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Mike Matya

Nebraska Legend
Staff
May 29, 2001
59,765
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Bellevue, Nebraska [formerly Omaha]
For our free board members, this is a taste of what RSS members have access to in regards to premium content. Below is a sample of the spring practice observations our staff regularly posts after practices.

If you like what you see, consider joining the many free board members who've made the jump to RSS and join the fray.


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Dan's observations

***Mike Riley seems
like a CEO type of coach who trusts his coaches to handle their
positions. There were only a few times when he was speaking in front of
the entire team.

***Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf is
going to be great for the quarterbacks. After every play he would
converse with the quarterback. He seems like the quiet type, but he
clearly has the ear of his players.

***Accuracy is still an issue with the entire crop of quarterbacks, but Rome wasn't built in a day. Tommy Armstrong had his ups and downs but overall looked good. AJ Bush throws a beautiful deep ball but still doesn't have the intermediate accuracy needed just yet.

***Armstrong
has a presence that none of the other quarterbacks are even close to.
You always know where he is on the field and he's clearly in control at
all times. He's not afraid to get on a receiver or lineman who doesn't
do their jobs.

***Byerson Cockrell was the other No. 1 safety next to Nate Gerry.

***Michael Rose-Ivey was working at outside linebacker with Josh Banderas in the middle.

***Luke McNitt could be a nice weapon at tight end. He's got good athleticism and made several nice catches.

***LeRoy Alexander looked great working with the twos. He had a spectacular diving interception on a pass that bounced off a receiver's hands. Josh Kalu made several nice plays as well.

***New receivers coach Keith Williams
is a ball of energy. He's constantly running around encouraging and
correcting. He jumped around and pumped his fist after several good
catches. He really seems to know his stuff and is constantly running
routes with receivers or showing them how to position their hands.

***Alonzo Moore made the play of the day, making a twisting, one-handed catch on a fly route that Armstrong threw behind him.

***Kevin Gladney had one bad drop, but looked strong and confident for the most part.

***Glenn Irons is very fast. I had envisioned him more as a slot guy, but he worked exclusively on the outside.


Nate's observations
[/B]
***It was good to see for Huskers Rex Burkhead and Will Compton at practice and talking with Mike Riley. I also spotted Quincy Enunwa and Josh Mitchell as well.

***There were also a couple recognizable Huskers from the past at practice today as former OL coach Milt Tenopir was there to watch the majority of practice. Former Outland Trophy award winner Dean Steinkuhler was at practice as was former Husker running backs Damon Benning and Jay Simms.

***2015 defensive end signee DaiShon Neal and 2016 tight end commit Jared Bubak were both at practice today. 2016 Omaha Westside twin brothers Grant and Spencer Jordan were also seen at practice with their family. They are brothers with current Husker fullback Harrison Jordan.

***Bubak was pretty engaged during most of the practice as tight ends coach Tavita Thompson had him staying close by and paying close attention to all of the coaching that was going on.

***The
quarterbacks wore helmets that have speakers in them so that offensive
coordinator Danny Langsdorf can communicate with them and call plays in
through a walkie talkie. I was told that this spring the NCAA is
allowing schools to test out this system to see how it goes. Apparently
coaches from across the country have been trying to get this
implemented into the game for awhile now and it's likely that we could
see this become standard practice across the nation during the regular
season very soon.

***The two quarterbacks that stood out the most to me were Tommy Armstrong and AJ Bush.
None of the quarterbacks were perfect by any means, but I felt
Armstrong and Bush were the two most consistent performers on the day.
Both have great arm strength, but will need to continue to work on
accuracy.

***I think running backs Mikale Wilbon and Adam Taylor
could both be poised for big years for Nebraska. They look ready to
make an impact and are both versatile enough to be every down backs.
Physically, the entire stable of backs at Nebraska appears to be in
great shape.

