Nebraska OC Mark Whipple Talks About Preparing for Illinois

Nebraska offensive coordinator Mark Whipple met with members of the media following Wednesday’s practice. Whipple reflected on how the bye week benefited the team.

“We cleaned up some things,” Whipple said. “They’ve been really good. Yesterday and today were really good. Sunday they were good also. I think the break helped them. Little more bounce in their step. I thought our two practices this week were the most spirited and competitive, so that’s a good sign moving forward.”

He explained how he wants the offense to look down the stretch.

“Stay more balanced and keep getting better,” Whipple said. “Health wise, I think we are better up front from the Purdue game. Obviously, score dictates a lot of what you have to do. Just have to mix and match, stay on point. We can’t miss some of the big plays we did in the Purdue game.”

Whipple also spoke on how the offensive line has fared while facing adversity.

“We have lost three starters, so we have to keep moving those guys around and build up some depth,” he said. “Guys are going to get hurt, it’s part of the game. Building depth isn’t always the easiest thing in your first year, not getting to recruit, but we have Hunter Anthony that came in, just trying to build depth.”

Finally, he provided a look at the Illinois defense.

“They have bought into their plan on defense,” Whipple said. “They are going to play man free and be aggressive. You can see how they’ve gained confidence throughout. They shorten the game. Their running back is a really good player, which helps their defense. Red zone, they are very opportunistic. And they are really good on third down. They run well on the back end, and they take care of third downs and hold onto the ball. We have to be really good on third down. They can rush the passer, and they play the run well. Bret (Bielema) has done a good job, I have known him a long time.”

The Huskers return home after three weeks away from Memorial Stadium to play Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 29. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. (CT)