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Discussion in 'Husker Board' started by HBK4life, Jul 29, 2017.
Connor Orr @Red_Yeti39
.@HowardGriffith "I think this [Nebraska] practice is the best one we've seen [on the BTN bus tour] yet." #GBR
3:10 PM - Aug 15, 2017
On the rise: CB Eric Lee. The 6-0, 195-pound sophomore has impressed taking over for the injured Chris Jones. Lee is a smart player who knows his techniques. And he’s physically gifted. Keep an eye on him, along with fellow CB Lamar Jackson for a secondary that has a lot to prove. Joshua Kalu and Aaron Williams are the safeties.
Nagging question: Will the new 3-4 defense work? The linebackers will be key.
Under the radar: LB Luke Gifford. He will line up on the outside with Marcus Newby. Gifford hasn’t had much of a role on the team until now. The 6-3, 235-pound junior had been a ‘tweener in the 4-3. But his build and skill set are a nice fit for the 3-4.
Here are some fun takes from a sun-splashed Lincoln day.
Most impressive player: LB Dedrick Young. The 6-1, 235-pound junior was all over the field today. He will team inside with Chris Weber in the Huskers’ new 3-4 defense. No doubt, the ILBs are the strength of new DC Bob Diaco’s unit.
Top specimen: DE Freedom Akinmoladun is well put together at 6-4, 280. Hard to believe this guy arrived as a tight end. The junior looks impressive and could be poised for a big season along with fellow DE Carlos Davis. They need to rush the passer.
Loudest coach: Let’s call it a tie between d-line coach John Parrella and DC Bob Diaco. Each brings passion and gusto the job. Time and again, you could hear Diaco scream “steel cables” as his players went through drills, as he wanted their arms to be strong. Parrella looks like he still could play.
Impressive newcomer: WR Tyjon Lindsey. The 5-9, 160-pound freshman looks to be a weapon on the edge. He is speedy. Expect him to impact on wideout sweeps and short passes. Just get him the ball in space.
Since coming to Nebraska( probably Riley's last 3 years) not over all on the tour bus is what they meant.
Yes since coming to Nebraska but this precedes Riley.
They clarified this to mean best practice they've seen at Nebraska from either staff.
That's how I understood it. Basically best NU practice they've seen on the tour since we joined the conference.
"At Nebraska I liked how everything is so close together, the facilities, the coaching staff, how coach Riley really believes in turning things around at Nebraska and bringing back championships," said Parsons. "They have one of, if not the, best facilities that I've seen on all my visits. They just really stick out to me.”https://www.cornnation.com/2017/8/1...s-football-recruiting-official-visit-date-set
Steven M. Sipple @HuskerExtraSip
Cole Conrad locks down starting job at center, beating out Michael Decker, says Mike Cavanaugh. #Huskers
12:11 PM - Aug 17, 2017
Tyjon Lindsey involved in a couple big plays today. Still figuring it out, but made a real good adjustment on a catch between two defenders.
12:28 PM - Aug 17, 2017
Deontre Thomas a true frosh's name to keep in mind. Husker coaches have been careful w/ Stoltenberg. Have to think about depth at the nose. https://twitter.com/michaelbruntz/status/898241632012730372 …
12:58 PM - Aug 17, 2017
SEEN: Parrella running at least 30 yards to catch defensive lineman Khalil Davis and exhort him after a play during a situational scrimmage.
SEEN: Lindsey, a true freshman wideout, rising up between two defenders to haul in a deep pass from Lee that would have been good for about 50 yards.
SEEN: Linebacker Sedrick King scooping up a fumble on a muffed handoff and running for a would-be touchdown.
HEARD: Parrella hollering at offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh while Cavanaugh demonstrated a drill. “Back peddling today, Cav? Nice, Cav! Nice!”
Sam McKewon @swmckewonOWH
Interesting thoughts. Spielman was excellent today and Evan will have a story on him tomorrow. https://twitter.com/EvanBlandOWH/status/898264072797343744 …
2:26 PM - Aug 17, 2017
Exhort him to do what?
