Special Teams a Priority for Saturday

By NU Athletic Communications
The booming leg of Adi Kunalic is a major weapon the Huskers' special teams arsenal.
The booming leg of Adi Kunalic is a major weapon the Huskers' special teams arsenal.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Lincoln – With Saturday night’s showdown with Big 12 rival Missouri only three days away, the Huskers once again strapped on full pads and hit the Ed and Joyanne Gass Grass Practice Field for two hours of hard practice.

Special teams is priority at every game at Nebraska and Head Coach Bo Pelini expressed that Saturday’s game with the Tigers will be no different.

“I hope he (Adi Kunalic) kicks the ball 20 yards out for end zone every time,” Pelini said. “He does a great job for us.”

One guy Kunalic may look to keep the ball away from is Tiger speedster Jeremy Maclin. Maclin ranks 12th in the nation in kickoff return yardage at 31.00 yards per return.  He has returned seven kicks for 217 yards and one touchdown. Nebraska has its own weapon in sophomore Niles Paul who is 28th on list, averaging 25.83 yards per return and has also taken one kick to the house this season.  

“You have to have respect for him (Jeremy Maclin),” Pelini said. “He can change the game.”

Another key to the game will be the pressure the Blackshirts can get on Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel. On the year Daniel has completed 101 passes for 1,412 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, Daniel did not have much luck in his last trip to Memorial Stadium as he only completed 52 percent of his passes, was sacked once, threw two interceptions and coughed up a fumble in a 34-20 Nebraska win on Nov. 4, 2006.

“He (Chase Daniel) has a quick release, which helps him,” Pelini said. “He’s calm in the pocket and has a good pocket presence.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s Big 12 opener is set for 8 p.m., with national television coverage on ESPN.


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