Nebraska held its first spring practice in 11 days on Tuesday morning. It was the first practice the Huskers had since returning from spring break.
Head coach Scott Frost described spring practice No. 2 as “good, but not as good as day one.”
“Little sloppier,” Frost said. “Sometimes, you kind of expect that after spring break, but that’s not the standard we want to hold ourselves to. Every time we’re on the field, I want us to be better than the time before. We set a new standard every time we’re on the field, and we’re competing against ourselves to beat that the next time, so we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us on Thursday.”
Nebraska will practice again on Thursday and Saturday of this week.
Who Stood Out?
Frost wasn’t ready to point out any standouts specifically this early on, but believes everyone is developing in the system as expected.
“Everybody’s kind of learning their way,” Frost said. “Getting used to the pace and the tempo. Guys are making really good plays, but it’s kind of hard to pick guys out yet. We’ll start doing that a little more of that evaluation as spring goes out.”
Frost said much the same when asked about the quarterback position, saying he was impressed with the entire group under the leadership of quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco.
Dawkins, a grad transfer from Arizona, made news this week when he listed Nebraska, Indiana and Florida Atlantic as possible landing spots for him this coming season.
Frost said his staff “aren’t even thinking about” adding to the quarterback room until after spring ball.
The redshirt freshman from Lincoln East was expected to start along the offensive line, but he asked to be moved to defense. Frost said Walker can make plays on either side of the ball, but defense is where he wants to play for the time being.
Frost mentioned after the first spring practice that he felt better about his first day of spring ball as the head coach of Nebraska than he did about his first day of spring ball as the head coach of UCF.
Now that he and his coaching staff have been together for two full seasons, the progress and development being made with this team seems to be going smoother for Frost than it did in his early days in Orlando.
“We kind of made a decision here that we’re going to throw everything at them this spring,” Frost said. “Just to get them a taste of everything. That means some of the details, some of the minor points that they need to learn, some of the coaching points they need to learn, are going to come along.
“We’re way ahead of where we’ve been when we’ve installed this offense before. A lot of it has to do with these guys going to work and the players being attentive and learning fast. It also helped us to have the entire staff together, because this whole staff’s been through this before. We’re a lot quicker at getting guys to understand our schemes on both sides. This coaching staff is a lot more ready to get this done than we were two years ago.”
The third-team all-Big Ten receiver, who had 830 receiving yards as a redshirt freshman in 2017, is expected to be a key contributor in Frost’s offense this spring and into the fall.
Frost first got a glimpse of Spielman in the fall of 2015. It was Spielman’s junior year at Eden Prairie High School and Frost’s last year as offensive coordinator at Oregon.
Frost could see then that Spielman could be something special.
“J.D. is the type of player that we like to recruit to this offense,” Frost said. “I think him and Tyjon (Lindsey) are guys that can flourish in this offense. Guys that can win in space. You get them the ball in space, and they can make things happen with it.
“J.D.’s done really good things out here the last couple of days. He’s still learning like everyone else, but I see a lot of potential out of both of those guys.”
Greg Bell, Running Backs
Junior Greg Bell was named as one of the running backs who had a good day Tuesday, but it seems like the whole group is moving in the right direction.
“Devine looks good,” Frost said. “He’s leaner and moving really well. All of the guys at that position look good right now.”
Junior Tre Bryant did not practice Tuesday, but Frost remains hopeful they will get him back sometime this spring.
Senior Cole Conrad didn’t practice Tuesday either, but Frost is also optimistic that he’ll return sometime this spring.
That opened the door for a younger player like true freshman Will Farniok to take reps at center, but there’s still a bit of a learning curve there.
“We missed some snaps today,” Frost said. “That comes with the territory, especially at the pace we’re practicing at. You’re getting down, getting set, snapping the ball and thinking about 100 things at a time, mistakes will happen. We’ll coach them through that, and hopefully, Thursday looks better than today.”
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