One week left - NU Spring practice continues

With ESPN and Kirk Herbstreit in attendance within the friendly confines of Cook Pavillion, Nebraska hit the final week of Spring practices. The theme of the Spring has been of little surprise, the defense dominating most of the scrimmages and "special category" drills. With only two more practices to go, the coaches are working feverishly to try and put the final touches on everything before they have to break for the off-season.

For the special category practice yesterday for Nebraska, it was goal-line. The first time NU went through this particular drill early on in Spring practices, the defense all but shut the offense down, allowing them next to nothing in as far as points and even forward movement of the ball.

The second go around was markedly different, the offense actually scoring on six straight snaps.

This time around, it was a little give and take on either side of the ball. "I was glad the way we practiced today." head coach, Bill Callahan stated. "We went down on the goal-line (and) it was a very competitive drill. I thought we were spirited, a lot of energy and we're looking forward to coming back to the practice field on Wednesday."

One of the continuing downsides to the offense this Spring has been one of turnovers. From the first practice during the Spring session that saw the offense turn the ball over 10 times, the problem has persisted. Yesterday wasn't any different. "I'm still annoyed at the fumbled exchanges." Callahan stated. "They are potential plays that are huge and if we can eliminate that, give ourselves a chance and not waste plays, that would be big."

It's safe to say that coaches, players and fans alike are hoping to see as clean a game as possible come this Saturday for the annual Red/White game.

And though coach Callahan didn't say, that's possibly one reason for the first unit from the defense not facing the first unit of the offense this Saturday as they will be on the same team. "The way we formatted the Spring scrimmage is that it will be the 1's versus everyone else." Callahan stated. "I didn't want to split up the team. I wanted to keep our first offense and first defense playing together, in our first year."

"It's important to us that we maintain confidence and continuity and what I don't want to do is split the team and divide any confidence we have in rhythm and also in execution."

One of the biggest issues of confidence for the team, at least as far as the coaches might go is the continually banged up offensive line. This unit has probably received as much or more scrutiny from the media this Spring, but Callahan talked about a positive in how at least one of the recent defensive transfers to the offensive line has progressed. "Seppo's (Evwaraye) progress has been the best out of all the newcomers to come over from defense to offense, so that's a real plus."

Along with Evwaraye, Jared Helming and Chris Patrick made the move to offensive line. Helming from the interior tackle position and Patrick from the rush end spot. Again though, Callahan cited Evwaraye as somewhat of a surprise to him, but a pleasant one at that. "I don't know him from his past." Callahan stated of Evwaraye. "But, the present is a surprise. Watching him currently is a pleasant surprise in that he's made a transition that has been awfully tough. Not only in that transition he has to make a move, but playing a starting role."

"So, he has a lot on his plate, it's challenging for him, but he's answered the bell several times and you are not going to find a harder worker than Seppo."

Evwaraye is listed as the starting right tackle while junior college transfer, Darren DeLone is listed as the starter on the left side.

Nebraska will finish off the practices this week along the same lines of what was done today. Some special category work, limited scrimmages and as usual, a bevy of special teams drills.

NU resumes on Wednesday, finishes up with what looks to be mostly a walk=thru on Friday and Saturday, the annual Red/White game is set to kick off at 12:30 p.m.


Notes:


    • Isaiah Fluellen and Ross Pilkington, both who have been sidelined with injuries were back on the field yesterday. Though both went, Callahan stated that neither were able to go the full length of the practice.


    • ESPN and Kirk Herbstreit were in attendance for today's practice in Cook. ESPN has been doing Spring reports on a variety of teams from around the country this year.


Steve Ryan can be reached at huskerconnection@neb.rr.com or 402-730-5619

For the full sound byte with head coach, Bill Callahan as he talks about yesterday's practice along with sound bytes, up to the minute recruiting updates and all the great information available to Total Access subscribers on the Insiders, check out the RED ZONE.


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