Captains, Congrats and Camaraderie tuesday theme

Nebraska hit the inside of Memorial Stadium today, practicing on the new field for only the second time. The hot topics after practice didn't have anything to do with the continuing acclimation to the new field, though. It was about a receiver still not present, award recipients not yet known and within all that, the team selected their captains for the year. Fans could exhale in relief as last year's apparent mistakes weren't repeated this time around.

You can't fault Joe Dailey for being named captain last year. After all, it was his work ethic and his attitude that made him an apparent consensus captain in the eyes of his fellow teammates.

That's a heck of a compliment, given the fact that you haven't even started a game, but the team voted and Joe Dailey became the first sophomore ever to be named a captain on the Nebraska football team.

In hindsight, it probably could have gone better.

That's the problem you face, though, when you elect someone not a senior a captain and that subject ranged as a topic of controversy, especially considering the fact that Dailey's performance was such, that if there was a viable depth chart behind him, he might not have even finished the season number one.

That's water under the bridge and all that and whether it was the coaches that encouraged the change or the players that simply learned, there was going to be no controversy this year as the team selected just two captains, but both garnered unanimous votes.

Senior running back Cory Ross and senior strong safety Daniel Bullocks will now lead this team into a future that has much more certainty than just a year prior. And for coach Callahan, this duo was a choice well made by the team.

"Cory is an individual that has played with a lot of pain and has played at a very high level with a lot of pain in the past as you look to last year," Callahan said. "Additionally, off the field, he can lead, he can enlist people, he's a great representative of what Husker football is all about."

"He's great with people, with teammates (and) he's a guy that you would love to follow."

"Daniel is the ultimate leader by example. He can lead just through his work ethic and through his sacrifice and his example, day in and day out. He can push people, he can be an enforcer if he has to be (and) he's the type of guy that you want backing you up."

"He has a deep-deep passion for Husker football."

"I think we've got two great leaders right now."

There might be a lesson learnt from last year, but if there is, the players, of course, aren't saying. What Callahan interpreted, though, from the vote and because of the disparity was that a team united behind a few players last year, united behind one for each side this time around.

It was a decision that Callahan said he and the coaches talked to the players about before making that decision and was satisfied with the seriousness in which players approached the captainship for 2006. "It's not a popularity vote," Callahan said of the honor. "We took our time, we went in-depth and really explained the parameters of what a captain is and what it means to be a captain here at Nebraska."

"They (the players) truly believe in the qualities these two men possess and they will follow and they will do a great job following them as well."

The awards didn't stop with the captainship as two nights earlier, the coaches awarded the overall winners in the yellow jersey competition. In a tribute to Lance Armstrong and his unprecedented 7th consecutive Tour De' France title, Callahan started giving out yellow jerseys each day to the best players the previous practice in the three major disciplines of offense, defense and special teams.

When the final daily awards were tallied, running back Cory Ross (Offense), defensive back Tierre Green (special teams), safety Brandon Rigoni (special teams), linebacker Stewart Bradley (defense) and safety Daniel Bullocks (defense) all received their just recognition in the end.

Overall, 23 different players wore the yellow jersey and Callahan cited that wide range as a testament to what it started to mean throughout this section of fall camp. "They took a lot of pride in who wore that jersey," he said. "When a guy lost the jersey, he was mad, he was upset, so that was great to see that they were competitive throughout that tour."

"The kids had a lot of fun with it and I think it's just a great way to promote practice performance and really measure yourself as a team."

If you think this is a continuation of the unity-theme that has been pervasive amongst the team throughout spring and fall, you'd be correct. If you think Callahan and company's efforts to make sure it works has done just that, you'd be correct as well.

In the eyes of one linebacker that has become used to not being used to anything, what he continues to see everyday has him more excited than he's ever been. "All of this was meant to bring us closer together and it has," junior linebacker Stewart Bradley said. "The fact that we have the same coaches for a second year means a lot, but everyone has worked real hard to create something special between everyone on this team."

"We didn't have that last year, not even close, so what we have this year makes this an entirely different team than the one fans saw a season ago."

"I don't know how we are going to do, but I can tell you that this is the best camp by far for me and I have never been as excited to play the game as I am right now."

"This is how anyone would want it to be all the time."

Nebraska will go back into Memorial tomorrow and will more than likely continue their practices inside of the stadium unless weather dictates they move inside of Cook pavilion. Newcomers available tomorrow to the media will be rush end Justin Tomerlin and offensive lineman Jordan Picou.

Notes:

Linebacker Bo Ruud was held out of practice today, due to a nagging hip flexor, according to coach Callahan

Wide receiver Isaiah Fluellen is expected back "any day" according to the head coach

Wide receiver Tyrell Spain is still a no-show and Tuesday was the cut-off day, but Callahan said that tomorrow the results would be known for everyone and he was optimistic that Spain would still be part of the team.

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