Practice No. 8 of Nebraska’s spring football is in the books. The Huskers were back in pads on Wednesday, and it was all about competition.
Nebraska kept score between the offense and the defense on a goal line drill during Wednesday’s practice. Who got the win? Shout out to the defense.
However, it wasn’t entirely about who won and who lost. It was also about the competition between players, which is something Coach Scott Frost has been working to build on the team since he arrived at Nebraska.
"We didn't have enough of that when our staff got here,” Frost said. “We had competition today. It was offense versus defense. It was our second time doing it. Every play mattered. Every rep mattered. We were keeping score. Whether it's fair or not and whether people like it or not, there's a scoreboard in life, in football, in everything.
“We shouldn't run from that, we should embrace that and I want guys that are at their best when the chips are down and want to compete."
The players got into the competition too. Cornerback Lamar Jackson said it’s hard to get under quarterback Adrian Martinez’s skin, but the defense still went out there and jawed with him.
“We're in his face and stuff like that and [trying to] get under his skin but he's poised and handles that all pretty good,” Jackson said.
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The way Jackson sees it, all the competition and jawing is a good thing. It makes practice fun, especially when it can easily become a grind.
"We've got to go in that locker room at the end of every practice,” Jackson said. “We talk smack, we say this and that. When we go out there, we're on team but we compete. We have to have fun with this somehow. One you're having fun and competing against your brothers, it gets a lot easier. It's not like, 'Damn, I'm at practice today.' It's like, 'Yeah, let's go get them.'
“At the end of the day, it's all friendly competition and we're all in this together and we're just building on this thing."
Some other news and notes from Wednesday’s practice:
>> Speaking of Jackson, he’s now a father. He welcomed his son Legacy on Monday.
>> As noted in our observations from practice, running back Maurice Washington is back and practiced Wednesday.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say the same thing, we’re going to try to keep him on as close of a schedule as normal as we possibly can,” Frost said. “He had a full day of practice today. He’s been limited. He has bigger fish to fry right now than worrying about this but we want to keep him on a schedule, so he’s been part of practice but not a full participant. When he’s been out there, he’s been doing a good job.”
>> Darrion Daniels met with the media for the first time following Wednesday’s practice, and he was very popular.
While our photo doesn’t capture just how many media members surrounded Daniels, the senior nose tackle fielded questions from a group of at least 20 people. Both Frost and defensive line coach Tony Tuioti praised Daniels for his leadership skills.
"He's brought a spark to that D-line, a sense of accountability to the D-line and I think the whole defense,” Frost said.
Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander echoed Frost’s comments.
"He's done a great job of jumping right in," Chinander said. "Obviously he's played a lot of football. His ability to learn is pretty high, so the assignments and those types of things weren't difficult for him to learn, and I think he's done a good job of mastering his craft physically. Leadership-wise, I think he's brought us a whole different perspective."
>> For those keeping track of the offensive line updates at home, Frost said the Huskers are working to solidify the middle of the O-line.
“I think there’s been some good and some bad. It’s still working itself out,” Frost said. “There’s been a lot of guys doing some good things. Will Farniok has been doing some good things. Trent Hixson has been really impressive in spring ball, and a bunch of other guys. That competition is ongoing and we’ll see where we are at the end of spring.”
>> Andre Hunt and Jaron Woodyard are two wide receivers that have stepped it up for Nebraska since returning from spring break. With that said, Frost noted that a “bunch of guys can make plays” but that he needs it to be more consistent.
>> There are no captains yet, but plenty of guys are stepping up in the meantime.
“We have a whole council. It’s a good amount of guys from both sides of the ball,” Jackson said. “I’d try to name them all but I don’t want to leave anyone out. I know me, DCap (DiCaprio Bootle) we are two of the people in captain roles. On the defense we have Mo Barry, Cam Taylor as a young guy that people respect. On offense we have Adrian of course, Jack Stoll. Some of the lineman, Brendan [Jamies], Matt Farniok and Boe [Wilson]. It’s a collective unit and we are trying to keep this thing together.”
>> Looking for a depth chart? You’ll be waiting awhile. Frost doesn’t expect to have one available until the week before the first game at the end of August.
>> Can’t say cornerback Cam Taylor isn’t enjoying practice.
“How can you not love this game or football especially being here at The University of Nebraska?” Taylor tweeted after practice.
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.