LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska football’s first full week of spring practices is complete. The Cornhuskers backloaded all but one of their spring workouts to come after spring break, allowing Scott Frost and his staff four uninterrupted weeks of practice and installation before the spring game on April 21.
With the Huskers back on the practice field, the past week has provided new information about Frost, his staff and Nebraska’s 2018 team. There still is plenty to learn ahead, but let’s review what we know now about Nebraska football after the last week.
Practices are marathons
Nebraska’s winter conditioning was as difficult as advertised, but the hard work isn’t stopping with spring football. In fact, Frost is known for his fast-paced practices, and the Huskers got their first real taste of that this week.
“It’s crazy,” junior defensive back Lamar Jackson said. “It moves fast, super fast. Everybody is running around, running around so you have to think on your feet. There’s not [too much] talking, you just have to keep it flowing. Once you get into the flow and stuff like that, everything goes OK but it’s a fast tempo.”
After practice Tuesday, Jackson summed up Frost’s practices as a marathon. Others agreed, which was highlighted by the many still out of breath by the time they met with reporters.
For Frost, it’s too early to single out any players as standout performers, but he sees adjustments being made.
“Everybody is kind of learning, finding their way, getting used to the pace and the tempo,” Frost said. “Guys are making really good plays, but it’s kind of hard to pick guys out yet. We’ll start doing a little more of that evaluation as spring goes on.”
Install has officially begun
The team’s practice Thursday was not one of the offense’s best, which offensive coordinator Troy Walters noted after practice. While the players got off to a slow start, Walters still felt the offense made improvements in learning the new offensive schemes.
“We threw a new install at the guys, so they were kind of swimming a little bit [Thursday],” Walters said. “You can kind of tell who really took it to heart to learn the new installs. So we’ve got to go back and watch the film and see what we need to improve on.”
While the install won’t be perfect overnight, Walters was still more than complimentary of Frost’s offense. In fact, Walters believes it’s one of the best he’s ever been a part of.
As for the defense, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said he really appreciates the energy the unit has brought to practice. He was especially pleased with the 2 interceptions the defense had on Thursday. And while it’s still early in installation, he likes the way things are going.
“The kids are really trying, they’re buying in, they’re doing what we ask them to do,” Chinander said. “A lot of learning left to go, a lot of coaching technique-wise and just what we’re trying to get done in the scheme, but I like where they’re going. I think they’re going to be all right.”
Position and numbers updates
For those keeping an eye on the roster, there were a few developments this week in terms of positions and the numbers new players are wearing. One of those developments is that Ole Miss transfer Breon Dixon is playing linebacker. Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher confirmed Dixon’s position on Saturday, noting that “he moves like a defensive back but he’s a linebacker.”
Another is Chris Walker, who has moved from the offensive side of the ball to the defensive line.
“Chris wanted to play on defense, we’re going to give him a shot there,” Frost said on Tuesday. “I think he can be a good player for us on either side of the ball, but that’s where he wants to be, and we’re going to give him a chance there.”
Walker joins Ben Stille, who transitioned from outside linebacker to the defensive line over winter conditioning.
As for new players on the roster, the Omaha World-Herald’s Chris Heady caught a few of the numbers they are wearing:
- 2: Adrian Martinez
- 13: Justin McGriff
- 19: Mike Williams
- 25: Greg Bell
- 32: Barret Pickering