San Diego – The Nebraska football team worked out for two hours Monday morning in the second of three practices at UC San Diego leading up to Thursday’s Holiday Bowl game against Washington.
Senior wide receiver Niles Paul joined his teammates in half pads and said he was near full strength for the first time since injuring his foot prior to the Colorado game. Four Huskers – Thomas Grove, Alex Henery, Adi Kunalic and Anthony West – also received Blackshirts for the first time in 2010 before Monday’s practice.
Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson met with the media following practice and was asked if he expects Washington to have a different defensive game plan in the team’s second meeting this season. The Huskers defeated the Huskies 56-21 in Seattle in September.
“I’m sure they will,” Watson said. “They’re good coaches, I know they will. They’re doing a lot of things better now than they did at the first of the year.”
Watson was also asked if Nebraska’s offensive performance in the first meeting with Washington was one of its better efforts of the season.
“It was one of the better (games of the year),” he said. “We’re probably, schematically, a little better than what we were then. We’re put together a little bit better about how we’re going about our business.”
That includes the use of Rex Burkhead in the wildcat formation, a formation Watson said the Huskers may utilize on Thursday after not running the wildcat in the first meeting with Washington.
“(Rex is) so good at it. It’s an element that you want to keep because there’s so much misdirection and different things that he can allow you to do,” Watson said. “We’ll keep that element alive always.”
Following practice, the Husker coaching staff hosted approximately 175 area coaches for a free coaching clinic.
“It was for the local coaches and what we’re trying to do is extend a hand to them,” Watson said. “They were able to come out and watch practice today and then we’re going to have breakout sessions with all of our coaches for about an hour and a half.”
The Huskers practice for the final time at UC San Diego on Tuesday morning before conducting a walk-through Wednesday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium. Following the coaches clinic on Monday, Nebraska players and coaches visited another of San Diego’s top attractions, spending the afternoon at Sea World.
The team also visited the world famous San Diego Zoo on Sunday and will participate in the Navy and Marine Corps Luncheon and Tour aboard the USS Ronald Reagan on Wednesday.