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If Barrett Ruud is looking on the bright side of an unwanted bye week, it’s that a key member of Nebraska’s rotation at inside linebacker will be ready to roll Saturday.

Appearing for an hour Thursday on the Husker Sports Network, inside linebackers coach touched on a variety of topics including his thoughts on targeting penalties — they’re “too harsh,” he said — life during a pandemic and how good he’s become at making Zoom calls. But most pertinent to this weekend’s game at Northwestern is the season debut of sophomore Luke Reimer, who went on scholarship this fall.

Reimer rolled an ankle the week before the Ohio State opener and didn’t travel, though he likely would have played against Wisconsin had the game not been canceled, Ruud said. Reimer will enter the mix with seniors Will Honas and Collin Miller, who played the majority of snaps two weeks ago.

Ruud said he knew from the first individual drill in August 2019 that the Lincoln North Star walk-on was deserving of a scholarship. He played 10 games as a true freshman, logging 11 tackles.

“I told him, ‘Hey, you could have held me hostage really early if you wanted to,’ ” Ruud said. “I think he’s really going to have a good future.”

On his room overall, Ruud called the first performance “pretty solid,” citing good communication, tackling and assignments. “Probably the only thing missing was a turnover, somehow, some way,” he said.

The former Husker and Lincoln Southeast standout said it will be “very, very interesting” to see the atmosphere at an empty Memorial Stadium for the Penn State game Nov. 14. Not just as a longtime fan — he attended games since he was 5 years old in 1988 — but also a defensive coach who is used to the Sea of Red flustering visiting offenses.

“When you start going to home games, as a defensive player and defensive coach, that’s where you’re really going to miss the crowd,” Ruud said. “On defense, when the crowd can really make noise, it really does affect an opposing offense.”


The 2020 Nebraska football schedule