LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska coach Mike Riley is OK with the elimination of two-a-day practices. After the NCAA’s decision to eliminate multiple contact practices a day in preseason, teams had to adjust. For Riley, it wasn’t an issue.
“There is no reason to say we should be doing two-a-days,” Riley said. “When the medical people say you shouldn’t, I don’t ever find myself in a position to argue that.”
While OK with the update, Riley still had to update his preseason practice schedule to accommodate the 29 practices available to use. Originally scheduled to start Aug. 4, Riley and his staff adjusted the start date to July 29.
Riley sees the elimination of two-a-days as a way to prevent soft-tissue injuries.
“Eventually, you’re going to get diminishing returns with players with muscle pulls,” Riley said in April. “Football two times a day — you do that long enough and something’s going to break. I kind of like spreading out the football practices a little more.”
With one week of fall camp complete, Riley feels the same now that he did in April. He and his staff have made additional adjustments, including how Nebraska approaches stretching and body maintenance.
“We formed three different groups that rotate through the week post-practice,” Riley said. “One group is out in the ice tub, the other group is doing this stretch and the other group, I think, is working on the bands over there. It is new. That’s a fun thing about this. We learn a little bit more every year about what we should do. I think things like this will forever be looked at and probably tweaked a lot.
“For us, this part of it is new. We used to just stretch in groups with our position groups right after practice and this is much more organized and thoughtful about the day-to-day thing about what you should do. It’s been interesting.”
The NCAA does allow a second workout during the preseason, as long as it is conducted without helmets or pads. The second practice also cannot involve conditioning exercises.
For Nebraska, the second practice is typically on a non-scrimmage day. The players will do body maintenance and stretching at 4 or 5 p.m.
After one week, Riley likes how it’s all worked.
“We have a little bit more time to do stuff but this is probably something we should do anyway, whether you’re in two-a-days or not. The [elimination of] two-a-days have just stretched out the length of time that we’re in camp. Like I said earlier, I’m kind of… I think it might be better for these guys. It might be physically better.
“We can spend because of that more time with body maintenance than ever because we don’t have a practice at the end of the day. I think it’s good.”