Spring Musings

With one day in the books, what do you think Nebraska's record in 2008 is going to be? No, it's not an easy prediction and we aren't going to save you by making a haphazard one ourselves. But after day one, there are a few things we know we didn't know before.

Matt Slauson weighed 350 pounds before the end of last year and now he weighs just over 330 and is expecting his playing weight to be around 325. Phillip Dillard weighed close to 260 pounds before the end of the year and now he weighs 238 pounds. Both said that it was told to them, not asked of them that they would lose the weight….or else. "You lose the weight or you don't play," Slauson said during Monday's press conference. "They said you are going to lose the weight," Dillard reiterated after practice yesterday. You sense a trend here? First-year strength and conditioning coach James Dobson seems to have made an impression, but until you see it for yourself, you think that it's the same old stuff players are supposed to say about how this guy is so tough, so strict, so intense and workouts are as hard as they have ever been. But seeing is believing and for two guys to lose in the pace of three months a combined 65 pounds, approximately, you have to think that something there is legit. Much has been said and speculated on about which players could be here, there or wherever. Position changes – that's what we are talking about, coaches moving players around to places they think they will help the team the best. While we haven't seen anything drastic in day-one, here are some changes or non-changes of note: Senior safety Larry Asante is still at safety, working alone side junior Rickey Thenarse Also at safety and darn happy about that is junior Major Culbert. Culbert has shifted from one position to another since arriving at Nebraska, initially starting at safety, then moved to running back to address all the injuries during the end of the 2006 season. Culbert then was moved back to defense, but to the weakside linebacker. But he's back at safety, which Culbert said coming into Nebraska, there's no place he would rather be. Also working at safety is redshirt freshman Sean Sullivan. Sullivan missed all of last year with an injury, but was slotted in at cornerback after he arrived, but now finds himself at the safety spot. Also working at corner is sophomore Eric Hagg, who came in as a safety. According to secondary coach Marvin Sanders, this is who is being worked out at both safety and corner right now: Corner Sophomore Anthony West Sophomore Prince Amukamara Sophomore Eric Hagg Redshirt freshman Lance Thorrell Senior Armando Murillo Safety Junior Major Culbert Junior Larry Asante Redshirt freshman Matthew May Redshirt freshman Austin Cassidy Redshirt freshman Shawn Sullivan Senior Matt O'Hanlon Working out at the linebacker position, while LB coach Mike Ekeler said there is nothing concrete as to just where guys might be playing across the face of the linebacking corps, these are where certain players practiced yesterday: At MLB Junior Phillip Dillard Junior Nick Covey Redshirt freshman Mike Hays At WLB Sophomore LaTravis Washington Redshirt freshman Austin Stafford Sophomore Thomas Grove At BUCK Sophomore Blake Lawrence Junior Colton Koehler Sophomore Kyle Moore Nebraska went with no pads, of course, but coach Pelini said that it wouldn't be long until the team started strapping on the full compliment of gear. Much of yesterday's practice was set around base offenses and base defenses. While the offense has the luxury of so many returning starters, there are some who spent much of their time last year on the scout team, thus will go into this spring as many newcomers night in the fall. Working at out quarterback are the usual suspects in seniors Joe Ganz and Beau Davis, along with sophomore Zac Lee and redshirt freshman Patrick Witt. In addition to that group are two newcomers to the line-up in Nebraska-native Jim Ebke and Kody Spano, who enrolled early in January following his high school career. In our player spotlight, we talked to Dillard, who has not only lost the weight, but said that he has a new energy, which is directly reflective of the coaches. As you might expect, coach Pelini spent the brunt of his time in yesterday's practice working with the defensive unit. Nebraska has today off, but will resume practice on Friday and start with day-two of the spring session. Make sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled as we bring you the stories form spring, but there will be video and audio as well, including post practice audio with Bo Pelini every practice-day in these practices. According to Keith Mann, Sports Information Director at the University of Nebraska, there have been over 47,000 tickets sold for this spring game. Just to give you a comparison on this, when Nebraska had an all-time record for spring games at Nebraska, almost half of those 63,000+ fans bought their tickets at the door. If that holds true for this one, this will become the first sold out spring game in Husker history. Stay tuned as we get you up-to-date on all things spring with the Nebraska Cornhukers over this spring session.

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