football practice

First road game of 2015

After splitting the first two home games of the year, Nebraska now heads to Miami for the first of five road games this season.

It’s also coach Mike Riley’s first game away from Memorial Stadium as the Huskers' head coach.

“If you want to be a good team, you have to win on the road,” Riley said. “And we’re playing on the road against a very good, athletic football team.”

Riley knows that a road game in Miami could be just as difficult as any game this year.

“(The Hurricanes) will test us,” Riley said. “They’re shifty, fast, and the running backs really make people miss. Our challenge is big.”

Given the history between the two programs and the emotionally-intense meeting last year, Riley believes this is much more than just a game.

“There are lots of of things involved in (this game),” Riley said. “How we handle all of that and play (is interesting). I think it’s going to be a good game for our team.”

Nonetheless, Riley’s confident his players are ready.

“I think we’ve had another good week of practice,” Riley said. “It’s been impressive as we’ve gone through it.”

Dealing with the weather

Forecasts are always tough to predict, but with it being Florida on the tail end of the summer, one can be sure it’ll be very warm and uncomfortably humid.

There’s a pretty good chance it rains, too. And that’s something the coaching staff has been preparing for all throughout the week.

“We did some wet ball drills today just to get ready (for the weather),” Riley said. “It’s Florida. It may shower, or even downpour for a little bit, and it affects everything.”

But the veteran Riley isn’t too concerned with a little moisture.

“I’ve been there and done that,” Riley said. “We were at LSU one year for the first game of the season. I sent the team out, and before I got out (on the field) they were all coming back in because of a thunderstorm. It just drenched everything, but it was probably good for us.”

Sun Life Stadium is one of the few venues in college football that still uses natural grass, and the Huskers have had to prepare for that, too.

“What could be as big a factor as any is a wet field,” Riley said. “We’ve been practicing on the grass to try and help with that.”

Injury updates

With the Huskers only able to take 78 players to Miami, the coaching staff has to be selective with who it decides to take.

One player who will for sure make that trip is linebacker Josh Banderas, who’s had a solid week of practice after missing the game against South Alabama.

“(Banderas) looks like he’s good to go,” Riley said. “We were careful with him yesterday, and he got through practice without any setbacks.”

For the first time all season, Riley’s linebacker corps is ready to go.

“We feel pretty about having three guys that we thought were in the starting lineup together,” Riley said.

Also expected to play is punter Sam Foltz, who missed a week after suffering an ankle injury against BYU.

“Sam is good to go,” Riley said. “He’s been punting and has been cleared to play since Tuesday. He’s good.”

Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine remains questionable for Saturday.

“Valentine hasn’t done a lot this week with that (injured) ankle,” Riley said. “I’m still holding out that he’ll be able to do some stuff (Saturday), but right now, I don’t think so.”

Defensive back Charles Jackson will not play because of a knee injury.

sports@dailynebraskan.com