Amongst the topics discussed, coach Solich touched on them all. He may have not given anyone the answers they wanted, but he addressed most everything asked. Let's go with this in some sort of order.
Philip Bland and Wes Cody are questionable for this up-coming game. "Philip Bland is coming off of an injury and maybe questionable for the game." Solich stated. "Wes Cody is also in that situation. Both of them have sustained an injury as they have tried to prepare for this bowl game There is some question as to whether they will be ready to go. Hopefully, in the next three to four days we will know more and hopefully we will get them back on the practice field and get them going, but there is some question there."
Curt Duke is also amongst the out of action, but obviously not for this season, but there is some speculation as to early next year, at least most of the Spring. "Curt Dukes did have his knee operated on." Solich stated. "It's a situation where they did put a screw through his knee cap and it will most likely hold him out of Spring ball, but we'll see as Spring ball approaches and where he's at with his rehab."
With Dukes going down for an indeterminate amount of time, the pressure on Jammal Lord becomes that much more, but also, the pressure to get a QB in that can compete for a starting job. The emphasis on that position in regards to recruiting certainly doesn't go unnoticed by Solich. "This will be an extremely important year for us in terms of the quarterback position." Solich stated. "We are looking at a player out of junior college, so there is a possibility that we could take a player out of the junior college ranks as well as incoming freshman player."
"When you look at the total number of guys that we have at the position right now and with the injury to Curt, it almost demands that you consider a couple of people at the position."
Though Solich couldn't indicate him by name, the JUCO QB was most certainly, Walter Washington. Nebraska has been awash with JUCO interest, but more-so because NU has more interest in players from those ranks than it possibly ever has. "We've looked at the junior college ranks quite a bit, more-so than ever before." Solich stated. "The numbers of guys that we are looking at, Davie Gillespie mentioned around 12 to 15 guys or so that we are evaluating and looking at."
"We will have a representable number of junior college players that will be in this class. You look at the tight end spot, the rush end spot, there are some positions that show an immediate need to get some guys in here."
Coach Solich also indicated that the junior college QB NU is currently looking at is believed to be a good bet to be on campus come January.
The recruiting process is on-going regardless of what ranks you are looking at, but this year, especially this time with all the changes that have taken place, recruiting takes an almost urgent step to the forefront in it's importance. It's not enough to maintain a type of damage control to keep the recruits confident about NU's expeditious but competent hiring of a new coordinator, it's also important to give the recruits someone to keep in mind. "I definitely wanted to make sure that there was a stretch of recruiting there, where players could put at least a name and a face to who's going to be in that position [and} have that person making recruiting calls." Solich stated.
"So, having it (coaches selected) done by the bowl game certainly gives you plenty of opportunity to get that done. I would hope that as we now look at it, that a share of that will get done before the Bowl game."
The early indications here would say that a DC will be indeed named later today if not hired. That would be timely considering the fact that some defensive juggernaut recruits like RE, Doug Langenfeld, LB, Earl Everett and CB, Lionel Green will be in attendance this week for their official visits. If coach Bo Pelini is officially named as the DC this weekend, you can only imagine the positive effect that is bound to have, as early as today.
With the recruiting set aside, Nebraska has one final game to play. It's a game against a team they didn't want to play in a bowl game they didn't want to be, but regardless of the disappointment behind this season, to go out a winner is on everyone's mind.
What is also on some minds is the fact that for Solich this will be his last game as the offensive coordinator, a duty he has had since he took over the reins for Tom Osborne. He gave those duties up to a different coordinator to be named later, but it was for a reason. "I've enjoyed being a coordinator." Solich stated. "I've enjoyed what goes into building a game plan and calling plays from the sideline. But, I also enjoy being a head coach."
"I want to make sure that things are done right for this program and that we have our best chance of getting things done. So, I will miss some things about it, but it is the right timing for me to step aside in terms of being an offensive coordinator and I am excited about the opportunity for our offense and our defense to move forward."
Don't think that Solich is going to just let everyone else do their thing while he stands by and watches though. "As a head coach, I don't ever want to lose grasp of what we are doing offensively and what we are doing defensively." Solich stated. "So, I will not just be a figurehead, head coach that stands on the sidelines without headphones on and just kind of cheers as the game goes on."
"I will still try to be a part of what this team is about in terms of winning football games. It will come from a little different angle, but I think it will be an angle that will probably play out very well for us."
By the way, if you are wondering just what the defensive staff is going to look like for the Ole Miss game, coach Solich outlined it as follows"
"From the defensive end of it, Jimmy Burrow will be upstairs and Jeff will remain downstairs." Solich stated. "And, Scott Frost will take over the responsibilities Jimmy had while he was down on the field. That has to do with signaling and making sure the right personnel are involved in the game."
On the offensive side, there's no changes, except that the coaches will mostly be working as a unit in preparing the game plan and calling plays as the game is in progress.
Every college football season is a drama in the making. The ups and downs, the good and bad, it's all one part of a larger story that finds it's end usually sometime in late December or hopefully, early January.
It's a drama that always has it's plots, it's little mysteries and topsy turvy occurrences, but I doubt you would have ever wrote something like this. Certainly, not if you were a Nebraska fan.
Today is just another day in that drama, but after all the bad that has seemingly hit this team this season, today, there might be actually be something good.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619