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October 12, 2010
Five things we learned on Tuesday
Each week during the fall Huskeronline.com will sum up the weekly press conference with a "five things we learned" feature.
Nebraska will get ready to take on a 3-2 Texas team at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Here's the latest buzz from the Huskers as they get ready to play arguably their most anticipated home game in the last several years.
1 - The past is the past
Since the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996 Nebraska has beaten Texas just one time. NU's only win over the Longhorns came in the 1999 Big 12 Championship game, but the Longhorns still spoiled the Huskers chances of playing for a national championship that season by beating them in the regular season.
It seems like no matter what Mack Brown's teams have gotten the best from Nebraska over the last 15 years. In ways it's similar to how Barry Switzer got the best of Tom Osborne during his coaching career. UT has gotten all the breaks and their playmakers have always come up with the big plays when it matters the most.
Head coach Bo Pelini said it the best on Tuesday when talking about the history of the Nebraska vs. Texas series. Yes people can talk about the past and the bad breaks the Huskers have gotten over the years, particularly in last season's Big 12 Championship game, but at the end of the day none of it matters. Pelini's focus is not on trying to avenge last year's controversial defeat at Cowboy Stadium, but to instead keep NU's perfect season alive for another week.
2- Being the hunter and not the hunted
Before last week's game at Kansas State Pelini showed his team a video of a group of men that went on a lion hunt in the jungle. During the middle of the hunt the lion was able to take control and make the group of men become the hunted. One of the hunters was attacked by the lion and nearly killed, but was able to react in time to shoot the lion.
The message this video showed the team was that no matter what at any time they can go from being the hunter to the hunted and they have to be ready for those situations and react accordingly. Each week Nebraska is going to be in this type of position and how they react to it will ultimately decide what direction this season goes.
3 - Muschamp will test Martinez's poise
Texas's Will Muschamp is the highest paid assistant coach in college football for a reason. Muschamp is arguably the brightest defensive mind in the game and Shawn Watson has been very familiar with his work all the way back to the 2006 Cotton Bowl when the Huskers squared off against him while he coached at Auburn.
Muschamp has the ability to keep an offense on its toes and take you out of what you want to do. With two weeks to prepare, you can expect Muschamp to have a scheme devised to slow down redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez. Watson said on Tuesday it will be key for Martinez to make the right decisions when this type of pressure is on him.
4 - Bo feels Texas is still a top 25 team
With a 3-2 record Texas will come into Saturday's game ranked outside of the top 25, but Pelini just laughs when he hears that.
In Pelini's mind there is no question that Texas is still a top 25 team despite the recent struggles they've had in losses to UCLA and Oklahoma. Pelini is fully expecting a prepared Longhorn team to come into Lincoln, especially after coming out of a bye week.
5 - Special teams will be addressed this week in practice
One of the only concerns you could take out of the Kansas State game for Nebraska was their inconsistent play on special teams. The Huskers really struggled in their kickoff and punt coverage, and Pelini said on Tuesday it's currently being addressed as we speak.
Pelini said expect to see a few personnel moves this week against the Longhorns on some of Nebraska's coverage units. It will be interesting to see if Pelini throws a few different starters out there this week, because the last thing you would want to see happen is Texas make a big play in the return game.