Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Prepares For The Moment With Simplification, Hunter’s Mentality

September 29, 2022

It’s a special kind of game week for Nebraska.

Not only is it a night game at Memorial Stadium before a two-week road trip, it’s the start of the Big Ten season in earnest. It’s also Homecoming and an opportunity for tradition to witness new beginnings.

Interim head coach Mickey Joseph thought the Huskers should strike a balance between soaking in the moment while focusing on a pivotal game ahead. Former players, students will be in Lincoln to fill the regularly lively stadium on Saturday.

“I’m sure they’ll want to take the moment in,” Joseph said. “But I think they also focus on the game. They always take the moment in because we have such a great fan base and we always appreciate that.”

That focus comes after an extra week of practice and a few days before Nebraska’s return to the field. An extra week could be vital to the Huskers, who used those few extra practices to adjust to new coaching personnel. Coaches also challenged the Huskers to compete against themselves. Joseph said he’s happy with what he saw a few days before Saturday’s game.

“Thought we were good in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams,” he saidy. “I was pleased with what I saw today.”

Joseph has also placed a defensive focus on tackling since taking over as head coach. He told reporters in a brief update on Thursday that he likes where the team’s picked up tackling.

The Huskers cut some defensive calls out since Bill Busch moved to defensive coordinator. Joseph said the Huskers have responded well and bought into the message. He previously said he didn’t want to “coach the athleticism out” of players. He’s optimistic the defense will maintain its athleticism and fly around the field on Saturday.

Nebraska has rallied to simplification in the last few weeks. Coaches reiterated fundamentals to defensive backs in hopes of improving the team’s passing defense against a team that slings the ball 50 times a game.

“Play the call and use your technique,” he said. “That’s a lot of throws you have to defend. So we’re going to play the call and use your technique.”

While a lot has been made out of Indiana’s offense and the tempo the Hoosiers like to play at, the Huskers’ head coach noted how well their defense has played. This will test Nebraska’s offense that looks to regain its momentum following a season-low performance against Oklahoma.

Joseph met with the unity council on Monday and walked away confident of the team’s leadership.

“We always said a player-driven team is a really good football team,” Joseph said. “So I’m trying to give them more responsibility as far as leadership and they’re doing a great job right now.”

A Nebraska football Twitter video released on Wednesday gained traction. It was a simple practice video that closed with Joseph telling his team to be hunters, not the hunted. He expanded on that idea Thursday, saying the Huskers want to get after Indiana. They want to be aggressive. Joseph said he’s seen that mentality the last two days.

Joseph gave no injury report after Thursday’s practice. He also didn’t reveal which coaches would be in the booth and which would be on the sidelines.

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