Casey Thompson is officially a game-time decision for Saturday’s game against Minnesota.
Interim head coach Mickey Joseph said in Thursday’s media availability that Thompson’s practiced but Chubba Purdy took the majority of the reps. However, Thompson is at a point where he could play on his experience and mental reps, Joseph said.
“You know my rule as far as injuries, he’s got to tell me that he’s ready to go,” Joseph said. “But then I’ve got to have enough sense to say you’re ready or you’re not. He’s got to tell me he’s ready to go. And I know right now Casey’s telling me he’s ready to go.”
Joseph thought Purdy practiced well this week and bounced back from a sub-par performance against Illinois. Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple confirmed on Wednesday that an injury during the week may have hampered Purdy’s performance against the Illini. Whipple also thought Purdy, and Logan Smothers, performed better in practice this week.
The Huskers’ resiliency encouraged their acting head coach this week. Joseph also credited the coaches for keeping the team focused on the path forward.
“We came in on Sunday, we talked about our mistakes, about cleaning it up because it’s a copy-cat league. And then we said we were going to put it on the 24 hour rule and press on and get ready for Minnesota” Joseph said. “You’ve got to put losses behind you. You can’t let Illinois beat us twice. So we had to get ready for Minnesota this week. I thought the boys did a great job of putting that behind them and moving on.”
Joseph thought the team practiced well on Thursday. That involved being detail-oriented, sound in assignments and committing to the team’s game plan.
“I think they’re getting their minds right. We talked about getting their minds right and what type of contest this is going to be,” Joseph said. “This is going to be a physical contest, this is going to be a Big Ten football game and we’ve been here before.
“We know what we need to do.”
Nebraska’s injury news wasn’t all bad this week. Offensive lineman Broc Bando and wide receiver Omar Manning are both available for Saturday’s game against Minnesota. They practiced throughout the week.
Joseph also talked briefly about the Go Big Project being built just yards away from where he was standing at the podium. He said it’s great for the university and the football program anytime a facility of that magnitude is built on campus. The Nebraska Football Twitter account tweeted a teaser video earlier in the morning to offer a glimpse inside.
“It also helps you in recruiting,” Joseph said. “Kids want to see nice things. Because that’s the generation. I think it gives you a lot of energy heading forward in the future.”
Current players haven’t discussed the project much with him but the head coach believed recruits get shown the facility during tours. Joseph chuckled and pointed out current players enjoy the school’s facilities now.
Looking at Minnesota, the head coach said it’s another veteran team that excels in what it does. They’re fast with their reads and they’re experienced enough to make the plays. Minnesota features a stout defense that forces stops among the best in the country. Joseph underlined the importance for keeping third downs manageable.
“When we get to third down we’ve got to have a good play call, and Whipple will do that,” Joseph said. “But then we have to execute the third-down call and get the first down. Because they are really good on third down.”