The Nebraska football team practiced in helmets only on Thursday when it continued preparation to take on the Michigan State Spartans for Saturday's Senior Day matchup at Memorial Stadium.
Head Coach Scott Frost addressed the media following practice, and he said he was once again pleased with the team’s work ethic, especially this late in the year when injuries and fatigue are more of a factor.
"It's been a good week again, “ Frost said. “This time of year we’ve got some guys a little banged up and got some guys that are run down a little bit so that's typical this time of year. Guys have got to be able to step up. There's eight days left in this season and even if the guys' gas tanks are a little low, they’ve got to find what they can and finish it. It's been a great week, and we need some warriors on Saturday."
One of the biggest challenges facing the Huskers this week will be the Michigan State defense. The Spartans have the No. 1 rushing defense in the country, allowing only 76.5 yards per game. Coach Frost talked about what makes Michigan State so successful against the run.
"They're aggressive first and foremost, they get their guys playing really hard,” Frost said. “They know their schemes real well so they know where they're supposed to be and supposed to fit. You see their defensive line not giving any ground and a bunch of guys coming to fit and cap things off.
“There's been a couple weeks where I watch big play reels with runs over 12 yards and some teams we've played have had about 50 runs of over 12 yards, but Michigan State has 10 in 10 games, so it's going to be a challenge for us. We run it well but this will be one of our biggest tests."
Frost was also asked about what his feelings will be like this Saturday when he sends the seniors out to their final home game at Memorial Stadium.
"These guys are going to mean a lot to me as long as I'm coaching here, this first group because this is going to be the group that had to go through the growing pains of change and everything, and without really good leaders and good seniors that wouldn't have happened,” Frost said. “I've said this a bunch but this team could've gone a hundred different directions when we were struggling early on and getting bad breaks and losing games. It couldn't have started any worse and this team held together and got better through that, and now we're dangerous. We are a team that can beat just about anybody in this league, we have to play well to have a chance, but we're a dangerous team. The culture's better, everybody's having more fun, it's starting to get right and without this group of guys that are leaving the program that never could've happened."
The Huskers’ senior class will be honored on the field Saturday prior to the 11 a.m. kickoff against Michigan State.