Football practice

Michael Rose-Ivey injured

Some players can’t catch a break, and junior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey is one of them.

Coach Mike Riley announced at the weekly press conference Monday that Rose-Ivey will miss at least four weeks with a groin injury, and it’s a tough break for a guy who missed all of 2014 with a knee injury.

“My heart goes out to (Rose-Ivey),” defensive coordinator Mark Banker said following practice Monday evening. “It’s another bump in the road for him, but what doesn’t kill you is going to make you stronger.”

For the players, the news of Rose-Ivey’s absence is unwelcome, but not crippling.

“You can’t think, ‘oh, (Rosy-Ivey)’s down, and we don’t have anybody to pick up the slack,’” linebacker Josh Banderas said. “We have a bunch of young guys who can and play, you just have to rely on them to step up.”

There’s optimism for Rose-Ivey, too.

“It’s definitely unfortunate,” Banderas said. “But it’s something he’s going fight through and recover from faster than expected.”

And for coaches searching for a silver lining, Rose-Ivey now has a leadership opportunity on the sidelines.

“He’s now Coach Rose,” Banker said. “It’ll be important that he lends his experience and his leadership to the young linebackers as well as to the group.”

Mindset with 1-2 start

For the first time in 34 years, NU heads into week four with a 1-2 record - hardly what first-year Riley had hoped for.

But both the players and coaches aren’t looking at what’s already happened; they’re looking at the opportunities on the horizon.

“We’re not going to change anything or practice any different,” Banderas said. “We feel like what we’ve been doing has been working, and this is going to give us our best chance to win.”

For some, it’s a matter of focusing from start to finish.

“We can’t have slow starts like we did (against) Miami,” defensive tackle Maliek Collins said. “We’ve just got to bring the intensity, man.”

For others, it’s a matter of luck - or lack thereof.

“We were one play away from winning both of those games,” Banderas said. “We’re right where we want to be. If we hit two plays differently, we’re 3-0 and we’re still the same team and we stay the course.”

And some even consider the poor start an opportunity.

“The record looks kinda bad, but I feel like this is that team that’s going to be an underdog when it all comes down to it,” cornerback Jonathan Rose said. “If anyone gives us a chance to fight for the Big Ten championship, I feel like we’re going to prove some people wrong.”

Preparing for Southern Mississippi

Southern Mississippi makes its first trip to Lincoln since 2012 on Saturday, and while the program has struggled mightily in those three years, the 2-1 Eagles could surprise a few people this weekend.

“In all the years that Nebraska has played (the Eagles) previously, I feel like this is their best team,” Rose said. “It’s another challenge to the secondary again this week. Everybody’s seen the film, so every (opponent) is going to try the same game plan: Attack us on D. Now we’ve got to step up the plate.”

But a Southern Miss. offense that’s scored 106 points in its last two games might not be all to unfamiliar for NU.

“There are a lot of similarities (between Southern Miss and Miami),” Banker said.

However, the similarities don’t stop there.

“(Southern Miss) runs similar plays to what Miami, South Alabama and BYU run,” Banderas said. “They’ve got some good athletes, and they’ll make you miss in space, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.”