More news and notes:
>> Joseph said on Tuesday that cornerback Quinton Newsome and inside linebacker Luke Reimer are “day-to-day” following injuries suffered against Rutgers last Friday. Busch said on Wednesday that Reimer is “feeling really good,” but will continue to be monitored throughout the week ahead of the trip to Purdue.
As for Newsome, he is dealing with a groin injury. Busch said he is confident in both Malcolm Hartzog and Brandon Moore to step up against the Boilermakers. He also added that he knew early—somewhere in the second or third game of the season—that Hartzong’s potential was high. His performance on special teams highlighted what he was capable of.
“Love Malcolm and how he fought back and did a lot of good things,” Busch said. “They got a couple balls on him, everyone knows that. It wasn’t like he was in bad coverage, he was in good shape. For a true freshman, he did not give up. He has a lot of fight in him. Malcolm is the kind of guy you want to go to war with any day. He’s a real dude and I love coaching him.”
>> “Got a bunch of guys being real dudes.”
That’s how Busch described it when asked about the defense over the past two games. He said the group has full bought into what the coaches are teaching.
He also shared a little on how the defense has stayed even in adversity, making adjustments on the fly. That was on display against Rutgers, when the Huskers trailed 13-0 at halftime.
“That’s all on the kids,” Busch said. “That’s just a bunch of guys being real dudes and stepping up and playing hard. Big eyes, big chests, bright-eyed. That’s all on them.”
>> A couple of players have now shared how each day of practice has a different theme. Busch expanded on that.
“Today was turnover Wednesday, so turnovers were our heavy theme of today,” Busch said. “Yesterday was competition Tuesday, so the guys have been competing,” Busch said. “One thing our guys have been doing is practicing at a very high level with effort. We are very happy to be able to get back and be able to get a win last week. It helped a little but being able to get back and have Saturday off from the short week, to help us get ready for what is a huge game for us on Saturday against a ridiculously gifted football team.”
>> High praise for Purdue coach Jeff Brohm from Busch. He called him “as good as there is” when it comes to being a play caller.
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.