Lincoln -- Nebraska Coach Tim Miles met with the media Thursday afternoon and hit on several topics, including the injury status of David Rivers and Shavon Shields, his thoughts after the first week of practice as well as the battle at point guard.
Tim Miles Press Conference - Oct. 3
On the status of David Rivers (foot) and Shavon Shields (tailbone)
They have both practice full since the scrimmage and it has been good. You get guys who are nicked up, but it is nothing out of the ordinary. Shavon practiced twice the next day (Saturday).
What are your thoughts after the first week of practice
There are some exciting possibilities with this team. I really like their athleticism and their movement. We have a good group of guys who are athletic and play the game really hard. We lack some things too. It might be a little unfair to judge this early. We are inexperienced. Our best guys that we think can make an impact are young. We have one senior on scholarship. When you are inexperienced like that, you worry a little bit about the peaks and valleys. It feels like a roller coaster some days.
On the challenges of having a youthful team
Decisions. Whether it is what pass you can make or a passing decision, a bad shot or a defensive gamble. Those things are decisions and discipline and they go hand-in-hand. And bringing it everyday and having that ability to come every day with a certain mentality to be successful.
Yeah, and I thought last year’s group made a heckuva lot better decisions than this year’s group. This is an aggressive group, which I like, but that can lead to issues too. It’s a delicate balance of how much to reign them in and how much to let them go. Early, I think we will try to figure out our best combinations to be successful. When
On the benefits of having 30 practices before the season opener
I looked at the last three years and before our first game, we had 22, 22 or 23 or 19. We had a short year in there too. We have significantly more practice time. That is a double-edged sword because already they are ready to play someone else early. Now that you get into it coaches are going to want something else. With earlier practices, it would be nice to have an earlier scrimmage. One about mid-October when we used to start and another one or an exhibition game toward the end of October. We are going to have to figure that out.
On creating a system so the newcomers are not overwhelmed.
Our system is built to go to the players’ strengths so whatever those guys need at the time that they can execute is what we will do. We are going to see what we can do well, and we aren’t going to do any more or and we are not going to just add stuff to add stuff. We have to find out what we can do well though. Every team is a little different. The team you think you have in October quite often is not the team you end up having in January and February. That is the discovery and I look forward to the improvement of this team throughout the season. Right now, I think it is going to be a roller coaster early. I think we will play well some nights, but there are some nights we might struggle. That comes with maturity and discipline. That comes with better decisions and experience. When all of those things fall into place, I think we can have a nice club on the floor.
On whether the Huskers will play at a faster pace than last year
There were two games where we played only five guys in the second half, so I promise you we will be faster than last year.
On where this team can improve and get better during the season
We are not going to get more possessions If we don’t get defensive stops, so we have to be an excellent defensive team and we have room to grow there, there is no doubt. I think this team is an athletic bunch who can get down the floor and that is important. I think we can be a better rebounding team. Those are two areas where I can see improvement in.
On the battle at point guard between Benny Parker, Deverell Biggs and Tai Webster
It is going great. I think you can play a couple of guys at the same time. When you have multiple handlers and playmakers, that can really help create more opportunities for those other guys. We are looking at all options, but competition is always healthy.
On Tai Webster’s development
He is a freshman and he plays like a freshman, but a talented freshman. Tai has a lot of talent and has shown some exciting potential. There are some things he needs to get better at, there is no question about that, but every guy is like that. Every guy in our program is going to have a thirst to want to get better; a thirst for self improvement and team improvement. Tai wants to get better. He’s looking forward to it and working hard at it.
On Deverell Biggs
The lights are on now so he is only a few games away from getting out there, so he’s pretty excited. He’s played well in practice, except yesterday, but that happens to everybody.
On if Mike Peltz will redshirt
I think Mike is going to play. If we redshirt him, I can’t see him on special teams for the Husker football team next year. I say that tounge-in-cheek a little bit, but I think that kid could do anything. I believe we will see him on the floor, but we have only had him a little bit in practice right now.
On the post play
I think Leslee Smith and Walt Pitchford have done some good things. Sergej is still developing and I want him to speed it up a little bit. Those are our three best options at this point down there. We might not play traditional where you play four out and one in and throw it around an anchor. I’ve had all conference guys like Andy Odige. We played around him for two years at Colorado State. Chad Koenen was an All-American for us at Southwest Minnesota State that we played around him. Sometimes you get anchored, sometimes you don’t and we will see. There are a lot of ways to get the ball into the paint and we are going to figure out how to be at the rim because you have to be at the rim, whether it is throwing it to a guy whose back is to the basket, or driving it or screen and roll or transition or offensive rebounds. We are going to pick from three or four of those pots and go strongly in that direction.