DT Williams ‘Day-to-Day’ with Ankle Injury
Wednesday’s practice was the mix and match variety, with players from all over the apparent recent depth chart playing with the top offensive and defensive units at one point or another.
The staff wanted to give some older, more experienced vets the day off, including Corey Cooper and Josh Mitchell in the defensive backfield. Both players are at 100 percent health, Bo Pelini said, but got the day off. Pelini said he wanted to see some hypotheticals for some “specific” info in some “what if?” scenarios.
Some players were held out with injuries however, including defensive tackles Kevin Williams after suffering a scary-looking leg injury last week. Pelini said however Williams’ leg injury is just “day-to-day,” and occurred in the ankle rather than the knee as originally thought.
“It’s a very mild one,” he said of William’s injury. “I think it just scared him more than anything. When you’ve been through what he’s been through, I can see why.”
–Sam Burtch, Ryne Reeves, Zach Sterup, Brandon Reilly and Andy Janovich didn’t participate in practice either. Long snapper Gabe Miller still remains out, with Pelini unsure about his potential to return. “Our long snapping is getting better. We have options there, so I feel comfortable,” he said. As for Miller returning for the first game: “Right now I would say we’re not counting on it.”
–True freshman D.J. Foster played on the defensive line Wednesday, despite playing offensive line to this point. Pelini said he thought of the switch to give practice depth after Williams went down, with Foster having played defense in high school.
As for (now former) defensive tackle Aaron Curry, Pelini said he’s no longer with the team and has been released from his scholarship.
“He didn’t like the fact that he was the fifth tackle,” Pelini said. “There you go.”
–The early offensive mix and match looks gave some interesting scenarios, with a 3-receiver set of Jordan Westerkamp, Jamal Turner and Taariq Allen making for an interesting matchup problem for the defense. Earlier in fall camp, offensive coordinator Tim Beck said the offense has considered formations to put both slot receivers on the field at the same time.
The offensive mixing gave Terrell Newby plenty of reps with the No. 1 offense, where he had one snap that led to the play of the day. Newby made a jump cut on a off-tackle run to the left, hitting a small gap that was all but filled by the linebacker. Newby and Imani Cross were both impressive catching the ball out the the backfield as well.
–Linebacker Zaire Anderson lit up when asked about the defense possibly surprising some people this season. “Yeah, I think we’re gonna surprise some people this fall,” he said with an uncharacteristically big grin. “I just think people don’t really know how good we are this year, and we’re going to show them. We’re going to keep trying to get better and keep pushing. I think we can have a good defense in the Big Ten.”
With nearly all defenders having starting or playing time last season, Anderson said the experience shows.
“I think we’re really ahead,” he said. “I think just everyone knows their assignment more, and everyone’s been on the defense for a year, so that helped us out a lot this year.”
–The offensive line may have seen the most shifting among starters and backups, with Matt Finnin, Givens Price and Chongo Kondolo all having solid days with the ones. You can tell Finnin is a violent players who plays past the whistle. Price and Kondolo make an interesting combination on the right side at tackle and guard respectively, and it appears that Price is making the most of his time with the top offense in Sterup’s absence.
–It seemed like Wednesday had the most scout team play. Last week Pelini said the Huskers would mostly practice “good on good” until this week, and that was certainly true Wednesday. Mick Stoltenberg, Peyton Newll and Luke Gifford were notable names on the scout defense, but Pelini did not give any indication about their status for redshirt possibilities.