Friday Practice Report

You are practicing for an opponent you don't know. You are preparing to go someplace that hasn't been determined. Basically, you don't have a clue as to the future, so when it's all said and done, you just stick to the basics. That's what NU is doing right now as they prepare for their Bowl game, as yet to be determined.

It almost seems like forever since the football team just practiced. With the loss to CU followed up by the dramatic coaching changes and Solich stepping down as offensive coordinator, the actual team and their preparations for their last game of the year seemed to have taken a backseat. Today they got back to business as usual. "It was good to get them back in pads and have a practice where there was a little contact in a full-padded practice." Solich stated.

Along with getting back to practicing in full gear, Solich emphasized that conditioning is at a premium with the long layoff before a Bowl game takes place. "They are probably in ok condition right now, but we continue to run them and get them ready to go." Solich stated. That was somewhat a reason for the team practicing in Cook Pavillion on such a nice day when normally, they would be either in the Stadium or on the grass practice fields. "This was good for them today." Solich stated. "As you know, it's pretty warm inside here and we still need to work very hard on conditioning, so an hour and a half practice is not extensive, but at a pretty good pace and being warm inside here at Cook is probably what we needed."

Normally during the season, when NU moves into the weekends, it's a time for the team to either play a game or catch their breath. The weekends in preparation for a bowl game though put quite a different emphasis on the weekend, because this is the time during recruiting season where most of the coaches will be at home in Lincoln to help with the sessions. "If we are in a bowl game that is played around the 27th or in there, you are talking about not that many opportunities to practice as you lead up to it with the idea that you have to have coaches on the road." Solich stated. "So, we'll try to use the weekends when the coaches are back in town in terms of practicing very heavily and we're looking at a practice or so during this week, but also going Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

As you might expect, the subject of Solich's search for coaches on both sides of the ball came up and as you might also expect, Solich wasn't divulging anything, but said that it was for a good reason. "I'm not trying to be coy about the thing, it's just a matter of when there is information or there is some facts to give you, we'll certainly move forward with that."

It's rather ironic that when Solich takes so much off of himself to free himself up for more time doing things like recruiting and attending to players along with reviewing defensive plans with the coaches on that side of that ball, coach Solich has time for just about anything but, as he looks for new people to head positions and units throughout the team. It's a time that Solich says is not easy, but it's one that was anticipated. "There's never a good time to do all the things you want to do in terms of replacing some coaches, making contacts, interviews and those things, but that's the way it is." Solich stated.

"Right now, that has to have some priority to it of course, but so does preparing for the bowl game and so does recruiting, so that has to have some balance with it and I think that's coming along fine."

The time constraints are significant for the entire coaching staff as are the challenges. With two new recruiters on the road in graduate assistants, Jimmy Burrow and Tim Albin, Nebraska doesn't seem to be short on uncharted waters they are treading in each day before the bowl game is even here.

Without knowing the opponent, who no less than three of NU's futures coaches will even be and having a skeleton crew of two coaches trying to prepare the entire defense for a bowl date nobody knows, the greatest challenge for the team for the next three weeks could very well be mostly mental, because these days are trying times indeed.

NU will be in full pads again tomorrow and as Solich indicated, will be seeing significant practices over the weekends leading up to the bowl games, during times when coaches are not on the road recruiting.

Steve Ryan can be reached at or 402-730-5619

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