NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
Lincoln, Neb. -- The Nebraska football team practiced for just over 90 minutes on Monday afternoon in sweats inside the Hawks Center in preparation for its upcoming game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday.
Defensive Coordinator Mark Banker spoke to the media after practice mentioning some of the things his Husker defense needs to work on, including creating more turnovers.
“The turnover situation is something that we definitely need to change,” Banker said. “We had opportunities. We had one thrown right to us and ironically in this [Wisconsin] game we probably had our hands on more balls than any other game. I thought Joshua Kalu did an excellent job in a lot of tough situations. Byerson Cockrell almost had an interception. They ended up calling interference on him…but the turnover situation is a must. [It] is something that when you have opportunities, you have to take advantage of them, and we obviously did not do that in the passing game.”
Banker also gave a brief update on the injuries that have been haunting his defense all season.
“[Josh Banderas] practiced today, so hopefully he stays healthy,” Banker said. “Chris Weber is real questionable. I didn’t see anyone else out there that we didn’t have last game that came back. I think Kevin [Williams] is close. Freedom [Akinmoladun] just had surgery last week. I think he’s done a great job and just improving his play from where he started, but he’s not that much of a miracle man so I don’t expect to see him probably for a couple, maybe even three weeks.”
Finally, Banker highlighted some of the things he expects from the Minnesota offense that his defense will be preparing for all week.
“Minnesota is a very physical team; they’re a very big team,” Banker said. “I believe their offensive line, tight end, running back combination is by far the best that we’ve seen. The quarterback’s even a big guy. Everybody seems to be big on their team. Very good-sized team. They have a nice little scheme. They do a lot of things with those tight-ends, blocking receiving, motioning them back in the backfield. They present a whole other set of challenges, but the physicality of their plays is really what’s impressive.”