Published Tuesday, November 13, 2012 AT 7:32 PM / Updated at 7:32 PM
Papuchis: NU being smart with practice
Rich Kaipust Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska practiced in half pads Tuesday, a nod to the physical games that the Huskers have played since their bye week in mid-October.

“When you look at Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern … each week’s been a physical game,” NU defensive coordinator John Papuchis said. “Penn State was probably, in my opinion, one of the most physical teams we’ve played since I’ve been here.

“We’ve got to be smart with our guys and make sure that they still have something left in the tank for this last stretch run.”

That stretch run continues Saturday with a 2:30 p.m. home game with Minnesota. It will be the last home game for 29 seniors, including many regulars on the NU defense that have been with head coach Bo Pelini since he took the job after the 2007 season.

“It started hitting me as this season started winding down that some of these guys aren’t going to be with us anymore,” said Papuchis, the Huskers’ defensive line coach for four seasons before becoming defensive coordinator last December. “I’m happy for them that they’re finishing their year with some success – and we still have a lot of work to do – but part of me is also sad that this is our last home game with those guys.”

About Rich Kaipust

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football. You can follow Rich on Twitter (@RKaipustOWH) or email him at