The Nebraska football team wrapped up spring practice on Wednesday, April 9. After four weeks of practice and 14 total practices, the team is ready to show off in the annual spring game on Saturday, April 12.
Head coach Bo Pelini has been pleased with spring practice this year. He was particularly pleased with the final few practices.
While some things will remain a mystery until the 2014 season begins, a lot has been answered for the Huskers over the short few weeks of practice.
News from the Week
According to Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald, the Huskers had an opportunity to practice outside on Wednesday. The team has had to be indoors for most of spring practice, but was able to get outside and practice in Wednesday's 80-degree weather.
Pelini told 247Sports.com's Michael Bruntz that he doesn't expect Ameer Abdullah and Randy Gregory to play much in the spring game.
Defensive tackle Aaron Curry has a sprained neck, according to The Daily Nebraskan. He will be out for the spring game. He has been sitting out of practice with a neck brace since the injury last Saturday.
As for Marcus Newby's sprained back, Bruntz is reporting that Pelini expects the linebacker to play in the spring game. “My experience with that is that it usually settles down after a day or two,” Pelini said.
Important Position Battles
Quarterbacks will be protected in the pocket at the annual spring game, but the position will still have a lot of eyes on it. Tommy Armstrong is expected to be the starter and recently told the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com) that he's learned from his mistakes since last season.
Based on a report by the Omaha World-Herald, Armstrong seems to be finding his groove just fine in spring practice.
There are a lot of starting spots that have yet to be determined for the Blackshirts. However, defensive coordinator John Papuchis likes what he sees. As Lincoln's 1011 Sports reports, Papuchis believes the group is growing in confidence and belief in one another:
True confidence is only built when you have a great understanding of your role and responsibility. It was hard to have that swagger a year ago because guys were just learning. Now that they feel confident and comfortable with what they do, and with all of the hard work they've put in this offseason, they've earned the right to go out there, have some fun and just play. We're going to play much better when we're loose, flying around and jumping around. That's the way I want us to play, and that's the way they want to play, but you have to earn the right to get there.
As for the player he's most impressed with so far? It looks like the honor falls to Nathan Gerry.
Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star notes that Nebraska's spring game will have a different format this year. The new offense vs. defense format was confirmed by Pelini after Wednesday's practice. It will replace the usual combination of units to create two different teams.
Pelini talked a bit about the need for change:
It's the only way we're going to be able to function, and really be able to protect certain guys we want to protect. … Trying to field two teams wouldn't happen right now because we're thin at a couple positions and we don't want to put kids in a position to get hurt.
How the game will be scored has yet to be determined, but it will likely be a system that awards points for good plays.
Worried about the weather for the spring game? Don't be. At least Pelini doesn't believe fans have any reason to worry.
A statement made by the head coach following Wednesday's practice has gotten a bit of attention. As mentioned in the McKewon report, Pelini noted what he would do in response to unfavorable weather:
The weather keeps changing if you guys follow it. Every day I look, it looks like 100 percent rain, 100 percent no rain, and there’s half a sun and half of a rain cloud. I’ll just get Coach Osborne here, and he’ll part the skies, and we should be good to go.