LINCOLN, Neb. – What a difference a year makes?
Through just a few practices the Nebraska media has been able to watch, the Huskers’ offensive line looks better – more polished.
It shouldn’t be a surprise. Last year at this time the group was getting used to new position coach Mike Cavanaugh. With expectations clearly laid out and guys sporting “alligator skin,” the Huskers hope to improve in the trenches in 2016.
“I’m not saying they didn’t last year, but it took time, to play their best football over the last four games,” said Cavanaugh. “It’s all coming faster…I don’t think we did a good enough job knocking people around last year, that has to be the goal.”
And what does alligator skin mean?
“I’m going to give them s*** and they better be able to take it,” said Cavanaugh. “And they can give me s*** back. When we work it’s work. You also have to have that personal relationship with your players as well.”
Here is a rundown of what Cavanaugh has said about certain players this spring so far.
David Knevel: “My tallest guy in the past was probably 6-foot-6. But the one thing about David is, he’s 6-foot-9, but he’s a good athlete. He moves well. He gets good leverage, which is pretty impressive for a guy 6-foot-9.”
Dylan Utter: “I think center is a good spot for him. He’s a smart guy. Paul Thurston has classes, so it’s been hard for him to battle it out with Utter for center…Ryne Reeves a year ago was really a conscientious guy, who really worked at it. Great perpetration guy, who was pretty detailed. That’s the way Utter is.”
Paul Thurston: “He played right guard on Saturday. It’s going to be tough when you are only here one day a week. We will fit him in when he gets back, but you better be a fast learner.”
Corey Whitaker - “I think he’s a much better player than he was a year ago…he was a guy who every drill we did, he jumped in both sides. He’s really improved his technique. A year ago he was like a flounder. You go flounder fishing and they are flopping all around the boat. Well a year ago he’s flopping all around and was on the ground a lot.”
Tanner Farmer: “He has a chance to start, but that aint up to me. It’s like that Missouri license plate – show me. Everyday they get a chance to show me…he’s moving better than a year ago. A year ago he was, one thinking a lot. That makes you methodical. But two, I thought he was heavy. He’s moving like a different guy with the body he has now.”
Nick Gates: “He loves football. He wants to kick your ass, not just block you. He’s a worker and you have to have that passion and drive. He’s got that and is going to work his rear end off.”
Jerald Foster: “I want to see a physical guy -a guy who is really serious. He could be a great player for us. Physically, he has to become a better knee bender and playing with leverage. You can’t just rely on your athletic ability; you have to have good posture.”