The Nebraska football team practiced in full pads and helmets for just under two hours inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields on Wednesday, to prepare for Saturday’s game against Bethune-Cookman.
Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters spoke to the media after practice, discussing how the team has balanced getting rest during what was supposed to be a bye week, while also preparing for Bethune-Cookman.
“We’ve tried to balance an off week,” Walters said. “It’s supposed to be a bye week, so we’re making sure we get rest and keep the guys fresh, as well as preparing for Bethune-Cookman, as well as trying to get some recruiting in. We try to balance it all. I think the players have done a great job of responding. It’s been a great week of getting everything accomplished that we want to accomplish. [The energy has] been great.”
Walters also reflected on the Minnesota game last weekend, specifically the success of the wide receivers, including senior Stanley Morgan Jr., who had 10 catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’m proud of him,” Walters said. “He hadn’t had the year he wanted, that we would like him to have, but he’s never hung his head. He’s never strayed from the process and it’s good to see his hard work, his dedication and his commitment be rewarded. Every game here on out, I expect a big game from him.”
Additionally, Walters discussed how he was impressed with the blocking he saw from the wide receivers.
“No block, no rock. Those guys have gotten better,” Walters said. “[Junior wide receiver] Mike Williams - one of the proudest moments I had was when he came down and blocked a safety for [senior running back] Devine [Ozigbo’s] second long run. He blocked him and stayed on him. I’m really proud of those guys. Those long runs are a result of those guys on the perimeter doing their jobs. To me blocking is all about being selfless, being a team guy and a team player. Whenever you have an opportunity to help another teammate, our guys relish that opportunity and cherish it and want to be the block that springs a great run. As an offense, I think we’re playing together. We enjoy playing with one another and whatever we can do to help our teammates out, we’re doing. It’s been great.”
Walters also raved about freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez and his performance against the Golden Gophers. Martinez was 25-of-29 for 276 yards through the air and three touchdowns.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of poise,” Walters said. “[He went a] whole game with four incompletions. I know one was a drop, one could have been a pass interference call, so he played almost a perfect game. As a true freshman, that’s special. It always helps when the offensive lineman are doing their job, protecting him, opening up running lanes. Any time you can run for over 300 yards, it’s going to help a quarterback. We’re getting open on the perimeter, so all of those factors contribute to Adrian having the success he’s having.”
Finally, Walters talked about the improvements of the offensive line.
“They’re playing together, playing as one, coming off the ball, setting a new line of scrimmage and really finishing,” Walters said. “Those guys knew who to block but it was about finishing that guy off and not letting him make a play downfield. Those guys have done a great job. We’re rotating guys in so they’re fresh, but I think the biggest thing was playing together and finishing the blocks up front.”
The Huskers will host the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. and the game will be televised on BTN.