Day one of Fall Camp in 2016 felt wholly different than day one of fall 2015, coach Mike Riley said on Thursday.
Here are a few notables from practice.
Riley wants implementation, repetition
The plan is to get the bulk of the Huskers offense implemented in the first four days of fall camp, coach Mike Riley said on Thursday.
The first day of all camp mostly focused around putting in a series of plays, rather than working specifically on formations or situations.
Riley also said the coaches have watched tape of different players and situations from last year, have taken an inventory of plays and are now in the process of implementing them over the course of this week.
“If we can get the bulk of the installation of the inventory put on the field, then it starts the repetition and the competition with the offense against the defense,” Riley said. “So you put it in, you put it in against air or against a mock scout team, and then it gets amped up a little bit as you go and you can finally get into the team period when you interact and go 1s vs. 1s.”
Riley said the coaching staff has a pretty good idea of what they want to add this year, including some tailback runs, quarterback runs, misdirection, three or four screen passes and long throws for first down.
In the past, he said, he and the other coaches got a little too ambitious trying and add too many things from year to year.
This year, he says, inventory is down.
“But that’s actually a good thing,” Riley said.
Return of the Returner
Thursday also marked the return of Demornay Pierson-El, the junior receiver who played sparingly last year due to two different injuries and was a Second Team All-American his freshman year.
Pierson-El smiled when ask how he was feeling.
“You see this grin on my face, I’m just ready to work,” he said.
As a freshman, Pierson-El caught 23 passes for four touchdowns but, more importantly, returned 34 punts for 596 yards and three touchdowns.
From then to now, Pierson-El said, the best advice he has been given is to be patient.
“Just take it one day at a time, don’t rush it, not every day is going to be a good day, just continue to work hard and make reps, try and push yourself for little bit but know when to pull back,” he said.
Taking it easy
The reason why practice was about an hour and a half was to combat some soft-tissue injuries that have popped up in the past, specifically with senior LB Josh Banderas.
“We were very careful about that on him or others on excessive special teams work today,” Riley said.
“We want to make a better move, we’re looking for a better way, all the time, about forbidding those soft-tissue (injuries) popping up on day three of camp.”
QB’s Tommy Armstrong and Ryker Fyfe practiced with the 1s and 2s today while Tulane transfer Tanner Lee, true freshman Patrick O’Brien and sophomore AJ Bush practiced with the 3s and 4s.
Riley said he was a fan of that set up, especially since Lee and O’Brien are new.
“We want to train him as much as we can right now,” Riley said.
Riley has not said if O’Brien will redshirt or not.
Riley said at the beginning of practice he was chatting with Billy Devaney, and Devaney told him it really didn’t look like a first-day practice to him.
“Really, from a year ago, the comfort level and the starting point is so much different and that’s pretty neat to see,” Riley said.
With the first practice under wraps without punter Sam Foltz, Riley said the team was enthusiastic about beginning the season.
“There was great enthusiasm out there,” Riley said. “I thought they did a really nice job today.”