THE BADGERS' QUARTERBACK CAROUSEL
Coming into the season the Wisconsin Badgers thought they found their next Russell Wilson, but after injuries to Danny O'Brien and Joel Stave, fifth year senior, Curt Phillips, will get the start in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday. Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis talked about the offense led by Phillips.
"Not dramatically, I think he fits well into their system," said Papuchis. "Being a fifth year senior he's been there for awhile, so I think he understands their scheme, and what there trying to get done.
The Huskers haven't seen much of Phillips, but they know to not take him lightly.
"I think he's a good athlete," said Papuchis. "A couple times he has gotten out in designed quarterback runs as well as with scrambles. He has a good arm and he's a good player. I don't know all of his history, but in the last four or five games he's played well."
DEPTH UP FRONT HELPS WITH STEINKUHLER LOSS
In his final game regular season conference game, senior defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler was taken off the field with an injured knee – he won't return this season. Despite the loss on defense, Papuchis knows that other guys will be ready to step up.
"Obviously not having Baker is disappointing for him and for us, but we feel very good about the guys we have up front," said Papuchis. "I think its going to be more of a group effort, I think that's why we practice the way we practice, all of our guys get a lot of reps in practice."
Chase Rome LOOKS TO MAKE AN IMPACT
Defensive tackle Chase Rome, left the Huskers earlier this season due to undisclosed reasons. Rome returned soon after, and this Saturday will be called upon to help the Huskers secure their first Big Ten Championship.
"He's played well," said Papuchis. "I'm glad that we got past that, and he's gotten better as the year has gone one, and he's going to have to play well on Saturday."
Rome is expected to be the fill-in starter for Steinkuhler. Big Red Report will have more on the subject Wednesday morning.
EVANS CONTINUES TO GET BETTER
After a disappointing 2011 season, junior cornerback Ciante Evans switched to the nickel spot, and has played at an all conference level, despite not picking up all Big Ten yesterday. Papuchis knows they have a special player in the secondary.
"I absolutely think he was deserving (winning all-Big Ten), it's a shame that he didn't get more recognition.
Papuchis talked a little bit how Evans grew this off-season.
"I think more than anything just his man cover skills and his confidence," Papuchis said. "I think he's more patient in his technique and he's willing to go challenge guys.
Quotes to note:
On holding Wisconsin's rushing attack to limited numbers in the first matchup: "Sometimes rushing statistics are a little out of whack because of sacks and tackles for loss, but I thought we did a pretty good job against the run last time," Papuchis said. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for what they do in the running game. Obviously, it starts with Montee Ball and we know what he's all about, but he's not the only good back on their team. We've got to be prepared to stop the run on Saturday."
*** Edited by Big Red Report's Josh Harvey ***