08.20.2010 / Huskers close out their first week of Practice. Blog posting by Mike Babcock, Huskers Illustrated Magazine.
At last, it is here. The Nebraska football team scrimmaged for the first time during the ninth practice of fall camp on Saturday.
"The team was about where I thought we would be right now, which was not good enough to play championship football yet. But that is why we are in camp."
"The team was about where I thought we would be right now, which was not good enough to play championship football yet. But that is why we are in camp" Pelini said.
The scrimmage lasted "about a good hour," coach Bo Pelini said afterward. Apparently, there weren’t many surprises, with good things and bad on both sides of the ball. Tackling was sloppy at times, according to Pelini, and the pass protection occasionally broke down, primarily because of communication issues. The backs ran hard, however, and the quarterback play “was pretty good,” said Pelini. “Overall, I thought the effort was good.”
The scrimmage concluded the first week of camp, a week in which senior offensive lineman Mike Smith, a two-year starter at left tackle who had moved inside during the spring, suffered a broken leg; junior college transfer Jermarcus “Yoshi” Hardrick, who’s competing with redshirted freshman Jeremiah Sirles for the starting job at left tackle that opened up with Smith’s move, suffered from dehydration; and redshirted freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez missed Thursday’s practice.
Pelini referred to the Martinez absence as “excused,” and Martinez was back practicing on Friday, competing with senior Zac Lee and sophomore Cody Green for the starting job.
The quarterback competition has drawn the most attention, though much-needed improvement on offense will depend on more than just the player who emerges to direct it. Nebraska ranked 99th nationally in total offense and 75th in scoring offense last season.
Offensively, at this point, “I think we’re running the system well,” Pelini said. “I think we’re deeper, which obviously makes you better. And I feel we have more guys capable of (playing) winning football for us. I think we’re showing some physicality in the run game, which I really like.”
The Huskers ranked 62nd nationally and sixth in the Big 12 in rushing offense in 2009, averaging just under 150 yards on the ground per game. Improving that number is a priority.
The team was given a day off before resuming practice, with two-a-days three times during the second week, leading up to the start of university classes. “I’m pleased with the effort,” said Pelini. “I’m pleased with the type of attitude our guys have brought to the table.”
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