We have more than just a shot at Parsons.
» Defensive backs: Dicaprio Bootle may be the most technically sound of the three starting cornerbacks. Bootle’s not a guy who you’d want squaring off against the 6-foot-5 dude in the red zone, but, in open space against a 5-10 speedster, Bootle has skills. Nebraska’s not tackling much, but he’s in position to do that, and he knows how to get in on the ball.
Lamar Jackson makes some gorgeous, long-striding pass breakups — he had a Prince Amukamara special on Thursday — but he could use a little of Bootle’s mustard. Eric Lee, a combo of the two, could be the best of them, actually. He’s perhaps a little stockier than Chris Jones, which means he can be more physical. If he can mirror Jones’ work ethic, it’ll be interesting to watch him develop. Avery Anderson made a nice play Thursday against Lindsey.
With the drills we see, it’s hard to get a good evaluation on the safeties. Diaco isn’t in their grills very often. Joshua Kalu and Aaron Williams are as entrenched in their spots as any Husker starter.
» Linebackers: Dedrick Young and Chris Weber will almost certainly lead the team in tackles, and they’ll be solid, downhill run stoppers. Weber was good in pass coverage Thursday, and Young wasn’t bad, but he twice let a running back cross his face on some option routes. If Young is the dime ’backer, that’ll be worth watching.
At outside linebacker, Luke Gifford appears to be the No. 1 “Dog” while Alex Davis is slightly ahead of Sedrick King as the No. 1 “Cat.” Davis continues to develop; he’s smart and has the ability, but this is his fourth year of organized football, too. King’s a “depth guy” without Davis’ natural talent. With Gifford, think Bo Ruud — and remember, Ruud was pretty good in 2005 and 2006. Marcus Newby will play a lot, too, and he’s always been good in space. The backup inside linebackers — Mohamed Barry and Roberts — are the future.
» Defensive line: Good stuff here. Carlos Davis was on a tear again Thursday and his twin brother Khalil wasn’t too far behind. “Explosive” is the right word for both. They have long been good pass rushers — they were in high school — and they’ll only get better there. Freedom Akinmoladun plays heavy — he packs some power, which makes up for being a notch slower than some defensive ends. Deontre Thomas, an effort-just-past-the-whistle guy with a quick twitch, is the closest in style to the Davis twins, while Peyton Newell slipped behind Daniels for a practice, but still makes plays.
Fast forward two seasons when the twins are seniors and Thomas and Daniels have a couple years in the John Parrella/Bob Diaco system. That’s quite a four-pack. DaiShon Neal and Ben Stille could help against the run. It’s funny; if NU got an elite pass-rushing end — say Ronnie Perkins or even Micah Parsons — the room may set up for equal flexibility between 3-4 and 4-3.
» Offensive line: Not the best day on Thursday — the coaches acknowledged as much — but some of the pressure combinations were tough to decipher, and third-and-long is never a fun down to practice for the offense, especially when the defense knows all the plays and the players and the tendencies. So, knowing that, the line had its struggles, but what I’ve heard (and seen a little) is Nebraska can run the ball pretty well.
Cole Conrad, Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer — that’s a solid trio inside. Nick Gates and David Knevel at the tackles can be inconsistent pass blockers, but it should work itself out once the season starts. Nebraska will use its playbook to keep defenses off balance.
Among the backups, Michael Decker, Matt Farniok, John Raridon, Jaimes and Boe Wilson are the top No. 2s. Two 2015 recruits — Christian Gaylord and Jalin Barnett — are with the No. 3s. This is the best overall depth Nebraska’s had since Cavanaugh arrived. Perhaps the best since 2012. Conrad is a walk-on deserving of a scholarship, but Nebraska had leaned too much on walk-ons in recent years. Not this season — or next.
