As coach Norvell stated following the 7th day of Fall practice, to be a physical team you have to practice physical. With that comes the usual bumps and bruises, but sometimes real injuries will occur.
It seems that lately Nebraska has had more than it's share, losing defensive tackle - Brandon Teamer, offensive lineman - Lydon Murtha, running back - Tierre Green and now the latest injury is to yet another offensive lineman, this time Seppo Evwaraye.
Evwaraye appeared to injure his ankle, Seppo seen following practice on crutches with his ankle heavily taped. His loss is serious not just in Nebraska losing a projected starter, but depleting a unit that is already thin to the point of anemic. "Seppo is an important guy for us." Norvell stated. "He's a guy that we were looking to really solidify that right side of the line. Knock on wood, but I hope it's not too bad."
Nick Povendo had been working out at one of the guard spots during the Fall, but was listed in the Spring as back-up on that right side. It's unsure as of now as to who will be slated to fill Evwaraye's shoes until he can return to the field.
In other offensive line news, it has been the defensive line that has seen the bad side of the injury bug as well. With second-team defensive tackle Brandon Teamer still down for an indefinite period of time due to an ankle injury, offensive lineman Danny Muy has been moved over to give the position a try. The move is one simply to address depth issue, but Norvell stated that he wasn't sure if this move would be permanent or not. "A lot of times with these young guys, we want to look at them at different spots." Norvell said. "He's getting an opportunity to do that and he just wants to help the team. We are a little short there and thought we would give him a shot."
Back to practice, Nebraska hit the field today following a two-a-day session on Saturday. Norvell said of the fatigue factor possibly setting in, it was this time he said that teams find out who they are. "It's a time of executing when you're tired. It's about pushing through with your teammates and how to find a way to make something work."
"They are a little bit tired, but they are also getting closer and learning how to accomplish those kinds of things together."
As the clock ticks down, two practices a day might seem just what the coaches want in order to rapidly install what is left of their offensive and defensive schemes. Due to the limitations on these sessions though, coaches not being able to run them consecutively, it's still limiting to a degree. Norvell stated that right now, he would like two-a-days all the time. "We don't get enough chance to practice for my taste.." he said. "We have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. The more opportunities you have, the more you have a chance to learn, so I would rather have more practices if that was the case."
What little practices there have been hasn't seemingly stopped the offensive unit from gelling at least somewhat together. The continuity of any unit can't be understated as to it's importance to success. Norvell stated of his unit that they are starting to get that and become a little more cohesive in their efforts in trying to be the kind of offense the staff is wanting them to be. "I think we're starting to get a little personality on offense - We're getting them a little closer." Norvell stated. "You have to go through competitive drills to get that. We've been through some competitive drills and you want to see how guys respond when they are stressed as a unit."
"We are doing that and we are starting to get a little of that chemistry we are looking for."
That development will continue tomorrow as the second session of two-a-days begin. The countdown continues as Nebraska is 7 days in and 20 more days until the home-opener against Western Illinois.
That game is slated to kick-off at 6:00 p.m.
Running back Tierre Green sat out of practice again today. The coaches made not statement as to why Green was back out after practicing yesterday, coming off a slight pull of the hamstring.
Offensive lineman, Richie Incognito returned to practice today and participated in the entire session.
Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-730-5619