Normally, weather isn't usually an issue unless there's lightning attached. With Hurricane Ivan still rearing it's ugly head, however, that has loomed as something the Nebraska staff and players have had to take into account.
One way is in some of the drills they have been doing this week in preparations, hoping it doesn't rain, but prepared for it nonetheless. "We've worked on wet-ball drills with the exchange." Callahan said of the quarterback/center exchange. "I hope it doesn't rain, (but) I'm optimistic in that respect."
Other optimism has started with the return of Jordan Adams to practice starting yesterday. Adams, having been sidelined for the last two weeks of Fall camp and the first two weeks of the season after having undergone surgery to remove his spleen returned, Adams stating that he felt good, but he could also feel how far he had to go. "I feel great." Adams said. "But, you start running those "gassers" and you find out you aren't in that great of shape."
Callahan basically supported that, stating that it could be awhile before Adams official return. "He's limited." Callahan said. "He's coming back. It's very slow. It's going to be a process."
Adams will likely be one of those accompanying the rest of the quarterback to Pittsburgh, Callahan stating that 4 total quarterbacks would probably make the trip. In all, he said that there should be around 80 or so players that will be on the plane to Pittsburgh.
Two players that will be included in that group, but aren't definite as to whether they will play or not are cornerback, Lornell McPherson and rush end, Adam Carriker. McPherson suffering a hamstring injury and Carriker an ankle injury, their status is still day-to-day. "It's doubtful right now that they'll play." Callahan said. "We haven't made any decisions yet. If there's a chance that they could play, we'll take them."
One player that will play and has practice all week which will no doubt relieve most Husker fans is wide receiver, Willie Amos. After his 2 reception - 2 touchdown performance in game one, his return has been anticipated and no doubt hoped for by all. "It's great to have him back on the field." Callahan said. "His speed and his ability to work the deep routes and become a threat for us and our passing game is so crucial."
"He has the ability to "take the lid off of the coverage" as we say and that's to take the corner or the safety out of the coverage element and open up the underneath lanes or, hopefully match him up one-on-one."
The final preparation is for the dynamic of the game itself. The Huskers will hit the road for the first time and while Callahan is quite prepared having seen some of the most hostile crowds as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, he's preparing everyone else so that they know what to expect. "Anytime you get prepared to go on the road, you have to have a mentality that's different." Callahan said. "A road mentality to beat all the contingencies that you are going to face."
"Whether it's the crowd noise, weather, the officials, the score, the locker room, the grass field that you have to transition to, whatever that may be you've got to prepare for those contingencies and I think this team is very well prepared in that respect."
The Huskers finish off practices for the week tomorrow and will leave Friday morning for Pittsburgh and will forego their normal walk-through that night. The game kicks off on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and will be televised on ABC.
As of right now, weather forecasts have indicated that a front moving down from Canada could push Hurricane Ivan off to the west, so there's a possibility that the game could be lucky enough to avoid any inclement weather.
Nebraska is currently a 4 point favorite against the Panthers.
Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-730-5619