The Nebraska football team prepared for its Big 12 opener this Saturday with a 2 ˝ hour practice on the Ed and Joyanne Gass Grass Practice Field outside the Hawks Championship Center on Tuesday afternoon.

Time of possession will be a focal point for the Husker offense this weekend, as it wants to try to keep the Tigers’ explosive offense off the field as much as it can.

“Time of possession is important,” offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. “It’s one of the seven areas of football that you point to that has an impact on the game. I think it’s important in all games, obviously, so it will be important again in this game because you want to try to limit their touches on offense.”

Watson said that his team must mix up the run and the pass if they want to move the ball effectively on the Tiger defense, which ranks last in the Big 12 in total defense this season.

“You’ve just got to possess the ball,” Watson said. “It’s not all about the run. You can’t become one-dimensional either, because they their coordinator can lock in on you. You’ve got to be able to change it up.”

Watson didn’t underplay the talent on the defensive side of the ball for the Tigers, which returned 10 starters from a year ago.

“They’re really a very good defense,” said Watson. “They’ve got a lot of kids back. Any time you can get that kind of experience (back), everybody knows what they’re doing and how they fit into the defense, and they make for tough yards. They’ve got a tremendous mentality about the way they pursue the ball.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 8 p.m. and the contest will air nationally on ESPN.