Nebraska Preparing for Home Opener Against Penn State

Nebraska assistant coaches Matt Lubick and Erik Chinander met with members of the media over video conference following practice Tuesday to preview the upcoming game against Penn State.

Lubick spoke on what the team needs to do to keep making big plays on offense.

“It’s a combination of things,” Lubick said. “It’s not an easy answer. A lot of big plays are made by when you might call a routine play that’s designed to get six, seven yards and guys break tackles. We took a lot more shots this game than we did the previous game. And then when we have a chance to make the one-on-one catches or the big throw, we got to make it. A big part of big plays for us is in the run game. And the run game is not just the running backs. It’s the line, the receivers. It takes every position.”

With encouraging depth at multiple positions, competition is high on both sides of the ball.

“Right now, we have a lot of jobs that are up for grabs,” Lubick said. “This is an open competition week. We are starting to make reps equal, which includes the quarterbacks, and just giving guys opportunities. You can make an argument that you like to have a clear cut one, but you can also make the argument that you want to have two good quarterbacks that are ready to play. We’ve got competition at every position. Guys are rising to the occasion.”

Lubick noted the importance of mastering tempo as a weapon this season.

“It’s something we practice all the time,” Lubick said. “We want it to be a weapon for us. There’s so many things that go into that. I think that is something we can get better at. We do a good job still pushing the tempo in practice. We’ve moved in and out of tempo in games. There’s a lot of factors that go into it. Part of it is how is the defense responding to tempo. We study that every day. That is a big part of our game plan.”

On the other side of the ball, Chinander noted the defense’s readiness to respond to the offense’s speed of play.

“You have to be able to handle everything,” Chinander said. “When you develop depth, we should be happy to go on the field. As a defense, you should be happy you have another opportunity to make a sack, a TFL, an interception. Whether we get to go out for 25 series or 15, it doesn’t matter. Let’s go play football. We all came here to play football. We have to be able to go play when it’s our turn. When the bells call, we have to answer.”

In his preparation for this weekend’s game, Chinander expects to see high performance from the Penn State team that will take the field Saturday.

“We have to be ready to get Penn State’s best shot when they come in here,” Chinander said. “They definitely have some explosive playmakers, both at receiver and tight end and their quarterback can do some really nice things both in the air and on the ground. We have to be ready for their best shot. I’m thinking that we are going to get a top-10 football team rolling in here, and we have to be ready to play.”

Playing the first home game of the season this weekend, the Huskers look forward to playing in Memorial Stadium but mostly appreciate the opportunity to play at all.

“I am really amazed with this group,” Chinander said. “On Monday morning, these kids just wanted to play football. Do they want to play at home? Absolutely. They love playing here in front of their fans and their family. But they just want to play football. Just the opportunity to play football is what they wanted and it’s a pretty awesome deal.”

The Huskers kick off against Penn State on Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT). Television coverage will be provided by FS1 and radio coverage will be provided by Husker Sports Network.