Nebraska awarded Blackshirts to the remaining starters on defense on Tuesday. That included Lamar Jackson, Tre Neal, Carlos and Khalil Davis and Ben Stille. Yet, Stille left the practice field in his yellow jersey instead.
On Tuesday's Big Ten coaches teleconference, Coach Scott Frost said Stille had turned the Blackshirt down when offered. Frost said Stille didn't feel he had earned his jersey just yet. Hence, the yellow jersey remained with the sophomore defensive end.
On Wednesday, Stille provided a little more insight into his decision to decline the Blackshirt. While originally reported that it was based on his practice performance, the reason went much deeper than that.
“It was really more about the game didn’t sit well with me how I performed in the game," Stille said. "As far as that and from the definition of what I’ve been told what a Blackshirt was from Grant [Wistrom], Jason [Peter] and those guys who have come to talk to us it didn’t sit right with me to put that jersey on if I didn’t feel like I had lived up to that in a game.
"So I definitely want it to be something that I earn.”
Wistrom and Peter came to Lincoln to speak with the team back in August. A big part of that message to the defensive players was about how to carry yourself as a Blackshirt. That messaged resonated with Stille.
“They just talked about every day in practice and every snap of the game going 100 percent all the time," Stille said. "Off the field as well earning it and living your life like a Blackshirt.”
Stille said Frost respective his decision. They talk about accountability with the program, which was something that weighed on Stille.
"If you are going to be the person trying to hold people accountable, the first person you have to look to is yourself," Stille said. "That was definitely a big part of it.”
Plenty has been said this week about the Huskers starting to "get it." In Stille's case, he didn't find his performance deserving of the coveted jersey just yet. He'll get there, but he wants to feel he has earned it first.
“On the backside of the play, every play is just as important if you are on the front side of the ball or if the ball is 20 yards away on the other side," Stille said. "They are all just as important. The little things add up, that was a lot of it. Just effort on a couple a plays needs to be better. I wasn’t going to put that on and fake it in front of my peers and closest brothers who were in the film room with me. I didn’t want to be one way in the film room, they know how it was.
"I didn’t want to go out there and put a Blackshirt on and pretend like everything was good.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.