Josh Banderas happy for fresh start

Nebraska linebacker Josh Banderas admits his first two years in Lincoln didn't go as planned. The junior feels he has a fresh start with a new staff.

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska linebacker coach Trent Bray had a message for junior Josh Banderas this spring.

Just play.

The coach saw a hesitant linebacker last year. It’s understandable when someone stops to think about it.

Banderas’ first two years in Lincoln were mismanaged by Bo Pelini and crew.

The former Lincoln prep should have never been playing his first year on campus. But after being thrown to the wolves, the previous Nebraska staff was very quick to yank the four-star prospect and put him back on the sidelines.

It would have been one thing if that was the end of the story, but in a Déjà vu like situation, the same thing happened to Banderas during his sophomore season.

One’s confidence can’t be very high when he’s worried about getting pulled as quickly as it happened.

To the casual observer, it looked like the former high school All-American was playing to not make a mistake, instead of to make a play.

Apparently it’s what Bray saw as well.

“Watching him on film last year, he wasn’t quite sure of going and getting things,” said Bray. “Hey go play, don’t worry about making a mistake. If you make it, we will correct it, but I want to see you play fast. He’s really taken to it. Josh has had a really good spring so far.”

Six practices in, Banderas feels like he has a fresh.

“I didn’t have the best start in the world, but I think this defense is a chance for me to get going and have a new start,” said Banderas, when talking about the scheme. “We went from a dictionary to a preschool book. It’s easier to play in.

“I feel like it’s a lot easier to play. I think it’s like high school again. There is one ball and go tackle… See it go…instead of see it, think about it, and then go.”

Fans hope the Josh Banderas they saw in the Holiday Bowl against USC is the one they see this season. The sophomore racked up 15 tackles after getting a chance to play an entire game.

“I felt like all the pressure was taken off and I could go play and have fun,” said Banderas. “I think it helped me gain a lot more confidence and show myself that I could do it.”

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