Huskers wrap up practices for Tech

Nebraska got in their last full practice before defending its home field as the 15th ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders will head into Lincoln undefeated with an offense that ranks as one of the nation's best. For the Huskers, the talk about last year's score has been a past issue, something they have acknowledged for what it is, but nothing more. Now it's about this year and this team and hopefully, an entirely different outcome.

There's nothing special about this week versus any other during the season for this staff or this group of players. It's another week to prepare for another opponent, Nebraska hoping to get yet another win.

The thoughts of a win this weekend being big in regard to ranking and national perception don't exist. The realization that if they win on Saturday, the total wins on the year will equal the win total from all of last year, doesn't matter. It's just the same stuff, different opponent and the emphasis is always the same:

Prepare to win

The opponent doesn't matter

"(It's) Just another Thursday practice," head coach Bill Callahan said. "A lot of emphasis in the red zone area (and) a lot of special kicking situations. We've reviewed a lot of those special situations that you don't normally get a chance at during the week, so we try to bring up one new situation for the team, so it was good in that respect."

You can figure the special situations out for yourself as to where Nebraska has struggled this year. Third and long situations are one issue, where Nebraska is an abysmal 29% in converting those into first downs. Red Zone offense is another as Nebraska capitalized on just 60% of its opportunities. Conversely, Texas Tech is 26 out of 26 in capitalizing on their red zone opportunities.

There is one statistic that favors the Huskers, though, and that is in penalties per game.

Normally, this isn't a major issue for most teams, game to game, but for the Red Raiders, it's been a major issue for EVERY game. Ranked as the most penalized team in the nation, Tech averages over 110 yards in penalties per contest.

Coach Callahan doesn't read too much into what that trend will do for his own team and expects that Tech will be ready to do some of their own things in limiting those penalties, but also in limiting a home crowd that over the last two weeks has gotten raves for its intensity and volume. "When you encounter a situation of a hostile environment like we have, with our fan noise, I think that you can expect them (Texas Tech) to try and no-huddle our defense and try to quiet the crowd," Callahan said.

"So, it's going to be a real interesting dynamic to see how they come out and if they are going to feature the no-huddle offense, which they are capable of doing."

With this being the first road test for the Raiders this year, the crowd is and will be an expected factor in the game. How much of a factor will probably be dictated by the game itself. If the Huskers get up early or get some key stops in the early portions of the game, Texas Tech will likely have some problems. However, if Tech gets the upper hand early and scores quickly to open the game up, the crowd will probably not.

The head coach is hoping that they are a factor, because every little bit is going to help as the Huskers try and stay undefeated. "We are certainly going to need our fans again," Callahan said in Tuesday's press conference about the impact the fans made in the last two contests in Lincoln. "That atmosphere they created (during Iowa State) was electric and it's stifling for a quarterback being able to audible."

"It's tough for linemen to pick up calls and sequences that have to be addressed at the line of scrimmage. So, if we have the same type or if we can even increase the noise level against Texas Tech that we had last week against Iowa State, that will really play in our favor."

Junior defensive end Adam Carriker described last week's crowd as "the loudest" he had ever heard.

"It's hard for us to hear each other and that's when the crowd isn't yelling so much," Carriker said. "So, I can't imagine what it's like for the other team."

"I'm hoping that they are even louder this Saturday, because if they are, that's going to cause them some problems."

The game is set to kickoff at 3:00 P.M. CST with the weather forecast calling for temperatures in the upper 50s to mid-60s, winds coming out of the southeast, varying from 10 to 15 mph.

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