Red Report: Husker coaches not panicked despite no recruit visits

2013-10-03T20:30:00Z 2013-10-04T11:12:59Z Red Report: Husker coaches not panicked despite no recruit visitsBy the Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska has no recruits scheduled for official visits this weekend, even though the Huskers begin Big Ten play and it is Homecoming.

The 11 a.m. kickoff obviously doesn’t help matters.

But recruiting coordinator Ross Els isn’t exactly in panic mode, he said.

“We’re going to have a lot of players in toward the end of the season,” he said.

What’s more, “If you have them in too early, part of the problem is, they’re going to take a couple more visits. So if a guy isn’t real, real fired up about coming in, we’re not going to force it early. We’d rather wait until he’s ready to make a decision, and maybe be the last one in.

“Strategies are different with different kids.”

Nebraska has 12 verbal commitments for its scholarship class of 2014, the last coming Aug. 30 from defensive lineman Peyton Newell of Hiawatha, Kan.

Husker coaches hit the recruiting trail full-force last week during the bye week.

Els said it was refreshing.

“It’s really good to get out and see what people think of the University of Nebraska,” he said. “It means something around the country. We got some really good contacts from talking to coaches and going to games — a lot of positive feedback.

“Hopefully in the next month or so, you’ll see some fruition.”

He said Nebraska coaches are being patient with the process.

“I know everybody compares us to Ohio State and Michigan, saying, ‘Those guys are full. How come Nebraska isn’t full?’” Els said.

Ohio State has verbal commitments from 18 players, Michigan 15.

“If we come to signing date and we have a bad class, we haven’t done a very good job,” Els said. “It’s kind of like a game. Until we see the final score, we’re fine.”

* BETTER COMMUNICATION: Husker head coach Bo Pelini was displeased with his team's Wednesday practice.

But his team apparently pulled a 180 on Thursday.

"I thought our communication today was probably the best it's been since we started this camp," Pelini said. "I thought we had a great meeting today. We talked about a lot of things, and now we got to apply it."

* SAFETY CONCERNS: The Huskers are still looking for someone to step up at the safety spot next to Corey Cooper.

One possible option this week is redshirt freshman LeRoy Alexander, who is expected to see some snaps against Illinois.

"You'll see LeRoy Alexander in some this week," Pelini said. "(Andrew Green) we have a lot of confidence in. I think Harvey (Jackson) has had a better week of practice."

Charles Jackson?

"The key with Charles is just being able to make calls and do what he has to do to not only get himself ready, but to do what he has to do to function within the defense," Pelini said. "He's making progress. I'm not afraid to put him in the game, but he's still got a little ways to go."

* MORE MALIEK? True freshman defensive tackle Maliek Collins is another young player who could start to see a slightly bigger workload.

"I would hope so," Pelini said. "He's a good football player when he keeps his focus and plays the way he's taught to play. He still has some youth to him where he gets away from his technique and that's when he hurts us, and that's when he's not able to play the way he needs to play. He's coming."

* SANTOS TO START: Sophomore David Santos has bounced back after losing his blackshirt and starting job after a poor Week 1 performance.

Pelini expects Santos to get the nod over freshman Josh Banderas at MIKE linebacker to start the game against Illinois.

"Some guys respond," Pelini said. "There's two ways you respond: You either run and hide or you fight back. And he's fought back. He's kept a good attitude and he's kept working. And that doesn't say anything about where Josh is.

"I still have a lot of confidence in Josh Banderas in what he's doing, and he'll play in the football game. David should be ahead of where Josh is right now. Josh shows his youth at times, and we're just continuing to bring him along."

* INJURY UPDATES: Pelini said wide receiver Tyler Wullenwaber is questionable (shoulder tweak), and linebacker Zaire Anderson is "still a little gimpy" from an ankle injury but should be available Saturday.

— Brian Christopherson and Steven M. Sipple




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