A week before it all begins, the Huskers conducted a walk-through practice at Memorial Stadium in game uniforms but no pads Saturday.
Setting the scene for what it will be like when No. 17 Nebraska tangles with Southern Miss, coaches were even dressed like it was gameday, sporting Husker polos.
“We had a good week. Kind of tailored off a bit time-wise and rep-wise towards the end of the week,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “I like what we accomplished and we're getting ready to go to start our game preparation Monday."
Southern Miss does present some challenges as far as those preparations go. The biggest obstacle is that the Eagles have a new head coach in Ellis Johnson. In fact, Nebraska’s first three opponents all have new head coaches.
While Johnson was defensive coordinator for the South Carolina team Nebraska faced in the Capital One Bowl, it’s unclear what he’ll bring to the table sitting in the head chair for the Golden Eagles.
“There's a lot of challenges that come with it,” Pelini said. “We don't know exactly what they're going to do on either side of the ball. You have your guesses … (but) when you're playing a team with a new coach, there's a lot of unknowns, so there's a lot of things you have to get ready for.”
One positive for the Huskers is that they remained relatively healthy through fall camp.
“Nobody is ruled out,” Pelini said.
Certainly there is a buzz that comes with the final week before the opener, but Pelini said he’s just focused on the task at hand over the next seven days.
“I've got a lot of work to do before now and Saturday,” he said. “That's all I concern myself with, is what do we have to do today? What's next on our agenda to get our football team ready? We'll be ready."
* A red Rose: It wasn’t unexpected, but now it’s official. Nebraska has added another scholarship cornerback to its roster.
Pelini confirmed that Jonathan Rose is in Lincoln, and has joined the team. The news had been out there for a few weeks, but Nebraska was waiting for Rose's transfer to be cleared by the NCAA before announcing it.
A highly ranked recruit in the 2011 class, Rose was given a release from Auburn this summer.
Rose played sparingly last year for the Tigers as a freshman, appearing in nine games and recording two tackles. But as a recruit, Rose was considered a prized talent, competing in the U.S. Army All-American game after his senior year of high school.
As a four-star recruit, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Rose was ranked No. 7 nationally at his position by Rivals.com and 14th by Scout.com.
Rose will have to sit out this year but will have three years of eligibility remaining.
"I've watched him coming out when he was getting recruited, very talented young man," Pelini said. "Good corner who is a good get for us. We're happy to have him."
* No. 2 unknown: Pelini said nothing is decided on who Nebraska’s backup quarterback will be behind Taylor Martinez.
While true freshman Tommy Armstrong is in the mix, Pelini said the young signal-caller still has plenty of kinks to work out as a new a guy in the program.
“Everyone's trying to anoint him. … He's had a nice camp and I have confidence in him. But nothing's been determined and how that's going to play out,” Pelini said. “Just because we say a guy's having a good camp and he's far along, let me tell you he's got a long way to go and he's got a lot to learn. He's still a true freshman. How that all plays out? I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball.”
Sophomore Brion Carnes, who served as the backup last year, and junior walk-on Ron Kellogg III are also in the mix.
"I feel pretty good about it," Kellogg said last week. "This past fall camp, compared to the other one last year, it's a whole different story, especially for me, and Taylor and Brion, just 'cause we know the offense a lot more than we did than we first started.
"Just to be able to command the offense, get in a fast-paced tempo and be able to run plays immediately to keep defenses off-balance is something we really preach right now. So I'm pretty confident in what we're doing."
* Position battles: It’s known that Daimion Stafford is starting at one safety spot. But who’s lining up next to him? Senior P.J. Smith and sophomore Harvey Jackson have both been making strong cases this August.
“I thought mentally he has a really good handle on what we're asking him to do,” Pelini said of Smith. “He's played pretty well. Harvey Jackson is right there with him. We have a lot of options at the safety position and guys I have a lot of confidence in.”
Asked if redshirt freshman David Santos was pushing senior Alonzo Whaley at the WILL linebacker spot, Pelini said: “Santos is coming along. He's made a lot of progress, particularly in the last week or week and a half. We're pretty excited about him."
* On guard: Spencer Long is the assumed starter at right guard and Seung Hoon Choi at left guard. Who’s behind them heading into game week?
Pelini said there are “a lot of options,” naming Ryne Reeves, Cole Pensick (who has seen some snaps there recently) and Brandon Thompson.
He also said Jake Cotton (concussion) will return to practice Monday, where he’ll work at guard.