With seven coaches out on the road recruiting you might think that practices would be a little more brief and perhaps not as structured as you might have when your normal compliment of coaches are in place.
Not when Bo Pelini is one of those coaches who remains, though.
Not to say the other assistants wouldn't be as strict or the practices wouldn't be as full, but in just about an hour's time the first-year coach said he liked what he saw. “It was a good sharp crisp practice – not long – about an hour,” Pelini said. “We got a lot of situations: Run, some first and 10s and third downs – we had a good practice.”
Pelini did say that today's dramatically shortened practice would be followed up by successively longer practices as the week continued.
Leading up to the Virginia Tech game this season, the Huskers had a bye-week as well. But the staff said during the course of the second week that, that was the time they had really worked on the Hokies, the first week being used more to brush up on fundamentals and revisit some of the things they weren't happy with at that point in the season. Perhaps due to the improved play of the team in recent weeks, that won't be the case entirely, as Pelini said that the team would get introduced to the Buffaloes tomorrow.
On the injury front Nebraska's situation is looking better and could look significantly better by the time they host CU the day after Thanksgiving. Senior offensive tackle Lydon Murtha made it back to practice today as did fellow tackle, sophomore Jaivorio Burkes.
Not participating in practice was junior linebacker Phillip Dillard who continues to rehab from an ankle injury three weeks ago. But Pelini said that the prognosis for the Oklahoma native is good. “I really anticipate having Phil Back,” he said of seeing him for the Colorado game. “But you never know. He's running straight-ahead good (and) his change of direction keeps getting better every day.
“We're probably not going to do anything with him until Sunday, but I think he'll be practicing on Sunday. That's what we hope.”
During this particular stretch where there is an off-week, players who might need the rest will finally have a chance to get some. Senior running back Marlon Lucky missed today's practice, and was actually wearing an orthopedic boot. But Pelini said that he could have done today, if needed, but this is a perfect time for him and anyone else to get some rest they might need. “I think that this is the time to get our guys back a little bit (and) get their legs and make sure we are ready to roll come next week.”
There is obviously a lot of emphasis on what needs fixed in-house, but with a bye-week you have to work on things outside the confines of Memorial Stadium.
Recruiting, to be more precise.
The Huskers currently sit at 16 commits in a class that could boast up to an estimated 25, and with just two and a half more months of real recruiting time left, the assistants getting out on the road maintaining relationships and even building new ones, is paramount to the future of the big red. “There's a lot to do. We are out seeing some of our guys,” Pelini said of many of their current commits and recruits. “We are trying to identify some other guys that have come up later on, some guys that have come to our attention. We are covering a lot of ground.”
Make sure to stay tuned to Big Red Report for all the latest information on Husker recruiting as we keep you up-to-date on who just some of those guys could be, some of the players expected to make it in for official visits and plenty of information and insight to keep you ahead of the game when looking at the potential stars of the future for the Huskers.
The Huskers will get back to practice tomorrow in what will be a shortened week of practice, the players potentially having both Friday and Saturday off this week.
Stay tuned for post practice audio with sophomore quarterback Patrick Witt and senior defensive end Zach Potter as Witt talks about the running aspect of the offense and how he fits in and Potter talks about many things, including his own personal journey as a Husker and just how he's seen this fairly fluid time of change all happen during his time with the big red.