November 13, 2008

Thursday notebook: Carl Pelini returns to KSU

From 1989-91, Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini was a part of arguably one of the best assembled coaching staffs in college football history.

Pelini served as a defensive graduate assistant under former KSU head coach Bill Snyder, and he considers it one of the best experiences he ever had in his coaching career.

"I have great memoires there," Carl Pelini said. "I worked with (Oklahoma head coach) Bob Stoops at the time and some great coaches where there with me. John Latina, who is at Notre Dame now, was there with me, (South Florida head coach) Jim Leavitt was there, (Arizona assistant coach) Dana Dimmel, I mean we had a great staff. We had a great defensive coordinator named Bob Cope, and he'd been around the block and been everywhere.

"I learned a lot of football from those guys. I just made a lot of good friends that have kept with me throughout my career."

With KSU currently in the market to find a new head coach, Pelini says he still feels like the right person could get the job done in Manhattan.

The early speculation has TCU head coach Gary Patterson as the leading candidate to replace the lame duck Ron Prince. However, there's also a theory that Snyder may return back to coaching. Kansas State Athletic Director Bob Krause hopes to find a replacement for prince before season's end.

"I think Kansas State is still a good athletic school," Pelini said. "One thing that I was always impressed about Coach Snyder is his attention to detail and his work ethic. I think anybody with type of attention to detail and someone that works as hard as he did could have success at Kansas State. It's still a good football school."

-Sean Callahan

Thursday practice takes
Shorter games: With the new clock rules in place for 2008 a study shows that games have been cut down time wise by 12 minutes and an average of 11 plays shorter. The average time per game has been three hours and 11 minutes in 2008, compared to three hours and 23 minutes in 2007. Last week's Wyoming vs. Tennessee game lasted just two hours and 38 minutes. It's clear these new clock rules have impacted the game quite a bit. The biggest question is in a negative or positive light? I'm more of a traditionalist and don't like what these new clock rules have done to the game.
Playing for draft stock: One motivational factor for Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman on Saturday will be playing for his draft stock. Early speculation is Freeman is looking hard at forgoing his senior season at KSU to enter the NFL draft. However, a lot will depend on what type of offense KSU's new head coach puts into place. With a strong group of junior quarterback most likely coming out, Freeman may benefit more by staying another year.
Injury report: The only players expected to be out with injury on Saturday are linebacker Phillip Dillard (ankle) and offensive lineman Lydon Murtha (foot). Neither player has practiced this week and Dillard just began running on his ankle this week after injuring it on Oct. 25. Head coach Bo Pelini said Murtha is listed as doubtful.
What's on tap next: The Nebraska football team conducted a 90-minute helmets-only practice inside Memorial Stadium on Thursday. The Huskers will depart for Manhattan, Kan., via bus on Friday afternoon. The team will be staying in nearby Junction City.

Pelini happy with week's final practice

For of those you who are firm believers in the correlation of Bo Pelini's reactions to Nebraska's practices and how the Huskers play on game day, Thursday was a very good day.

Despite the cold, rainy weather, Pelini definitely left Thursday's practice feeling good about his teams' performance in the final preparation before Saturday's game against Kansas State.

As some have noticed the past few weeks, it's become somewhat of a trend that if Pelini thinks the Huskers practiced well the week before a game, they generally show it on Saturdays, and visa versa.

"It was good," Pelini said. "We got a lot covered today on both sides of the ball and on teams. I thought it was a good practice."

"We got a chance to handle a wet ball and that whole thing. We were going to be out today no matter what. It was a good day. We kind of had most of our stuff in, and the concentration was good today. We had a good practice."

-Robin Washut

Quick hits

***With Nebraska suddenly even thinner at linebacker after the suspension of Cody Glenn, Pelini was asked if he thought Kansas State would try to attack the Huskers more in the running game.

Pelini said after watching film all week, he never saw the Wildcats use more than one running back, though they occasionally brought a tight end into the backfield as a blocker. He said he did notice a lot of two-tight end sets from KSU, and that the Huskers have prepared all week to go against the run.

"We're prepared for it," Pelini said. "We practiced for it."

On the other end of the spectrum, Pelini said he also never saw the Wildcats use a four-wide receiver set all season, either.

***With Glenn out of the picture, Pelini said he had no plans of making any drastic changes with his defense on Saturday. In fact, he expected things to be the exact same as last week.

"We'll go in with the exact same packages we had last week," he said. "It'll really be how we played the game last week, since we're really not seeing a lot of four-wides."

***Pelini said sophomore linebacker Latravis Washington could play a big role for the Huskers this weekend, as his involvement in the defense has never been bigger than it's been since Glenn's suspension.

"He had a pretty good week," Pelini said. "We'll see what happens. He's ready to play. He got a lot of reps this week."

***Sophomore running back Roy Helu has worn a green, no-contact jersey the past two days of practice, but Pelini said Helu is fine and only wore the jersey for precautionary measures.

"Roy's fine," Pelini said. "There's nothing wrong with him. We just didn't have shoulder pads today so we didn't want anybody banging into him."

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