Tuesdays with the Huskers: Spring edition

The sun is out, the snow is (finally) gone, and the birds are chirping. It must be time for spring practice! Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini, and numerous returning players spoke to the media on the beginning of spring football practice, and preparations for the upcoming season. Here is the scoop from Tuesday with the Huskers- Spring Edition.

  • Bo Pelini was very upbeat and happy today.  Pelini said that he really loves spring practice.  It's pretty understandable.  The mood around spring football is very positive.  Hope is high, and all is well.  As a coach, Bo gets to evaluate, and see how the team is progressing through the offseason.
  • Right off the bat, Pelini told the media to forget about depth charts.  "It's not even worth the paper," Pelini said.  Pelini said that it is way to early to make any decisions of who is starting where.
  • When asked about sophomore QB Taylor Martinez, Pelini said that Martinez is a quarterback, and will be a quarterback.  He said the only reason that Martinez worked as a WR for the scout team was because he presents a certain athleticism that he wanted at the time.  It sounds like any chance of Martinez moving to WR or safety has been dismissed.
  • When asked about senior WR Mike McNeill moving from TE, Pelini said it really isn't as big of a deal as people are making.  McNeill has run routes out of that receiver position many times in the past, so the change won't be too drastic. McNeill's title did change, however, now being referred to as the "Adjuster."
  • Pelini commented on his depth at offensive line.  He said that he plans on using senior tackle Mike Smith at many different positions, perhaps including a shot at center. When it comes to the loss of experience at a position, center was the main place it took a hit as Nebraska lost three-year starter, Jacob Hickman.  I'm very interested to see where "Yoshi" Hardrick fits in to the o-line, and how this affects Smith.
  • Bo was asked about who will replace Ndamukong Suh at the DT position.  Pelini said he expects competition from Thad Randle, Terrance Moore, Chase Rome, Jay Guy, and Baker Steinkuhler, who will not move to the offensive line.
  • Prince Amukamara spoke for a little while.  Prince said that he really expects good things from Dijon Washington and Lazarri Middleton, who he admitted he has taken under his wing.
  • Amukamara also addressed the rumor that he would enter the NFL Draft.  Prince said someone has told him they heard he would be a first round pick on an Omaha radio station. 
  • Mike McNeill spoke at the podium.  McNeill said the decision to move to WR came as a mutual decision.   After the season, Mike told his parents he would like to work as a WR, so he could be more involved in the offense.  McNeill then decided he would go talk to offensive coordinator Shawn Watson when he returned to Lincoln.  It just happened that Wats beat McNeill to the decision, and called Mike into his office when he returned to tell him of the decision the coaches had made.  Naturally, McNeill didn't have a problem with it.
  • An interesting fact via McNeill.  The Huskers will have 16 team captains this season, who were voted on by their teammates.  He did not list all of the players, but I will let you know when I find out who every one is.
  • Senior wide receiver Niles Paul talked about players getting faster over the off-season. As you may or may not know Paul ran a 1.40 10-yard sprint, which happens to be two-tenths of a second better than the previous record held by none other than Ahman Green, Paul's uncle.
  • Paul also talked about practices when quarterbacks aren't off-limits, meaning no green jerseys. He said that practices can get a bit heated, because defensive players who are supposed to remember that this guy is still the quarterback, sometimes don't regrd that with as much importance as the offensive players think they should. Paul said that it can create conflict when that kind of stuff happens. So, while we can assume we won't hear about the friskiness should it actually happen, you can assume that this should be an extra intense series of practices for the Big Red.
  • Paul also cited fellow wide receiver Brandon Kinnie for much of his own progression throughout the off-season, and said that Kinnie was his primary motivation for getting better during that time. Kinnie was one of the few bright spots on the offensive side of the ball for the Huskers when they faced off against Texas. Of Nebraska's five first downs in the game, two of them came compliments of Kinnie who caught both of those balls short of the marker, but advanced it far enough to move the chains.
  • A couple other tidbits of information:  WR Khiry Cooper switched jersey numbers.  He will now don the infamous #1, which has been linked to injury troubles and off the field issues.  Best of luck, Khiry.  Also, Cruz Barrett was not listed on the roster.  Pelini did not address the issue, but it appears that Barrett is no longer a part of the Nebraska football program.

Make sure to keep tabs with Big Red Report, and don't miss out on YOUR chance to ask the Huskers your own questions in our traditional video feature: You ask, They answer - your questions for the Husker players. Make sure to check out the Red Zone to keep up to date on it all.


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