The practice without pads meant the Huskers weren't going to be knocking heads, doing the one-on-one call-out drills or anything else that had become so thematic this spring, but that didn't stop the coaches from simulating a lot of real-game situations.
The emphasis this practice was on third and long and first and goal, all of the quarterbacks taking reps under center.
The QB controversy has been rather anti-climactic this spring as from the outset, it seemed as if it was inevitable that Zac Taylor would eventually be the man. Yesterday, after practice, quarterback coach Jay Norvell admitted at least to the fact that for now, Zac was indeed.
The battle that was to take place between Taylor and the incumbent Joe Dailey, well, it never really took place. Norvell did also say yesterday, however, that Dailey now residing fourth on the depth chart wasn't an indication that Dailey himself has slipped. "The other guys have improved," Norvell said of Taylor, Davis and Ganz. "We went back in this off-season and started from scratch with these guys. We taught them the principles, the reads, the footwork and we just went through every detail of this passing-game."
"The guys have performed, we have evaluated them and we think we've got guys lined up where they should be on their performance."
"I don't think Joe has slipped, I just think other guys have improved."
The rotation for the spring game
Like the spring game last year, the first units for the offense and defense will be on the same team, Norvell stating yesterday that for the reason of continuity, this was the best formula for success.
Except for the quarterbacks and the punt and punt return segments of the scrimmage, all other aspects are expected to be live, meaning every other player is open for full contact. The quarterback, if touched in the backfield while in possession of the ball, will be considered down at the point he was touched.
This should limit the play-calling somewhat, because due to the quarterbacks having only to be touched to be down, the plays drawn up for the quarterback to run the ball might be taken out entirely.
Players that will not be participating in this scrimmage are expected to be the following:
Matt Herian (leg)
Santino Panico (personal reasons)
Donald DeFrand (foot)
Brandon Jackson (shoulder)
In last year's spring game,
virtually every passing record
Another record that was broken was the attendance record, 61,417 showing up for last year's game, topping the previous record of 60,498 set in 1998. That year, Eric Crouch and Bobby Newcombe were competing for the top spot at QB and was the first year for the then new head coach, Frank Solich.
Final Stats of last year's spring game
The updated forecast has Saturday in the mid-70s, with a 5 to 15 mph wind and a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms.
Don't forget that in attendance will be some of the most successful Huskers ever to take the field at Memorial, three being the "Scoring Explosion", wide receiver – Irving Fryar, quarterback – Turner Gill and Heisman Trophy winning running back – Mike Rozier. Along with them will be 20 plus former Huskers that are currently in the NFL.
Bio Sketches on NFL Players in Attendance
Josh Brown: Josh Brown set the Seattle Seahawks rookie scoring record in 2003, while his 92 percent accuracy rate on
field goals ranked second in the NFL last season. While kicking for
Ralph Brown: Ralph Brown will begin his
sixth season as an NFL cornerback, and his second with the Minnesota Vikings, in
2005. Brown owns Husker records for pass breakups in a single game with seven
and in a career with 50, as well as starts made, with 45. He became the first
Correll Buckhalter: Correll Buckhalter is entering his fifth season with the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. As a rookie in 2001, Buckhalter set the Eagles' rookie rushing record with 586 yards. Buckhalter ranks No. 11 on the Huskers' all-time rushing charts with 2,522 yards, with his single-game high of 143 yards came in the season opener of his sophomore year against Louisiana Tech in 1998.
Toniu Fonoti: Toniu Fonoti is entering
his fourth season with the San Diego Chargers after being selected in the second
round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Fonoti was a first-team All-America selection as a
junior in 2001, and helped lead
Jay Foreman: Jay Foreman has enjoyed
six standout seasons in the National Football League with the Buffalo Bills and
Houston Texans. Last season, Foreman ranked third for the Texans in tackles and
in 2003, he was among the NFL leaders with 135 total tackles. Foreman, a
four-year letterwinner, served as
Ahman Green: Entering his eighth season
in the NFL, Ahman Green is one of the league's elite running backs with the
Green Bay Packers. Since being traded from
Russ Hochstein: A member of the
two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Russ Hochstein has
logged four seasons in the NFL at offensive guard. While at
Eric Johnson: Eric Johnson completed
his fifth season in the National Football League in 2004 as a member of the
Atlanta Falcons squad that reached the NFC Championship game. Johnson played his
four NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders, including two years under Head Coach
Bill Callahan. At
Trevor Johnson: Trevor Johnson recently completed his rookie season in the NFL as a defensive end with the New York Jets. Johnson played in all 16 regular-season games in 2004 on special teams, while he also saw limited action on defense. A four-year letterwinner with the Huskers, the Lincoln, Neb., native started 22 of 49 career games at defensive end, recording 131 tackles, 22 stops for losses and 7 ½ sacks.
