Player notes from the Huskers fall press conference
Below are the cliff notes from the players during today’s fall camp press conference. For Coach Frost’s comments check out the article here.
Freedom Akinmoladun (Senior Defensive End)
There’s a completely different culture in Lincoln now, and for the better, per defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun. He can sense how much more unified the program and fanbase is under Frost compared to the other coaching staffs he’s played for at Nebraska. “I’ve heard more ‘Go Big Red’ chants than I’ve heard in years,” he said.
Transfer Vah Vainuku is fitting right in with the rest of the defensive line and has provided a lot of knowledge Akinmoladun.
The freshman defensive lineman have gotten better by the day and are coming along well. Stated he’s seen good progress from all of them.
As for whats changed with Akinmoladun since last season? “I squat a lot more” he joked. He said he’s never squatted six plates on each side of the bar in his life and thanks to Duval’s staff he’s up to 8.
Dedrick Young (Senior Linebacker)
Dedrick says he’s learning a lot from linebackers coach Barrett Ruud thanks to his experience as a former linebacker. He said Ruud’s past translates to his ability to coach and teach others.
According to Young, Cam Taylor immediately impressed after arriving on campus. He’s been a force to reckon with in 7-on-7 scrimmages and his playmaking ability jumps out to Dedrick.
Both Akinmoladun and Young said that the teams goal is a big ten tile and that anything less would be a disappointment.
Tanner Farmer (Senior Offensive Lineman)
According to Tanner, he’s been splitting half of his time between guard and center. The staff wants him ready to play center this year if needed but not to “forget how to play guard”.
Farmer would like to see more rotation along the offensive line this season as younger guys have earned the right at playing time. Said Boe Wilson would be an example of one of those guys who have earned playing time in his eyes.
Brenden Jaimes has made “noticeable” gains this offseason with his strength and he expects big things from the young lineman.
Farmer said that “pound for pound,” Mike Williams was the strongest player on the team.
As far as his own development, Farmer said, “this is the best I’ve ever felt in my life”. Farmer is now squatting 765lbs for 3 reps and joked that he might need to move his goal up to, “I’m thinking 1,000 lbs now.”
He believes that the Husker offensive line will match up well with any defensive line they face this season.
Interestingly, as a senior Farmer has been through several coaches now and that the biggest problem they faced wasn’t a lack of effort but rather a lack of direction. He said that is no longer the case and that “We’re all in harmony now, and it’s awesome.”
Farmer broke from what the other players had stated in that their goal was to win the Big Ten and dropped this gem, “I don’t just want to win the Big Ten championship. I want to win THE championship. Go big or go home,” he said as he closed out his interview.
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Luke Gifford (Senior Linebacker)
Luke said one of the biggest reasons for his string of injuries was that his body wasn’t ready to be a Big Ten linebacker. The new training staff under Zach Duvall had done a better job of getting him where he needs to be to deal with the rigors of the Big Ten.
– It’s worth noting that Zach Duval was excellent as the UCF strength and conditioning coach last year as his squad had zero soft tissue injuries in 2017.
The biggest difference with Duval compared to the last strength and conditioning staff is the mindset that you are either going to accomplish your goal or fail trying, there are NO other options. By getting out of your comfort zone players have been able to lift weight and makes gains they did not think were previously possible.
Interestingly, Gifford said that the linebackers had yet to be assigned to specific sides of the defensive formations. The coaches are still moving players around to see who is the best fit in each situation.
Similar to Tanner’s comments about a lack of direction, Gifford noted that there wasn’t a lot of trust between the players and coaches last year. There was a lot of second-guessing going on and that’s all changed under coach frost and his staff.
Devin Ozigbo (Senior Running Back)
Devine said that he’s just focused on making himself better each and every day since that’s the only thing he can control. A big emphasis for him was getting into better shape and being a better all-around running back.
With Frost’s offense using running backs in different ways, there are a lot more opportunities for the running backs to create “explosive” plays in the new offense. It’s up to each running back to take advantage of those opportunities when their numbers are called.
Ozigbo commented on the status of several teammates noting that true freshman Adrian Martinez has “definitely got his body right” over the spring and summer. “He’s going to be nasty” said Ozigbo.
Junior running back Tre Bryant was also someone that stood out to Ozigbo who said he’s looking “super healthy,” and is pushing hard to get back to where he once was.
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