Nebraska's Spring Game will have different look

2014-04-09T22:30:00Z 2014-04-18T19:59:01Z Nebraska's Spring Game will have different lookBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON / Lincoln Journal Star

As long as Stormaggedon of 2012 doesn't happen again, a different type of spring game is coming to Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Husker football coach Bo Pelini confirmed Wednesday that the annual scrimmage will be an offense vs. defense format as opposed to blending both units for two different teams.

"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," Pelini said.

The scrimmage will feature a points system not yet made public. The coach said he'd like to post the scoring system on the scoreboard or maybe even have it explained on fliers handed to fans.

In actuality, Saturday's scrimmage will perhaps give a truer sense of what the other spring practices have been like. It will include the first-team offense operating against the No. 1 defense, which hasn't happened in the recent past when teams have been mixed together.

"We won't make the quarterbacks live in the pocket, but when they turn and run they'll be live," Pelini said.

The offense will be "dialed back" from previous practices, with Nebraska coaches not wanting to unveil some of the wrinkles they've been working on now that the Big Ten Network television cameras are rolling.

Pelini anticipates the scrimmage will be between 90 and 120 plays, noting that last year it had 112.

Two players you likely won't see much of are running back Ameer Abdullah and defensive end Randy Gregory.

While wanting to make the event fun for the fans — 48,000 tickets have been sold so far — Pelini said it's important for players to end the spring on strong footing.

"Especially when you're talking about guys that are trying to get on that bus to go on road trips … to contribute to this football team," Pelini said. "There are some guys who have made the most of that opportunity. There are other guys who haven't. … I told them, 'When that happens and I put on the film day after day and I see repeat errors, you send a message to us as coaches that it's not important enough to you.'"

The majority of players, Pelini said, are not in that camp. In fact, the coach spoke in glowing terms about his team's work after Wednesday's practice.

"We went into this thing wanting to lay a foundation for the fall. I think we've done that."

Now Pelini hopes to hit a good final note. He's also hoping for sunshine. Remembering the cancellation of the Spring Game two years ago all too well, Pelini has been watching Saturday's forecast closely.

"Every day I look, it's 100 percent rain, then 100 percent no rain. Then there's half of a sun and half of a rain cloud," Pelini said. "I'll just get Coach Osborne down here. He can part the skies and we can be good to go."

​Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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