Many of the assistant coaches are still out on the road recruiting. That leaves a minor number of coaches to handle the chores until they return. Head coach, Bill Callahan said that practice hasn't really been adjusted as everyone still present is picking up the slack for now. "I think that for the most part, we got a lot accomplished on the field." Callahan said of practice this week. "With both respective units, we are fortunate enough that coach Norvell can handle the passing game, I can go with the offensive line, so we get our work done in that capacity."
"And then on the defensive side, coach Cosgrove takes the secondary group and the linebackers and our graduate assistant, Aaron Stamm coaches the defensive line. So, we are fortunate in that we can get a lot done with a skeleton crew."
The defensive line has been getting a lot of attention most of the off-season and perhaps especially as the season has progressed. A unit that ranks amongst the best in the country against the run, the tackles and ends have combined to form a lethal package.
It's the ends, however, that Callahan talked about today and how he's been impressed with the impacts virtually all of them are making. "I think it's been excellent." Callahan said of their overall output. "The rotation number one, has really helped us. It's allowed us to stay fresh and get a lot of fresh rushers on the field."
"And secondly, they play well off of each other off the first three games. I think that the pressure that they are providing has allowed us to make big plays. Whether it's Benard, Wali, Jay or Adams, all of those ends have been added to the mix."
"I just like what we have out there. I just like the look."
One particular player that took advantage of the added playing time this last week to get an even more serious "look" was back-up rush end, Wali Muhammad. During the game, Muhammad proved a major impact player for the defense, forcing a fumble, tallying 3 tackles for loss and intercepting a ball deep in Pittsburgh's territory.
For Callahan, what Wali is doing now isn't necessarily a surprise to him. "I think Wali always had that dimension of speed and that is something that is a necessity at that position." he said. "I think he's grown more confident as we moved on, in the scheme itself, so from a production standpoint, it was great to get him on the field against Pitt."
"He's an exceptional speed-rusher and he's a great change up and good compliment to what we have outside right now."
As the Huskers prepare for Kansas, they just recently found out that they'll be preparing for their second night-game of the year. Fox Sports having agreed to pick the game up, to be televised pay-per-view, the kickoff time is now at 6:10 p.m. central.
Callahan was excited about the change, especially as it pertained to recruiting, some 4 to 6 players if not more expected to make the trip into Lincoln for the game. "I really like the night game format early in the year so we can get these recruits on campus and they can really enjoy the atmosphere that Lincoln and Nebraska has to offer." Callahan said.
"I think it's a real plus and it really allows the recruits to get here on time, even if they get here late somewhat coming off a Friday night game. It allows them to get to Lincoln and on Saturday morning, to not be rushed."
"It allows them to enjoy the atmosphere prior to the game, during the game and then afterwards."
Amongst some of the probable visitors for that weekend will be defensive tackle - Ndamukong Suh, wide receiver - Nyan Boateng, running back - Leon Jackson, Safety - Montario Hardesty and another defensive tackle - Terrance Taylor.
All the coaches that are out recruiting will return to Lincoln tomorrow as Nebraska will continue their bye-week practices until Friday, where the team will have that day as well as Saturday off.