The Nebraska football team practiced for 2 ½ hours on the Ed and Joyanne Gass grass practice fields outside Memorial Stadium on Tuesday in preparation for its upcoming game against long-time rival and fourth-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday. The Husker defense has a tall task, as the Huskers will try to slow down the Sooner offense which is second in the nation in scoring offense, averaging over 48 points per game.
“They change tempos a lot,” Defensive Coordinator Carl Pelini said about Oklahoma’s offense. “You can rep it all you want at practice, but it’s tough to get the same tempo going that you’re going to see in a game. They’re just one of those teams, we’ve all faced them, where they just have different tempos, and one of them is their hurry-up where they’re going to move quick. You’ve just got to weather that storm for three or four plays or a series, and then they go back to a normal tempo again. But our guys always have to be ready for that possibility.”
The Sooners have an excellent passing game, and one of their reasons for their success through the air is the utilization of quick wide receiver screens.
“The timing of it is difficult,” Pelini said. “They’ll hold on to the ball a long time. A lot of teams do that in such a hurry you’re able to read it more quickly. Oklahoma is more patient with that screen, and they run it almost like a slip screen to a back. That’s the kind of timing they use.”
The Husker offense can help the defense out by keeping the football away from the opponent’s offense, something the Huskers have been successful at doing all season.
“They always say the best defense is a good offense, and that’s for sure,” Pelini said. “There’s a lot of good offenses we’re facing every week, and as much as we can keep them off the field and keep our offense rolling, the easier it’s going to be for us not only to stay rested but to make some adjustments on the sidelines and talk to our guys about what they’re seeing out there.”
Saturday’s game in Norman will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.