"Our emphasis was becoming more multiple, and really
forcing them to be more comfortable out of the base calls and into the
pressures and our movements. We feel like we are getting there," he said.
"We aren't there yet, because you still have to spend a segment of time
working your base stuff. I think we are getting there, and hopefully by the end
of Spring we'll have accomplished our goals there."
One of the new additions to the defensive line is Eric Martin, a junior who moved from Linebacker before the end of last year. Pelini
said that Martin has found himself a home at the position and is doing well.
"Eric is having a heck of a Spring. He's really playing well as a
defensive end. He's playing well in all
the different roles we are asking him to play. He's really made that transition
well," Pelini said.
On his size which isn't typical when comparing him to the
likes of Cameron Meredith, Josh Williams and Jason Ankrah, who all go at around
6-2 or taller, and are perhaps a little bigger overall, Pelini said that what
Martin brings to the table is still valuable and especially different. "He
gives you a little different look than some of the other guys. Maybe a little
more speed and athleticism. Not quite the size, but he's plenty strong
enough," he said.
At the corner position, the story this year has obviously
been more about who is gone versus who is coming back. The leaders at the
position right now seem to be senior Alfonzo Dennard and sophomore Ciante Evans. But Pelini said that there is a group of younger players who have
stepped up over this Spring. "Andrew Green is really having a good Spring.
Dijon Washington is playing well. Josh Mitchell is playing well. Those are the
guys who come to mind. It's important to get depth at that corner
position," he said.
|Eric Martin making big stride at DE
At linebacker the emphasis has been more about how there are
going to be a lot more of them on the field at one time than there has been in
some time. The move to the Big Ten has put a big emphasis on the fact that the
team will need more linebackers. And that also brings up the point that if
health issues become a concern as they did last year, they might not have
enough to go around. But for now, they are healthy and progressing, according
to the Husker D.C, who also said that between this position and basically the
entire defense, one big advantage is having people back who know the system up
"I still hate them all. Most of them. I still hate most
of them," Pelini said with a laugh. " You've got some great
leadership - having Fish (Sean Fisher) back and Will (Compton). They are
getting used to playing together. Across the whole defense, there's a lot of
communication on our defense between safety and linebacker, too. When you look
at that group, Fish, Lavonte, Will, (Austin) Cassidy, (Courtney) Osborne, P.J. Smith - those are all guys who are experienced (and) get the scheme."
On the defensive line junior Thad Randle continues to work
with the first unit along with Terrence Moore. Randle is one who has made solid
progress both physically and mentally this Spring, as well as Nebraska's true
freshman, Kevin Williams. "He had a great Spring. He really impressed all
the coaches and looks like a veteran out there. It's shocking," Pelini
said of Williams, who came in this January with offensive lineman Tyler Moore
and quarterback/wide receiver Jamal Turner. "Both of our newcomers (Tyler
Moore) - it's shocking how quickly they adapted to college football. (And) Thad
is having a great Spring. Physically, he's a different player. He still got his
speed, but he's a lot stronger in there and he handles the double teams. He is
a really athletic defensive tackle"
Pelini admitted that he's not used to this kind of depth.
Even with the loss of Meredith at end as well as Kenny Anderson who plays
defensive end, senior Jared Crick is out for the rest of the Spring. But the
emphasis in recruiting from the day the Pelini brothers arrived, has paid off.
"It extends out to the end position once you get Cameron (Meredith) back.
You need depth at that position, and that's something we've developed over the
years. I think on both sides of the ball," he said. "Our recruiting
philosophy has become that got to be good up front. To be good defensively, you
got to be good up front. Offensively, you got to be good up front. So, we've
really as a staff have made an effort early in the recruiting process to
identify big guys. And really recruit them hard as an entire staff and not just
leave it up to one guy to try and land him."
The Huskers hit the field last week for a huge scrimmage on
Saturday. And Pelini expects that tomorrow will be the same thing. "We'll
probably do the same thing tomorrow. This will be the last time we'll scrimmage
as units. We'll divide those units up for the Spring Game," he said.
Check out the following link for the post practice with Carl Pelini