It's a business trip, so to speak.
The anticipation which has grown around the state of Nebraska since the hiring of Bo Pelini, has prompted a state once divided, to rally around the program once again, which is best illustrated by the expected sellout for the game this weekend.
That's great, and the thought of that is obviously exciting for everyone involved. But following today's practice, just a couple of days from the Spring finale', it's just another day on the job for one Bo Pelini. "it's never where you want it, but it's getting there," he said. "We are seeing some good things and some bad things. We lost some guys to class today (but) there's progress being made."
The good news as this session of practices comes to an end is the reappearance of a couple of players who have missed some time due to nagging injuries. Sophomore Keith Williams was back in full pads today following a three-practice absence from a shoulder tweak. And sophomore wide receiver Will Henry, who had participated in just two practices this entire Spring, is trying to get back into the flow of things.
Health has been and obviously is always a major concern for the coaches, and that is no different even with this weekend's game. Coach Pelini said that the format would be such that the play-count would be more important than the total time on the field.
"We don't want it to go all day. We don't want it to go all day," he said of the potential structure of how the Spring game would go in regard to time, indicating that the number of plays was more relevant than the actual time spent on the field. "It will be regular clock early, and then at some point, whether we run the clock in the second quarter and bring it back to regular clock in the third quarter, I'm not sure yet. (It) depends on the amount of plays."
One thing which has been determined is the make-up of the teams, both players and coaches combining to choose sides. It wasn't a free-for-all from start to finish, though, as Pelini said that there was a little bit more structure as to how the teams would be divided. "Obviously, if the first right tackle was on one team, the second right tackle was on the other team, so on and so forth," he said. "And we split it up as to who had defense. So, it came out pretty evenly."
While the head coach didn't comment as to who would be the actual starters for some spots, because an actual depth chart for the Spring has obviously not been determined, you can likely expect returning quarterback starter Joe Ganz lead the Red team and redshirt freshman quarterback Patrick Witt takes the first snaps for the white.
One particular format of the Spring game which will be consistent this year,
is the presence of the green jerseys on the quarterback. This tradition dates as
far back as Bob Devaney, where the quarterbacks would be off-limits, and that
will remain the case this year.
As far as the conclusion of the annual Red/White game, while one team would like to be known as the winner, the head coach looks at what it takes to win as being the most important thing to come out of the Spring. "Doing the right thing and doing your assignments leads to winning and that's what they (players) have got to understand," Pelini said. "It's not about how many people are in the stands or anything else. It's about executing and playing with technique and effort. That's the way it's always going to be.
Nebraska will return to the practice field one last time before the glorified practice on Saturday, which for the first time in recent memory will have assigned seating on the east and west sides and general admission in the end zones, versus the typical format of general admission for the entire stadium outside of club and box seats.
Stay tuned to Big Red Report this evening as we bring you our last Spring in Motion, this one coming with offensive line coach Barney Cotton.