Huskers Offense “sluggish” to start third Spring Practice
The Cornhuskers were in full pads for the first time during spring practice this morning and offensive coordinator Troy Walters noted that his unit struggled to get things started.
“The defense came out, they attacked (and) we started too slow. I tell the guys all the time that If we start that way in a game and were down 14 – nothing”.
Walters knows that in order for his squad to be successful the offense needs to be ready to go as soon as they step on the field.
“They have to treat that practice like it’s a game. When they step on that field, it’s game day with the same mentality and same focus.” Walters said. “But you’ve got to treat it like it’s September and we’re playing Akron.”
While the overall tempo and aggression from the offense was lacking early on, the coaches still saw a lot of good things as they continued installing the Huskers new offense.
Running backs coach Ryan Held singled out senior Devine Ozigbo today for a play he made on a ball that was thrown behind him as well as junior college transfer Greg Bell who continued to shine in practice.
Held said that his group’s ability to catch the ball has been something he didn’t know about and has been pleasantly surprised by. “All of my running backs have great hands,” he said.
Looking at the bodies up front, coach Walters said he was impressed early on by the depth and versatility of his offensive line and stressed how important they are to the offense. “Everything starts up front. If you don’t dominate up front you don’t have an offense”
Depth and injuries have been a concern for the Huskers and coach Walters believes that there are plenty of guys who can step up for the Huskers as they work through injuries this spring.
“It’s not just five guys, I think we can play eight or nine guys,” Walters said. “You have to have depth in this league because there’s going to be some injuries (during the season)”
Photo courtesy of Husker Communications
Player/Position Notes from third spring practice
– Tight-ends Austin Allen and Jack Stoll have impressed coach Sean Beckton with their play this spring.
– Beckton complimented his group’s ability to play physical and said their big focus this spring is working on catching the ball and cleaning up their route running.
– Justin McGriff is working out at wide receiver right now and if he adds a little weight he could move down to the tight end position as time goes on. For now, he’s using his 6’6 frame to create mismatches on the outside of the field as he works out at wide receiver
– Stanley Morgan continues to receive praise from coach Walters for his leadership and worth ethic.
– Coach Walters is also really excited about Tyjon Lindsey and lauded him and his abilities today with praise.
“You’ll see Tyjon in the backfield, you’ll see him out wide, you’ll see him all over the place cause he’s a special kid. He has a special talent and I’m really impressed with what he can do. Love what he can do. He’s a competitor. When he steps on the field it matters to him, he’s going to fit really well in this offense.”
– Walters has echoed what Frost has frequently repeated in that they are there to get better than the day before and to play to a higher standard
– Left tackle appears to be held down by sophomore Brendan Jaimes and right tackle by sophomore Matt Farniok.
– Early on, it appears the interior linemen will be fairly interchangeable at guard and center. Multiple players have rotated in and out at the positions thus far. Guards Tanner Farmer and Jerald Foster have taken reps at center along with walk-on Hunter Miller while Michael Decker works back from injury
– Mario Verduzco referred to non-padded practices as “pajama practices” and didn’t effuse much praise for his QB’s today.
– Defense won the day against the quarterbacks and coach Verduzco wasn’t happy with at least two of the interceptions and a few other near misses.
– Reps at QB are pretty equal right now and guys are rotating around.
– Noah Vedral has been a “tremendous resource” to the current group of QB’s and has been impressive.
– QB’s are taking playbook tests “open book” right now. Verduzco sees it as a way to help them gain a full understanding of the playbook and retain it faster.
– Adrian Martinez shoulder that held him out of his senior year of football doesn’t appear to be an issue for him any longer. Verduzco has been careful in monitoring it
As far as the rust goes, Veduzco complimented Martinez play so far and compared him to “duck in water” in how he’s responded to being back on the field.
– Running backs coach said today that he’s coaching his backs to “trying to score touchdowns on every play.” Held is instilling a culture that he saw in former Husker greats such Ahman Green, Lawrence Phillips, and Damon Benning who could all score from 50-yards out.
– A common theme from several coaches, that Frost echoed after practice #2, is that the coaching staff is a lot farther ahead with things at Nebraska in year 1 than where they were at UCF thanks to the continuity on the staff.
Recruiting Tidbit from coach Walters:
“I want to coach playmakers. I want to coach guys that when they get on that field they attack. When you get the ball in their hands they can make plays. Each guy has different strengths. We’re going to utlize those guys in the best position and the best way to make plays.”
Photo courtesy of Huskers.com