LINCOLN, Neb. — Coach Mike Riley wasn’t ready to get too specific about his Nebraska football team on Tuesday. However, when it comes to punt returner, he has no issues talking about who will fill that position.
“De’Mornay [Pierson-El] will be the initial guy,” Riley said.
The senior wide receiver has experience as Nebraska’s punt returner. As a freshman, he returned three punts for touchdowns and averaged 17.5 yards per return. His punt return average ranked him second nationally. After struggling with an injury as a sophomore, Pierson-El got back to it in 2016. He had 23 punt returns for 168 yards as a junior.
Aside from Pierson-El, Riley is pleased with the depth at punt returner.
“I think Tyjon Lindsey is a natural,” Riley said. “I think he could go back there. We know Stanley Morgan is very reliable and can make big plays for us, so we’re pretty versatile.”
Morgan agrees. While he’d be fine returning punts if needed, he likes what Lindsey can bring to the Huskers.
“We’re actually trying to get Tyjon in the mix, too, [as well as] getting those shifty guys and those faster guys in the mix,” Morgan said.
However, the starting role belongs to Pierson-El. As long as he stays healthy, he’ll be the main player Nebraska relies on at punt returner this season.
“We all love De’Mornay [Pierson-El] and what he can bring,” Riley said.
More notes from Mike Riley
• Nose tackle Mick Stoltenberg returned to the practice field on Monday. Riley confirmed he participated fully in practice Monday and Tuesday and is doing well.
Stoltenberg was out of the final week of fall camp with a head injury. He underwent concussion protocol.
• Some scholarships were handed out at practice Tuesday, but Riley said he wants to wait to announce anything. There are still some players who have yet to be informed.
The same goes for redshirts. The process has begun, but nothing is final.
• There’s no update on who will start at running back against Arkansas State. Riley likes Tre Bryant, Mikale Wilbon and Devine Ozigbo, and called all three consistent through fall camp.
“All I can say is that we’ll have it by the first of the week, probably in a depth order. But I’m telling you that there’s not a big separator there,” Riley said.
• Nebraska started classes on Monday and Riley would understand if his group were tired. However, it sounds like the team was ready to go at practice.
“This was a pretty long day for them, but I thought the ending period was enthusiastic and good work, which is a good sign,” Riley said. “It’s kind of an indicator of how they’ve been the whole time.”