The weather is getting colder, but Nebraska still ventured inside Memorial Stadium as they continue preparations for the Baylor Bears. The trend of the conversation when it comes to Baylor hasn't slowed down either. How in the world do you deal with Baylor freshman phenom, quarterback Robert Griffin?
Bo Pelini may be the Head Coach, but he's a defensive guy through-and-through, and you don't have to ask him twice just how much of a challenge his improving Nebraska defense has in stopping freshman quarterback Robert Griffin. "You can't compare this guy to anyone we have played yet. He's more athletic than anyone we have seen up to this point," Pelini said of Griffin. "He'll cause some sleepless nights for a coach, I'll tell you that much."
One thing Pelini has noticed of Griffin, is that even when this kid is in trouble, he still manages to hurt the other team. "I was watching their third-down reel last night, watched him making people miss and getting out of trouble where it looks like he's boxed in and there's nowhere to go, and he finds his way out," Pelini said of Griffin. "He's a pretty special athlete."
Pelini said that they have a plan in place which they hope will be effective, but it won't all be about Robert Griffin as he won't be the only player they have to worry about. "They have enough other talent out there. You've got to create awareness and do certain things, discipline-wise to try and pocket the guy in and be aware of what he can do, but you've got to play within your scheme, too." he said.
One of the newer wrinkles on defense for Nebraska, which may or may not be relevant in this up-coming game, is the emergence of senior defensive tackle Shukree Barfield now finding himself playing both outside and in. Against Iowa State and in certain alignments the senior defensive lineman found himself playing the interior one series and playing at end another. Coach Pelini said that he's shown the ability to do both well. "He can play both, and I like what he's doing right now," he said. "He's playing well. He's gotten better every day. His attitude is great and I am real happy with where he is right now."
Following the season-ending injury to senior defensive end Barry Turner, it was sophomore Pierre Allen who has served in his place. But taking over for Allen at the number two spot was true freshman Cameron Meredith. Coach Pelini said that Meredith's situation there is uncertain, but more due to health than anything else. "Cameron is nursing a shoulder, so he's a little bit nicked up. Whether he's even going to be available this week, I am not sure," he said. While it's not certain as to whether or not Meredith will be available down the road or similar to fellow freshman, linebacker Sean Fisher, might be eligible for a medical redshirt, Pelini said that his health is obviously the key. "If his shoulder doesn't get better, yeah, for sure," Pelini said of Meredith perhaps qualifying for that medical redshirt.
The Huskers went with a no-padded practice today, which Pelini called "good" overall, but did say he had an issue with some of his players' reaction to the seasonal temperatures. "Some guys that need to toughen up when it gets a little brisk out here, wearing tights and stuff like that. For the love of God," Pelini joked.
From a health standpoint the head coach said that the team is looking good right now, and thus far the team looks to be in about as good of shape from that regard as they have the entire year.
Check out our post-practice audio with Coach Pelini as he talks about everything covered above, but also gets into the good and bad about a quarterback enrolling in Spring, which is the case with the Baylor QB as well as Husker freshman QB Kody Spano.
Post Practice Audio with Bo Pelini