Coach Bo Pelini said he and his coaching staff have taken an early look at Nebraska’s new Big Ten opponents, but the Huskers won’t be scheming against their new foes just yet.
Pelini told reporters during Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference that his team is focused on improving itself during spring football. Fundamentals are the Huskers’ priority at this point.
After spring ball and after recruiting a bit in May, that’s when Pelini said the NU coaches will analyze film of the Big Ten teams in more detail. That way they’ll have something to base their game plans on this fall.
“We’ve always gone ahead and looked at the new opponents that are on our schedule, we just have a few more to look at this year,” Pelini said. “We’re really just trying to develop an idea of who they are, what their philosophies are, what they like to do.
“And then you get into the week where you’re getting ready to play that football team and you dive in to more specifics.”
Junior linebacker Sean Fisher joined Pelini as the two Nebraska representatives on a Tuesday teleconference that featured all six members of the Big Ten’s Legends Division. Both spoke for about 10 minutes. Coaches and players from the Leaders Division will address reporters Wednesday.
As expected, most of the reporters’ questions for Pelini and Fisher centered on the changes associated with the move to the Big Ten. Here are a few highlights:
> Pelini was asked about matching up with Ohio State, where he played safety from 1987 to 1990. “Having played there and understanding the tradition and what that all entails, it’s going to be a heck of a challenge.”
> Pelini said he addressed his team last summer about Nebraska’s decision to change conferences, but he hasn’t brought it up much since. He knows the players are excited, though. “Our players just want to play football in the end. I do know they have a tremendous amount of respect for what the Big Ten is and what it represents.”
> Playing in the Big Ten won’t influence the way Nebraska tries to fill its non-conference schedule, according to Pelini. He said that NU has talked with a few Big 12 teams about setting up potential match-ups four to seven years down the road. Nothing concrete yet, though. His philosophy on scheduling non-conference games: “You’re trying to get ready for league play, but at the same time, you want to win them all.”
> Fisher, who regularly visited Iowa during his recruitment, is already familiar with that program. And in February, his brother Cole signed a national letter of intent to play linebacker for the Hawkeyes. So Fisher and his family will be right in the middle of the Nebraska-Iowa rivalry this fall. “My parents make jokes about it pretty frequently. … Unfortunately, we both play defense so I don’t think I’ll get the opportunity to tackle little brother, unless it’s on special teams.”
> Nebraska’s tough conference schedule this fall will be a good way for the Huskers to measure themselves against the rest of the league, according to Fisher. He’s looking forward to the challenge. “If anything, we’re probably excited just because of the fact that we get to play some of these teams that are such great teams.”