Randy Gregory makes a play against Illinois
Photo by Travis Shafer/NU Media Relations

Husker Defense Ready for Road Test

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln, Neb.-The Nebraska football team continued its preparation for Saturday’s Big Ten conference road opener against Purdue on Wednesday afternoon. The team practiced in shoulder pads and shorts for just over two hours inside the Hawks Center and outside at the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields. 

Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis met with media after practice, noting that the coaching staff has already had a good look at Purdue’s true freshman quarterback Danny Etling over the past few days. Etling, a Terre Haute, Ind., native will be making his first career start against the Blackshirt defense.

“First things first we went through and watched the snaps he played this year and then got online and started watching some of his high school stuff—just trying to get a feel of who he is and what he is about.” Papuchis said, “He is a big, strong-armed kid. He is a talented player. Obviously it is his first start so we will see, but we respect his arm and what he is about.”

When asked if there was any ‘fear of the unknown’ going into Saturday’s matchup with a first-time quarterback, Papuchis seemed quite confident fear would not be the word.

“We will have to see how it plays out. I don’t think fear would be the word, but we are going to have to evaluate what they are going to do different with him under center.” Papuchis said.

Papuchis also mentioned that Etling may not be appear to be a run threat, but he does have the ability to get out of the pocket if needed.

It has been well noted throughout the past years that the strong Nebraska football fan base travels well to road games, sometimes even outnumbering the opponent’s fans. Even with that possibility this weekend, Papuchis noted that it is important for the young group of Huskers be ready to compete at a high level for an early kickoff.

 “This is our first road test obviously, it was helpful for us, as young as we are to have five home games to start the year.” Papuchis said, “We have to have great focus and great concentration and with the fact that it is an early game (11 a.m.) we need get ready and go play.”

With a strong defensive performance last Saturday against Illinois, Papuchis believes that the Husker defense has built some confidence, and should continue to build and get better against Purdue Saturday.

“I thought confidence has to be earned, and I think our guys have practiced better this week, a little bit more confident like we wanted them to do.” Papuchis said, “To continue to build, we need to continue to play well Saturday.”

Nebraska will hit the practice field again on Thursday as the team moves closer to its sixth game of the season. NU will face the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally on Big Ten Network. Check back here at Huskers.com for updates.


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