The good news for Husker fans and the Huskers themselves was that Cory Ross practiced today. The news that isn't as good or at least, leaves still some doubt for the starting running back is that he's obviously not 100 percent. "He got back on the field and did well." Callahan said. "Seemingly, he handled what we asked him to do and we'll increase his reps and his volume tomorrow before we take off and I believe he'll be ready to go."
While Ross appears to be ready, the staff will take his progress cautiously, even during the actual game. "Sometimes guys get into a game and they can overcome, sometimes you have to monitor the reps he's taking. So, we'll be careful with how many carries he has and what we elect to feature him on."
"If he's capable of going and carrying the load, we'll do that."
Tierre Green is listed as Ross's back-up, but true freshman, Brandon Jackson actually led the team in carries last week. With the increased attention from the coaches in getting Jackson involved, they've elected to put more plays in for him to learn. It's a process that they didn't take initially, opting instead to have a limited amount of plays that Brandon would be able to run.
"Jay and of course, the offensive staff has increased the role significantly." He said. "He's getting a little bit more in the passing-game, because he's getting more experienced, he's getting more repetition. So, on a dialy basis, he improves in the passing game, which is a huge part."
"It's easy to take those five or six core-runs and run them everyday and get good at them, but the intricacies of the passing-game, the protection pick ups, the routes, the conversion off the routes, those are the little things that he's beginning to get a grasp on. That's what is encouraging about Brandon, of course, we like what he's done in the kicking-game as well."
The other player still not assured to play in this game is free safety, Josh Bullocks. Still not practicing from a separated shoulder that occurred two days ago during practice, Callahan his situation is still up in the air. "I spoke with Josh this afternoon, I got the report this morning from Doak (The team doctor) and from all appearances, he might be able to go."
"I don't ever rule out a player if he doesn't practice. I learned that from professional football. I had so many great players that instinctively could play, because of the amount of repetition that they took and the instincts that they had. So, if Josh is capable and we have clearance, we'll certainly utilize him."
One other aspect that Callahan is taking from the professional ranks is his openness about talking about injuries, while many coaches, most coaches in fact, opt the other way, not detailing the natures of any injuries unless they happen to be season-ending.
For Callahan, it basically comes down to the fact that with the amount of coverage on collegiate athletics, there's very little you can hide. "I just feel that people, the general public, the fans, the media, the players, they know about injuries." He said. "We're not hiding anything here."
"I'm not paranoid."
"It's something that you learn in the national football league, but there is only so many conditions or so many possibilities that a player can be in. He's either going to be probable, questionable, doubtful or out. So, I don't think it hurts people to find out who's playing, who's not playing. When you get there on Saturday, you will find out in warm ups how guys respond."
"Injuries never really seemed to bother me in terms of discussing them with the media or the team. Everyone finds out eventually."
One thing that everyone will find out as well will be just how Nebraska has prepared for KSU, injuries aside. With so much riding on this game as far as a shot at the North title of the Big XII, this game is pivotal for either program in keeping their chances alive.
To that end, Callahan has been pleased with the progress and has noticed that because of who the opponent is, there's a heightened sense of anticipation for the weekend to come. "I get the sense from our players talking to a lot of them, they understand the significance of the game." Callahan said. "They understand the competition, the rivalry and all those things that goes with it."
"So, we've been very focused and I'm really proud of the way we've prepared. But, that only gives you a chance. We've got to go out, we've got to make plays and we've got to execute and do the things we did a week ago and do them better."
Nebraska will hold their last practice tomorrow, which will likely be just a walk-through in their final preparations for Kansas State.