Quincy Enunwa refers to it as “that board up there.”
Husker wide receivers are always looking up at that board in their room. Everyone wants to be the top name on it.
“We’re always trying to compete to gain points,” said the junior Enunwa. “Even in the game we’ll be saying, ‘I gotta point, I gotta point.’”
Enunwa said there are six different categories in which receivers can earn points — from yards after the catch to “a blazer block” that springs a touchdown to an extra-effort category.
“Most of the time you’ll see the receivers running down there (to the end zone), and we’ll be the first one down after someone scores because we want to get the points,” Enunwa said. “Well, not only because we want to get the points, but because we’re happy our team scored.”
Enunwa said the points system has only helped fuel a competitive mind-set, always providing "something more to play for."
The leader on the board going into conference play?
“I’m ahead just because of that whole blocking thing,” Enunwa said.
But this is no time to get comfortable.
“It’s pretty tight because Kenny (Bell) has all those yards after catch.”
* Not about revenge: Enunwa expects his team to play with plenty of emotion Saturday, but not just because Nebraska lost to Wisconsin 48-17 last year.
“But because our goal is to get to the Big Ten Championship and they’re in our way,” Enunwa said. “So regardless of whether we lost or won, we’re still going to come into it with a lot of motivation.”
While last year was a rough night, the experience of playing Wisconsin should prove beneficial this year, the receiver thinks.
“Obviously the personnel is different this year,” Enunwa said. “It’s not going to be the same people, but they’re still going to have that same mentality. They’re still going to come at us the same way. We’re ready for a fight.”
* Evans at corner: Ciante Evans, the Huskers’ regular nickel back, will “play a lot of corner” in the base defense Saturday, defensive coordinator John Papuchis said.
“Some of it will be determined by how he progresses throughout the week,” the coach said. “But he’s too good of a player to sit on the bench.”
Papuchis indicated the top cornerback rotation (Andrew Green, Josh Mitchell, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Mohammed Seisay) may not change much.
“They’ll all get playing time because (the Badgers) will be in open sets where Ciante is playing nickel,” Papuchis said.
* Linebacker plan: It’s evidently no secret which players will start in the linebacker spots for Nebraska on Saturday.
Papuchis said seniors Will Compton (MIKE), Alonzo Whaley (WILL) and Sean Fisher (BUCK) will start as NU goes to its base 4-3 defense.
“Unless something unforeseen happens in the next couple days, those are the three that will start,” Papuchis said.
Sophomore walk-on Trevor Roach (MIKE) and redshirt freshman David Santos (WILL) are top backups.
“It’s a little bit of a question who’s the BUCK backup,” Papuchis said.
Whaley plays both WILL and BUCK.
However, “Matt Manninger, in a specific situation, could go in at BUCK,” Papuchis said of the senior walk-on from Omaha.
The 6-1, 220-pounder was a two-year starter at Omaha Creighton Prep. He has played in one game this season.
* Crowd comparison: Sophomore receiver Kenny Bell said last year’s raucous crowd at Camp Randall Stadium probably bothered Nebraska “more than I want to admit.” The Huskers lost at Wisconsin 48-17 in a game they led 14-7.
“We were a pretty young offense at the time, and that kind of environment is pretty tough to go play in,” Bell said. “I think it did get to us more than we all expected.”
As far as noise volume is concerned, Bell said Nebraska’s home crowd gets just as loud as the one in Madison, if not louder. But that’s where the comparisons end.
“I love our fans to death, and they get loud for us, but it’s different because Madison was more hostile,” Bell said. "When you come to Lincoln, fans aren’t mean, and that’s why I love being here. We've got the best fans in the world, not because they're the craziest but because they're the nicest. We’ve got great people."
— Brian Christopherson, Steven M. Sipple and Brian Rosenthal