W Kentucky Nebraska Football

Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart shakes hands with Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, after a 2010 football game at Memorial Stadium.


It's a lovely day. So nice, let's take a walk, I mean drive.

1. Nebraska has seen Willie Taggart before. His first game as Oregon's head coach went without any hitches — a 77-21 win against Southern Utah on Saturday.

That wasn't the case in his first game as a head coach in 2010.

"Ahhh, you brought that up," Taggart told reporters when asked about his head coaching debut at Western Kentucky.

The result was a 49-10 Husker victory. Most NU fans will remember the game for the debut of Taylor Martinez, who rushed for 127 yards on seven carries and threw for 136 yards against Taggart's Hilltoppers.

"It was my first game as a head coach. It was at Nebraska in Lincoln, a great environment, but that's about it," said Taggart, who was high school teammates with former Husker Tommie Frazier. "Now it's about this year's Nebraska team."

2. Mike Riley has seen Taggart before. When Riley coached at Oregon State, Taggart was an assistant at Stanford, serving as Jim Harbaugh's running backs coach from 2007-09.

Riley went 2-1 against the Cardinal during that stretch.

"They were physical, they were pro-style, very similar to what we were at Stanford," Taggart said. "They were very talented. It was always tough playing those guys."

Of course, Harbaugh played for Riley when Riley coached the San Diego Chargers.

(Did you ever think you'd see so many Willie Taggart connections in your life?)

3. For those wondering if the Oregon-Nebraska game remains up in the air ...

Yup, the Ducks were practicing in Eugene on Wednesday where the air levels have improved a little.

Wildfires continue to burn in Oregon, and the air quality remains a concern. The Ducks did not work out Sunday, nor did they work out Monday because of the scheduled day off for players.

On Tuesday, the Ducks moved practice to Florence, Oregon, closer to the coast.

Even better news: rain showers were a welcomed sight in Eugene on Wednesday.

4. Here's an interesting stat. Nebraska has been turnover-free in four of its past five games dating to the 2016 season.

NU's last turnover was a fumble on its second offensive play of the Music City Bowl against Tennessee.

Prior to the that, Nebraska didn't commit a turnover in games against Minnesota, Maryland and Iowa.

5. The NFL season begins Thursday, and if you want to follow Dirk Koetter's advice, keep a close eye on ex-Husker Lavonte David.

"The guy that’s quietly having a tremendous camp is Lavonte David," Koetter, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, told reporters last week. "Lavonte didn’t have his best year he has ever had last year. He is really having a good camp right now. I think the fans will be able to see it when we start playing."

David, a former All-Pro, had seasons of 139, 145, 146 and 147 tackles before a career-low 87 stops a year ago.

David was going to open the season in his hometown of Miami against the Dolphins, but the game has been rescheduled for Nov. 19 with Hurricane Irma looming.

6. Seward graduate Adam Holtorf never played center in high school. Instead, he was a force at tackle for the Bluejays.

Now, Holtorf is the starting center for Kansas State. He was listed behind last year's starter Reid Najvar after spring camp, but Najvar is not playing this fall.

So enter Holtorf.

"One thing didn't really change in terms of preparation, as a two, you're a snap away from being able to play," Holtorf said earlier this week. "Being able to prepare when you're a No. 2 just like you're a starters was something I was invested in."

You can bet many in Seward are proud to see Holtorf's rise in Manhattan. The Journal Star will have more on Holtorf this weekend.

Enjoy the day.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.


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