A little more energy hit the Nebraska practice today, but that was to be expected. With the addition of pads, even just shoulder pads and a helmet, players were a little less to take it easy on the intensity out on the field. For defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove, he'd have it no other way. "We want to by physical, make no mistake about it." he said. "We expect them to be aggressive and have fun out there doing it."
With so much emphasis on how the offense is progressing, many have lost sight of what the defense has had to acclimate with an entire staff of new coaches. Cosgrove said that it was basically what you expect - a little good, a little bad and a lot left to learn, especially when it comes to stopping their own team. "With trying to defend this type of offense, there's a lot of alignment and assignment." he said. "So, with every defense, there's checks that go along with it."
"(but) Our kids are really understanding of what we are trying to do. We're getting our checks and have good communication. We still have a long ways to go, but baby-steps - we'll be fine."
With Kevin Cosgrove standing in for coach Callahan who didn't address the media today, many of the questions were obviously pointed towards the defensive side of the ball. And, Cosgrove evaluated his unit, how the depth was panning and who he thought was possibly making a positive move. "I think we have the depth right, right now where it should be." he said. "I think Benard Thomas is making a run, which we expected. He's been a starter (and) doesn't like being a back-up."
"We've got some of the younger guys coming around. That's what we have to do. It's our job as coaches to get our players better."
Thomas' resurgence is no doubt welcome, even if the rush end position is possibly the deepest unit on the field. A one-time starter, Thomas was supplanted at the number one position during the Spring by Sophomore, Jay Moore. Cosgrove stated that Thomas is doing exactly what he needs to do if he's going to possibly make a push back to his former slot. "He's really working hard." Cosgrove stated. "He's got a great motor, he's getting tremendous pursuit to the football and his attitude has been very good."
What has also been very good according to Cosgrove has been the overall progression of his unit. Considering that he is implementing his own system, replacing that of former defensive coordinator, Bo Pelini, there was a time-frame for when everything should be put in and Cosgrove said they are right on schedule. "We've installed everything we planned to install right now to date." he said. "We aren't near to having the whole package in, but within the next week and a half, we'll have the whole package in."
"We're right where we need to be."
That's good news for Husker fans as with such a short time to prepare, expeditiousness is an obvious priority, one that will not cease to be that even after the first kick-off of the season.
Nebraska will hit the field tomorrow in full pads for the first time this Fall and will hit the first two-a-days on Saturday.
Second-team defensive tackle, Brandon Teamer was helped off the practice-field today with an apparent ankle or foot injury. Coach Cosgrove didn't know what the particulars of the injury were, but said that he thought he "would be fine".
Running back, Tierre Green also injured either his ankle or foot today, but walked off on his own power. The actual prognosis for both athletes will be better known tomorrow.
Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-476-5006