Cowboys don't expect to be fooled by new NU schemes
Friday, August 29th 2003, 12:00 am
News On 6
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ There has been a veil of secrecy around Nebraska's preseason football camp.
With two new coordinators and four other first-year assistants, head coach Frank Solich said repeatedly that he didn't want to reveal much about new wrinkles in the offense and defense.
``You never want to give an opponent any kind of edge,'' he said.
Some, if not all, of the secrets will come out Saturday when No. 24 Oklahoma State visits Memorial Stadium in the season opener.
The Cowboys aren't too worried about what they'll see.
``They have a new offensive and defensive coordinator,'' safety Elbert Craig said, ``so I think this is the best time to catch them.''
What's known about Nebraska's offense is that offensive coordinator Barney Cotton plans to mix in more passing.
OSU coach Les Miles said it only makes sense.
``They become less predictable if they can put the ball in the air,'' Miles said. ``I'm certain that is why they made the change, and they had a reason for the change. We are prepared for it to develop.''
Miles anticipates seeing the same old Nebraska power running game, too.
``They are very equipped right now to run the football,'' he said. ``We will concern ourselves with running first and then with the passing game.''
Solich said how much Nebraska passes hinges largely on second-year starting quarterback Jammal Lord.
The Huskers attempted 16.7 passes a game last year. Lord completed only 46 percent, and he threw as many touchdowns as interceptions (12).
``No matter how much you stomp up and down about throwing the ball, it will not happen if we're not able to throw at least 50-some percent, and I'd like to approach somewhere around 55 percent,'' Solich said.
New defensive coordinator Bo Pelini has scrapped Craig Bohl's system in favor of a less complicated, more aggressive scheme. The Huskers will continue to operate out of a base 4-3 alignment.
Pelini's main task Saturday will be to disguise coverages on OSU All-America wide receiver Rashaun Woods.
Cowboys quarterback Josh Fields skewered Nebraska's secondary in last year's 24-21 OSU win in Stillwater, hitting 17 of 27 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Woods caught 11 balls for 132 yards and a TD against mostly man-to-man coverage.
Pelini, who spent nine years as an NFL assistant, said he doesn't expect to catch OSU off-guard with anything he tries.
``These guys have been coaching for a long time,'' he said. ``I'm sure they went back in the past and have looked at different systems I've been involved in. We're not going to do anything they haven't seen before.
``I fully expect them to be ready for whatever we do. We have to do what we do _ and do it well.''