Blackshirts prepare for Wyoming offense
The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours on Tuesday afternoon as it continues to gear up for the first road trip of the season to Laramie, Wyo., this Saturday to take on the undefeated Cowboys. The Huskers practiced outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields in full pads.
After practice defensive coordinator Carl Pelini addressed the media about the Huskers defense having to learn a new scheme for the fourth week in a row as they face a Wyoming attack that's averaged 36 points a game.
“I thought we had a good week of practice so far. Three extremely different offenses, and then a fourth that's different than anything we've faced,” said Pelini. “Working with young defensive backs with [Alfonzo] Dennard being out, some new guys in different positions, it's been a nightmare to face four offenses where there is no carryover one bit from week to week. It's learning and brand new each week. So I think they're starting to settle down. I really feel like there were a couple quarters in that Washington game where we settled in a little bit. I'm seeing that this week too.
“They're starting to get used to the grind of the season. Each week is different, the adjustments are different, the formations, the plays are different. There's not a lot of carryover and that's something the veterans get. The young guys, it kind of overwhelms them at first. I kind of see them now, starting to settle into that process.”
Pelini went on to talk about his young secondary as they are preparing to face a spread offense for the first time this season.
“It depends what they give us. What we haven't struggled with, is with the teams lining up and running routes at us,” Pelini said. “What we've struggled with are the motions and shifts and those adjustments. Once you show a weakness in that regard you got to be prepared for it every week, so we've been working hard on doing that.”
With senior cornerback Alfonzo Dennard missing the first three games of the year due to a hamstring injury, Pelini said that Dennard looks good on the practice field, but he still isn't 100 percent.
“I really think Fonzo looks good out there right now,” Pelini said. “For him, it's just the mental part. He's at 99 percent and the last one-percent is the mental part of just feeling like you can let yourself go and go play football. I think everyday he's out here on the practice field builds confidence and that's what he needs right now: confidence that that legs ready to go.”
If Dennard were to play against Wyoming this weekend, Pelini wouldn't say how much time he'll see.
“He's a veteran, and that's going to be a communication thing between the coaches, the trainers and Fonzo,” Pelini said. “I'm not going to go in and say we're going to limit him, or we're not going to limit him. We'll just see how it's going and how he's feeling.”
The Huskers will continue practicing on Wednesday as they get set for Saturday's game at War Memorial Stadium against the Wyoming Cowboys. The game kicks off at 6:30 CT, and can be seen nationally on Versus HD.