LINCOLN, Neb. - The Nebraska football team practiced for approximately two and a half hours on Monday morning in helmets and full pads at the Hawks Championship Center.
Head Coach Scott Frost and Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters addressed the media following the conclusion of practice.
Coach Frost was first, talking about how the first few weeks of spring practice has gone.
"I thought the first week went really well, I wasn't as happy with today. Maybe springing the clocks forward got them or something I don't know, but the energy wasn't what I wanted today. That being said, we're way ahead of where we were last spring in the first three days, so a good start."
"Last year it was teaching guys where to go between drills, what to do, signals, alignments, and assignments. With the ones and twos we are way ahead this year. Threes are still learning, some of the new guys, some of the walkons from last year, but as a whole everything just functions better and when you know what you're doing, you have a better chance at getting the repetition you need to get good at it."
He also touched on how impressed he is with the defense in their first practice with full pads.
"I think the whole defense looks better. I'm really impressed with the way the defensive line is striking and moving around. There's some guys in the secondary that I think are doing a good job. Seeing Jojo Doman make a bunch of plays. It's hard to pick just a few guys out, but I think as a whole, that unit, again, once you know what you're doing, you have an opportunity to do it faster and with more confidence and I'm kind of seeing that from everyone on that side.
He closed with talking about his tight ends and how he wants to them to improve to allow the field to become more spread out.
"Jack Stoll is limited right now. He had a shoulder fix after season last year. We miss him, but Austin Allen is doing a good job, Kurt Rhafdal is doing a good job, Katerian LeGrone is doing a good job. Those guys need to be more of a threat in the pass game this year. Every single one of those guys has taken a big step forward since last fall so I feel like that's a position where we're going to have depth and be really solid."
Next, Coach Walters took the podium and began talking about the running back competition.
"It's an open competition and guys are battling. Jaylin Bradley had a good winter, he's in shape, he's running and he understands the offense. Brody is doing a great job out there and so I think across the board this spring, our focus is competition and guys earning positions and earning their spots. You see that, you see their excitement and every day we just have to keep getting better."
He also commented on the wide receiver competition.
"We have a lot of bodies, guys are competing. We need to find consistency. We know what JD can do, now we need to find the next guys who can be consistent, play in and play out, day in, day out, today was not our best practice as an offense, we came out sluggish. It was not up to our standards. So we need to find those guys who we can count on. Losing Stanley Morgan is big but we need to find the guys we can count on and the quarterbacks have confidence in, going to run the right routes, be at the right place at the right time and make the play when the ball is thrown to them."
He ended by talking about Adrian Martinez's leadership and how it impacts the offense.
"Everything revolves around the quarterback and he kind of sets the tone of the offense and he's confident, he's calm, he brings it every day. That's what I love about Adrian. I don't care how well he did yesterday, today is a new day. I don't care how well he did against Minnesota, the next game is a new game. He comes every day ready to work. He's really developed being a vocal leader. We lost some great leaders last year with our seniors, but he's become a vocal leader and he's earned the guy's respect for what he did on the field last year and he works hard in the weight room in the off-season. He's always one to throw with the wide receivers and tight ends and running backs and so, he's earned that respect, he's earned that leadership role and he does a great job."
The Huskers will continue their spring practices on Wednesday inside the Hawks Championship center. The annual red-white spring game will be played on Saturday, April 13 at Memorial Stadium with kick off set for 1 p.m. CT with national television coverage provided by the Big Ten Network.