Nebraska vs. Northwestern, 10/13/18

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost shakes hands with fans prior to a game against Northwestern at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.

EVANSTON, Ill. — There isn't a lot Jay Terry hasn't seen as Nebraska football's equipment manager.

With the Huskers since 1997 and NU's head equipment manager since 2002, Terry has seen every weather condition on every field surface imaginable.

So some grass at Ryan Field isn't going to faze him, even if that grass has, um, a reputation.

"It’s more just getting used to, just getting the feel of running on it. Our kids play on field turf all over so much more where it’s the same footing all the time," Terry said earlier in the week. "When you’re on the grass, you’ve just got to make sure your shoulders are over your feet, you’re cutting on your outside foot. You can’t let your feet get outside your body on you, and that also happens on field turf.

"So, it doesn’t really matter what cleats you’re wearing, if you don’t have your feet underneath you, you’re not going to be able to cut."

The on-field flora for Saturday's game was in excellent condition. Northwestern has been known to let things get a bit shaggy at times in an effort to slow down opponents. The last time Nebraska traveled to Evanston, in 2016, on-field conditions had deteriorated to the point that the grass was shaggy in spots and nonexistent in others.

No matter the field conditions, Nebraska has largely worn the same cleats for every road game. Terry said the team packs a case of detachable cleats to give players another option, but since NU first started Big Ten play in 2011, "maybe one" player has used that option.

"Almost anybody anymore — I call all the places, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan State, none of those teams that play on grass, none of their players even wear detachable cleats," Terry said.

Penn State is the only other Big Ten team with a grass field.

No matter the conditions, NU and every other college program is limited in its options. Unlike the NFL, which allows several different cleat lengths, in college, all cleats can be no more than a half-inch long.

And it's not as if the Huskers are completely foreign to the concept of playing on grass. There are a pair of grass practice fields at the NU practice facility.

"It's really no different. Our guys, we practice on grass quite a bit. All fall camp we were on grass," Terry said. "We haven't been out there much lately, but I bet you during fall camp we were out there on it almost every day. So it's not a whole lot different."

The biggest issue, Terry, said, usually comes before the game even starts. Nebraska has yet to replace a single jersey through the first five games of the season, sending in a few to repair small holes. There will likely be a couple of jerseys replaced after Saturday.

"The thing that gets you on these grass fields is the paint. The purple paint. Our guys will probably go out there, stretch in the end zone, lay down on purple paint before it even starts, and have it all over them before we’ve even played a snap," Terry said. "So it's a pain in the butt for my guys to do laundry."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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