Nebraska’s doing all it can to prepare for the versatility of Illinois’ offense, but the Husker coaches are certain that the Illini will have something up their sleeve Saturday.
Here’s what defensive coordinator John Papuchis said after Wednesday’s practice: “One of the things that’s common throughout their four games is they have a different wrinkle for that particular week. I’m sure they’re going to have something for us. And we’re going to have to be able to adjust to it.”
Adjusting during games hasn’t necessarily been the strength of the Huskers’ young defense through the first month of the season. But it will be key Saturday.
More notes from several interviews with Nebraska’s assistants are below…
>> Taylor Martinez did not suit up for practice Wednesday.
>> The coaches are still waiting for a middle linebacker to take charge of this defense (David Santos is expected to start ahead of Josh Banderas Saturday). One of those guys emerging and holding on to the job could make a big difference, according to Papuchis. “We need a field general,” he said.
>> Redshirt freshman Alonzo Moore is getting healthier — which has apparently led to improvement in practice. Said receivers coach Rich Fisher: “Alonzo is really, really coming on.” Moore and junior Tyler Wullenwaber earned extra reps in the bye week as starter Kenny Bell sat with a shoulder injury.
>> The latest update on the safety spot next to junior Corey Cooper… Secondary coach Terry Joseph said junior Harvey Jackson and senior Andrew Green have practiced better. But the plan — at this point — is to give in-game reps to Jackson, Green, sophomore Charles Jackson and redshirt freshman LeRoy Alexander. “Until we get some production in the game, it’ll still be an open competition,” Joseph said.
>> One more quote from Papuchis about Illinois’ offense, which is apparently very diverse. Lots of formations. Different styles of attack. “They do pretty much anything you can do,” Papuchis said. “They have all the different personnel packages. It forces you to have to prepare for a lot of things. That’s obviously the challenge for this week.”