As Nebraska experienced their first session of two-a-days under head coach, Bill Callahan, it was one of a few players missing and one player coming back. Jordan Adams and Lydon Murtha are out as has been noted in prior reports - Murtha's setback for about another week and a half. RE, Kevin Luhrs is also out with as of yet unknown injury. And, adding to the list at least for the afternoon session was center, Richie Incognito. While the exact nature of Incognito's ailment is unsure, he is expected back as early as tomorrow to resume two-a-day workouts.
Another player slowed by injury is wide receiver, Mark LeFlore. Hampered by "turf toe", Callahan stated of LeFlore's progression that it's been fairly slow. "He's taken limited reps." he said. "He got a few more yesterday and then he injured it again during the course of practice, so that set him back behind again."
"We're hopeful we can get him back full-speed in a week- week and a half, but we're optimistic that he'll be back."
With the injuries aside, there comes the obvious part of practice that Nebraska is feverishly trying to accomplish in the short time available until the start of the season. At this point coach Callahan stated that it's a time where there's still some new stuff going in, but there's also a little refining as well on what's been put in thus far. "You are at that point in the sixth day of practice when you are beginning to get a lot of system in." he said. "You are trying to go back and repeat plays so you can get some continuity and some consistency to execution."
"We didn't have that today, but it's going to get better."
While the expectations are as usual, enormously high in the local land of Lincoln, the AP Poll that came out today voiced a little different message as to national projection for the Huskers. Ranking out of the Top 25 - standing in at around 27th in total points, Nebraska will have a long road ranking-wise before they find themselves where they want to be. Callahan said this morning before the poll was released that he couldn't say whether he personally thought that Nebraska should be in the top 25 or not. "I don't know, I really don't." he said. "I haven't been on this level and I can't compare it to anything in recent history. I haven't had a chance to study all of the other teams, so it's not a fair comparison."
The expectations for the team may not be particularly high when it comes to a national perspective, but they are locally at least, close to astronomical. One new player to the team that is trying to meet those expectations seemingly single-handedly is wide receiver, Terrance Nunn.
Since practices have begun, there has been a buzz around Nunn as to what he could or might accomplish in a system that catered to systems he's played in before. And, as coach Callahan remarked about Nunn yesterday, that familiarity has led to much of this early success. The defensive players are noticing, however, even the ones that don't necessarily have to defend play after play. "I can't speak for the coaches, but he's impressed a lot of the players." Linebacker Stewart Bradley said. "He's definitely made some really nice catches and some big plays. So, he's going to be a good one."
When asked about Nunn's ability, quarterback Joe Dailey simply smiled a little and said "You've seen what he can do."
When it comes to the offensive line, the depth has been a major issue as people try to project who's going to play where. Coach Wagner stated that currently his starting tackles are Mike Erickson and Seppo EvWaraye, his starting guards are Jake Andersen and Brandon Koch and the shoe-in of course being Richie Incognito at center.
This line-up hasn't fluctuated much in the last couple of days, but Wagner said that it is by no means close to being firm. "Oh no, we aren't even close to deciding that." Wagner said of stating even a slightly firm depth-chart. "There's a lot of practice left yet and everyone is fighting for positions. We'll figure it out and get our best guys on the field, but we probably won't know that for awhile."
One player that Wagner was probably counting on to be at Nebraska already is junior college commit, Cornealius Thomas. Thomas, having been delayed by issues with grades seems to still be fighting with that issue even now. Coach Callahan actually couldn't say what the official status of Thomas was because he simply didn't know. "I want to know." he said. "As soon as I know, you'll know."
The lack of knowing has caused some concern especially since as Callahan stated, Thomas hasn't officially qualified as of yet. "He's not qualified yet. We're waiting (for) his information and as soon as we get it, we'll let you know." Callahan also did say that he hadn't personally talked to Thomas himself for approximately a month.
Nebraska will resume practice tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. and then resume two-a-days the day after.
Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-476-5006