Papuchis Talks Spring Game, Defense

By: Courtesy: NU Media Relations
By: Courtesy: NU Media Relations

LINCOLN – The Huskers returned to the practice field on Monday afternoon as they practiced for just over two hours in the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass Grass Practice Fields. The Huskers were in full pads.

After practice, first-year defensive coordinator John Papuchis spoke to the media about the defense. With only two practices and the spring game remaining, Papuchis said he still wants to see the guys work hard.

“You get into the last week and guys start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I just don’t want guys to lose focus.” Papuchis said. “There’s still progress to be made, even though we’re getting to the tail end of spring. I still want our guys to come out focused and be prepared every day and treat it like it’s the first day.”

When asked about the game plan for the spring game, Papuchis said he just wants to see the guys continuing to progress.

“To me it’s just another practice. You get to see guys in front of fans and you get to see guys on the game field. I think the biggest key is we continue to progress over the course of the week and if we do that and are better at the end of the week than we are today, then it’s been a good week,” Papuchis said.

When asked what he expects to see from the defense in the spring game, Papuchis laid out a list of items.

“I hope you see tremendous effort. I hope you see a lot of energy. I hope you see guys flying to the football and trying to create turnovers, gang tackling, but that’s something we’ve always believed in,” Papuchis said. “Saturday’s going to be a little bit vanilla for us, defensively. We’re not going to call a whole bunch of our defenses that we’ve worked on thoughout the course of spring ball. But with that being said, I want to see technique, energy and effort.”

Papuchis was asked about who has stood out during practice, and he said that he’s seen a lot of progress in the back seven.

“I think on the back end there’s been some guys that have made some significant jumps. I think Daimion Stafford has made a good jump. I think Ciante Evans is doing some good things. I think Antonio Bell is doing some good things; PJ Smith, Andrew Green, those guys, that first group of secondary guys have made a pretty dramatic jump, in my opinion,” Papuchis said. “Harvey Jackson’s done a nice job with the dime and also at safety. Will Compton is playing close to as good as he’s played since I’ve seen him here. Fish [Sean Fisher] has had a very solid spring. Zo [Alonzo Whaley] has as well. I really feel pretty good about the back seven guys of that first group.”

The Huskers will continue with spring practice on Wednesday afternoon as they gear up for Saturday’s Red-White spring game. The spring game begins at 1 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased on Huskers.com


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