Husker Offense Faces Illinois in Big Ten Opener

Nebraska kicks off the Big Ten Conference season, when they travel to Illinois this Saturday. The Fighting Illini enter the game with a 2-1 record.
Nebraska Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters spoke with the media after Wednesday's practice.

Coach Walters is concerned about Illinois's pass rush: "It's going to be a big challenge. They want to cause disruption. They get after it upfront. They don't do a whole lot in the back end, but they're really disruptive, they twist, they move a lot upfront. So we've got our hands full. I think if we do a good job of protecting Adrian [Martinez] and giving him a clean pocket, there are throws to be made but they present a challenge in terms of protecting and keeping him clean."

The Husker offense has made a lot of progress after three games. Coach Walters said the offense is improving: "Yeah we're getting better each week. Week two, we were better than we were week one, week three we were better than week two. So we've got to take the next step this week. We can't turn the ball over. One is too many. We need to make sure we have ball security. We need to finish drives better with our kicking situation as it is. We have to score touchdowns. Special teams did a great job of creating good field position, the defense is doing a good job of getting turnovers and giving us good field position. We've got to finish better and that's one of the things we stressed and we worked on this week."

The Nebraska offense is working to get more wide receivers involved in the game. Coach Walters says they are trying to spread the ball around.
"It's a little bit of everything," Walters said. "Trust, putting them out there, understanding that they're going to make a play. Adrian going through his progression. Early on [last Saturday] we wanted to get Kanawai [Noa] a reception so the second or third or fourth play we had him run a quick out and he was a primary target so it was good to get the ball in his hands.

The Huskers almost had a perfect game against Northern Illinois and only had one penalty. Coach Walters said he was proud of the effort of the offense."Great pride. Tremendous pride," he said. "This offense, if we execute and guys are on the same page and we're playing fast with fundamentals and details, not beating ourselves, then we're pretty good. That's a good sign with no penalties, and we have to continue on the road. We've had a great week of practice and penalties are big on the road. If you get behind the chains on the road it's tough to win so we have to continue that momentum. Be a disciplined team and not create those penalties and also not turn the ball over."

The Huskers will face Illinois at 7:00p.m. on Saturday night. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.