Nebraska football practice, 8/29/17

Husker Blackshirts Marcus Newby (3) and Mick Stoltenberg (44) square off in jest before the start of football practice Tuesday at Hawks Championship Center.

ERIC GREGORY, Journal Star

Year: Junior | Hometown: Gretna | Depth chart: No. 1 at nose tackle| In the program: 6-foot-5, 305 pounds

Four years in program has changed him: “I think I’ve become a lot more mature. The more you’re here you kind of realize the little things matter a lot more than you might think. I’ve become a lot harder worker than I was in high school, and that can speak to the coaches and the guys I’ve been around. It’s just doing everything right, and going into every little thing with the attitude that it will make you better. Sometimes when you’re doing a lift, and doing a warmup that maybe you don’t enjoy doing, you can tell yourself that it’s going to help you on the football field. You have to take that attitude in everything you do.”

It can be hard for players to block out the noise from outside the program: “I think it’s hard for some guys. It’s so accessible nowadays. Back then you had to pick up the newspaper or someone had to say something directly to you. Now it’s pretty easy to get on Twitter and see something and kind of let that permeate your day-to-day life, so it’s something you kind of just have to tune out and try to focus on your work."

Set to graduate in December, and then start graduate school for education administration: “I either want to coach or work in athletics, or possibly be a high school principal or athletic director, or something like that. Ultimately I’d want to be a college coach, but I understand that’s going to be a progression. I love watching people grow. If I show a younger guy here a different technique, or something, and it ends up working, that’s something that makes me pretty excited, so that’s something I want to do in the future."

A cold weather game doesn’t mean long sleeves under the jersey: “I think if I wore long sleeves out there (defensive line coach John Parrella) would probably make me cut them off. I’ll be wearing shorts sleeves if it’s 20 degrees.”

About his Gretna Dragons

Location: About 40 miles northeast of Lincoln.

Stoltenberg’s graduating class: 188.

Some Gretna alums who lettered for the Huskers: Mike Carl and Andy Janovich.

Playoff history: Gretna has made the playoffs 10 straight seasons, including reaching the Class B state semifinals this year.

— Brent C. Wagner

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Sports reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

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