The Nebraska football team continued game-week preparations for its season opener against Western Michigan with a 2 ½ hour practice on the grass fields outside Memorial Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier in the day at Coach Bo Pelini’s weekly press conference, the first depth chart was revealed, including junior Mike Smith being listed at the No. 1 spot at left tackle.
“He just kept playing well,” Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson said about the reasoning behind listing Smith as a starter. “He played at a high level. It’s just that simple. He played a high level, and he’s got a big motor.”
Watson and the Husker offense have taken a close look at the Western Michigan defense, specifically their defensive backfield, which returns all four starters from a year ago.
“We’re just going to do what we do,” said Watson about the threat of WMU’s defense. “It’s not disrespect to them at all, but we’re going to get ready to play our game, and we’ve got to take care of us ... they’ve won games with their defense, the Iowa game last year as an example (a 28-19 victory on the road in Iowa City), and the year before that the Virginia game (17-10 victory in Charlottesville, Va.), so we’re very respectful of them. But right now we’ve got to take care of our business.”
After spending last season on the field, Watson will take a seat in the coaching box upstairs as he calls plays for the Huskers this season. He said that he prefers being up in the box rather than on the field when he’s calling the plays, and even though he’s also the quarterbacks coach, he’s not worried about not being able to be on the field to coach the QBs during games.
“Not with Joe (Ganz)’s maturity, no,” said Watson. “Joe and I are on the same page, and I’ve got a great coach down there in Ted Gilmore. I don’t bat an eye about that because of Ted and because of Joe.”
The Huskers will continue their preparations for their first game with practices on Wednesday and Thursday before a walk-through on Friday. Kickoff on Saturday is at 6 p.m.