Photo by John S. Peterson
Nebraska Football

Observations from the First Open Practice of Fall Camp for the Huskers

August 7, 2019
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Nebraska opened up practice for the first time this fall camp Wednesday morning and media got a taste of what the Huskers are working on. Pace is still the name of the game as Nebraska flew through different drills and we got to see quite a bit. 

Here’s what the staff saw.

>> The fall camp 110-man roster is out.

It is currently at 109 because the Huskers are saving a spot for Jahkeem Green, who is expected to arrive sometime this week. Nebraska has his transcripts and paperwork, it just needs to be processed. JoJo Domann, as expected, was not on the list as he has not been cleared for fall camp for an unspecified injury. There were a handful of freshmen walk-ons on the 110 though: running back Zach Weinmaster, kicker Dylan Jorgensen, safety Tyson Guzman and outside linebackers Caden McCormack and Luke Reimer. 

Rutgers transfer tight end Travis Vokolek was also on the roster, an interesting move as the Huskers await a decision on a possible waiver for immediate eligibility. 

Walk-on redshirt freshman inside backer Joey Johnson is on the 110 but was not in pads for practice. 

Nebraska has two kickers (Barret Pickering and Dylan Jorgensen) and two punters (Isaac Armstrong and William Przystup) on the 110. Smells like competition. 

>> Redshirt freshman center Cameron Jurgens was in pads and working with the offensive line group some — when the quarterbacks were getting warmed up early on the Huskers had six different centers snapping to them in a line across the field, Jurgens, AJ Forbes, Will Farniok, Hunter Miller, Ethan Piper and Josh Wegener — but Jurgens did not participate in team drills. 

Farniok got the first snaps at center in team stuff, and "Lil Will," as Scott Frost likes to call him, doesn't look so little anymore. A redshirt freshman, Farniok looks like he has added some significant weight since his arrival. It's hard to really tell whether a guy can hold his own from the portion we see, but Farniok doesn't look like a boy going against men early in fall camp. 

>> Sophomore running back Maurice Washington was also at practice. He wasn't doing much during 11-on-11 work but he was involved during individual drills. 

>> Jacob Padilla noted a play during the 11-on-11 when freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey scrambled up the middle, evading tacklers and showing off a little of that burst, then throwing (technically a pitch but it looked more like a throw) on the run back across his body to the left sideline to Rahmir Johnson, who picked up an extra 10 or 15 yards. 

>> When team drills began, Nebraska used a bunch of different skill position player groupings (Wan'Dale Robinson took handoffs with the maybe-twos, JD Spielman/Kanawai Noa/Mike Williams was the first receiver grouping) but the offensive line groupings were consistent throughout. From left to right, Brenden Jaimes, Trent Hixson, Will Farniok, Boe Wilson and Matt Farniok made up the first line group. 

Christian Gaylord, John Raridon, AJ Forbes, Matt Sichterman and Bryce Benhart comprised the second group. And the third team was Broc Bando, Hunter Miller, Ethan Piper, Michael Lynn and Matthew Anderson.

>> Robinson was used in just about every capacity during the first 30 minutes of practice — as a runner out of the backfield, as a slot receiver, as a guy motioning around.

>> The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs both had scouts at practice. They were paying closest attention to the outside linebacker and defensive line groups.

>> Greg Smith noted that true freshman offensive tackle Bryce Benhart in pads looks impressive. He is still lean and growing into his frame but you can see his athleticism in drill work. Time will tell if he picks up the offense fast enough to see the field this season. His other classmates — namely Jimmy Fritzsche and Michael Lynn — are also massive guys. They potentially look like the kind of players who, after three years in a Zach Duval weight program, could be pretty big deals. 

>> Seeing Quinton Newsome run around out there was exactly as defensive backs coach Travis Fisher described. He looks like he belongs and has been at Nebraska for years.

>> Defensive lineman and former Navy SEAL Damian Jackson is still the leader when the Huskers break it down for stretching. 

>> During 11-on-11s, Will Honas started at inside linebacker next to Mo Barry while Collin Miller and Jackson Hannah came in next. Garrett Snodgrass and Luke Reimer were with the third unit.

Hannah, Snodgrass and Reimer, a walk-on, got love from their position coach Barrett Ruud and Miller on Monday

 
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