Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Sevion Morrison celebrates scoring a touchdown
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska-Fordham Notebook: This and That from Huskers’ Home-Opener

September 04, 2021

Sevion Morrison could see every move he needed to make. He pictures what needs to be done—”All the way down to the juke moves,” he’ll tell you—and it’s something his coaches have been telling him to do, too.

“I’ve been manifesting that for, I guess you could say, a long time coming,” Morrison said. “I’ve been manifesting that for weeks. I knew my time was coming and what I would do.”

What exactly was Morrison manifesting? That touchdown, of course. With 29 seconds remaining in the first half, Morrison rushed for a 1-yard score. The touchdown helped take Nebraska to halftime up 24-7over Fordham.

For Morrison, the preparation for moments like that goes well beyond what he does in practice. It goes beyond the playbook too—although he said he’s been studying that like the back of his hand for about a year now—and straight to manifesting.

“I sit down—like (Lawrence Phillips), that’s my favorite all-time player on the field so I sit down and just watch his stuff—and close my eyes before I go to bed,” Morrison said. “Last night in the hotel, I thought about all of the possibilities that could happen if I get the ball and what moves I would have to pull out. Stuff like that.”

Seeing as Morrison hadn’t played a “real life snap,” as he put it post-game, that manifestation paid off. It’s more than just watching his favorite players, too. He’ll watch other college football games and study what the running backs are doing. He’ll put himself in their shoes and ask what he would do in the same situation.

Running through those imaginary game moments has helped Morrison adjust to college football, and it’s something he plans to keep doing.

“Any time I’m watching football, I try to imagine something,” Morrison said.

More notes from the Huskers’ home opener:

>> James Conway, a true freshman that started for the Rams at linebacker, had five tackles on the day. He’s originally from Omaha, Nebraska, where he was a tackling machine at Millard West High School.

>> Clete Pillen holds Nebraska’s school record for total tackles in a game. The linebacker had 30 against Oklahoma State in 1976.

Fordham linebacker Ryan Greenhagen hit that same number on Saturday. The preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year made 30% of the Rams’ tackles on the day, 13 solo, 17 assisted.

Husker running back Markese Stepp referred to Greenhagen by his number, 47, noting it seemed like he made every tackle. When informed of the actual total . . .

“No he didn’t,” Stepp said. “Are you for real? Thirty? Wow. Thirty tackles. Dang, that’s a lot. He’s a monster, I ain’t gonna lie.”

Scott Frost, who also knew Greenhagen’s number, used a different term of endearment.

“He’s a guy,” Frost said. “I saw Logan [Smothers] scramble at the end of the game and that kid came over and got him pretty good. I had to dodge out of the way not to get hit by him or he would’ve had 31 tackles, including one on me.”

>> Offensive tackle Teddy Prochazka was among the Huskers to make their Nebraska debuts on Saturday. The in-state product graduated early from Elkhorn South and went through spring ball, and against Fordham he was working with the second-string offensive line at left tackle.

“It was awesome, a dream come true,” Prochazka said. “I’ve been waiting on this one for a while now and I was just so happy to run out there for the Tunnel Walk and see all those fans. They told me this week I was most likely going to get in, so when they finally told me to start getting loose, I felt it coming and ran out on the field and just took it from there.”

What was going through the 6-foot-9, 305-pound tackle’s mind as he walked out there for his first rep?

“‘Don’t mess up,’” Prochazka said. “After that quick thought, I was like ‘You know what? I’ve got this. [Ethan Piper] and Bryce [Benhart] were telling me, ‘Hey, just focus up. Shake off the nerves. Listen to the quarterback.’ I’m like ‘I got it, guys, I think I’m OK.’ After that first drive, we scored and I came off to the sideline and I just kind of took it in for a second, like this is what it’s going to be like. I was pretty proud of myself.”

His first game at Memorial Stadium also meant his first true Tunnel Walk, which he called an “awesome” experience.

“Growing up I was always standing in there, I was always in the Tunnel Walk, getting high-fives from the guys,” Prochazka said. “Just to go through and give high-fives to all those little kids and all the fans, I don’t think there’s any feeling in the world that can bring me as much joy as what I felt when I walked through that tunnel today.”

>> The Huskers have had a hard time building momentum on offense. Tight end Austin Allen believes that the team saw what the value is in stacking plays. There is also another section of the game the team was dialed in on this week.

“I was telling the guys this week that we have to win the last four minutes of the half and the first four minutes of the second half because that’s an hour or so of momentum that we have,” Allen said. “If you lose that first four minutes of a half you’re in the locker room in kind of a slump mood. It’s just the way it is. I harped on ‘we got to win the last four minutes carry that momentum to halftime, but win the first four minutes.’ That’s an hour of momentum in a three-hour game. That’s huge.”

>> After the season-opening loss at Illinois there was a lot of doom and gloom talk around the program. Fans and media were justified in some criticisms but tone around the program was fairly negative all week. Linebacker Nick Henrich spoke about not letting the outside noise get to the team.

“I think most guys, a lot of guys put it behind us right away and blocked out all the noise,” Henrich said. You’re going to see stuff here and there. But I don’t really go on Twitter much because of that. We were just real focused all week. What are we going to do this week to get better? What can we control now? I think a lot of guys had that same mindset. That’s something we really emphasized.”

>>Wide receiver Oliver Martin, the Huskers’ leading receiver against Illinois, didn’t play Saturday but isn’t expected to miss much time.

“Oliver has a little injury,” Frost said. “We decided to hold him this week, but it’s not anything that’ll keep him out a long time, but it was great to see a lot of other receivers playing. We’re deep in that position with guys that can make plays so keeping fresh guys on the field is going to be important.”

Wide receiver Samori Toure led Nebraska with eight catches for 133 yards. Tight end Austin Allen added four catches for 61 yards and Omar Manning had his biggest day yet as a Husker, three catches for 54 yards. Chancellor Brewington, a transfer from Northern Arizona, had the Huskers’ lone touchdown catch on the day.

>> Coach Scott Frost had a couple of special guests pre-Fordham, which made it all the morning special for him.

“I got a chance to walk through the tunnel with my wife and my son, and RJ was giving the fans high-fives,” Frost said. “We missed the fans and I know they missed being here, but this was a dismal place without them. Can’t wait for next week.”

Frost was also accompanied by his wife and RJ off the field post-game. As interviews concluded in the Hawks Championships Center, Frost was seen with RJ leaving on to the outdoor practice fields.

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