Nebraska head coach Mike Riley was on the road recruiting in the Kansas City area on Monday afternoon, but took time out of his schedule to talk with reporters about the Huskers’ bowl game in Santa Clara, California on December 26 against UCLA.
“This is a great opportunity for us to go out on a good note,” said Riley. “We were on the preverbal roller coaster all year.
“I would think everyone is excited to play again. We had a competitive year. In the big picture of all the teams in the bowl games, we are competitively represented well.”
After the Iowa game Riley indicated if Nebraska was selected for a bowl, they would use the extra practices to get an extended look at younger players in the program who didn’t get as many reps in 2015.
“We are going to do everything we can to win the game, but at the same time we will take some extra development time,” said Riley. “When we first get going, we will get back into football.”
Nebraska will practice 12 times in preparation for the bowl starting this Friday. The coaches will juggle the end of a major recruiting period while players will be locked into finals mode next week.
“How we will practice and how we will install the game plan is in the works,” said Riley. “It is a little shorter time. But we will make the most of it.”
While 6-wins is the standard for being invited to a bowl game, not enough teams in college football hit the mark to fill every postseason slot. At 5-7 Nebraska was selected for the Foster Farms Bowl due to their Academic Progress Rate among 5-win squads. While some were not a fan of the move, Riley wouldn’t apologize for seeing his team picked.
“They had a criteria and we were selected for it,” said Riley. “I don’t think it’s a bad way to do it. People are always talking about emphasizing the balance between life in college and a student athlete. When a school has a good mark in that area, I think it’s one way to differentiate who you are going to pick.”
Game time for the Foster Farms Bowl is set for 8:15 C.T.
* Wide receiver Alonzo Moore (shoulder) continues to rehab and is hopeful the wide receiver will be ready to play in the bowl. His status would currently be questionable.
* Riley is hopeful OLB Marcus Newby (groin) will be ready for bowl prep. The linebacker’s status is also currently questionable.
* Offensive lineman Tanner Farmer, a redshirt freshman guard, will wrestle for the University after the bowl. Farmer has already started practices, but will likely participate in bowl practices as well. Football will remain his No. 1 priority. During his senior year Farmer was a nationally ranked heavyweight.