If you can draw a theme from today's post practice with Bo Pelini, it was about opportunity. The list of injured players out for the remainder of the Spring isn't a huge one, but it's to some pretty key members.
Sophomore Jeremiah Sirles became the Huskers' main starter at left tackle last year, and he has missed the entire Spring. So too has junior defensive end Cameron Meredith. Senior defensive tackle Jared Crick was recently ruled out for the rest of the Spring. In addition to that, at running back the unit took a couple of shots as three transfers to the position were out of today's practice, that being Ty Kildow, Yusef Wade and Curenski Gilleylen.
Gilleylen, a senior, recently moved to this position from wide receiver, but according to Coach Pelini, was dinged up a bit during Saturday's scrimmage which featured over two hours of live contact, adding up to just over 120 plays.
Pelini said that when it comes to that position, and the backup spots behind junior Rex Burkhead, it's up to the players currently here to make this time matter. "It's an opportunity to look at the guys that are lined up there for us right now, and see if they take advantage (of the opportunity)," Pelini said. "Some guys have stepped up a little bit. Other guys haven't. This is just over the halfway point of Spring practice, so time will be running out pretty quick."
Also not practicing today was freshman defensive tackle Kevin Williams. Williams is one of three players who enrolled early at Nebraska, joining offensive lineman Tyler Moore and Quarterback/Wide Receiver Jamal Turner. Williams had a boot on his left foot, but the injury isn't believed to be anything serious, and Pelini said that in the short time Williams has had to rep with the team, he's "shown that he's going to be a good football player for us," Pelini said.
On an unofficial visit into Lincoln today was Highlands Ranch High School (Highlands Ranch, CO) quarterback, Steve Donatell. The 6-5, 195 lbs. QB was in to see the Huskers, but is expected to make several stops over the off-season, another one undoubtedly to visit Iowa, where his older brother, Tom, plays defensive back and will be going into this senior year with the Hawkeyes.
One topic that came up with Pelini was at kicker, where the competition has been fierce. But the early returns seem to favor junior Brett Maher, not just as a punter, as was originally thought as that was the position he was recruited to play. But also at kicker and perhaps even on kickoffs. Maher said that while he and former kicker Alex Henery have different styles in punting, Brett said he picked up a lot from the Huskers' all-time kicking great when it comes to field goals. And he said he even picked up a little from Adi Kunalic, who also graduated this year.
The Huskers will return to the practice field on Wednesday as the countdown to the Spring Game continues with the kickoff now just 12 days away.
Click the following link for the full post practice audio with Bo Pelini