The theme after this last weekend was "health" or better yet, the lack thereof. McNeese State might not have posed any serious threat as to beating Nebraska, but it would appear they did a good enough job at beating them up. Amongst the lengthy list of injuries were Chris Kelsay with a hamstring injury and Seppo Evwaraye with a separated shoulder. There was a list that went on, but coach Solich said that save for one, everyone should be back. "We expect that they should all be able to go (this weekend), except for maybe Seppo." Solich stated. "We are still trying to check his injury out a little more thoroughly. Other than that, I think we have a good chance of having the rest of the guys that were out, back."
While the immediate conversation could have lingered on about the present situation with bumps and bruises, it led much more quickly to NU's up-coming opponent, Missouri. As the years have shown, even when Missouri is good, they never seem quite good enough to get a win over the Huskers either at home or in Lincoln. This year however, the Huskers aren't their normal selves and Missouri has a QB that some would say (for his youth) is anything but normal. Brad Smith is certainly going to be the focus for coach Bohl as well as Solich as they all try to put their heads together to figure out a way to stop him.
Solich talked some about Smith, but first commented on how Missouri has been able to utilize the player that makes this team go. "They are using him in a manner that certainly highlights his ability and he has a lot of ability." Solich stated. "So, that's a big plus for them or for any football team that has a quarterback like he is." Coach Bohl didn't necessarily look at Smith as the issue, rather certain situations for which the team needs to be prepared for. "What you try to do is put them in a situation where you know they are going to pass." Bohl stated. "What we didn't do well (against McNeese St.) was stop them in third down conversions. In this game, we really need to improve on that."
One thing that seems to strike everyone about Smith is his maturity. With a freshman status, few can expect talent, but for that to be applied to the field in a manner that is fluid, athletic and void of many mistakes, nobody will say that you look to a freshman to provide that. Smith did make some key mistakes towards the end of the game, but if not for him and his maturity throughout, MU wouldn't have been that close to begin with. Smith's maturity is already impressive to everyone. "He did not play like an inexperienced player." Solich stated. "He played like a mature, experienced player and he handled things very well. He handled the pressure of the game excellently and in no way did he look like an inexperienced quarterback."
There's little doubt as to Smith and what he is capable, but much of what Nebraska must look at starts right within the confines of Memorial. Their own offense, their own defense, all have been issues throughout the entire year, sometimes, both concurrently.
Jammal Lord seems to have answered some questions with his record-setting performance and at the RB position, there's a new kid in town that it would appear might just make a statement of his own. David Horne carried the ball 12 times for 81 yards in his debut. From being tentative to aggressive, Horne simply got better as the game went along. For the fans, it might have been a breathe of fresh air seeing the running game as a whole improve, but for coaches, this was cross your fingers time as a former redshirt came out to help stop the bleeding. Basically putting it, Solich gave him a passing grade. "I thought he had a good game." Solich stated. "For his first time on the field in competition, I thought he responded very well and did a good job with his snaps."
Overall, you can see that the staff is already preparing for Missouri and their budding star, Brad Smith. It's never simple preparing for any player with such a multitude of abilities, but for NU, it shouldn't be hard. As they have faced Mills from Penn State and Wallace from Iowa State, NU has certainly become familiar with just about every way a versatile player like Smith can beat you. So, it will come down to not how to stop them, but just going out there and doing it.