The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours on the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields on Tuesday in preparation for its Saturday night matchup with Legends Division foe Michigan.
Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis addressed the media following Tuesday’s practice and the focus of the media session was on Michigan quarterback, Denard Robinson, and how Nebraska’s defense plans to contain him.
“Denard is extremely dangerous. Every time he touches the ball he is a threat to take it the distance,” Papuchis said. “The biggest keys to stopping him are tackling well and being assignment sound. The quarterback run game comes down to being disciplined and playing assignment-sound football.”
Robinson was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and a third-team AP All-American in 2010, with 2,570 yards passing and 1,702 yards rushing. The rushing yardage stands as the NCAA FBS record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback. Robinson comes into Saturday’s game with 1,264 passing yards and 900 rushing yards this season.
Papuchis also mentioned some other weapons that Michigan’s offense, including running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon, who both played key roles in last year’s win over Nebraska. Toussaint had 138 yards and two scores on 29 carries, while Galleon had a team-high three catches, including a touchdown, in the 2011 matchup. However, Papuchis said that the focus is still on Robinson this week.
“You can’t spend all of your time worrying about Denard Robinson,” Papuchis said. “But at the end of the day, he is 68.2 percent of their total offense.”
One of the factors that might play a big role in stopping Michigan’s offense this week is the home crowd. Papuchis mentioned how big of an advantage it is to be playing at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, as Nebraska has won its last 10 night home games dating back to 2008.
“It’s a great game-day atmosphere, especially defensively, with as loud as our fans can be, Papuchis said. “The communication problems it can cause for an offense are huge. I hope it’s a loud crowd on Saturday, and I’m expecting it to be.”