"I was really unhappy with our practice yesterday. I don't
know whether they knew we were scrimmaging today or whatever, I did not like
yesterday's practice," Pelini said of yesterday's practice that led into
today's 150-play scrimmage. But he said that the team didn't repeat that
performance today. "I thought we got a lot done today - had a good
scrimmage, had good tempo (and) saw some good things on both sides," he
Two players who were limited a bit today, mostly to allow
younger players some reps in the scrimmage were junior running back Rex Burkhead and sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez. Burkhead did get some reps
in the scrimmage, and in that time Pelini said that Nebraska's returning star
running back looked solid, and he some glimpses from the depth behind him. "He
(Rex) looked really good when he was in there. I saw some decent things out of
A.J. We have a limited crew there (and) we don't have enough consistency and
enough depth there right now," Pelini said. "But you could say that
across the board. "
The theme, if there is one from this Spring, is that those
believed to be starters for the Fall, have taken to the changes on both sides
in stride. But it's the group behind that top unit that Pelini says he's
looking for more from in the last four days of Spring practice. "Our first
units are playing pretty good, (but) we've got to continue to work and get
depth and get more consistency with our younger guys," he said.
To that end, he said that the basics are more important
right now than actual game planning, because in the Spring there is none of
that. "For us, it's a little bit of an evaluation. It's where they have
come technique-wise, knowledge-wise - mentally how they are handling their assignments,"
he said. "When they are put to the test when they have to go out there on
their own in a pseudo game type atmosphere, how are they going to respond. You
are not always in the best situations,
but it doesn't mean you can't execute. "
The transition from one offense to another continues, and
Pelini said that thus far, he's liked what he's seen and said that he believes
the comprehension of the system is there, just not the basics of making that
system work. "I think their overall understanding is good. The execution
isn't always there yet. Some of the details aren't there," he said. "The
further we come fundamentally, the better we'll be. The knowledge is there.
Their understanding has gotten better and better. I feel real good about where
we are as far as that's concerned. It's a technique and fundamental aspect that
we've got to keep coming."
A couple of quarterbacks who have gone basically unnoticed
for most of the Spring are redshirt freshman Brion Carnes and junior Kody Spano. Spano is finally all the way back to healthy after having endured two
consecutive MCL injuries, and Carnes is finally getting his feet wet in real scrimmaging
situations as a potential contributor. As you would expect, for Pelini, there's
the good and the bad.
"Brion did some really good things out there today. We
gave Brion a good look (today). Cody Green did some good things out there. Kody
Spano did some good things," Pelini said. As for Kody, "He's gone
through some tough times. Fortunately for us he's a tremendous kid. He's
overcome a lot and he's out there fighting. This is really the first time he's
been out there in awhile (for) full speed action. He's showed resiliency and
toughness. He's persevered right through it," Pelini said.
One major sore spot from last year which has been heavily
emphasized over the Spring has been turnovers and penalties. The Huskers ranked
as one of the worst teams in the Big 12 in both categories last year - a claim
to fame they would just as soon not have. Last weekend's scrimmage didn't seem
to quite hit the mark as to what Pelini wanted them to see. But he said this
scrimmage it was much better. "We were better today than we were last week.
We had about 150 snaps today. We had two false starts," he said. "Most
of those were with the young guys. That shows me the emphasis is working and
the progress, but one is too many as far as I am concerned. There was only one
ball on the ground, and once again, that was with the young group."
With not even a handful of practices left, this is the kind
of progress Pelini said his team has to make, because there aren't many
opportunities left. "We have four more practices. We can't afford a step
back like we had yesterday. Our football team understands that, and hopefully
we'll learn from what happened yesterday and the approach we took and we'll get
better," he said.
As this is the last big scrimmage before the Red/White Game,
Pelini said that the teams will be determined by a drafting process, where the
players will pick from the total pool after the coaches have divide the roster up
evenly. "We are going to split it down the middle, roll it out there and
go. We'll let the players draft it," he said.
The Huskers will get back to practice on Monday, and we'll
finally get to touch base with the new assistant coaches as the offensive
coaches will be available on Monday and the defensive coaches will be available
on Wednesday next week.
Click the following link for the full post practice audio with Bo Pelini