Published Friday, September 13, 2013 AT 7:53 AM / Updated at 10:33 AM
Big Red Breakfast: Papuchis says UCLA game will provide measuring stick
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Defensive coordinator John Papuchis can see that his young unit’s improved over two games. But the season’s first big test, against UCLA Saturday, will tell him more about the players than anything so far.

“We all have a much better idea of our strengths and weaknesses, and where we need to go from here,” Papuchis said.

But…

“(Saturday is) going to be a great test, a great indicator,” Papuchis said.

Papuchis spoke Friday morning at the Big Red Breakfast as about 300 Husker fans listened in at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. We’ll have more on Papuchis’ comments in the Metro edition of The World-Herald. Check back for that.

Until then, a few quick highlights from Papuchis are below…

>> A question from a fan Friday: What do you do with last year’s game plan for UCLA? Said Papuchis: “I’m stubborn, but not stupid.” … Papuchis said not all of it was scrapped, but certainly there were plenty of revisions.

>> Keys against UCLA, according to Papuchis: 1) Stop the run because the success of the Bruins’ offense is often dictated by the effectiveness of their ground game. 2) Limit the explosive plays, especially from quarterback Brett Hundley. 3) Make tackles in space because UCLA’s system is designed to attack the perimeter.

>> Senior Andrew Green and junior Harvey Jackson will continue to split reps at the safety position next to junior Corey Cooper, Papuchis said. Green’s strength is in coverage and Jackson’s comfortable making plays in the box — so Papuchis said it’s up to the coaches to “maximize what they can bring to the table.”

>> Papuchis didn’t comment specifically about the health status of Jared Afalava (strained neck), though he did say that the redshirt freshman is “pretty close” to returning.

>> Papuchis said freshman linebacker Marcus Newby will redshirt. He’s working on the scout team. Freshman Courtney Love is a likely redshirt, too, though that decision hasn’t been finalized yet.

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.