Lincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska football team continued its week of preparation for Saturday’s Big Ten conference showdown with Michigan on Tuesday afternoon. The team practiced in full pads for just over two hours inside the Hawks Center and outside at the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields.
Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck addressed the media after practice, focusing on the stiff Wolverine defense the Huskers will face in Ann Arbor on Saturday.
“They’re a good football team at home or away,” Beck said. “I think they’re well coached, they have a good scheme and they play really hard. They’re good up front, and they run to the ball. It’s going to be a dogfight.”
Coming off back-to-back games that came down to the final minutes, the Huskers are certainly no strangers to the grind of Big Ten contests. Although the wear and tear of Big Ten play has certainly taken its toll on the squad, Beck is pleased with his ability to count on running back Ameer Abdullah.
“Abdullah’s still full energy right now,” Beck said. “Like any running back, he’s a little beat up, but half our team’s beat up. That’s how it is in the Big Ten, but Ameer’s in a zone right now. He’s playing really, really well.”
Through eight games, Abdullah ranks fifth nationally in rushing yards, adding 127 yards to his season total in Saturday’s win against Northwestern. His performance is even more impressive taking into consideration the injuries that Nebraska has had on its offensive line, as Nebraska was without both of its starting guards because of injuries. On Tuesday, Beck commented on the changes his staff has made to try and give Abdullah and the Husker offense the best chance to succeedon Saturday.
“We’re playing around with a lot of different combinations,” Beck said. “I thought Cole (Pensick) did a good job (in moving to guard from center). He’s a veteran who played for us some last year, and I thought he did a nice job. We had little timing issues with players playing positions they weren’t used to and guys playing who weren’t used to playing all the time, and that’s what shot us in the foot last game.”
Another area that Nebraska has been focusing on is turnovers. Northwestern forced four interceptions against the Huskerson Saturday, including three off starting quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. Beck reminded everyone on Tuesday that for Armstrong and the young receivers each day is still a learning experience.
“Tommy (Armstrong) was just trying to make some plays,” Beck said. “Miscommunication between the receiver and quarterback on routes hurt us a couple times, but you get that when you have guys in there that haven’t seen a lot of reps. I try to make it hard on Tommy in practice so he can keep some cards in his back pocket in case something happens.”
Nebraska will hit the practice field again on Wednesday as the team moves closer to its fifth conference game of the season. The Huskers will face the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast nationally on ABC.