Published Tuesday, November 15, 2011 AT 7:54 PM / Updated at 9:36 PM
Nebraska-Michigan: Tim Beck post-practice comments
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Offensive coordinator Tim Beck met with the media Tuesday for a brief stint; here are the highlights:

>> Nebraska’s offense had a good day of installation in preparation for Michigan’s defense, which Beck praised as a tough-minded unit that has embraced new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s scheme.

The Wolverines are 17th nationally in total defense and seventh nationally in scoring defense, a stunning reversal from its 110th and 108th rankings in 2010.

“They’re understanding their system,” Beck said. “(Mattison) has a good system for them there. They’re getting it. How to adjust to things and how to react to things and overcome obstacles that go through the course of the game.”

>> One particular strength of UM’s defense is its red zone stinginess. The Wolverines have the nation’s best unit; opponents have scored just 67 percent of the time they’ve reached Michigan’s 20-yard line. The Huskers’ red-zone offense ranks 8th nationally with a 91 percent conversion rate.

“We’ve been OK,” Beck said. I think there’s some areas we could be better at, but statistically we’re up there pretty high — at least in our conference.”

*One area of potential improvement: a go-to receiver inside the 10-yard line. A guy who can catch a jump ball or be available for a simple fade route. Nebraska last had such a player in 2007, with Maurice Purify. Kyler Reed appeared to be emerging as that player in 2010, but he hasn’t been much of a goal-line target this year.

“We have a bunch of guys — and that’s what makes us good,” Beck said of his designated “red zone” receiver. “Whoever may be. Our tight end. A back. A receiver. Whoever it is. That’s as good as sometimes having one guy.”

>> Quarterback Taylor Martinez continues to grow as a game manager as he gets more comfortable with Beck’s system.

“A lot of little things — and unselfish things,” Beck said. “And I’m proud of him for that. And part of that is just him feeling more comfortable. And we constantly communicate.”

>> After perhaps getting too conservative with his playcalling in other games, Beck said he liked his diverse, formations galore plan to beat Penn State.

“We just kept them off-balance,” Beck said. “We were attacking. We were trying to take advantage of the things they showed to be weak at. Sometimes — in order to attack a team and take advantage of a team’s weaknesses — you maybe have to do things that are unconventional.”

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.


  1. Eric Dougherty says:

    Sam, I’m impressed with your knowledge of Husker football (i.e. types of plays, formations, and schemes, etc. that the Huskers run or try to run). I also like your humor (i.e. explaining why the coaching staff appear to make the calls they do or don’t do very well). Keep up the great work because you do a great job!

  2. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    I have a feeling Michigan is going to be our biggest rivalry in the big slow, this game is huge, aside from Ohio State, the biggest on the sched.
    pure big slow bragging rights and recruiting rights, i hope its a nail biter, with NU getting the edge.

  3. Gene O says:

    Good to see the offensive’s(and Martinez’s) improvement. Looking forward to next year already. A little more consistent play from the receivers and line will be needed this week. But they’ve both shown they can do it. Gonna be a fun game.