Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Pregame Observations Ahead of Nebraska-Wisconsin

November 20, 2021

It’s going to be a picture-perfect fall afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin, as the Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-7 overall, 1-6 in Big Ten) visit the Wisconsin Badgers (7-3, 5-2), who come into the contest riding a six-game win streak.

Temperatures for the 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff could reach around 56 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Wind likely won’t play a factor at all as the flags atop Camp Randall Stadium and on the goal posts are hardly moving.

Nebraska is hoping to reverse the recent trend against Badgers, who have won the last seven contests in the series. The two teams didn’t play last year due to COVID-19 issues within the Wisconsin program.

More news and notes:

>> On the running back front, fans may have noticed that Rahmir Johnson did not finish the game against Ohio State and wasn’t on the field for the last two drives against the Buckeyes. Head coach Scott Frost mentioned that the Huskers’ running back room had been beat up during the bye week, and didn’t say if Johnson would be available against Wisconsin.

Johnson wasn’t immediately seen during pre-game warmups, however fellow running backs Markese Stepp, Jaquez Yant, Marvin Scott and Cooper Jewett were on the field putting in work with long-time Husker assistant Ron Brown. The running back room took a hit this past week as Frost said Sevion Morrison wasn’t with the program anymore. Morrison later took to social media to announce that he’s transferring.

>> Injured safety Deontai Williams wasn’t seen in warmups. On Thursday, Frost said this of Williams: “He’s close. It’s probably going to be a decision right here at the end.” Another rotation player on the defense that wasn’t seen in warmups was outside linebacker Pheldarius Payne.

>> Saturday’s game will be the first with the newly-promoted analysts acting as assistant coaches, and they were some of the first ones off the bus when the team arrived at Camp Randall Stadium.

Along with Brown and long-time coach Frank Verducci, Frost mentioned former analysts Steve Cooper and Steve DeMeo as talented coaches who will have bigger roles with the team going forward following the firings of four offensive assistant coaches. Cooper will act as the offensive coordinator on Saturday and will be the one talking with Frost on the headset.

“I really trust Steve Cooper, he’s been an offensive coordinator before and he’ll be the primary guy in my ear,” Frost said during an appearance on ‘Sports Nightly’ this week. “We’ll have most of the rest of the guys down on the sideline to try to help get the guys right. There’s a lot of places where you have this size of staff—I’ve worked in I-AA where we didn’t have a lot of guys, you just have to use the guys you have and get the job done.”

>> Nebraska tight end Thomas Fidone was seen warming up prior to the game, meaning this is the first away game that he’s traveled with the team to. Fidone, who was still sporting a supportive sleeve on his left leg during warmups, spent most of the season working to get back to 100% after a knee injury in the spring. Fidone hasn’t seen the field yet in his true freshman season.

>> Junior corner Cam Taylor-Britt entered the stadium jamming out to his music. Taylor-Britt, a fourth-year player, was recently invited to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He also accepted the invitation, implying that he likely won’t return to Nebraska in 2022. Taylor-Britt has enjoyed a great second-half of the season, and has 42 tackles and a team-high nine pass breakups.

>> Outside linebacker Damian Jackson isn’t dressed today, but made the trip. Last week he was honored with the Armed Forces Merit Award.

Update (3:57 p.m.): While Jackson was not dressed for warmups, he did make an appearance for Nebraska late in the second quarter. He was in on a hit of the Wisconsin quarterback that brought up a fourth-and-13 situation for the Badgers. It’s unclear when Jackson suited up, but he was likely needed after Caleb Tannor was hurt.

>> On the quarterback front, all four signal callers made the trip and were warming up, including Adrian Martinez, Logan Smothers, Heinrich Haarberg and Matt Masker.

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