Barney Cotton drew chuckles Friday at the Big Red Breakfast when the Nebraska assistant coach acted as if he hadn’t heard some of the comments coming out of the Wisconsin camp this week.
Among them, Badgers defensive end David Gilbert said in an interview that NU quarterback Taylor Martinez “still can’t throw” and “looks like he’s skipping rocks out there.” Gilbert also said the key will be hitting Martinez “and hitting him often.”
Wisconsin linebacker Mike Taylor also said that the Badgers haven’t forgotten Martinez having words for UW linebacker Chris Borland after scoring a first-quarter touchdown a year ago.
So Cotton was asked how Husker players might react to it all Saturday night.
“They had a player say something about some of our players?” Cotton said. “I didn’t know that.”
Cotton, a veteran of 27 coaching seasons, went on to say that most of that stuff goes out the window a few minutes into a game. And as far as his own NU offensive linemen, it’s best that they don’t go looking for the Badgers that said something.
“The game is much more complex than to try to get after one specific guy,” he said.
Some other Cotton comments at the Ramada Plaza Omaha Hotel and Convention Center:
>> Cotton said NU wore the black helmets that will be part of its alternate uniforms on Saturday night during a practice last week to get a feel for them.
>> Husker offensive tackle Zach Sterup was 260 pounds when he arrived, and is now 310. Cotton said he could see the 6-foot-8¼ redshirt freshman being a 330- or 340-pounder down the line.
>> Cotton said he had “a feeling in my gut” that he should attend the impromptu meeting Wednesday morning that ended up being Athletic Director Tom Osborne telling staffers that he would be stepping down Jan. 1. Cotton said he had tears in his eyes as he listened.
“He may be the classiest, smartest, (man of integrity) I’ve ever met in my life,” Cotton said.
>> During a brief pause in questions, Cotton said: “You guys are easier today than a couple of weeks ago when a friend of mine was here,” referencing NU defensive coordinator John Papuchis getting testy with a breakfast patron questioning the Huskers’ goals for the season.