***It was nice to see that they had an entire period
dedicated to having the OL, RBs, and QBs work on the screen game. They
were working on timing and spacing of everything. Something that
probably hasn't been done at Nebraska for close to a decade.

***My
big takeaways from the coaching styles were as follows: Everyone
stressed fundamentals and worked on the absolutely basics for quite some
time during individual periods. Keith Williams, Brian Stewart, and Tavita Thompson are
all very hands on with their players. All of the coaches were doing
some sort of coaching after every single play. There were times where
you forgot that Mike Riley was even out at practice. He
was just walking around the entire practice observing while his
assistant coaches did the majority of the teaching. However, when there
were times that he needed to speak up and/or stop a play he certainly
did so. For the most part though you could tell he was taking in a lot
of information.

***Players that I thought looked really good coming out of winter conditioning include: TE Cethan Carter, DT Vincent Valentine, OT David Knevel among others.

***LB Michael Rose-Ivey was working at SAM linebacker today while Josh Banderas was at MIKE and Marcus Newby
was at WILL. I thought Rose-Ivey was moving around pretty well for a
guy that is just coming off of an ACL tear and didn't play any football
last spring.

***Wide receivers Brandon Reilly and Alonzo Moore both had great catches today.

***Safeties LeRoy Alexander and Kieron Williams both made great plays on the ball today during 7v7. Alexander had a pass breakup and Williams had a nice interception.

***The early enrollees all looked the part today during their first spring practice. Linebacker Dedrick Young got
a ton of reps today and made several nice plays in coverage. There is
no question that he is physically ready to play right now. Defensive
backs Avery Anderson, Eric Lee and Aaron Williams all
looked like they belonged on the field as well. A lot of times you'll
see incoming guys with that "deer in the headlights" look about them,
but the stage definitely didn't seem to be too big for any of these
guys. Anderson, Lee, and Williams all looked good in coverage and had
at least one pass breakup on the day each.

***Wide receiver Kevin Gladney had somewhat of a rough day, but he finished off practice with a nice catch against solid coverage from corner Chris Jones today.

Robin's observations

[/B]***The first group on the offensive line was LT - Alex Lewis, LG: Zach Hannon, C: Paul Thurston, RG: Dylan Utter, RT: Givens Price. There were several other guys who got reps with the top offense as well, including Ryne Reeves at center, David Knevel at tackle and Tanner Farmer at guard.

***Wide receiver Jamal Turner did
not practice Saturday, but he was still very engaged in the practice
from the sidelines and was coaching up a lot of the younger receivers
during individual position drills.

***I really like how Danny Langsdorf is
working with the quarterbacks at all times during practice. He's able
to not only work with the group as a whole, but also pulls guys aside
and provide individual instruction. That will go a long way in giving
the quarterbacks a firm grasp of the offense.

***It was really good to see guys like Michael Rose-Ivey, Charles Jackson and LeRoy Alexander out
on the field again. All three looked like their old selves out there
and showed no signs of being limited coming off their ACL injuries.

***Of the three early enrollees in the secondary, Aaron Williams was the only one who worked with the Red team. Eric Lee and Avery Anderson both practiced with the White team.

***I thought Adam Taylor looked
just as good as he did prior to his season ending foot injury last
fall. He showed a great burst through the line and also solid breakaway
speed when he got into the open field.

***It's crazy how much better Daniel Davie seems to have gotten even from last year. He is clearly the No. 1 cornerback and could be in store for a big season.

***One
thing that stood out to me that will make some fans jump for joy:
Nebraska devoted a short portion of practice to working specifically on
screen passes. Look for that to be a much bigger part of the offense
going forward.

***Receivers coach Keith Williams is
basically a walking soundbite. Some of my favorite one-liners he had
today were telling his wide outs to "catch the sun" when the ball gets
lost in the sun, and also joking that the players didn't want any part
of the "knuckle sandwich" he would give them if they didn't get through a
jam coverage correctly.

