Practices finish up "good" for Pelini

Nebraska was back in full pads for the final practice of the week as the Huskers prepare for the Baylor Bears. It's been a good week, according to Head Coach Bo Pelini, and much like he's seen throughout his coaching career, how you practice usually determines how you play on game days.

"I think our kids are ready to play some football, I really do," Head Coach Bo Pelini said following today's practice. "I think they see themselves getting better, and this gives us another opportunity to take another step as a football team. We have a quality opponent with a lot of talent coming in here and we know we are going to have our work cut out for us."

The words are those you might hear from any coach, but as we have come to know Pelini's demeanor and how he relays things to the media, if he's not happy you don't have to be a psychologist to know.

So, when practice doesn't go well, you can assume with some confidence that the team might not perform up to standards that particular weekend. At least, that's how Pelini feels most of the time. "I have found that it pretty much translates," Pelini said of how a team practices in regard to how they play that following Saturday. "Now, I can say this: you are never going to practice perfect. We put them through as tough as situations that we can think of during the week, but ultimately you've got to get it fixed as the week goes on, learn from those mistakes and move on.

"But most of the time when I don't feel good about the week of practice we had, usually I don't feel real good coming out of the game either, meaning the type of mistakes you make."

As media and fans, we have almost gotten to the point where we can create a meter which takes how Pelini feels following the final practice of a week leading up to the game, and translate that to the game, obviously taking into account the team they are playing that weekend.

For the first three non-conference games, it might not have mattered just how the head coach felt going into them, because coming out of each of those contests it was apparent that none of those teams matched up.

Against Missouri, that was a different issue.

The final practice going into the home-stand against the top five Tigers, Pelini wasn't exactly thrilled with the final day of preparations. The Huskers promptly laid an emphatic egg that Saturday, getting drubbed by the Tigers, 52-17.

The next week, though, going on the road against Texas Tech, another top 10 team, another high powered offense, Pelini had very little negative things to say throughout the entire week leading up to the trip down to Lubbock.

The Huskers lost a game that many feel they should have won, Tech intercepting a Joe Ganz pass in overtime to seal the 37-31 overtime victory.

Against Iowa State Pelini was about as happy as any week I could remember, and the team promptly went out, on the road and dismantled an already-struggling Iowa State team, 35-7.

This week?

The meter is approaching the top once again.

"When your attitude going into practice is good during the week, meaning you're out there and they are disciplined, focused and they're competing every single day, even if you have mistakes you usually get them fixed and play well on Saturday," Pelini said. "But when you have guys feeling sorry for themselves or guys that you can see they are just trying to get through it, usually those weeks are weeks you don't perform well.

"So, it's not just about execution and not making any mistakes. It's about attitude. It's about competing. It's about practicing with the type of effort and mental focus you need to play well on Saturday, and I think now that's what we are doing well."

Already favored by double-digits at home against Baylor, it would seem that even having a dynamic play maker like Baylor does in freshman quarterback Robert Griffin, isn't necessarily going to help the Bears come out of Memorial with a win.

That theory will obviously be proven or debunked this Saturday, but the good news for the Nebraska is that they should be as healthy for this game as they have been all year. Senior linebacker Cody Glenn (leg), junior linebacker Phillip Dillard (leg) and junior safety Rickey Thenarse (shoulder) are all expected to play, and Thenarse, who has been getting increased reps in practice throughout the year, went 50-50 reps this week with senior safety Matt O'Hanlon. "For once he's healthy, and he feels good," Pelini said of Thenarse. "His foot was bothering him a little bit this morning, but other than that he's feeling good so yeah, you will be seeing more of Rickey as the season goes on."

The only area where Nebraska might have taken a step back is in punting, as the Huskers have tried to find a cure for their woes in that department, the Huskers ranking as one of the worst punting teams in the country. Coach Pelini said that a starter hasn't been determined from the charts they keep throughout the course of practice, but defensive ends coach/special teams coach John Papuchis will make that call before game time.

Nebraska will go through their traditional walkthrough tomorrow as they get ready for an early kickoff on Saturday, the game scheduled to start at 11:30 am, and will be aired on versus.

Listen to the full post practice audio as Bo talks about everything above, but also touches on the Scout Team, Official visitors for this weekend, potential issues with the weather and just how he feels about practice and how he approaches the day-to-day grind

Nebraska Football Tickets

Big Red Report Top Stories