LINCOLN, Neb. - The Huskers opened up their 2014 season with a shorter than normal practice on Monday night. The goal this fall will be to spend less time on the practice field, but have higher intensity sessions.
“I thought it was what you expect after the first day, I liked the tempo and I thought it was an efficient practice,” Pelini said. “I think guys competed and there were a lot of first-day mistakes.”
Pelini spent a lot of time researching the new practice method this offseason, talking with various coaches across the country and with his training staff. So what was cut?
“Just a few pre-practice things, we shortened individual time a hair. I think if I count the reps it is not much different than what we have done on a normal basis,” Pelini said. “We just did it more efficiently. I like the way it looked the first day.”
Tommy Armstrong era begins:
For the first time in three years, the Huskers enter the fall with someone other than Taylor Martinez as their starting quarterback. The honor goes to Tommy Armstrong, who had his ups and downs in practice number one (mostly becaue the defense just looks the part), but took all the snaps with the first-team from what Big Red Report could see.
“I liked what I saw out of Tommy today, he is very confident and he is under control,” Pelini said. “He really understands the offense.
“I feel that way about all three quarterbacks, but I thought Tommy had a good day.”
*** Harvey’s donuts: ***
* Starting safety LeRoy Alexander was limited in practice with a hamstring injury according to Pelini.
* Freshman linebacker Jaevon Walton returned to Louisiana to take care of a personal matter, Pelini reported. He will return at a later date.
* Sophomore Josh Banderas took the first-team reps at MIKE linebacker on Monday night, with Michael Rose working with the twos. Expect a lot of rotation not only at the MIKE, but multiple spots.
* Byerson Cockrell worked at safety during the Huskers’ first practice – a move that was a bit of a surprise after received reps at corner and NICKEL in the spring.
* Freshman Peyton Newell received a few second-team reps at defensive end on Monday night.
* The Huskers punt returners unit, being coached by Ron Brown, consisted of: sophomore Jordan Westerkamp, senior Jamal Turner, sophomore Terrell Newby, freshman Demornay Pierson-El, sophomore Jordan Nelson, and freshman Glenn Irons. They also took reps in that order. Don’t know if that means anything.
* Sophomore Brandon Reilly might have had the best catch of the day, catching a ball over the middle, pulling it down with a defensive back all over him.
* True freshman safety Kieron Williams (Air Force Prep) isn’t wasting anytime trying to make noise. The former Shreveport, Louisiana product received second-team reps on Monday night.
* Quarterback A.J. Bush is a lot bigger than I realized, even after seeing his high school film. It’s nice watching a left-handed quarterback on the roster. The kid definitely looks the part. He’s got a high-ceiling and it appears a good work ethic – staying after practice to work with freshman tight end Freedom Akinmoladun.
* Jariah Tolbert is a pretty good-sized receiver and it’s easy to see that the coaching staff likes him on the outside.
* Senior cornerback Josh Mitchell continued his brilliant play from the spring, looking like a ball-hawk in practice on Monday night. Opposite of him was Jonathan Rose. The question is, will Cockrell still push him for the job?
* Freshman quarterback Zack Darlington wasn't wearing a green jersey on Monday night. The Florida product wore one in the spring to emphasis no hits were allowed on the three-star quarterback recruit. Darlington is recovering from multiple concussions in his high school career.
Big Red Report videos will be posted by Tuesday morning. Videos media interviews include: sophomore Cethan Carter, sophomore Michael Rose, and sophomore Nathan Gerry.