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B1G Media Day Quick Hits

CHICAGO, Ill. – Bo Pelini and the rest of Nebraska’s contingent — Ameer Abdullah, Kenny Bell and Corey Cooper — met with the media on Monday as part of Big Ten media days. Here are some quick highlights from those conversations. We’ll have plenty more coming throughout the day:

–Like the all the other coaches to speak before him, Bo Pelini lauded the new rule allowing coaches a few hours of time to communicate with players during the summer. The benefits are obvious, he said, simply for keeping the spring momentum and learning going into the offeseason.

“I think the players enjoyed it. That’s not too much. They have enough things on their plate during the summer,” he said. “Let’s make sure we don’t over-inundate these guys with football. Theyr’e working hard and they’ve got a long season ahead of them, let’s get done what we need to get done and move on, and I think we did that.”

–Practice will remain open to the media as it did in the spring, Pelini said. The schedule itself will resemble last season with Sunday practice and Monday as an off day, but the workloads may change on Thursday and Friday during game weeks. The word “efficiency” came up multiple times with Pelini, who said his staff has been doing research to make practices more effective. Shorter practices and less “fluff” like walkthroughs are parts of the initial plan.

“Not as much shortening the bulk of practice, but fluff, some of the things like walkthrough time, different things like that,” Pelini said. “Really as much as anything is looking to be more efficient.”

–Offensively, Pelini said reducing turnovers is the top priority heading into fall camp. Like practice, increasing efficiency in all facets of football comes shortly after.

“Turning the ball over, that’s No. 1,” he said. “(We’re) doing everything we possibly can to simplify in every area. The terminology, as far as what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, make sure that our players can play a hundred miles an hour.”

–Pelini said captains have not been selected yet, but it will happen “soon.” The players will choose the captains, with a small amount of input from the coaches, he said.

–Pelini’s perceived flaws in the current recruiting system were a hot topic again Monday at Big Ten Media Days. Pelini again posed an early signing period as a solution, allowing kids to get the letter of intent process out of the way early so they won’t have to concern themselves with recruiting draws form other schools. It’s not just the kids who are at fault though, Pelini said.

“I’ve seen where fault can be brought up on both sides. I think the process and the roles, the way they are now, lends itself to things like this going on,” he said “I just think that the whole process and the roles, how it all works could be tailored in such a way that you don’t have as much of that. I think it would make a lot of sense on both sides.”

-Entering the fall, Pelini said he’s happy with the health of the team. Defensive back Daniel Davie is back to 100 percent, as well as defensive end A.J. Natter. However, Natter suffered a broken nose during a skills drill.

-The change in quarterback from Taylor Martinez to Tommy Armstrong has been smooth, and Kenny Bell expects it to continue that way. It just takes time to reach the same wavelength, Bell said. Developing the rapport takes years and thousands of reps, he said.

“Taylor and I were on the same page, I mean we were just familiar with one another,” Bell said “That’s something that’s developing between Tommy and I, and it will get better through camp. It just takes time.”

–Bell said he’s excited to have Wisconsin in the West Division with Nebraska with a developing rivalry between the teams. The 2012 loss to the Badgers in the 2012 Big Ten Champiobship game still stings as bad as ever, he said. It’s a “huge game.”

“They’ve put hands on us pretty good,” he said. “It’s a big deal, that’s for sure. And I’m really excited for it because I look forward to those guys.”

-Bell rattled off the names Alonzo Moore, Brandon Reilly, Jordan Westerkamp, Sam Burtch and Taariq Allen when asked about wide receivers with a chance to have a big impact this fall, not missing a beat between names.

“I mean, that’s a deep receiver group with six of seven guys that can play,” Bell said. However, they rarely play with six or seven receivers, so the competition will be strong as ever.

As for speed, Bell said that Brandon Reilly did in fact run the fastest summer 40-yard dash.

–Bell had quite a different reaction a moment later, learning that Nebraska failed to reach 200 rushing yards as a team after beating Purdue October 12. Bell winced and buried his face into his palms.

“I hate it,” he said. “We run the football. That’s what we take pride in; that’s what I took pride in… We’re the University of  Nebraska. We run the football, and we do it efficiently. That’s disappointing.”

(Photo by Alyssa Schukar)