Taking to the inside of Memorial Stadium once again, the Nebraska coaching
staff took much of the practice time working on situational drills.
3rd and short, goal-line and red-zone work, the Husker offense tried
to hone their skills on getting the ball up-field. Head coach, Bill Callahan
called today a success or as much of one considering how far Nebraska has yet to
go before the start of the season. "We had a lot of good work." Callahan stated
of the situational progress. "We need to continue to work in those areas to be
the team we want to be, but we are at the point in training-camp now where guys
are working hard, the legs are pretty much like rubber now and we’re just trying
to get them back the next few days. So, when we come out of pads here at the end
of the week, we’ll be fresh and ready to go when school begins."
The injury bug that has plagued NU to such an extent seemingly over the last
week actually got a break towards the good side today, strong safety Daniel Bullocks returning to the field following a viral infection and linebacker Corey McKeon returning following a concussion.
That leaves several players still out, but with some like nose tackle LeKevin Smith, his return from cramps and a contusion to a calf muscle could be any day.
"It’s day-to-day right now." Callahan stated. "We’re just going to have to look
at it tonight and see where he’s at. If he’s ready to go, we’ll certainly play
him and if he’s not, we’ll back him down for another day."
Another player that has been practicing, but in significantly limited fashion
is center, Richie Incognito. Missing some time due to a reported viral infection
amongst other things, Incognito has been slowed in making a full recovery up to
this point. Callahan stated though, that Incognito is making it back, but it
is his back that is slowing things down somewhat as well. "There’s some
issues relative to his back, so he’s in a little bit of a pain and he’s pushing
through a lot of different problems right now, but he continues to work and
we’re glad he’s out here."
Incognito represents probably the only sure-thing in regards to someone that
has cemented their spot on the offensive line. While the coaches have conceded
nothing as to any line-up being "firm" or not, his presence (if healthy) seems
obvious. It’s his "game" that the coaches respect most and Callahan commented
that, that is what he can’t wait to see out of the starting center once he’s
back to full speed. "He leads by example." Callahan stated. "He’s a high motor
guy. He’s energetic, he’s tough, he’s physical - he loves to finish plays."
"You couldn’t have a better example from a player on the field than that. You
can talk all you want, but talk is cheap. You got to get out there and you have
to do it and he does that and at a high level."
One area that no doubt takes a high level of play if not a high level of
concentration is the two-minute drill, something Nebraska worked on a lot today.
Putting their quarterbacks in hurry-up situations, Callahan said that this was
an opportune time for his field-generals to gain a little more insight as to
just how things are done. "It’s a great learning situation today." Callahan
stated. "We tried to put them in positions and situations that are adverse and
"For instance today, we put forty-five seconds on the clock without no
timeouts left - we put the ball on the fifty-yard line and we let Joe Dailey
manage the team. Those are tough situations for a quarterback to be in."
"It was good to see that he managed it. You are going to make some errors
obviously and you are going to learn from them, but the great things is that you
get repetition, you get practice in those types of situations."
One quarterback that has seemingly found him on the outside looking in with
just about all situations with the offense is that of Junior, Mike Stuntz. While
involved with the offense in most drills, Stuntz hasn’t been a feature like that
of Dailey, Goodman or Davis. And, possibly because of that Stuntz has been
looking around, even working out at different spots. Today, it was special
teams. "Bill’s talked about it." Callahan stated of Bill Busch talking about
using Stuntz on special teams. "We’ve batted it around the staff-room a little
bit. We want to do anything we can to get him involved as much as we can in some
"He’s a great kid and he’s a high-character person and he’s shows the
athleticism to play a lot of positions. He’s very confident as a quarterback.
Unfortunately, we are working with a couple of guys ahead of him and when he
gets that opportunity to take advantage of it.."
"As of right now, we are trying to get him into as many situations as we can.
We are trying to work him into any facet where he can contribute to our
For Nebraska, players moving around seems like old-hat in just a brief amount
of times. Players moving to positions either in hopes they will contribute
better in that area versus another or in cases like Adam Carriker, because
injuries simply leave you little choice.
Another player that has moved mostly because of the injuries that have taken
place on the interior defensive line is that of Benard Thomas over to the spot
vacated by Carriker’s move inside. It’s a move that might be permanent, but
Callahan said that nothing is certain right now. "Based on our tackle situation
right now - as we talked about we are a little thin there." he said. "We moved
Adam inside and give him some repetition. I know that "Cos" and John Blake feel
very confident about that move if it were to be full-time."
"Benard gives you the ability to come off the edge with power. He does have
an excellent power rush - he can knock tackles back. Of course, he does have the
speed rush as well, so when you combine those two moves, you have a pretty well
"Then of course, we can bring Wali Muhammad in and get a real pure
speed-rusher off the edge in the "nickel" and put Benard on the other side, we
we’ve got a lot of possibilities and a lot of different combinations."
There’s little doubt that over the next week and a half Nebraska will
experiment with yet more players and yet more combinations as they try to hone
the offense and defense into what they deem ideal for the up-coming opener.
Tomorrow is "hump day" for the players as they will now reach the half-way
point of two-a-days, so after those sessions conclude, it’s the home-stretch for
Make sure to be at Memorial Stadium this Saturday for "Fan Day", where fans
from all over the state and beyond are welcome to attend, take pictures of their
favorite Huskers, get autographs and even talk a bit with players or coaches
that they might have only seen on TV.
The gates open on the 21st at 1:00 and will go until 2:30. It’s
always good to pay attention to the weather forecasts as recent years have been
hot, so make sure to be prepared for whatever you might see.
Also, be respectful that this is an event geared towards parents and their
children. Limit the number of items you want to have signed as lines are usually
quite long and can become rather hard to endure if the weather should be less
Punter, Sam Koch was awarded a scholarship two days ago according to Bill
Callahan. A walk-on since he arrived at Nebraska in 2001, Koch now exists as one
of the 85 allowable scholarships for the team.
Ryan Goodman is known more for his wrestling prowess than his feats on the
football field, but the gridiron fans won’t have to worry about which one will
get the full attention this year for Goodman. Goodman stated that he plans to
redshirt this year for wrestling so he can get ready for wrestling at his target
weight of 197 lbs. Goodman stated that he’s currently 195.
Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or