"It was a somewhat sluggish practice today." Head coach, Frank Solich state. "It's obvious they are somewhat tired and banged up today." You might think that this is an expected lull in physical energy as the theme from the outset seemed to be one of intensity to a degree not heard of in some time. It does have it's affect and the ultimate conclusion is that during a time where you are looking to progress in the learning process, days like this end up being somewhat less productive. "We did have some live contact at the end, but we didn't make a lot of progress today." Solich stated. "That's the way it is though. You are going to be tired at times in this game. You have to learn to play the game when you are tired."
In addition to the absence of a real energetic presence, you could count many physical presences being absent as well, some of the football players taking tests. The good news though is that NU managed to get through yet another practice without any major bumps and bruises.
Much of the focus on this practice, at least on defense was a focus in the "Red Zone". How the defense stops opponents when they are just within breathing distance of a score. All in all, the defense faired a little better. "We knew there wasn't going to be perfection, although they prevented really big plays from happening." Solich stated. "Offensively, we put them behind the eight ball as we kept putting the ball back on the 13 yard line, so they weren't able to progress, but you would have hoped to see a few more plays that maybe got something done than what they had."
Curt Dukes did participate, but was limited in his action as he is still feeling under the weather due to congestion in his chest and basically, not being up to par. Solich stated that Dukes was working in 7-on7 and some team work.
The progress or lack thereof was echoed by offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Barney Cotton, along with teams having to fight through that to be successful. "We got six practices left and we have to get back to that tempo we had towards the end of last week." Cotton said. "There's going to come a time in the third or fourth quarter where you have to restart your engine and get going, we're going to have to play through that."
Concerning Cotton, there also seems to be a bit of curiosity as to just how the offensive line is going to shake out. With coach Frank Solich stating basically that if Josh Sewell continues to progress at center like he has, there's a likelihood that Richie Incognito would move back to left tackle, creating a sudden log jam at the position. Cotton commented on this possible scenario. "We're still going to put the best eleven guys on the field." Cotton said. "We are still searching at this point and there is no hard and fast decision that will be made until evaluations after this Spring."
There were no significant changes as to who has been out and those recently coming back in regards to the injury front.
This weekend, the annual coaches' clinic, hosting high school coaches from around the country will happen in Lincoln and go through Saturday. The event is expected to field apprx. 900 prep coaches around one coast to the other.
Nebraska will return to the field on Friday and Saturday, hold their second full scrimmage as they prepare for the Red/White game to come this April 19th.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619