With Missouri calling an official “Gold Rush” for Saturday’s ESPN national television game, the Nebraska coaching staff attempted to prepare the Huskers for the intense atmosphere with cranked-up crowd noise over the Memorial Stadium speakers during Wednesday’s 2 1/2-hour practice.
“We’ve got a good dose of it,” head coach Bill Callahan said, noting the team also used crowd noise Tuesday inside the Hawks Championship Center. “I think we’re prepared to play in it. That’s the best you can do to try and create that environment.”
While the NU offense looks to ignore a loud stadium, the Blackshirt defense remains focused on a high-powered Missouri offense that is fifth in the nation in total yards (544.25 yards per game). Although Nebraska’s offensive line has been impressive in 2007 by allowing just one sack per game, Missouri’s has been strong as well, as junior quarterback Chase Daniel has been tackled behind the line of scrimmage just 1.25 times per contest.
“Their line does a great job,” Callahan said. “They do an excellent job of keeping you off balance with screens; whether it’s a tunnel screen, a bubble screen, a jailbreak screen, bootleg movements, quick rolls, three-step type actions. It’s pretty well thought-out conceptually. So he’s not going to take a lot of hits or pass rush because they spread the field out. We hope to get some pressure on him. We’re going to have to at some point.”
Among Daniel’s biggest targets is senior tight end Martin Rucker, who ranks 14th nationally in receptions at 7.25 per game. Senior running back Tony Temple also gets his share of touches, averaging 88.2 yards on the ground.
The Huskers will have their full final practice in Lincoln Thursday afternoon before Friday’s walk-thru. Saturday’s game against No. 17 Missouri will have a national television audience, airing on ESPN at 8:15 p.m.