Chris Kelsay: Chris Kelsay showed
promise at defensive end in his second season with the Buffalo Bills in 2004.
Kelsay appeared in all 16 games, including nine starts, and collected 52
tackles, 4 ½ sacks, two fumble recoveries and his first career interception. A
four-time letterwinner at
Kyle Larson: One of the greatest
Jammal Lord: Jammal Lord made his NFL
debut in 2004 at defensive back with the Houston Texans after making the
transition from college quarterback. The former
Mike Minter: Mike Minter, entering his
ninth NFL season, ranks as the Carolina Panthers' all-time leader with 696
tackles, 14 forced fumbles and four interceptions returned for touchdowns. He
helped lead the Panthers to their second Super Bowl in 2004, where they faced
the New England Patriots. Minter was a key member of
John Parrella: John Parrella is the
dean of former Huskers in the NFL, along with former NU teammate Will Shields,
having recently completed his 12th season while playing with the Oakland Raiders
in 2004. Parrella has recorded 402 tackles and 26 ½ sacks during 172 career
games with the Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills. A three-time
Jerrell Pippens: Jerrell Pippens spent
the 2004 season on the practice squad of the San Diego Chargers. A four-year
letterwinner between 2000 and 2003, Pippens was a member of
Carlos Polk: Carlos Polk is entering
his fifth NFL season with the San Diego Chargers. As a Husker, Polk was a
semifinalist for the Butkus Award as the top linebacker during his 2000 senior
season, while he was also a first-team All-America and All-Big 12 selection. A
four-time letterwinner, Polk was a member of
Dominic Raiola: Dominic Raiola has been
a mainstay on the Detroit Lions' offensive line during his four-year career,
starting 48-straight games at center since the 2002 season opener. Raiola was
drafted in the second round of the 2001 draft after a distinguished career as a
Husker. He earned the Rimington Award as the nation's top center as a senior,
was a finalist for both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award and was an
All-America selection during the same season. Raiola was a freshman on
Mike Rucker: Mike Rucker, beginning his
seventh season with the Carolina Panthers, has established himself as one of the
NFL's top defensive ends. Rucker ranks second in Panthers' history with 40
career sacks, while his career-high 12 sacks ranked fourth in the NFC during the
Panthers' Super Bowl season in 2003. A four-time letterwinner at
Josh Sewell: Josh Sewell recently
finished his rookie season with the Denver Broncos. A 2003 honorable-mention
All-Big 12 selection, Sewell started all 13 games during the Huskers' 10-3
season. He earned two letters after transferring from
Scott Shanle: Scott Shanle, entering
his third NFL season, saw his first significant playing time at linebacker for
the Dallas Cowboys in 2004 and recorded 23 tackles. Shanle was a four-year
letterwinner and a three-year starter at strongside linebacker for
Erwin Swiney: Erwin Swiney has been a
member of the Green Bay Packers organization for three seasons, providing depth
in the secondary. Swiney was a four-year letterwinner at cornerback for
Adam Treu: Adam Treu is in his eighth
NFL season with the Oakland Raiders. He took over the starting center spot in
2004, starting all 16 games during the regular season. He served as
Zach Wiegert: Zach Wiegert has become a
versatile offensive lineman during his 10-year NFL career. Currently with the
Houston Texans, Wiegert became one of college football's greatest all-time
offensive linemen at
Demorrio Williams: Demorrio Williams
had a successful rookie season with the Atlanta Falcons as a linebacker and
special teams standout. Williams made 56 total tackles, including 2 ½ sacks in
helping the Falcons reach the NFC Championship Game. Williams was the leader of
Player bios and some statistics courtesy of NU Sports Information