SAN DIEGO - Niles Paul, the talented but hobbled Nebraska receiver, looked almost offended by the suggestion.
The Cornhuskers lack motivation to play Washington in the Holiday Bowl?
“That’s definitely not it,” he said as his warm smile turned into a serious expression. “If you come out here and watch practice, you see a whole bunch of guys with a high-level intensity who can’t wait to play. We had a disappointment in the Big 12 Championship Game (a 23-20 loss to Oklahoma), and this game we feel we’re going to redeem ourselves as a team.”
In fact, Paul echoed what Nebraska’s normally hard-to-please defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said after his unit went through its nearly two-hour morning workout Monday on the University of California-San Diego campus in La Jolla.
“Doesn’t look like much of a letdown,” Pelini said.
Even if, for an instance, the Cornhuskers are not taking the underdog Huskies – a team they blasted, 56-21, on Sept. 18 in Seattle – seriously, they figure it will be only a matter of time somewhere on that field at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday that UW will provide all the necessary motivation.
That’s because the Huskies – in particular, their defensive players – like to yap and grandstand, Paul said.
“This (UW) team likes to talk,” Paul said. “They talked a lot of trash before the game, during the game and after we led. They were non-stop.”
“More than any team I’ve ever been around,” Paul said.
Paul’s teammate – cornerback Prince Amukamara – said he remembers Paul telling him about the Huskies’ trash-talking as soon as it happened, but added from his end, the “(UW) offense didn’t say nothing to us.”
Back at the UW camp at the University of San Diego on Monday night, senior linebacker Mason Foster was asked about Paul’s comments.
Foster didn’t admit or deny the exchanges took place.
“That was a long time ago,” Foster said.
Not so long that the Nebraska players have forgotten.
“I don’t want to repeat the stuff that was said,” Paul said. “Football talk.”
UW coach Steve Sarkisian has all but ruled out defensive end Talia Crichton (knee), who aggravated his injury Sunday. Safety Sean Parker (shoulder) has continued to be limited, and is doubtful to play Thursday. Receiver Cody Bruns (clavicle) was the holder for placekicking during practice Monday, and Sarkisian said it “looks good” that the Prosser product will be active in the game. Bruns broke his collarbone on a punt return in the Apple Cup. Senior Ryan Tolar (knee) practiced most of the snaps with the No. 1 offense at left guard. He was held out of much of practice Sunday. UW has sold out its 11,000-ticket allotment for the bowl game while Nebraska has sold 8,500 to 8,600 of its share.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org