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Mike Riley News Conference Recap (9/28/2015): Figuring Out Injuries and Defensive Struggles

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten announced this morning that Nebraska's game against Wisconsin will kick off at 2:30 pm on Saturday, Oct. 10, and will be televised nationally by ABC, following the Oklahoma/Texas game from the Cotton Bowl.

Mike Riley opened his weekly news conference by illustrating that Nebraska scored on it's opening six possessions against Southern Miss.

It doesn't appear that Nebraska was lined up properly to defend the onside kick, though, from my perspective.

Looking at injuries, we get the official good news about De'Mornay Pierson-El returning to practice!

I personally wouldn't play him against Illinois, especially in a road game with a tight travel roster. But next week against the Badgers? That would be a nice time to get him back on the field, even if limited.

It's hard to believe that all of these groin injuries are just a bad coincidence. The big question is what adjustments can be made, and what will the impact of those adjustments be? Here's one thing they are going to try:

Only two days of contact work each week? I'm curious how that works out.

So about that defense...

Freedom Akinmoladun has been one major bright spot on defense this year, and gives Nebraska extra depth once Gangwish is ready to play.

Fans are saying the same things. Reportedly, the coaches have been using a bit stronger language outside the press conference, FWIW.

As for the I-back situation, you get the feeling that Terrell Newby is playing because he understands the playbook better than anybody else.

Well, OK. That Ford F-150 could be just like that Ford Mustang. Maybe what he means is that Cross needs to understand the playbook so that Cross can be used as much as Newby is used. Which brings us to the elephant in the room...

I'd argue that right now, the other I-backs are a bit of a liability running the ball. I don't know if Wilbon started to sulk a bit when the coaches decided to focus on Newby or what, because clearly, the coaches are trying to send a message.

That leads to another issue that's bitten Nebraska this year...

Actually it does. Playcalling on short yardage downs has been curious all season: passes, reverses, sweeps, gimmicks. Relatively little physical football. Does that go onto the coaches, or the players, who the coaches don't have confidence in to get that yard or two?

I think he just answered my question.

Jordan Westerkamp also spoke...he's VERY familiar with the stadium at Illinois.

I'd like that...