Nebraska Football: Week 2 Fall Practice Stock Report
Nebraska football fans have been paying close attention to fall practice reports, trying to garner whatever information they can on how NU is faring and who will be starring for the scarlet and cream this season.
So let’s take a look at what we know now about practice and see whose stock is moving up and whose is moving down.
Stock Up: Stanley Jean-Baptiste
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One particularly smart and handsome analyst already tabbed Jean-Baptiste as a rising star in Nebraska’s crowded secondary. As fall practice unfolds, it looks like Jean-Baptiste is coming good on his opportunity.
According to Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal-Star, Jean-Baptiste, head coach Bo Pelini said that Jean-Baptiste had the “the best week he's ever had in our program.” Jean-Baptiste, along with Josh Mitchell, are in the lead to start at cornerback when Nebraska plays in nickel, according to Huskers.com.
Stock Down: Jared Blum
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Blum, a redshirt freshman tight end, was injured this week in practice. According to Jon Nyatawa of the Omaha World-Herald, Blum is out for the year. With senior tight end Jake Long also out with injury, there will be a number of untested players getting significant reps at tight end.
Stock Up: Brodrick Nickens
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Whenever a player moves positions, especially moving from offense to defense, you always fear for his playing time. But senior Brodrick Nickens is apparently making the most of his move from offensive line to defensive tackle.
Nickens is impressing the coaching staff in his new role. Head coach Bo Pelini was quoted by Hail Varsity as saying Nickens “does a good job on what we are asking him to do. He has to work on getting a little lower at times but he is a big load in there that can hold the point. He works hard, he’s a leader and he is doing a good job for us.”
Stock Down: Michael Rose
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This stock down is a little more deductive, and may end up being the most wrong. According to Jon Nyatawa of the Omaha World-Herald, true freshman Josh Banderas is going to be a middle linebacker and is settling in to the role. David Santos is the incumbent middle linebacker and will have an advantage in terms of his playing experience last season.
This catches Rose in a bit of a squeeze. As a redshirt freshman likely to slot in at middle linebacker, Rose has to work to catch Santos ahead of him, and now has clear competition from a true freshman in Banderas behind him.
Stock Up: Nathan Gerry
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Gerry’s stock has been rising faster than Microsoft or Apple in the heyday of the tech explosion. And for good reason, it appears. His speed and athleticism are drawing rave reviews and seem to be motivating coaches to find a way for him to see the field.
According to reports from Rich Kaipust, Sam McKewon and Jon Nyatawa of the Omaha World-Herald, Gerry has been moved from dime, to inside cornerback, to safety and now to outside linebacker.
“He (Gerry) can do a lot of different things to help our football team,” Pelini said.
No kidding. If the coaches are working this hard to find a spot for a freshman from South Dakota to see the field, he must have something going on.
Stock Down: Mauro Bondi
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The longer camp goes, the more we hear about how Bondi—a scholarship sophomore once thought to be the clear-cut starter as placekicker—is fighting tooth-and-nail for a starting spot.
Pat Smith, a senior transfer from Western Illinois, has proved to be stiff competition for the placekicker position, and Smith and Bondi have been battling for that role.
“We usually get four to five a piece (team-setting) in the beginning or end of practice. It's a quick time. You have a short window to really get your opportunity to show the coaches what you can do,” said Bondi in a piece by Josh Harvey of Scout.com
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