On a glorious Thursday fall afternoon, the Nebraska football team practiced in full pads and helmets for about 90 minutes. Both teams started in Memorial Stadium, where the offense stayed for the entire practice. The defense practiced outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice field.
Head Coach Mike Riley spoke with the media after practice on the team’s preparation for Saturday’s game versus Illinois.
Riley announced that senior wide receiver Alonzo Moore and sophomore offensive lineman Tanner Farmer will not be playing in this weekend’s game. Riley said he still has no worries for how the offensive line will operate, despite missing both guards who began fall camp as the projected starters.
“I think these guys will do a nice job and they’ve practiced a long time. I thought [senior offensive lineman Corey] Whitaker stepped in there last week and did a nice job, and we kind of function very, very easily with Corey going in the game. Certainly we don’t like to have guys hurt, but at the same time, football always comes down to some point in the season, somewhere: next guy up. Every team deals with it. I think these guys are prepared and I think that you also find out more about some of the other guys.”
Riley also commented on last year’s game against Illinois and how that affects Nebraska’s current mindset.
“That was, as you know, a really, really frustrating loss, and of course now we have two different teams. So we try to learn from that game and we tried to take a lot from that game in the off-season in our learning, but for now, [head coach Lovie Smith]’s there, new coaches are there, and this team is new and different than it was a year ago.”
Riley also responded to how being in a national spotlight this week has affected the football team moving forward.
“Gosh, I love that about this team. I think they’re pretty at compartmentalizing, I haven’t noticed anything about that being a factor. But for me, it’s a good question, because you worry about that. I think, especially Thursday’s, that’s my paranoia time of week, to wonder what’s going on. But I have not, I’d have to make it up if I said I thought I saw something that was different. This team likes to play football, they like each other. This team has been through a lot together. It’s an unbelievable story from quite a while ago. I’ve been proud of them in that way.”
Nebraska will welcome Illinois to Memorial Stadium on Oct. 1st for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (CT). The game will air on ESPN2. Fans can also take part in the BTN Tailgate show on Saturday morning beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Ed Weir Track. The live BTN pre-game show will run until 11 a.m.