It’s all about competition for the Huskers. Offensive coordinator Troy Walters confirmed the team’s focus following Nebraska’s fifth practice of fall camp.
“The theme of this camp is really competing on both sides of the ball,” Walters said. “On defense, they’re making us a whole lot better. Those guys are getting after it and we have to compete with them. But then the competition within each position has been great. It’s been a good camp.”
On the offense, part of that competition has come from the new players on the roster. Junior college transfer running back Dedrick Mills is one of those players.
"He's picked up the offense well. Tough kid, downhill, you hand the ball to him and he's going to get his three or four yards which you need," Walters said. "He's doing well in pass protection. Big kid, so if they do want to blitz he's going to be solid in pass protection.
"And he's fitting in with the guys, so he's been a good addition."
Kanawi Noa, the transfer wide receiver from Cal, has also impressed Walters early in camp.
"He's done a great job,” he said. “He's a kid that's been productive when he's healthy. We felt like we needed a little more production at the receiver position. We like our young guys, but we kind of needed more guys to kind of model and be mentors to those guys. He came in, learned the offense and can play multiple positions on offense."
And last but not least, athlete Wan’Dale Robinson has been stepping up early. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander talked about Robinson following Monday’s practice, and Walters echoed the comments two days later.
"Smaller guy, didn't go through a whole lot of spring, so we're making sure we're being smart with his reps and how much he gets each day because the key with him is making sure he's fresh and ready to go Week 1," Walters said. "He's a smart kid, he understands the offense, he doesn't necessarily need to get a lot of reps to know what is going on, which is good."
Walters also expects Robinson to play at both receiver and running back this fall, which will only add to the competition across the board.
"He keeps getting better,” Walters said. “He's making plays as a receiver, he's making plays as a running back. That dual threat option will cause challenges for opposing defenses."
Other news and notes:
>> Nebraska got its first day off from fall camp on Tuesday, which can often mean the following day is sluggish at practice. That wasn’t the case for the Huskers on Wednesday.
“The guys were ready to go on both sides of the ball,” Walters said. “Good tempo, good energy.”
>> Back to that competition talk, Walters wasn’t willing to single out any player on defense but he’s been impressed overall with the group.
"The defense, they're making us a whole lot better,” Walters said. “Those guys are getting after it so we gotta compete with them. But competition within each position has been great, so it's been a good camp."
>> Speaking of the defense, Walters said they’ve been forcing a lot of turnovers early in camp. What’s the cause of the turnovers? Walters said it’s about 50-50 the defense playing well versus the offense being careless.
"We can do better on limiting turnovers," Walters said.
>> What about freshman Rahmir Johnson? Running backs coach Ryan Held had nothing but glowing words for Johnson after practice.
“Rahmir Johnson, I’ve told everybody, keep an eye on Rahmir Johnson,” Held said. “He’s got a chance. He’s a good player. I’ve just got to get him to cut it loose every time, but he’s got really good speed, he’s got sweet feet.”
Walters was on the same page.
"He's a speedster," Walters said. "When he hits a crease and gets in the seam, he's gonna take it to the house. He's done a good job."
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.