Following a closed scrimmage practice on Wednesday, members of the Husker offense met with the media to talk about progress, the o-line, and a lot more. We’ll continue to have more throughout the day, but here are the highlights from Wednesday post-practice availability.
>> It was not a good day for the offense, line coach Greg Austin and tight end coach Sean Beckton both said. Consistency was lacking, particularly in its energy to start. The Husker defense deserves credit for punching first.
>> Amidst the up-and-down day, Thomas Fidone, a high 4-star signee from the 2021 class at tight end, had what Beckton described as a breakthrough. He’s made a jump this spring, according to Beckton, who said when Fidone first arrived he was operating with a good deal of confidence.
As with most high-profile freshmen, there’s a learning curve going from the best player on your team, and sometimes in your league in high school, to becoming just one of the guys your first year in college. He’s no longer the best in the room—Beckton called Austin Allen an NFL-caliber tight end with elite pass-catching skills—but once Fidone realized that, and that this was going to require a bit of patience, Beckton said Fidone’s play has been consistently improving.
>> Jaquez Yant joined Nebraska as a walk-on running back late last year. He redshirted his first year, but so far this spring, he’s been a big talking point on offense. The Tallahassee native has been said to be close to a scholarship, and Beckton says he views the back as a guy already on one.
With a chunk of the running back room either fully unavailable or cycling in and out of practice this spring, Yant has been consistently available and on the field. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound power back is physical and a load to bring down. Austin says his linemen sometimes even get run over in practice.
One to watch.
>> Connor Culp, Nebraska’s senior kicker and the reigning Big Ten Kicker of the Year, was back at practice Wednesday. He missed Saturday’s open practice, but coaches have assured there is nothing to worry about there.
>> Culp also revealed a bit about Australian import punter Daniel Cerni, and it’s rather hilarious. Nebraska brought Cerni over on scholarship to serve as the team’s starting punter, but he missed the entire 2020 season. Culp said he had to help teach Cerni football, that Cerni didn’t know down-and-distance or the difference between offense and defense or that he wasn’t expected to make tackles after punting.
I guess if your punter—and Cerni is 6-foot-4, 220—wants to go level some hits, more power to him.
>> Brant Banks, a third-year redshirt freshman lineman from Houston, is spending quite a bit of time at guard. He’s gotten first-team reps at right guard with Broc Bando playing left guard. A big emphasis for him is working to stay low and have his hips right. He’s a rather large lineman at 6-7, so playing more in the phone booth against guards as opposed to more of the island against edge rushers has been an adjustment.
>> Banks also gets work at tackle, as does Nouri Nouili and Ezra Miller. Austin has nearly two full units he says he’d feel comfortable with.
>> Matt Sichterman, a fifth-year senior, has really impressed Austin this spring. He’s fighting with Banks for the right guard spot.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.