Rhule, Huskers prepare for well balanced Wolverine team
LINCOLN, Neb - Nebraska returns to Big Ten play this weekend, welcoming second-ranked Michigan to Memorial Stadium, as the Huskers face a top five team for the third straight year.
Matt Rhule noted Monday he’ll assess Both Jeff Sims and Heinrich Haarberg this week before deciding on a starter for Saturday, but he’s also trying to make sure his team sees this weekend as an opportunity, not an impossible task.
“We’re going to play every week. And battle,” Rhule said. “This game will be about blocking and tackling, covering, getting open, making throws.. We’ll play it and see what happens.”
This past weekend, it was Heinrich Haarberg again leading the charge for Nebraska at QB throwing for 107 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 157 yards and a score in the 28-14 win over Louisiana Tech. Meanwhile, Jeff Sims continues to inch towards 100%. When asked about the quarterback role, Matt Rhule leaned back on his sentiment of playing the players who he thinks gives Nebraska the best chance to win.
He also noted he wants his players focused on their job.
“The best players play… I can’t ever let it be anything other than that,” Rhule said. “It’s a great story right now… But I don’t want to see a “Haarburger” at a local restaurant. I want him [Haarberg] to play quarterback when he’s playing quarterback. And Jeff has seen both sides of it, so I just want guys to focus and play.”
Jim Harbaugh embarks on his ninth year as a head coach, with a 75-25 record at Michigan. With back to back College Football Playoff appearances, Rhule says the same elements that Harbaugh has used to revitalize the Wolverines, are some of the same he’s trying to incorporate in Lincoln.
“His blueprint for building that program, there’s a lot of things that are similar… We want to incorporate somewhat of an option, so there’s a difference,” Rhule said. “But his blueprint on the O and D-Line’s, having good quarterback play, being physical at tight end, that’s what we’re doing.”
Saturday’s contest is a tilt of the Big Ten’s top two rushing defenses with the Blackshirts at the top in the Big Ten and the nation, while Michigan sits second in the conference and 12th nationally. They’re also a top 10 passing defense. Rhule says iron sharpens iron , and Nebraska’s offense, going up against their own top defense, is good prep for Saturday.
“You have to be content with two, three, four yard gains… There’s not going to be gaping holes against Michigan, it’s just going to be that kind of a game,” Rhule said. “Our guys get better from practice, they’ve gotten better form the teams we’ve had, when you recruit a lot of really good players and you can rotate them in and around, I think it helps them, but also really helps your starters.”