Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Dublin Dispatch II: Jumping Jacks, Back in Black and a Box of Grit

August 25, 2022

DUBLIN –– The new Blackshirts were out and the music was blaring as Nebraska opened a sliver of its Thursday practice at Aviva Stadium to the media to observe. The nine, newly-minted Blackshirts had their new jerseys on, and, even though those that follow the program are probably used to the whole tradition by now, it remains a striking visual. On a field full of those in red, white and green (the quarterbacks), nine in black stand out.

And one of the nine stood out even among that select group. The offseason has been full of stories about Garrett Nelson’s development as not just a leader, but the leader of the 2022 team.

On Thursday, he was at the center of Nebraska’s timed claps and team breakdown.

“In two days, the world’s gonna know how we fought,” Nelson yelled. “In two days, the world’s gonna know how we hit. In two days, the world’s about to know what Nebraska football’s all about.”

Nelson then reminded the team to make things perfect, and “know how the game is going to go,” before leading the team in five “perfect” jumping jacks.

Here’s more news, notes, stray quotes and observations from Thursday in Ireland:

>>Thursday only offered the briefest of glimpses at individual group work, but among the first group of linement out, Turner Corcoran and Broc Bando were the left and right guards respectively. Trent Hixson and Teddy Prochazka were at their expected spots of center and left tackles. Right tackle was . . . blocked from view. Not intentionally, just how it worked out, so no update on that spot for now.

But, in two days, the world’s gonna know who starts at right tackle.

>>The first quarterback drills of the open portion involved two players running drills in tandem. The top pairing included starter Casey Thompson and then Florida State transfer Chubba Purdy.

>>It’s easy to make too much of these practice morsels, but the impression I got from the Huskers on Tuesday was one of a pretty loose group. I did not expect inside linebacker Nick Henrich to have the dance moves he did. Credit to Henrich.

>>Coach Scott Frost also displayed a sense of calm during his post-practice media session. He credited the staff’s preparation before leaving for Ireland, and how it prepared to prepare while in Dublin for a pretty seamless process so far. The Huskers have their typical “Fast Friday” workout tomorrow, but from there it will be pretty much like a typical Friday before game day.

“Pretty much, the hay’s in the barn,” Frost said.

>>Northwestern practiced before the Huskers, early on Thursday morning, in front of Wildcat fans. It appears as though the Wildcats will be wearing special, Ireland-themed helmet decals on Saturday.

 

Nebraska, for what it’s worth, was in its standard white helmets, red Ns, on Thursday.

>>As the Huskers’ practice, the lines started to go down on the Aviva Stadium pitch. The turf was sporting a new (from yesterday) checkerboard pattern that might remind you of soccer matches.

>>Retail Realities: Inside the official merch stand in the stadium, a Northwestern fan asked a worker if there was more Wildcat merch available. A worker said there would be on game day, when an additional cart would be brought in. To start, about two-thirds of the retail space had been given over to Nebraska.

>>If you’re in search of potential visual metaphors, on the north end of the stadium––where there are actual homes shockingly close to the stadium––there’s a yellow box marked “GRIT.” I presume that’s sand for icy conditions, but just in case either team finds itself lacking grit on Saturday, that’s where to find it.

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