As Nebraska took to the
grass fields by Cook Pavilion for the fourth day of fall practices, those that
were new coming in are still new right now. Having not even put on all the pads,
something that will start tomorrow, defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove said
that there is only so much you can know. “It’s just a different feel that
they’ll have,” he said. “It’s a little bit different when you’ve got lowers on.
It’s easier to move around a little bit and you are a little fresher when you
just have the uppers. When you have the lowers, it gets a little heavy.”
For offensive line coach Dennis Wagner, what he was looking for when the pads went all the way for the first
time was real basic, but it is one of the biggest keys in seeing just what he’s
got to work with for the future. “Get off,” Wagner said of what he was looking
for during the first day of pads. “Shooting your hands, getting your hands on
the man and getting off the football on the snap count.”
Most of this applies to the
newcomers, of course, the coaches mostly aware of what each has of those players
that have already been with the team. But, with some players, coaches continue
to learn as the player themselves might have undergone a certain change.
Cornerback Tierre Green has done
just that, changing over to the defensive back position from running back, where
he started one game last season. There wasn’t any question in anyone’s mind as
to his athleticism for the position, rather could he grasp fast enough the
fundamentals of play. To that end, Cosgrove said that he was pleased with where
Green is in his progression, but knows that much of the reason for his success
goes with the fact that he wants to be right where he’s at.
“He likes the position,” Cosgrove
said. “He likes the position of defensive back, so he accepts the coaching and
he’s working very hard.”
Green’s work has been mostly
about just understanding the position, even Green admitting last spring that his
success wasn’t based on his knowledge of what to do, but knowing that
athletically, he could make up for a lot of his mistakes.
Cosgrove said that if you take
the experience factor aside, just from an athletic standpoint, Green’s upside is
considerable. “He’s got very good potential,” Cosgrove said of Green. “He’s a
tremendous athlete, has nice hips (and) a good change of direction and he’s a
“We like what we see so far.”
Currently, Green is working with
the number one unit along side sophomore Cotrney Grixby. Junior college transfer
Bryan Wilson is backing up Green currently, while another junior college
transfer, Zack Bowman, is backing up Grixby.
Former cornerbacks Blake Tiedtke
and Titus Brothers are now working as safeties in the secondary.
Chances are there’s going to be a
variety of position changes yet to happen over the fall. As some players find
their niche’, some find that they could seek it elsewhere on the field. Perhaps
some just fit another spot better than someplace else.
There’s probably not many
positions where fans expect change more than they do on Cosgrove’s side, playing
Cosgrove’s main position: Middle Linebacker.
With the variety of experiments
at the position over the spring, still trying to replace the most prolific
tackler in Husker history, there was never a sense that any one player had the
edge over another.
If it wasn’t the two players
already slated for the spot (Corey McKeon and Lance Brandenburgh), there were
other names tried there (Dontrell Moore), plus many like Steve Octavien,
speculated about as to going there before it was all said and done.
Cosgrove said to that end,
nothing has changed at that position and based on what he’s seen thus far, it’s
not clear just how it will pan out. “I have not changed them,” Cosgrove said of
officially changing the rotation. “I am getting the rotation in there, mixing
the groupings up a little bit, first and second units, but it’s still wide
It’s wide open now, but as head
coach Bill Callahan said of his quarterbacks, Cosgrove has said as much with his
defensive players and Dennis Wagner has said of his linemen, when the full pads
are on, that’s when things will start to materialize as to just what they
After that, it will be
approximately three weeks more for the coaches to figure where what they have
goes and in what order.
Nebraska hits full pads tomorrow and it’s also
a day where the freshmen and newcomers on the team will begin to address the
media. In a very structured gameplan of sorts, there will be selected newcomers
from the class of 2005 that will address the media each day. Tomorrow will be
linebacker Nick Covey and wide receiver Chris Brooks.
Make sure to stick here, because
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Yellow Jersey winners were:
Offense – Tight End – J.B. Phillips
Defense – Rush End – Wali Muhammad
Special Teams – Safety – Andrew Shanle