Huskers Continue Preparation for No. 9 Wisconsin
Lincoln, Neb. --- The Nebraska football team practiced for two hours with helmets and shoulder pads on Tuesday evening. The Huskers split time between being inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields.
Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco spoke with media after Tuesday’s practice in preparation for Saturday’s game against No. 9 Wisconsin. Diaco briefly talked about senior defensive back Chris Jones, who has just been cleared from his injury. Diaco also mentioned that Jones’ return is up to his own timing and tempo.
“I’m trying not to get overly excited just because we as an organization don’t want to put any pressure on him, but he looks really good,” Diaco said. “He looks really good, quick, big, fast and smart. [He] makes the right choices and stays in his books. The hand signals, the calls, the process, checks things in play that might take a little while to connect the dots, he’s doing a nice job. He’s really looked good these last few days.”
Diaco discussed his thought on redshirt freshman Ben Stille, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday following his three tackles for loss in Nebraska’s 28-6 win at Illinois last Friday.
“When you’re playing in that overhang position or in the alley in force, he can be a hard guy to move around,” Diaco said. “If he’s got the right alignment and he’s in the right stance and he’s got the right fit and he doesn’t lose his eyes because he’s football intelligent; he can be a force there in that alley and force area.”
Diaco then talked about Wisconsin’s offense led by sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who has completed 67 percent of his passes this season and nine touchdowns in Wisconsin’s 4-0 start.
“Wisconsin is, as everyone knows, they’re a championship organization,” Diaco said. “They know who they are on offense. They know who they are in terms of recruiting. It looks and feels like the Wisconsin offense from when I was a player in this league, not much has changed since let’s call it 94-95. So big, strong, cohesive, one unit, everybody knows their job, big tackle-breaking runners, excellent tight ends, just a strong, strong offense.”
Diaco specifically talked about Wisconsin’s tight ends, including Troy Fumagalli, who is returning from an injury. Fumagalli, a preseason first-team All-American, has 15 catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns in his first three games.
“There’s more than three, but for sure the top-three tight ends,” Diaco said. “One guy is more on an in-line guy, but he looks good, he’s had more passing game roles. Number 85 (Zander Neuville), last week, he looked really good doing those jobs, as you mentioned from Fumagalli. They have the movement H player, who does some in-line work. They’re three talented tight ends. I think hard pressed to think you could see better tight ends in the league than them, maybe as good or better. They’re pretty excellent. They create a problem.”
The Huskers will continue to preparation for Wisconsin on Wednesday. Kickoff on Saturday is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Big Ten Network as well as carried on the Husker Sports Network. Check Huskers.com for more information.