Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini says the team has had two good practices so far during the bye week, but will need to continue the progress, especially on defense, as the Huskers continue to build toward their Big Ten opening game against Illinois.
“We have got some good work in," he said. "Obviously it is still a work in progress but I liked how the kids have worked these past couple days.”
Pelini noted that bye week work can provide a lot of benefits for a football team.
“A lot, you can get a lot accomplished. I have said, every day we walk out here it’s important,” Pelini said. “We went through a decent amount of ‘good on good’ scrimmage stuff and did some live scrimmaging today. Obviously we have been using it (bye week) to get a jump on Illinois.”
Pelini also mentioned after practice that the thing the Husker defense needs to work most on is translating what it does in practice, whether it is individual or group work, to the field during a game.
“What we are struggling with the most defensively is taking the things from our individual and group work to bringing it to the team side of things.” Pelini said, “Taking our techniques and transferring it to when all the bullets are flying. I saw a marked jump today, but that needs to continue.”
Nebraska has used a lot of personnel and different rotations early on this season on defense. When Pelini was asked if he expects that to change in conference play, he said that it will not change until some of the young Huskers step up and secure their starting roles.
“When somebody steps out and takes the job that’s one thing, but that has not happened yet.”
Pelini believes that the young Blackshirt defense still needs improvement in the preparation required to be successful at the major college football level.
“If you just look at the last game, we had way too many busts. Just missed assignment after missed assignment, on top of that, just not playing fast and aggressive,” Pelini said. “To me, a lot of that comes in preparation, with great preparation comes great confidence.”
With 16 total tackles and nine assisted tackles, sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory has certainly been one of the bright spots on the Husker defense so far in the 2013 season. Pelini has taken note of that, noting that he really plays with intensity.
“Randy makes mistakes, but Randy plays his butt off. He plays hard and he is obviously still a little raw in some areas. He still has to clean some things up.” Pelini said, “The one thing about Randy is he brings it every down.”
Nebraska will continue preparations Friday as the team moves through a bye week before opening Big Ten Conference play. NU will face Illinois on Saturday Oct. 5, at 11 a.m. in Lincoln.