LINCOLN — A step up in competition, crowd noise and the need to perform well.
That’s Nebraska’s challenge this week, according to coach Mickey Joseph, as it prepares for Purdue.
The game pits two first-place teams in the Big Ten West, but given the point spread — the Boilermakers are favored by 14 — and Joseph’s comments, Nebraska will have to be dialed in more than usual.
“We’ve got to play well in all three phases,” Joseph said. He praised Purdue coach Jeff Brohm for keeping a large number of his players in the program.
Defensive lineman Ty Robinson said the Boilermakers (4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten) have an NFL-type scheme that favors passing. Inside linebacker Nick Henrich called Purdue “unique” and “different” in creating routes for tight ends and other players that Nebraska doesn’t normally see.
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NU quarterback Casey Thompson looked at Purdue’s depth chart and saw a slew of juniors and seniors.
“It’s a veteran group,” Thompson said.
More quick notes from NU’s presser:
» Nebraska cornerback Quinton Newsome and inside linebacker Luke Reimer remain “day to day,” according to Joseph, after they both got banged up in Friday night’s contest.
Newsome left the Rutgers game with what Joseph termed a groin injury — replaced by Brandon Moore — while Reimer left with an undisclosed injury. Reimer missed parts of the Northwestern game, as well. In that game, Ernest Hausmann was his backup. Against Rutgers, Eteva Mauga-Clements filled in for Reimer.
Receiver Omar Manning is “day-to-day” with an ankle injury. Husker running back Gabe Ervin, Joseph said, didn’t play at Rutgers because he has a lingering toe injury and didn’t feel he was “ready to go.” Tommy Hill, who started the first four games at corner, has moved to receiver — at least for now — and won’t be moving back to corner this week regardless of Newsome’s health.
“We need to get Tommy on the field,” Joseph said. “You see that he struggled at the corner. We want to get him on the field.
Thompson said Hill is a natural route runner and took reps with the No. 1 offense on Tuesday. Thompson said Hill and Trey Palmer should complement each other.
Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple is “dealing with some things” injury-wise that led to him using a scooter to and from the field, since coaches and players had to walk up a steep ramp to reach his visiting locker room. Whipple has walked slowly off the Memorial Stadium turf after home games, as well.
“Whipple’s probably the toughest dude on the staff,” Joseph said. “Nobody messes with Whip.”
» Joseph said Nebraska’s offensive line could change its starting lineup again this week, depending on who the “best five” will be for the gameplan and the team’s overall health. Offensive guard Ethan Piper said the constant lineup changes haven’t affected chemistry much.
“We don’t blink if somebody goes down or somebody gets moved,” Piper said. The line’s biggest strength, he said, is the team’s work ethic.
» The Blackshirts have not returned yet, Joseph said, and he gave no timetable for the top defensive players to wear them in practice.
“Maybe we’ll get them at the end of the year, but all I really care about is winning games,” defensive lineman Ty Robinson said.
Nebraska football 2023 commits
Dwight Bootle, CB, Miami, Florida
Benjamin Brahmer, WR, Pierce, Nebraska
I am excited to announce that I am officially committing to the University of Nebraska. I want to thank God for blessing me. I want to thank Coach Ruud, Coach Beckton, and Coach Frost for believing in me. I would like to thank my parents, grandparents and sisters for their support. pic.twitter.com/oozxpywt8j
— Benjamin Brahmer (@BenjaminBrahmer) April 2, 2021
Jaidyn Doss, WR, Peculiar, Missouri
Brock Knutson, OL, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Hayden Moore, LB, Aurora, Colorado
Dylan Rogers, EDGE, Cypress, Texas
Riley Van Poppel, OL, Argyle, Texas