With one week of fall camp completed at Nebraska, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco is clear that no position is set in stone. As far as he’s concerned, evaluations are ongoing.
That also means that even if a player is a starter at one position, he may be evaluated to play at another “independent of what their role might be.” It all depends on how a player performs in certain situations. With a couple of weeks left of fall camp, Diaco views it as the perfect time to do just that.
“We’re really just getting started in camp,” Diaco said after practice Tuesday. “We’ve got a couple weeks of camp before we need to start focusing on anything other than ourselves.”
Diaco also hesitates to call things a “battle” at various positions, instead choosing to call it a “cooperative performance.” One example of this is seniors Marcus Newby and junior Luke Gifford at outside linebacker.
“I don’t feel a lot of angst and anxiety with the competition at that spot,” Diaco said.
For now, it’s all about putting players in various spots and situations to see what works best.
“We play a lot of players,” Diaco said. “We typically play a lot up front in particular, so we believe in participation patterns that are functional based on their ability to give effort and as a situation arises, the players that can play better in that situation than the others.
“We try to create a real functional plan going into games for participation.”
Notes from Diaco
• Diaco views game experience as the only way for players to truly improve. When addressing the cornerback position specifically, which is made up by younger (and inexperienced) players like Lamar Jackson, Dicaprio Bootle and Eric Lee, Diaco sees game experience as the best way to improve.
“You only get markedly better when you play in games,” Diaco said. “Really none of those guys have played in a game.”
• Coach Mike Riley said on Saturday that there were some missed tackles in the open field during the scrimmage. Diaco agreed with Riley’s assessment, despite not having heard the comment directly.
“Anytime you miss tackles, it’s an issue,” Diaco said.
• Despite the missed tackles, Diaco seemed pleased with the defense’s performance overall during the scrimmage.
“Guys are working hard,” Diaco said. “Guys are trying hard. There’s a higher understanding of what we’re asking them to do and we have a long, long, long way to go. We’re a work in progress and it’s going to take time.”
• Defensive line depth is important across the college football board. At Nebraska, Diaco is happy with the depth he has up front right now.
“I’m pleased with the guys,” Diaco said. “They’re trying hard. [They are] physically capable players. They care a whole bunch. They’re a lot of fun to work with.
“I love coming to work and working with them. It’s really a joy.”