Yesterday, the players went all sweats in this round of sporadic practices as they prepare for Ole Miss. Some basic drill preparation along with game-time preparation as they get ready for the active arm of Eli Manning.
The intermittent practices have been of concern to some degree, because the players aren't allowed to really get into a rhythm, but with all that's going on, not the least of which is finals week, the players have had to do the best they can with what they are given. "The thing about this week is practices on Monday and today is a situation where you don't have all your team together." Solich stated. "That's always a little tough."
:"We are missing some guys again today because of tests, but hopefully, Friday everybody will be finished up with their exams and we should have a full team or very close to it."
That leaves the Huskers little time to get in some consistent practice before they head off to Shreveport, but Solich is confident that what they have now and when they get down to Louisiana should be good enough to adequately prepare for the game. "With two good workouts [here] and the ability to get down there (Shreveport) and practice on Monday, have a good workout then, have a good workout on Tuesday and then, start to taper off for the game and we should be fine."
The injury status of the team that has been a concern throughout some of the season this year is still rearing it's ugly head as some players are still in doubt. While some like Philip Bland have yet to see significant practice time, Solich said that the statuses of all players shouldn't be an overwhelming issue. "It should be a situation where he (Philip) should be ready to go." Solich stated. "Noone is ruled out, but there will be a couple of question marks."
The entire team will be traveling down to Shreveport, but as usual, not all will be suiting up.
As you might expect, the topic of coordinators came up quickly after the talk about the team's impending game. With that, the first subject was the one position that Solich said they would try to address with the most expedience, that being Defensive Coordinator. The time to do that, recruit, find other coaches and prepare for a game, well, it's hard to know how Solich divides it all up. "When you talk about travel, that's where most of the energy gets spent." Solich stated. "A lot of phone calls when you talk about talking to coaches and recruits, so you spend a lot of time doing that."
"That will continue for a little bit and certainly with recruiting, that will go all the way through January, but we hope to make progress in the other areas very soon."
Solich did concede that even if a DC were named in the near future, that coach might not even see the field as a coach for NU until at least after the first of the year. "It's a possibility." Solich stated.
Some good news at least as far as defensive coordinator is concerned, Solich stated that the time is near. "We'll look at trying to get something done with the defensive coordinator, hopefully this weekend." Solich stated.
The rush fans feel about getting a coach selected has the same source that it does for coaches and especially recruits. As Nebraska sits in a bit of a coaching Limbo, recruits sit and wait, some patiently, some with bated breath. Those recruits that seem the most anxious are the ones that are literally hinging some of their decision on whether NU gets a coach in place soon or not. Fortunately for NU, that particular mind-set isn't the most common. "We've had a couple, but noone that has indicated they are not coming because of someone not being in place at this point." Solich stated. "But, they are waiting to hear that develops."
"And, there's not a lot of them. There's just a few guys that are in that kind of situation where they are wanting to see what develops."
Too much time?
I know you are sitting there, wondering what in the world is taking so long. What could the coaches be waiting for? How long does it take to find a defensive coordinator?
Well, if you are talking about the University of Nothing in the middle of nowhere, I wouldn't suppose it's going to last that long, but as Solich stated, he was (and is) ready for the long haul, because the one choice you have is the only choice you have. "I thought the process could have lasted longer." Solich indicated regarding a DC possibly be chosen this weekend. "It's one thing, if you are able to spend 100 percent of your time on that end of it, but when it's split up with recruiting and the rest of it, you are talking about playing off other people's schedules."
"Other coaches, most of the other guys you are talking about are either in bowl games or they are in a different league than college ball altogether. But, I think it's going well in terms of guys that I have contacted and with the amount of time I have spent on the phone."
As to the offensive coordinator, the time constraints aren't as tight and that's a good thing to. "It will probably take a little big longer to finalize that." Solich stated in comparing the selection of an OC versus a DC. "But, I don't see it taking a great amount of time."
"I hope to take care of this in a relatively short period of time and as I mentioned, we thought we would have things in place for the bowl game and I think for the most part, that will be true."
The process will always be too long for anyone in something like that. Everyone wants to have that perfect coach in his perfect place at the perfect time. The thing is, nobody is perfect, nor are the situations that demand changes like this. In any situation like this, rather than be quick, it's better to be thorough. "It's a matter of wanting to go through the latter part of the recruiting process with things pretty well in place. But, I know that in terms of sometimes the feeling of wanting to get it done immediately can exist among fans, can exist the media and can exist among us."
"The thing is, you want to make sure that you make the right steps, because there's no taking it back. So, you want to take all the time you need to get it done right."
"We are going to have some great, great people in place and they are going to be the kind of coaches that we want to help move this program forward and it's going to be the kind of coaches that will relate very well to players, so you want to make sure you check things out from different angles before you hire someone."
And forward NU moves, forward the team moves and forward the fans will move, at least chronologically.
With the press conference scheduled today at 11:30 A.M., there is the anticipation that something will be announced there, but that's the same anticipation all fans have been feeling since this process began.
In the end, it's a waiting game. And so, we will.
Make sure to check out SOUND BYTES as we have a five segment set of audio bytes from the post-practice interview. In that you will hear some of which wasn't reported here, including what coach Solich says in response to the interviewing of certain coaches for offensive coordinator indicating Nebraska's idea of expanding, if not changing the offense.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619