Install Begins in Huskers’ Third Practice
Nebraska concluded an “install day” Wednesday as offensive coordinator Tim Beck called it. The first step in the new efficient football plan starts with the playbook, and the staff began throwing new plays at the Huskers on the third day of fall camp.
Sweep plays were among the noticeably “new” stuff, with players other than the usual suspects in Kenny Bell and Jordan Westerkamp receiving the ball. Alonzo Moore and Ameer Abdullah got in on the action too, with Imani Cross acting as decoy on a fake fly sweep play.
“Obviously we’re putting in all the install today. Out heads were swimming a bit,” Beck said. “Both teams are putting things in. We’ll put in a new play and it’s the first time the defense sees it. They’ll put in a new blitz and it’s the first time we see it. Sometimes, what you want to see, is do they learn from it.”
Quarterbacks and wide receivers got the most shuffling Wednesday, Beck said, working the top three quarterbacks all with the ones a bit. The receivers moved around as well, with more than a half dozen different receivers seeing reps with the No. 1 offense. Freshmen Glenn Irons, Jariah Tolbert and De’Mornay Pierson-El all took snaps with the top units. Beck said Irons and Pierson-El will play in the slot.
As for the top unit, Alonzo Moore appears to be making a push as he returns to the offense at 100 percent health. Beck said after playing last year and getting injured, it’s mental game now.
“Just mentally, he missed so much,” Beck said. “(In 2013) he was growing into it. To see if a guy can swim, he’s got to jump in the pool, right?”
–Nickelback Charles Jackson didn’t participate Wednesday, wearing a brace on his left knee. In the secondary, redshirt freshman Boaz Joseph saw time with the top defense, and Byerson Cockrell continues to practice at safety in place of the injured Leroy Alexander. Freshmen Josh Kalu, Chris Jones and Kieron Williams all got reps in the No. 1 defense as well. Williams made a nice pass breakup, and Jones’ size is imposing at the corner position. Kalu appeared to take the most time with the ones of the freshmen defensive backs.
–Despite a rough ending to the 2013 season on the offensive line, the 2014 starting version appears to be taking shape very early. Alex Lewis and Zach Sterup seem locked in at tackle, with Mark Pelini clearly as the most experienced center, and Jake Cotton at left guard. Mike Moudy appears just as locked in at right guard as the other four.
“I don’t know that you could sit here and say they’re as good, but they played,” Beck said. “All these guys got experience. They’ve been in ball games before…It’s not like we got guys that I’m not sure what they’re going to do because they’ve never been on the field. They’ve been on the field.”
–The offensive line looked particularly impressive in 1-on-1 drills. Mark Pelini may have looked the strongest, locking up Aaron Curry and Kevin Maurice on drills, as did Mike Moudy. Zach Sterup and Jake Cotton held their own as well – but neither had to face Randy Gregory like Lewis did.