Defensive coordinator John Papuchis said Nebraska hasn’t altered its preparation for Saturday’s game against Wisconsin even though a Heisman Trophy finalist could be sidelined.
Running back Montee Ball (concussion) was not expected to suit up for a practice on Tuesday — but coach Bret Bielema has spoken somewhat optimistically this week when asked about the senior’s ability to play Saturday. Ball’s status was “upgraded” Tuesday, Bielema said during a conference call, though the doctors will make the final call.
Either way, whether Ball’s in or out, Papuchis doesn’t think the Badgers will attack NU much differently. So nothing’s changed this week.
“Obviously Montee Ball’s a really good player — but so are the other guys,” Papuchis said. “We know we’ve got to be prepared to stop the run game regardless of who’s playing.”
(The other guys Papuchis alluded to: junior James White and redshirt freshman Melvin Gordon).
More post-practice notes from Papuchis are below…
>> Junior Ciante Evans will “play a lot of corner” on Saturday, Papuchis said. And that’s on top of Evans’ role at nickel, a personnel group that Papuchis does expect to use some. Papuchis doesn’t think the top cornerback rotation (Andrew Green, Josh Mitchell, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Mo Seisay) will change much. He indicated that all are expected to play Saturday.
>> Here’s the current linebacker depth chart, according to Papuchis… Weakside: Alonzo Whaley (with David Santos sharing some practice reps); Middle: Will Compton (Trevor Roach as the top backup); Strongside: Sean Fisher (Whaley’s the No. 2 with the possibility of senior Matt Manninger in certain situations).
>> Wisconsin’s offense is different without quarterback Russell Wilson, according to Papuchis. And he said the change at offensive coordinator — Matt Canada in charge now — has been evident on film, too. But still, “some of the core principles” remain, Papuchis said.
>> On redshirt freshman quarterback Joel Stave… Papuchis said Stave looked “poised” and “composed” in his first start last weekend. “(He) certainly didn’t look like a freshman out there,” Papuchis said.