NCAA FOOTBALL: MAR 27 Nebraska Spring Practice
Photo by John S. Peterson

Pelini: Progress is happening

With hundreds of high school coaches in attendance for Nebraska’s annual coaches clinic, the Huskers held a 100-plus play scrimmage on Saturday inside Memorial Stadium.

“We got a lot of work done today, got a little bit of teamwork  and some individual work and we had a good go at a scrimmage,” coach Bo Pelini said. “It was good competition, guys competed. We had a good week and I thought we finished off the week well with the scrimmage today. We saw a lot of good things (and) a lot of things we’ve got to learn from. Progress is happening.”

The scrimmage made up the bulk of Nebraska’s 12th practice of the spring. Starting quarterback Taylor Martinez spent the majority of the scrimmage on the sidelines, as he has done most of the spring, giving the coaches a long look at back-ups Ron Kellogg III, Tommy Armstrong, and Ryker Fyfe.

“I thought Tommy did a good job. He is getting better,” Pelini said, “He’s got some fundamental things to work on but his understanding of the offense is getting better.”

Defensively, competition is still the key for the Huskers this spring. It has been particularly intense in the secondary where the Huskers have their starting cornerbacks back but are looking to replace both safeties. Pelini singled out Josh Mitchell and Mohammed Seisay at corner as having productive practices as well as top safety candidates Corey Cooper and Harvey Jackson.

At linebacker, Nebraska will have three new starters in 2013. Veteran David Santos is the presumed leader at middle linebacker but the outside spots will likely be filled by one of a number of freshmen. Jared Afalava, after a redshirt season in 2012, is a making a strong case to start this spring.

“He’s a guy that gets football,” Pelini said. “He’s getting better, it’s the details that he’s got to keep working on. He’s doing some real good things out there and he’s going to be an excellent football player.”

Pelini also mentioned that Nebraska is experimenting some this spring with moving both Afalava and fellow redshirt freshman linebacker Thomas Brown down to the defensive line to serve as rush ends in certain situation.

The Huskers have just two more practices next week before next Saturday’s spring game. Saturday’s scrimmage brought a close what has been a very productive week for Nebraska.

“I don’t think we had a day this week where we took a step back on either side,” Pelini sad. “That’s a good thing. I told our guys its not about results in scrimmages this time of year. You’re not game-planning against each other. It’s about playing techniques that you’ve been asked to do, it’s about flying around and playing with passion. I’m seeing some positive signs.”