The Huskers will take their talents to Fresno this weekend and despite a lackluster performance against McNeese State this past Saturday, Pelini feels his team will have the right approach.
“We didn’t show it Saturday, but what I like about this team is the business-like approach that they have,” said Pelini. “We have some things in place, we’ve thought a lot about it. I like our schedule going out there a little bit later. We’re going to do our normal Friday routine at home, then we’ll get on a plane and go out there. They’ll go to bed at the right time, we’ll get them up and make sure we get them moving on Saturday.”
Temperatures are expected to be in the 100s during the day, but should drop into the 80s around kickoff on Saturday night.
“Our guys are in really good shape. I’m not really concerned with that,” said Pelini. “I’m concerned with our level of execution. We’ll be ready to play. I’m not worried about going to California or anything else.”
Getting ready for Fresno State’s defense:
Described as somewhat of an odd team on defense, the Bulldogs are blitz heavy in their 3-4 scheme.
“They do a lot of different things. They move a ton,” said Pelini. “It’s pretty unusual defense. If you’re going to see us this week, you’ll see some resemblance of some of the things they do, but not the way they do it. It’s very unusual. It’s going to require a lot of good film study. Like I said, a lot of attention to detail.”
The message appears to have resonated from the coaches to the players.
“It’s definitely different,” said Cotton. “We’ll just have to spend a little extra time in the room and get the feel for it and get a better idea of what we’re doing on certain plays.”
The Bulldogs’ defense return all four starting linebackers from a season ago, feature All-American safety Derron Smith in the secondary (14 career interceptions), and an All-Mountain conference defensive lineman in Tyeler Davidson.
For Nebraska senior cornerback Josh Mitchell, the trip to California, his home state, will be the last in his college career.
“The last time we went there we didn’t come out with a W. It would just be nice to go out there and get a win on the West Coast,” said Mitchell. “This is my last time the schedule says playing in California so it would be nice to go out there and play in front of my loved ones.”
Mitchell is looking for nearly 40 tickets.
Fixing the “leaky yards:”
The term, which I don’t recall Pelini using before this Saturday, has been the go-to line for the head coach the last two times he’s talked to the Nebraska media.
Pelini wasn’t upset with the amount of missed tackles on Saturday, but instead how Nebraska was executing their tackles.
“When we made contact maybe for no gain, it was sloppy tackling. A lot of times we got them down when it should have been 2nd-and-10 or 2nd-and-11, when it really was 2nd-and-7 and 2nd-and-6. It just constantly happened,” said Pelini. “Most of the time it was because of our technique and our fundamentals. It was because we were not playing.”
The “leaky yards” can stress a defense in a hurry says Mitchell.
“It opens up a different playbook for the offense. They can run little plays that just get down to that 3rd-and-2, 3rd-and-1, which makes it harder for the defense,” said Mitchell. “If you can get them to 2nd-and-long, it’s a different game for you. You can expect different routes, different things that happen. When you get down to a 3rd-and-long, that’s the easiest down there is.”
Harvey’s practice donuts :
* Defensive end Randy Gregory (knee) was limited on Tuesday, but did suit up. It appears it’s more of a mental thing for the junior, who admits it feels better running than it had in a while. “If I’m going to play, I’m going to play every play,” said Gregory. “I want to take it slow. It’s all mental right now, it’s not really physical.” The junior says he feels his knee is 95 percent.
* Speaking for the first time this season, sophomore middle linebacker Josh Banderas was asked how he’s felt the defense has played this year. “I think we have played extremely well,” said Banderas. “Obviously last week was a bump, but it was nothing drastic. We are still on the same course that we set during from day one, we wanted to be the best defense in the nation and we have the players to do it.” Banderas says taking the next step will depend on the Huskers eliminating the “repeat mistakes.”
* Nebraska offensive coorindator Tim Beck said he would like to see more consistency out of his offense this week. We have to be more consistent, we were not very good in the second half at all,” Beck said. “Too many three-and-outs, we have to convert and stay on the field. We did not do a good job doing that.”
Stick with Big Red Report as we continue to bring more from tonight’s practice, including audio from Beck and Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis later tonight.