To some, the statement of head coach Bill Callahan following practice today was fairly anti-climactic. An ordeal of sorts that stemmed from off-season problems for Incognito precipitated what would eventually end at this point.
That was one of what appears to be a number of incidents that have occurred that have lead up to Richie Incognito, future Husker great to Richie Incognito, the great that could have been.
For the staff, more importantly the offensive line staff, they've proceeded with that idea all along. "We've had closure for some time now." offensive line coach, Dennis Wagner said. "We've had to prepare from the beginning of the season without Richie."
"We went into Fall-camp without Richie (so) it's not really any different."
While somewhat expected, the loss of Incognito was felt more as a loss for Richie himself than one of the team. It was a feeling that Richie would rather be anywhere than where he is right now. "I am sure that Richie would be the first one to tell you that he wished he had some moments back in his life and changed some things." Wagner said.
The now permanent loss of Incognito now puts the onus on Sophomore offensive lineman, Kurt Mann, the person that has been slated as the starter in Richie's absence along with Junior offensive lineman, Gary Pike.
Wagner said of Mann and Pike's progression that because they have operated with the idea that Incognito wasn't coming back, that's helped with their progression. "Kurt has made great progress and Gary Pike is still a guy that's a good football player." Wagner said. "I wish I could get him (Gary) in games more, but it's hard."
"It's still my goal to get Gary some reps in these games. I think Kurt has made great progress, he's got to continue to improve. He's proved that he can do a good job there and I am challenging him everyday to get bigger and stronger and grow so that he can lead the offense."
Because the loss of Richie Incognito was basically planned for, there is no expected shuffling of interior linemen to add depth to the center position. Wagner stated that currently the only change or possible change is if Darren DeLone might be able to vie for one of the starting tackle positions.
While nothing was officially stated, Jordan Adams was seen after practice in full gear, Adams apparently back practicing with the team. His return actually does fall fairly close to within the time-frame Callahan had stated initially, Adams projected to miss two weeks prior to the season and two weeks into the season before he would be cleared to participate with the team.
Adams has lost considerable weight, however and while it would appear now that he might see at least some time this year, it's not certain just how much.
With his addition though, that would seem to indicate that the other freshman (Beau Davis) will have the opportunity to redshirt if needed.
Not practicing today and expected to miss the Pittsburgh game were Adam Carriker and Lornell McPherson. Their status as to how long they are out is still not certain, but in their absence, Cortney Grixby will get the start opposite Fabian Washington and the expected starting unit at Rush End will be Jay Moore and Benard Thomas.