Defense Impresses as Nebraska Hits Home Stretch of Spring Football
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Defense Impresses as Nebraska Hits Home Stretch of Spring Football

April 01, 2019

It’s only Monday, but it could be considered “hump day” for Nebraska football. Offensive coordinator Troy Walters said the Huskers are at the point in spring practice where players can get complacent. That means it’s time for everyone to step it up just a bit.

“We’re pretty much done with our install. We have a majority of our playbook in. Now it’s about being precise and detailed, finishing,” Walters said on Monday. “Now is the point of spring where it’s kind of ‘hump day,’ the hump period. You’re over halfway through, guys kind of get into a lull and can feel a little sorry for themselves, get a little tired. We can’t have that. We’ve got to see guys fight through. We’ve got to see guys to have a sense of urgency out on the field. From a mental aspect, it’s just being ‘dogs’ and love going out there to compete in every play, every practice and then detailing everything, fine-tuning the things we have installed, playing fast and then being ready for a great spring game.

“I told our guys right now that in two weeks, you’re playing in front of 90,000, plus Big Ten Network, parents are going to be here. Get yourselves ready for that game. You do that by how you prepare each time we’re on that field.”

With that said, Walters said the defense had a stronger Monday practice than the offense—at least for the first half of the day.

“Second half of practice, we competed and we did some good things,” Walters said. “Not up to our standard as an offense. We want to be the best offense in the Big Ten and today we didn’t practice like it.”

There’s been a lot of talk about Nebraska’s defensive line, which was a big part of the Blackshirts’ strong Monday performance. That led Walters to ultimately praise the work of the defense so far.

“I’ll give it up to the defense,” he said. “They’re making us work. They’re bringing it up every day. They’ve been pretty consistent, a lot of energy, a lot of excitement. They’re playing hard and they’re making us work. If we don’t bring our ‘A’ game, they’re embarrassing us.”

More news and notes from practice:

>> Who is impressing in the running backs room so far this spring? Walters gave the nod to redshirt freshman Brody Belt.

“He’s doing an awesome job, not only as a running back but also as a receiver,” Walters said. “We get him matched up against linebackers [and] he’s going to win that most of the time.”

>> Another name that received praise from Walters on Monday was redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Hunt. He said he has taken some big steps this spring and is gaining more of a grasp of the playbook. 

As for Hunt, he sees this offseason as an opportunity to step up and fill the shoes left by Stanley Morgan Jr.

“I’ve been doing good but there’s always room for improvement and I know I need to get better,” Hunt said. “Coming off Stanley and to fill his shoes, it’s going to be a big time thing to do. I’m ready to do it but I have a long way to go.”

>> One more name that was mentioned: redshirt freshman Cam Jurgens. Walters said he has been looking good this spring, and continues to maintain his quickness and athleticism despite his added weight.

>> Junior quarterback Andrew Bunch put his name in the transfer portal before ultimately deciding to stay at Nebraska. That decision was one that fired up quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco for a couple of reasons.

“He called me—I think it was the week before we got back—and the week before that, a couple of coaches called me and I talked to them about Andrew,” Verduzco said. “They wanted an evaluation and that was good. The week later he called me and said he was going to come back so I was excited. Having a young guy like that around is invaluable, just because of the type of person he is and because of the numbers for us from a guy who has reps in practice and games.”

>> Speaking of the quarterbacks, Verduzco said they were abducted by aliens on Saturday. Sophomore Noah Vedral said it wasn’t their best day and that the group made some bad decisions and threw some picks.

“We had a little bit of a rough day as a unit,” Vedral said. “Made a couple mental errors, a couple bad throws. Coach Verdu will get us right today. We’ve got meetings tonight and meetings tomorrow morning where we’ll watch that again and get those corrected. But I would agree with him, pretty rough day.”

For the full video of Walters’ from Monday’s post practice availability, head on over here.

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