Questions always loom before any game. Is the team ready, have you prepared well enough and always there's speculation as to just what you might see from the other team as they try to prepare for you.
The questions that have remained most constant with NU, however, haven't been about the game so much as who will be IN the game or what percentage they will be at.
Following yesterday's practice, head coach, Bill Callahan said that linebackers, Barrett Ruud and Chad Sievers did not practice, citing just precautionary reasons and wanting them to be as fresh as they can be for this weekend's game against the Cyclones. Both players did return for Thursday's practice session with no pads.
The player that continues to get the most attention regarding his health though, is starting running back, Cory Ross. Nursing a turf-toe since the Baylor game, Ross has been for the most part walking around in a boot specifically designed to keep weight off of his toe, but still practicing though limited throughout the week.
His on-going health concern is being watched closely by the staff to see the nature of his progression or regression with the injury. "I'm just hopeful that he can come out the way he has the last two weeks." Callahan said of his starting RB. "He's come out, he's played hard and he's played with great effort and production."
"So, we're hopeful of the same thing occurring on Saturday."
There's something else many are hoping to see once more this Saturday and that is a repeat of what happened as they hosted the Missouri Tigers. The theme leading up and following soonafter the game was about the intensity, a locker-room in a frenzy and players possibly for the first time truly fired up to play.
The question has been since that game, if they can take what they had in the Missouri game and carry it over as they head off to Ames. Callahan is hoping the same thing. "I hope we can bottle what we did last week." He said. "But, the key is to maintain and improve what you are doing. You want to be able to improve on your emotion in this game, because let's face it, it's an emotional game."
"You've got to come out every Saturday and play with that emotional pitch at a high level and if you don't have that, you are not going to be successful."
"The good teams and the great teams have that ability to turn the switch on and this is something that we've learned and it's something that we've tried to grow with. As we take the field on the road, you've got to have that. You have to be able to turn that switch and come alive when it's time to kick it off."
They will do just that at 1:00 p.m. central time. And, the Huskers should be greeted with solid weather, temperatures projected to range in the mid-60s, with winds a possible issue as they are expected to be between 10-20 miles per hour.