Seniors Nathan Gerry and Josh Banderas know it will be hard to leave Nebraska. Neither was shy about that following the Huskers’ Tuesday practice.
“It sucks,” Banderas said. “It’s all flown by and it’s really starting to come together that this is the last time we get to come out of the tunnel here and go to the hotel on Friday night.
“It is bittersweet. It’s a good feeling knowing we had good careers and we get to move on with our lives but at the same time, this was such a great part and know it’s coming to an end. We’re going to soak it all in and make it last as long as possible and make the most of it.”
While the senior Blackshirts intend to enjoy every last moment, Gerry still expects Saturday’s matchup with Maryland to be an emotional one for the senior class.
“A lot of emotions,” Gerry said. “It’s kind of a bittersweet moment for me. I can’t believe it’s already happened. I can’t believe it’s already here.”
As the senior class has prepared for this final game, Banderas said he’s made a point not to treat the last home game any differently. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t crept into his mind from time-to-time.
“I’ve tried to keep my mind off the fact that this is the last run or kept everything the same,” Banderas said. “It is for the most part but there are those times you sit down and you’re thinking about [the fact] that I have one month left of school and then we play the bowl game, then I’m done. No more connection to this place beyond former or you’re an ex-player. It’s just crazy to think about.”
More news and notes from Tuesday’s practice:
>> On offense, quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. did not participate in practice and was dressed in sweats. Ryker Fyfe and Zack Darlington shared reps at quarterback during practice. Center Dylan Utter was also in sweats with his left foot still in a boot.
Both running back Devine Ozigbo and wide receiver Brandon Reilly practiced.
>> As for the defense, linebacker Dedrick Young did not practice.
>> There was a lot of praise after practice for defensive tackle Kevin Maurice. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker had kind words for Maurice, as well as defensive line coach John Parrella.
“I know this, Kevin Maurice is the heart and soul of that defensive front,” Banker said. “I don’t care what the numbers say. He plays his ass off.”
Parrella has been equally impressed with Maurice’s leadership skills, especially with how he’s worked with Carlos and Khalil Davis.
“I think it’s been good for them to see that he can play 70-80 plays without a sub,” Parrella said. “He knows how to play banged up. He knows how to play tired. He knows how to do what we’re asking him to do and even for them, they get a chance to see that he’s still trying to learn things we’re teaching that are still new to him. A lot of things are. He’s still trying to find a way to grasp and get better with the things, so I would say he’s got another level of play he’s still going to reach.”
>> Ask Carlos about Maurice’s leadership skills and he’ll tell you Maurice jokes that he and Khalil are his “sons.” Carlos said they like to joke back that they already have a dad back in Blue Springs, Missouri.
Regardless, Carlos and Khalil are both grateful for the opportunity to learn from Maurice and Ross Dzuris.
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.