Bill Callahan

Nebraska vs USC: Practice Report - Preparations for USC continue - starter not expected to play this weekend

Nebraska is only a couple of days away before their biggest test of the season, perhaps the last two. As the road trip to USC looms, the state of the team, both mental and physical is key. That's one of the few negatives for the Huskers this week as physically they will be down one starter and mentally, another starter probably detracted a little from the team. According to the head coach, though, neither is an issue anymore.

For 24 games senior center Kurt Mann has started for Nebraska. It wasn't until the Nicholls State game last weekend when he missed his first in all that time. He'll miss at least one more according to head coach Bill Callahan as he said that Mann isn't quite well enough to play, saying that he had a viral infection which currently has him hospitalized.

"He's climbing the walls," Callahan said. "He wants to get out of the hospital as soon as he can. He's doing great and wishes he could be with this team. But he's still a little weak."

Subbing for Mann will be junior center Brett Byford, who got his first start of the season last week versus Nicholls State. Coach Callahan said that he was pleased with what he's seen from Byford thus far. "He stepped in and stepped up," Callahan said. "I thought he managed the line well. I think he did good job communicating. He's an experienced guy. He's been in the system for three years, so he knew exactly what to expect."

Coach Callahan said that he hoped Mann would be back for next week's game, but couldn't be certain as to just when Mann would be good to go.

Mann is known for being very quiet and reserved. Such cannot be said anymore of junior cornerback Andre Jones. From his own quotes, which hit the Omaha World Herald, Jones' "guarantee" of a victory over USC has hit the national media, including ESPN's "Around the Horn."

The Husker head coach let out what seemed to be a frustrated laugh about the issue, because it fell squarely into the realm of something he said he's addressed plenty of times before. "I've told the team again - and again and again - to respect their opponents, and I certainly do," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said after today's practice.

"With the first opportunity to get in front of the media, some guys are going to make some errors," Callahan said. "But I'm very respectful of USC, Pete Carroll and his team."

Senior defensive end Adam Carriker said of the quotes that he thought that they were taken out of context, but regardless, felt that whatever was said didn't need to be. "You don't want to be the bulletin board material. It's just common courtesy – respect for the other team at the same time," he said.

"We're both going to play hard. We both come in expecting to win. There's not a whole lot of talking that needs to be done."

Nebraska will go through one more regular practice tomorrow and will leave early for Los Angeles on Friday. Coach Callahan said that approx. 73 players would make the trip for the game.

The game is scheduled to kick off 7:00 p.m. central time and will be aired on ABC. ESPN's "Gameday" will also be in attendance for the contest. Nebraska goes into this game ranked 19th in the country by the coaches' poll. USC goes into this game ranked 2nd.

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