Published Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:21 am
Football
Notes: Preparing for NU defense pays off for Wyoming quarterback Smith

LINCOLN — If it looked like Brett Smith was comfortable against the Nebraska defense, there was a pretty good reason.

Turns out he was.

The Wyoming quarterback said he saw plenty out of the Blackshirts that he had prepared for entering Saturday's season opener.

His team's 602-yard output provided plenty of proof.

“I prepared so hard for this defense,” Smith said. “So coming into this game, I knew most of what they were going to do when I went out there and the receivers did as well. So basically when we saw something that they showed pre-snap, we already knew what was coming.”

Smith said he could look at safety positioning and the way Nebraska stacked the box for where blitzes and coverages would shift to.

And were the things he saw on tape the same things he saw Saturday night?

“Yes sir,” Smith responded.

Cowboys coach Dave Christensen said it more than just what Nebraska did, though.

“I think execution on our part was the primary thing,” Christensen said. “Our kids executed the plays extremely well against them. When you execute, it works.”

Christensen added that he felt the Wyoming tempo was also a factor in its success.

“We executed offensively throughout the night,” he said. “Unfortunately we turned the ball over twice in the red zone and when you throw away those opportunities in a game of this magnitude against a team like Nebraska, it's going to be difficult to win.”

Christensen enjoys first shot to call plays for Cowboys

Christensen took blame for one of those turnovers — a second-half double pass that turned into an interception.

But you couldn't blame the coach for dipping into his bag of tricks in his first night back behind the wheel of the Cowboy offense.

BIG RED TODAY ON FACEBOOK
Join the conversation on the Big Red Today Facebook page.

Christensen took over play-calling duties for the first time in his four years at Wyoming. He was an offensive coordinator at Missouri before taking the job.

When asked after if it felt like old times, Christensen got a big smile on his face.

“It's fun,” he said. “I noticed I didn't have enough time to help the officials a couple times. They need some help and I was usually able to give that to them and tonight I wasn't.”

Papuchis: Too soon to judge defense's athletic improvement

Nebraska's defense lost loads of experience from 2012. The upside was supposed to be improved athleticism. Did John Papuchis see it Saturday? Too soon to say, he said.

“In some respects, you could see some of the athleticism. Nate (Gerry)'s a good athlete. (Josh) Banderas has some athleticism to him. They have a lot to learn. They're still obviously true freshmen.

“I thought Maliek Collins flashed the little bit that he played. Randy Gregory did some things, Avery Moss did some things that were positive. Corey Cooper.

“So are we better athletically than we were a year ago? It's kind of hard to tell after a game. But I think this defense has a chance to be OK. I think it has a chance to be good. I don't think that's going to be a reflection of what we're going to see on a week-to-week basis.”

Gregory still puzzled by roughing the passer penalty

Sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory was worried that he was going to get ejected after he celebrated what he thought was a third-quarter sack.

The referee, however, flagged Gregory for roughing the passer. Gregory didn't realize that initially. And even after the 37-34 win over Wyoming, he was a little perplexed.

“It happens, I guess,” said the junior college transfer, who made his Husker debut Saturday. “I've been playing since I was 7 years old. Never heard of roughing the passer when I actually sack the quarterback.”

Gregory finished with two tackles and a quarterback hurry. He said the Nebraska game day experience was a little “bigger” than he expected, but he “handled it pretty well.”

Still plenty to improve on, though.

“Just got to come back next week and work on it,” he said.

* * *

Video: NU coach Bo Pelini at the postgame press conference:



Video: NU's Quincy Enunwa at the postgame press conference:



Video: NU's Jeremiah Sirles at the postgame press conference:

Contact the writer: Jon Nyatawa

jon.nyatawa@owh.com    |   402-473-9585    |  

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football and baseball, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008.

Contact the writer: Dirk Chatelain

dirk.chatelain@owh.com    |   402-649-1461    |  

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments.

Contact the writer: Nick Rubek

nickrubek@gmail.com    |   402-850-0781    |  

Nick Rubek covers Nebraska football, Omaha Beef football and high school sports throughout the state, including football, wrestling and soccer.

PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha.com? Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >