Purdue first-year head football coach Ryan Walters had his first Monday presser returning from a bye week and the time to rest made injuries the main point of discussion ahead of Saturday’s trip to Lincoln, Nebraska. The Boilermakers and the Cornhuskers will kick off at 3:30 Eastern of FS1.
On the injury front, Walters mentioned how the bye week was a great opportunity for some players with lingering ailments to heal up, rest up, and prepare for the Huskers.
The guys that were dinged up are starting to look like themselves. Obviously the guys who are done for the year are done for the year, that’s not changing, but the guys who were dealing with knick-knack injuries and were sort of on a day-to-day plan were able to practice and able to practice at a high level.
The head coach also mentioned that kicker Ben Freehill is healthy and ready to play. This is welcome news to special teams enthusiasts across Boiler Nation.
Next, regarding banged-up quarterback Hudson Card:
Hud looked like himself yesterday for the first time since that second or third series at Illinois. He’s back with a bounce in his step, the ball is leaving his hand with some velocity, and it’s pretty when it’s in the air.
Outside the obvious season-ending injuries, the final question of health was for that of offensive lineman Mahamane Moussa, who limped off the field against Ohio State.
He’s still day-to-day, but we’re confident that he will be available and will be ready to go by Saturday.
Getting into preparation for the Nebraska game itself, Walters mentioned that, as a kid whose dad played at Colorado, the Colorado-Nebraska rivalry was already so intense to him that he still doesn’t like the sight of red N’s on the helmets.
Then he had to play against them at Colorado himself (note: I hate the Nebraska helmets too, but mostly because they’re insanely boring). Walters did say: one removes oneself from that sort of fan behavior as a head coach.
I had to explain to the guys just how crazy it gets out there. [Nebraska fans] are die-hard fans, win, lose, or draw. We’re looking forward to a great venue to play a competitive and tough football game.
The Boilers have struggled with large, mobile quarterbacks through this point in the season, and Walters maintains that the bye week was extremely helpful in addressing that as well. On Nebraska’s 6’5” 220-pound quarterback Heinrich Haarberg:
He’s big, physical…we’ll have to adjust the way we play and adjust our game plan a little bit. They run a ton of different run schemes, both zone and gap schemes, they create extra gaps. Their window-dressing is for a purpose…you’ve got to be able to account for all eleven [players]. Definitely excited that we had a week to prepare as a staff…definitely excited for the two bonus practices.
The man in charge seems confident that the bye week was about as good as it could have been when it came to the healing of small injuries, the planning for a physical Nebraska offense, and having to face it on the road.