» Wide receivers: Work in progress. Stanley Morgan had a strong day Thursday on intermediate routes; De’Mornay Pierson-El was often well-covered. JD Spielman, almost surely the starting slot receiver with Keyan Williams recovering from a hamstring injury, looked good working those shorter, shift-into-multiple-gear routes that Williams handles well.
Lindsey’s top gear is the real deal, and he’ll be a weapon that Nebraska coaches must wisely use during games. Gabe Rahn and Brett Classen are up with that top bunch, and both are serviceable players. Lindsey’s coming along. Bryan Reimers didn’t practice. Protecting Morgan, DPE and Spielman’s health is paramount.
» Tight ends: I wrote last week the unit is better than people think, and coach Mike Riley confirmed that last Saturday with his comments about the group. Then Langsdorf said senior starter Tyler Hoppes is having as good of a camp as any Husker, which is accurate. Hoppes could be NU’s No. 3 pass-catcher behind Morgan and Pierson-El. He should have played more last season. Connor Ketter is a taller version of a JB Phillips, if you recall him from the mid-2000s. Ketter can move earth as a blocker, and he’s a giant target on shorter routes. Jack Stoll has grown up in a short timeframe and may be NU’s starter in 2018. Riley, Langsdorf and position coach Tavita Thompson know what they’re doing here. Thompson goes on full-time in January. He may have multiple job offers by then.
» Quarterbacks: Tanner Lee continues to look good on longer, tougher throws that fewer quarterbacks make well, and he throws some of those shorter bubble screen/hitch routes nicely, too. On the rollout, he throws a hard, tight spiral. He has decent touch. When Nebraska gets in games, he’ll stand in a pocket; he’ll get hit, too. Lee doesn’t bail easily. He may hold on to the ball a little long sometimes.
Patrick O’Brien made one of his best plays of camp Thursday when he simply scrambled for a long gain and a first down. O’Brien is the best athlete of the three scholarship quarterbacks. But everything else is a tick slower or a little off; on a nicely designed play, he overthrew an open receiver, Tommy Armstrong-style. O’Brien was sharper in spring.
Gebbia has a knack guys either have or they don’t, and he showed it on a red-zone play that he clearly knew would be a score if he executed it fast. On a shotgun rollout, he reverse pivoted, spun quickly, and fired the ball a few steps out of the spin for an easy score in the flat. It’s little moments like that. He knows the game and when to be urgent. He did throw an interception early in the two-minute drill.
» Running backs: Little to report here. As offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said Thursday, no back has pulled away from the pack, Tre Bryant isn’t practicing and each back has reportedly had a pretty good camp. NU may know what it has here better than it does at wideout, where the Huskers have to develop some backups lest the starters get dinged up. Mikale Wilbon had a good grab on Thursday. Fullback Luke McNitt did, too, and a few good lead blocks.
Most of the highest-rated signees according to the services have also made an impact in these opening weeks of camp. Tyjon Lindsey had his strongest day Thursday. Tristan Gebbia is unusually impressive for a freshman quarterback, culling up comparisons to UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Avery Roberts has been here for a semester but nothing has changed with his trajectory.
But it’s been most notable along the lines of scrimmage.
Brenden Jaimes was Nebraska’s top-rated offensive line commit, according to the 247Sports composite. Thus far in camp, Jaimes has indeed been the best, a true tackle with the strength and footwork to handle an outside rush.
Deontre Thomas, Guy Thomas and Damion Daniels were the three highest-rated linemen — offense or defense — after Jaimes. They’ve been solid, too.
Deontre Thomas is quick and strong as a defensive lineman. Working with the No. 1 defense, he took interior offensive linemen by surprise Thursday and makes one wonder if, in a few years, a four-man defensive line is a possibility.
That’s because Daniels, though just 17, has some oomph when he gets his full weight behind a play. Daniels could still be a redshirt candidate — imagine him in two years with strength training and diet — but he’s had a strong week. Guy Thomas is moving to outside linebacker, and Nebraska may have just enough at the Cat spot — Alex Davis and Sedrick King — that Guy Thomas can afford a redshirt year. But he’s much bigger than his high school frame and he’s retained good speed.
