Nebraska’s defensive coaches have high hopes for Tommi Hill.
The Arizona State defensive back transfer is one of many players competing for a starting spot at defensive back, a race which is still wide open. Hill played with the ones during Nebraska’s scrimmage last Saturday, he said, although the top group can change by the day.
Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher had high praise for the cornerback at Monday’s press conference.
“The kid has so much passion and enthusiasm in practice. He plays with his heart on the outside of the jersey,” he said. “He’s into every rep. He’s very passionate about competing, flying around, sparking the defense, doing what you ask him to do. It’s very rewarding to coach somebody that, day to day, keeps showing up.”
Fisher also said Hill has the potential to have his “name left on the wall” by the time he’s finished at Nebraska.
“He’s just got that much ability to play the game, but just giving him the motivation to show up every day and continue, because it takes a lot,” Fisher said. “It’s not just training camp that you got to be that guy. You got to be that guy like those guys that name is inside of that stadium. Those guys, every part of their life was like that.”
As Fisher said, Hill still needs to do more to reach that level. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said that the cornerback has shown flashes, but he wants to see consistency.
Hill has been with the team with the spring and Fisher said he’s come a long way in that time. Hill pointed out communication as one of the most improved aspects since he’s arrived.
“The communication got better since the spring with me and how the players know how I communicate with them, how to approach how they come to me and how I approach them,” he said. “So at the end of the day, we all here to win the game.”
As far as the scrimmage goes, Hill was part of the group which he and Chinander said did well. The twos and threes, however, didn’t have as strong as a performance. While he may have not been a part of those struggles directly, Hill still found it important that everyone on the team is performing on a similar level.
“If the whole team not good, there’s no point of saying we all good,” he said. “If those squad not good, we got to get better the next day. So today we proved it. We’re gonna keep moving up from there.”
Chinander specifically praised the ones for their tackling in the scrimmage. Hill said he’s never been afraid to tackle, and isn’t worried about whether he gets hurt in the process. Hill also said the defensive backs have been making plays and forcing turnovers, something which has been an emphasis this fall.
There’s still a long way to go before there’s a set depth chart in the secondary. Chinander said at least three cornerbacks, safeties and nickels each were included with the ones during the scrimmage, and there’s still room for much to change. Hill welcomes that competition, and is focused on doing the best he can do each day.
“That’s what makes it better,” Hill said. “With all the depth we have, all the talent we have in the room just makes everybody better from the top down to the safeties to the nickels to the corners, just come back every day to compete. The mindset every day in practice is to compete.”