Category Archives: Nebraska fall camp

Martinez, NU Offense Prepare for Opener

From Nebraska sports information:

With just four days remaining until the kickoff of their 2011 season, the Nebraska Cornhuskers continued with their preparations for Tennessee-Chattanooga on Tuesday afternoon. Nebraska practiced outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields in full pads for just over two hours. 

Following practice offensive coordinator Tim Beck spoke to the media about this afternoon’s practice, quarterback Taylor Martinez and the offense.

“It was a pretty good practice today,” Beck said. “It wasn’t bad. At the end a little bit, I think we lost our focus, but we have to continue to push through that, but overall not bad. I think the guys are ready to play somebody else for a change.”

Starting quarterback Taylor Martinez is learning a new offense where he is able to make more decisions than the previous offense. Beck spoke about how he and Martinez need to be on the same page.

“We work together and that’s the thing in this offense. Taylor and I almost have to have the same brain,” Beck said. “We have to be thinking a lot alike and we do. He’s a sharp young guy when it comes to the game of football. He can get it.”

Beck also said he told Martinez to just let the offense run its course.

“Let the offense run itself. Don’t force things,” Beck said. “Don’t feel he has to go out and play at a certain level of the offense. If he just runs the offense, everybody will get what they need to get. He doesn’t need to force throws, or runs, or decisions.  Just play the game, just like he’s been doing all fall.”

The Huskers will kick off their season in Memorial Stadium against the Mocs on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 CT. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Continue to check back to Huskers.com for all your Husker news.

Playing Freshman at Nebraska Could Signal Trouble, or Solid Recruiting

BY TODD NEELEY

Is it just me or is there a renewed sense of urgency for Nebraska football?

The Huskers’ struggles on offense in 2010 have been well-documented. Nebraska arguably could have won two Big 12 titles in consecutive seasons had NU been even remotely productive in moving the ball.

The overarching theme coming out of Nebraska fall camp has been a youth movement across the board. Taylor Martinez is the only veteran at quarterback, and he’s just a redshirt sophomore. Behind junior Rex Burkhead at I back is a stable of freshman running backs in Aaron Green, Braylon Heard and Ameer Abdullah. At wide receiver freshmen Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner are likely to play a lot, and now this from the Lincoln Journal Star Friday.

Freshman offensive lineman Tyler Moore is in the hunt to start at tackle, http://dld.bz/amYxe. This is significant for two reasons. First, the O line was a penalty machine in 2010, and became famous for melting down at inopportune times. Second, Nebraska couldn’t consistently pound the ball at teams when it needed to last season.

Moore isn’t the only young lineman to enter the discussion this fall. Freshman Jake Cotton has turned heads as well. At the least Nebraska will be playing more freshmen up front, and we could see a couple of them starting.

Although Bo Pelini has said he’s hesitant to play freshmen, his willingness to put the best guy on the field at any position, regardless of class, points to a coaching staff trying to push all the buttons it can to get the offense rolling again.

We’ll see if it works.

Playing freshmen comes with its fair share of risk. Most young guys are not ready for Division I football. So either Nebraska really has been masterful in its recruiting efforts in the past few seasons, or the offense still is full of question marks.

I tend to think the latter is the most likely scenario.

Huskers Conduct First two-a-day of Fall Camp

BY TODD NEELEY

OK, this is full of generalities and not much in the way of news, but here it is — a Nebraska release on the first day of two-a-day practices for the Huskers:

The Nebraska football team kicked off its first two-a-day session of fall camp with a two-hour practice inside the Hawks Championship Center on Friday morning. The team will practice again on Friday afternoon before wrapping up the first week of camp on Saturday.

Defensive Coordinator Carl Pelini met with the media following the morning practice and talked about the staff’s plans for the first two-a-day of fall camp.

“We had a physical practice,” he said. “It’s our first two-a-day and guys came out ready to go. We had a real physical day. It won’t be quite as physical, more assignment-oriented this afternoon. We’ll lighten up on their legs a little bit in the afternoon – still go hard, but maybe not quite as physical in terms of how we approach it.”

Pelini also talked about how the defense is progressing and how much of the defensive playbook has been installed.

“We’ve got our whole package in,” Pelini said. “In different days, (we’re) trying to focus on different aspects of it, maybe lean toward a certain place, but it’s all in and just honing it up now. We’re probably a week ahead of where we’ve ever been at this point. But the guys, they know the system better, they’re more experienced with it and they picked it up fast and they’re handling it pretty well. (There are) still some busts out there, but we’d rather correct it full speed than teach it on the chalkboard.”

Pelini credited the fast progression to the work the players put in over the summer, particularly the veterans among the group.

“It was amazing just day one how advanced we were just from the summer drills and the veterans coaching the young guys through those drills and the knowledge of our coverages and our blitz packages,” he said. “They were very advanced for a first day.”

With the defensive system already in place less than a week into camp, Pelini says that frees up time to work on specific details that usually aren’t addressed until the week of the first game.

“You get the whole defense in, then you have time to get into your checks and your special stuff that you typically don’t get into before game week,” Pelini said. “We’re already into some of our checks and some of our adjustments that in the past we hadn’t gotten to until the week of the first game.”

While the veterans have played a pivotal role in the defense being ahead of the curve, the newcomers have also done an excellent job of picking up the system, according to Pelini. When asked specifically about Daimion Stafford, a newcomer at safety, Pelini was complimentary of the transfer from Chaffey College in California.

“He’s picking it up really fast,” Pelini said of Stafford’s understanding of the Huskers’ defensive system. “It’s amazing how well he’s playing and how much he does understand. I knew that when I was recruiting him that what they did at (Chaffey College) coverage-wise was not the same, but conceptually pretty advanced for a junior college. He came in with a lot of background knowledge, and it’s just applying it to how we do it.”

Huskers Practice in Full Pads

The Nebraska football team held its first full-padded practice of fall camp on the Ed and Joyanne Gass
practice fields outside of the Hawks Championship Center on Wednesday. Head Coach Bo Pelini provided an update on the first five practices of camp after the workout.

“Today, on all sides of the football, we didn’t play up to our standards,” Pelini said. “I didn’t like today; I’ve liked everything up to today. Hopefully we take today as a learning experience. There was just too much inconsistency.”

Despite the disappointing practice, Pelini is confident that the team is moving forward.

“You get to that point, four or five days into fall camp where their legs start to get a little bit heavy,” Pelini said. “I think mentally, everything we’ve installed is starting to wear on our guys, but this is the time you have to be mature as a football team and be strong and play through difficult times.”

Pelini said the players that have struggled the most are the younger ones and added that the defense is ahead of the offense at this point during fall camp.

“Offensively, we’ve struggled, because obviously we are ahead defensively,” Pelini said. “That’s how it’s always worked; you should be ahead defensively. We have some veterans, some guys who understand what we’re doing, there were just sometimes we didn’t show good composure out there as a football team. That’s part of the deal, though, and hopefully it’s a learning process.”

Pelini added that seeing the players in full pads for the first time helped him to better evaluate their performance on the field.

“The evaluation is an everyday thing,” Pelini said. “You have to be able to practice in different tempos and gear; that’s part of the deal.”

Nebraska returns to the practice field on Thursday afternoon, with its first two-a-day session of camp scheduled for Friday.