Following the Thursday practice before Nebraska heads off to Pittsburgh, head coach, Bill Callahan stated that two players that were in question as to making the trip, now definitely aren't. "Carriker and McPherson will both be left behind." he said of Adam and Lornell respectively. "We'd like to take them, but we are going to need every man we can."
"So, we are going to take a full compliment of eighty players to Pittsburgh and we're going to need every one of them."
With the loss of Carriker, there will be some shuffling taking place at possibly both sides. Jay Moore and Benard Thomas are expected to get the starts, but Wali Muhammad, generally used mostly in pass-rushing situations should see some additional time along with what Callahan stated could be some players not necessarily listed as rush end. "We're going to roll those defensive ends with Jay Moore and Wali Muhammad so we have enough depth at that position." he said.
"We are looking at another couple possibilities in terms of bringing a couple of defensive tackles outside. We're trying to change up a little bit of our format in terms of who we are going to plug in."
Some possible names that should come up for that position will be Titus Adams, who was actually a rush end before he was moved inside and Jeff McBride who recently moved from the rush end position to help shore up the depth issues on the interior with the losses of Matt O'Shea and Brandon Greeson.
Nebraska will not conduct a walk-through at Heinz Field, opting to do all of their regular work in Memorial Stadium. "We have a practice early tomorrow morning." Callahan said. "We depart early tomorrow afternoon and arrive late afternoon into Pittsburgh and then we have to wake up early and play."
As for the overall demeanor of the team as they get ready for their first road-test of the year, Callahan stated that things were looking good. "We're anxious." he said. "This is an opportunity to redeem ourselves after last week's performance and I think our guys are focused."
"They looked like they were pretty tight today. They were locked in and it was a good practice."
There's a rumor that some 25 thousand plus Nebraska fans are expected to invade Heinz Field for Saturday's game. It probably wouldn't be difficult as some end zone seating can be had for the season at right around $60.00.
The updated weather forecast has rain still likely for the area, though moderate in comparison to initial forecasts. The temperature around game-time is supposed to be in the mid to upper 60s.
If you like sub-plots, this is the game for you. Amongst the major ones are the fact that Pitt. head coach, Walt Harris was the quarterback's coach at the University of Illinois while Bill Callahan was an associate coach there. Callahan later became the tight end's coach, then the offensive line coach and finally the QB coach before he left for Northern Arizona in 1986. Harris left Illinois in 1983 to become the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Tennessee.
The University of Pittsburgh is obviously the former stomping grounds of current Nebraska athletic director, Steve Pederson. While at Pittsburgh, Pederson was credited with reviving the Panther program, a local paper even dubbing the school at one point "comeback U".
Pederson was not without controversy, however, as he was instrumental in tearing down Pittsburgh's old football stadium, one which was a former home to players like Dan Marino and Heisman winner, Tony Dorsett.
One facility that took the place of the stadium was the Peterson Events Center, mostly a new facility for the basketball team.
Another current Husker calling the University of Pittsburgh a former home is strength and conditioning coach, Dave Kennedy. Kennedy was actually a person Bill Callahan tried to hire to the Oakland Raiders with no success, but Kennedy did make his way back to Nebraska.
While at Pitt and even before during his stint at Ohio State, Kennedy has worked with players like as Eddie George, Orlando Pace, Joey Galloway, Dan Wilkinson, David Boston, Andy Katzenmoyer, Shawn Springs, Robert Smith and Mike Vrabel, producing 21 All-America awards, 17 first-round draft picks, and winners of Heisman and Outland trophies as well as the Butkus, Biletnikoff, Thorpe and Lombardi Awards.
Kennedy graduated with his degree in strength coaching from Nebraska in 1985.