Published Friday, October 26, 2012 AT 9:32 AM / Updated at 3:04 PM
Big Red Breakfast: Why fewer dropped passes? Fisher shares
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska assistant coach Rich Fisher said he set aside some time during the offseason to research the catch-drop ratios of the NFL’s best receivers. How reliable are they?

The answer: The elite NFL receivers drop a catchable pass about 7 percent of the time, according to Fisher.

So some point before fall camp, he and his position group agreed that this would became the standard.

Any dropped pass in practice? Everybody is punished. The players would devote time daily to improving their hands, working at various stations in practice or catching tennis balls from an automatic launcher. Whatever it took.

“It’s just a desire or a want-to,” Fisher told Husker fans Friday morning at the Big Red Breakfast. “It’s an attitude.”

The result is this: Fisher can name every single pass his receivers have dropped in a game this year without hesitation — because there have only been six. His receivers have caught 77 passes, hauling in 92.8 percent of the throws that hit their hands.

Last year, unofficially, that percentage was 77.6 (according to World-Herald data).

“They’ve really bought into that,” Fisher said.

Other notes from Fisher at Friday’s breakfast are below. A full recap of his comments, specifically about the breakout game for Quincy Enunwa at Northwestern, will appear in the Metro edition of The World-Herald.

>> Big recruiting weekend for Nebraska. And the fans will play a large role Saturday night. Said Fisher: “These recruits, the first thing they say to us is, ‘Man, I can’t believe I walk out in the stadium and these people know my name, and they’re asking for my autograph.’ That goes a long way in recruiting.”

>> Fisher also added that wide receivers are becoming more and more interested in Nebraska after watching the ever-evolving Husker offense on TV. “(We’ve) had a number of kids that have warmed up to (NU), and actually have been on campus,” Fisher said, “because of what they’ve seen on TV.”

>> Kenny Bell’s biggest improvement? Getting north-south after he makes a catch, Fisher said. … Jamal Turner’s grown up over the last few weeks, according to Fisher. … Taariq Allen would play more, but he is Enunwa’s backup, Fisher said. … Fisher complimented Steven Osborne’s development and attitude adjustment over the last two years.

>> True freshman Jordan Westerkamp was a record setter in high school in Illinois. But he came up to Fisher after a couple days of preseason camp and found his position coach: “This is a whole lot different than Montini Academy.”

>> Fisher on quarterback Taylor Martinez: “I don’t think people really appreciate exactly how hard Taylor Martinez works.”

>> Asked about the scout team defense, Fisher immediately mentioned 320-pound defensive tackle Vincent Valentine. Said Fisher of the true freshman: “When he gets mad, when he gets raging, he becomes almost unblockable.” … Fisher’s also been impressed with the flashes he’s seen of true freshman linebackers Thomas Brown and Michael Rose.

>> Michigan’s defensive goal Saturday will be to put Nebraska in third-and-long situations, Fisher said. When that happens, the Wolverines “become very exotic in terms of their fronts and their coverages,” Fisher said. The Huskers would like to avoid those spots.

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: jon.nyatawa@owh.com. He welcomes feedback.