Huskers secondary prepares for test

Penn State has a passing attack that is short and quick.

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska held Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell to just 9-of-27 passing last week, for a total of 133 yards.

But secondary coach Terry Joseph's message to his players this week was the numbers lied. He felt his team was slow in the first half and needed to do a better job to being ready to play to start the game, himself included.

"The numbers don't tell the true story. That's what I tell the guys in the meeting room," said Joseph. "You are probably not as good as you think you are and you are probably not as bad as some people might think you are."

Maxwell was 6-for-14 in the first half last week, throwing his only touchdown pass of the game midway through the second quarter.

"We have to work on playing a clean game and we were far from that on Saturday," said Joseph. "

This week's opponent Penn State is currently 37th in the country in passing offense, with quarterback Matt McGloin sporting the conference's best touchdown/int ratio: 18-3.

Former NFL offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is running things now for the Nittany Lions and his style is similar to the one he ran just last year in the pro ranks.

"This offense is a difficult one to defend," said Joseph. "I told our guys in the meeting room, if you watch the New England Patriots, that's what you're going to be playing against. Big tight ends who are moving around and guys have a lot of catches.

"We have to be alive and communicate. We also have to be aware they switch up the alignments of the receivers and tight ends a lot."

One area of concern in the secondary is been the increased pass interference calls as of late on Nebraska. While some might not have been necessarily warranted in all cases, the Blackshirts won't change their aggressive defense to avoid the call – especially considering on the season Nebraska is holding opponents to less than a 50 percent completion rating.

"The truth is, that's kind of the give and take with the way we play. We're going to clutch, we're going to grab. We're going to be physical on wideouts," said Papuchis at Big Red Breakfast according to the Lincoln Journal Star. "And that's why our opponents complete about 46 percent of their passes. And there's going to be some times with that when you get caught. I'll take the two, three, four PI's that could come up if they're only completing 46 percent of their balls."

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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