Published Tuesday, November 12, 2013 AT 7:31 PM / Updated at 8:09 PM
Practice Report, Nov. 12: Cotton back at practice, Beck welcomes challenge
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck’s little smile told plenty about the NU offense’s enthusiasm for a big tilt against Michigan State’s top-rated defense.

Beck was asked several times, by several different reporters, about the Spartans swarming, well-coached unit being an intimidating bunch, and Beck finally responded like this:

“Maybe our guys relish playing them,” Beck said. “Maybe they enjoy it. There’s a lot of people who have mentioned to me ‘are they intimidated’ or ‘is there a fear factor’ because they’re good. Maybe our guys like playing them. I don’t know.”

The Huskers have had more success than most offenses against the Spartans, averaging 26 points over the last two years.

More quick hits from practice:

>> Guard Jake Cotton (sprained MCL) practiced Tuesday and still has a chance to play Saturday against the Spartans. Wide receiver Kenny Bell practiced Tuesday, too. Tackle Jeremiah Sirles (sprained MCL) did not practice, nor did wide receiver Jamal Turner (calf).

>> Tight end Jake Long said he played around 30 snaps against Michigan in his return from a hamstring injury. Long said coaches cautiously held him back in the Minnesota and Northwestern games so that when he did return he wouldn’t re-aggravate the injury.

>> Running backs coach Ron Brown has incorporated juggling into the position’s drill work to assist with peripheral vision. Brown said he got the idea from fullback Andy Janovich, who was juggling for some kids in the offseason. Juggling helps running backs anticipate where holes and defenders will be without having to swivel their heads around too much, Brown said. If backs play “ping-pong” with their head, Brown said, they’ll end up missing every hole or missing their intended blocks.

>> Good chat with defensive end Randy Gregory tonight, who talked about how far he’s come — and how far he still has to go. Check out big Wednesday notebook for more on that and other stuff from practice.

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.