September 22, 2008
Pelini knows Hokies will be first big test
Though Nebraska is already heading into the fifth week of the season, the Huskers will finally get their first real test of the season this week when Virginia Tech comes to town.
Despite a 3-0 record to start the season, head coach Bo Pelini described his team's play thus far as "average" at best. Pelini talked about the challenges the Hokies will present on the weekly Big 12 coaches' teleconference on Monday, saying the Huskers would have to bring their A game this weekend in order to stay undefeated.
"(The Hokies) have a very outstanding reputation and a lot of tradition," he said. "We know we have our work cut out for us, but we don't approach it any different. We feel like we've played some quality opponents up to this point, but it'll help having probably a little more high profile game. It'll be a good test for us."
The most obvious threat Virginia Tech brings to the table it its well-known ability to create plays and when games through special teams. Whether it's key blocked punts or big returns for touchdowns, the entire concept of head coach Frank Beamer's "Beamer Ball" is based around changing the momentum of the game through special teams.
Pelini said he was well aware of the Hokies special teams prowess, but said the Huskers weren't going to do anything drastic in preparation for Saturday.
"They have a reputation, and they've done a good job over a long period of time in special teams," Pelini said. "It's just something where we have to make sure we're technique sound. We don't what to try and do anything different as much as just make sure your sound and you do it well and you execute.
"When you play a good football team like Virginia Tech, it's not going to be about tricking them or doing anything like that. You have to play sound and you have to play well and execute to your techniques to perfection."
Another dimension Nebraska will have to prepare for is containing sophomore dual-threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor. With an ability scramble and make good throws on the run, Taylor brings an element that can give defenses fits.
The Huskers do have an advantage in that Pelini already coached against Taylor last season at Louisiana State. In a 48-7 win by the Tigers, Taylor replaced Sean Glennon in the second half. Taylor finished 7-of-18 passing for 62 yards and led the Hokies with 44 yards rushing. He also accounted for Tech's lone touchdown with a 1-yard run in the third quarter.
Though his Tigers were able to contain Taylor, Pelini said he was impressed with the quarterback's overall playmaking ability.
"He's a good football player," I saw him play last year when I was at LSU. He came in at the end of the game. He's very athletic. He has a strong arm. He can make the throws that are necessary, and he's a good payer. He can hurt you with his feet and his arm. He just gives you that added dimension that so many people out there are looking for. He's a threat in a lot of different ways."
***Pelini delivered some good news concerning the Huskers' defense, as sophomores Anthony West and Pierre Allen and junior Rickey Thenarse are all "full go" and are expected to play Saturday after missing all of practice last week with injuries.
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