Sean's observations

***Saturday
almost felt like the first day of school for everybody - the coaches,
the player and the media. Everything was so new, in general people were
just getting a feel for everything. It was a solid practice, but nothing
too crazy since they were in helmets only. Still I thought the
intensity was very high and at times they had to ramp it back a little
when people were falling to the ground

***Mike Riley's management
style at practice really jumped out to me. He sits back and observes
and lets his staff coach. Then he selectively gets involved at the
moments he feels are necessary. You can just tell he's a seasoned
veteran.

***The way the teams were divided up the first group
were the "perceived starters" based on experienced along with half the
No. 3's. The second practice was the No. 2's and the other half of the
No. 3's. Several of the linebackers though had to go through both
practices because of overall numbers. Like Riley said though, he's not
too worried about depth charts at this point.

***Of the quarterbacks, Tommy Armstrong looked like the No. 1 guy to me today, but the guy that really opened my eyes was AJ Bush.
As Riley said after practice, Bush has a "beautiful arm" and a ton of
potential. Riley also said he takes to coaching really. I was pleasantly
surprised with him and I thought he looked better today than both
Johnny Stanton and Ryker Fyfe. I thought both those guys were off the
mark on a lot of their throws today.

***Not a surprise at all, but wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp came down with a heck of catch during practice. Brandon Reilly also pulled down a nice ball in double coverage.

***Another receiver who really jumped out to me in the second practice was redshirt freshman Jariah Tolbert. He's come a long way since last season and I could see him cracking the rotation this fall.

***It was neat to see a large number of former players today at practice to show their support to Coach Mike Riley.

***I'm intrigued to see what plays out at tight end after Cethan Carter on the depth chart. One guy that caught my eye today a few times was UNK transfer Luke McNitt who sat this past season out after starting QB at Kearney in 2013.

***Saturday
was a long day. The team took the field around 9:30 to 10:00 am and the
second practice didn't conclude around around 1:15 pm. There's not
question a lot of work was done.

***Another young guy I'm excited
to see grow into the defense is cornerback Chris Jones. He physically
looks the part and you can tell is much more confident with a year under
his belt.

***All four of the incoming freshman players
physically look like they belong. They also carried themselves on the
practice field with a confidence you don't normally see in true
freshmen.

***A couple of position moves I can report are both Peyton Newell and Mick Stoltenberg are at defensive tackle and no longer playing defensive end.
 

Lincoln100

Defensive Coordinator
Jun 16, 2010
7,184
3,878
113
Really good stuff. Thank you for this. I will be signing up before the start of the season. A few thoughts on your post. Can't wait to see Marcus Newby and C. Carter. Also, Stoltenberg to DT?
 

ReuniteGondwanaland

Blackshirt
Sep 8, 2010
3,096
117
63
Stoltenberg to DT surprises me, I thought he might be a big part of the DE rotation this year.

McMullen, Gangwish, probably Akinmoladun, then we need some two of Keels, Natter, King, and Neal to be ready to contribute this year (Davis seems like a project, Neal is too but seems slightly less so).

Makes it more likely the Davis twins can redshirt, which is usually a good thing for a freshman DT.
 

Yossarian23

Redshirt Freshman
Aug 9, 2009
760
144
43
Originally posted by Mike Matya:


Robin's observations
[/B]

***It was really good to see guys like Michael Rose-Ivey, Charles Jackson and LeRoy Alexander out
on the field again. All three looked like their old selves out there
and showed no signs of being limited coming off their ACL injuries.
Am I reading this wrong? This reads like Alexander is coming off an ACL injury with the other two. Am I missing something, I thought Alexander just missed time because of the suspension?

Thanks for this, as well.
 

The Dankness

Offensive Coordinator
Gold Member
Dec 18, 2013
8,629
15,787
113
Denver
Mike,

Will Rivals be offering the $99 gift card for 1 year deal anytime this spring/summer?

Pretty nice incentive.
 

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