Following Wednesday's fourteenth and final spring practice, Mike Riley announced the format for the 2015 Nebraska Spring Football Game. The roster will be split much like Riley split the squads into Red and White teams at the start of spring practice, with some tweaks to improve balance and account for injuries. The game will consist of four 20 minute quarters with a running clock that will stop between changes of possession. That rule is likely to allow BTN and the Husker Sports Network to insert commercials into the broadcast. BTN has only allocated two hours for Nebraska's spring game, which will be televised at 1 pm central time following the 11 am Northwestern game and the 3 pm Minnesota game.
Riley plans to play it like a real game, with live kickoffs and punt returns. Each squad will consist of a good split of first, second and third-teamers; each squad will be able to field a complete special teams unit. In order to avoid injuries, Riley hasn't had many live scrimmages during the spring, so he intends to use the spring game as an opportunity to evaluate his players at game speed. The official rosters will be released on Friday.
For most of his players, playing in front of 70,000 or so supportive fans should be old hat. But it's clear that this is going to be a new experience for this staff. They may have coached in front of larger crowds in Los Angeles against Southern Cal or UCLA, but never as the home team. If walk-ups carry the attendance over 72,000, the crowd would be bigger than every other Pac-12 stadium that's outside of LA. If anything, I suspect the coaches may be more excited and nervous than the players this Saturday:
"I think that is a really good indicator for some of the things I was talking about Nebraska, there is such pride. What I have noticed—this will be my first time—my first picture of what this football deal looks like, I have been impressed with that at the baseball games, basketball games," Riley said. "I mean the crowds, the enthusiasm for the event, every time there seems to be a game going on here—it is a big deal. I like that, people care and they love their team. I think that is just awesome."
AccuWeather's current weather forecast for Saturday calls for a kickoff temperature of 68 in Lincoln, warming to 72 by th end of the game. Skies should be mostly cloudy, with only a 4% chance of rain. Winds should be breezy out of the south at 18 mph. You may want a jacket or sweatshirt for pregame tailgating; the forecast calls for morning temperatures warming from 48 at 9 am. If you are sticking around for the 6:05 pm baseball game against Minnesota, temperatures will cool off into the 60s in the evening.