On the other end of the recruiting spectrum, you have Jaylin Bradley, a low three-star from Bellevue West. Over his final two seasons at West, he ran for 4,627 yards and 69 touchdowns. It never moved the needle much with recruiting services — perhaps because Bradley wasn’t a lock to qualify, perhaps because he played in Nebraska. Whatever the reason, Bradley looks like he belongs.
This is part three of the Husker roster takes, culled from open practices and things heard about the current training camp. I have just one pair of eyes, I’m not a coach, these could be off, but, as Husker fans’ eyes and ears in practice, I’m passing along some of the things I’ve seen and heard from workouts.
Defensive lineman Deontre Thomas arrived on campus as one of the highest rated players in Nebraska’s 2017 class.
Since the start of fall camp, he’s slow been backing up the praise. This past week, with nose tackle Mick Stoltenberg resting, Thomas has been elevated both on the depth chart and with the total number of reps.
Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh is uniquely positioned to be able to watch Thomas and the assistant has been impressed with what he’s seen.
“He’s doing a great job and he’s fun,” Cavanaugh said after Thursday’s practice in which Thomas ran with the top unit. “He’s powerful, explosive and he’s doing a great job with John Parrella. He’s an explosive guy. He’s fun to watch every day and compete against.”
Thomas is giving Nebraska’s interior a little different look than Stoltenberg. Where as the junior is 6-foot-5, and weighs more than 300 pounds, Thomas weighs decidedly less, but challenges with first movement.
“He’s quick,” Cavanaugh said. “Good quickness. Nice snap get off. He’s a good guy.”
One area where Thomas has been really impressive thus far is during one-on-ones against offensive linemen.
Cavanaugh put Thomas right up there with guys like Carlos Davis as some of the hardest for his linemen to handle.
“The young kid (Thomas) is doing a really nice job,” Cavanaugh said. “Carlos does a nice job. Everyone has there moments. One-on-one is one of the hardest things you’ve got to do.”
Nebraska still hasn't made a decision on whether it will redshirt Thomas or fellow freshman defensive lineman Damion Daniels, but both players have received reps with the top two units, giving the staff an indication as to where they're at going forward.
Riley said Stoltenberg has been dealing with concussion protocol. Definitely improving. Likely to practice Monday "if it stays the course."
Other nuggets from Riley:
* Mick Stoltenberg, the projected starter at nose tackle, sat out again as he goes through concussion protocol. The junior from Gretna, who also missed Thursday's practice, likely will return to drills Monday, Riley said.
In Stoltenberg's absence, true freshman Deontre Thomas (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) has gotten plenty of work at nose tackle with the top unit. Riley said Thomas is "cat quick" and offers "a good change of pace" compared to the mammoth Stoltenberg (6-5, 315).
* Tre Bryant, a sophomore running back, returned to action, although he did not participate in scrimmage work. Riley has said Bryant has been slowed by nagging knee soreness. "We've been careful with him as we've gone," the coach said. "He took a couple days off." In addition, junior receiver Bryan Reimers, who has stitches in his head, did some individual drills without wearing a helmet.
* Nebraska pushed through "a lot of situational" scrimmaging -- red-zone drives, drives out of the end zone, plus-40 drives and special-teams work.
Riley is often hesitant to single out too many individual standouts, but he did mention junior receiver Stanley Morgan as someone who performed well.
"Everything we think about Stanley looked like that today," the coach said.
He also said slot receiver JD Spielman made a couple route-running errors, but added, "His play-making ability was out there front and center again today."
* Riley said he's been excited about the growth of redshirt freshman cornerback Tony Butler, who adds needed depth at the position after moving from safety.
"What I'm saying is that looks like a positive move," Riley said.
Avery Anderson, a sophomore, also drew praise for his work at corner.