Afalava made most of his spring

2013-04-10T13:36:00Z Afalava made most of his springBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON JournalStar.com
April 10, 2013 1:36 pm  • 

Bo Pelini and Taylor Martinez took part in a Big Ten spring teleconference on Wednesday.

Nothing earth shattering was revealed.

But one young player Pelini did highlight was redshirt freshman linebacker Jared Afalava (pictured chasing Tommy Armstrong), who has seemed to work his way into a lead candidate at BUCK linebacker. Thomas Brown has also been working there.

"(He's) probably a little bit further ahead of where I thought he'd be," Pelini said of Afalava.

Overall, Pelini said he remains upbeat about the potential of this defense.

"We have talent. We have a lot of guys I believe are going to come. We should hopefully have more depth than we've had there in a while."

* Linebacker David Santos, Vincent Valentine and Greg McMullen were all defensive players held out of Saturday's game. Santos had his arm in a sling as he watched the action.

While the team will have post-spring workouts over the next few weeks, Santos will not be part of them.

But Pelini said it's nothing long term with any of those three players held out Saturday.

"Nothing's significant to the point they won't be back to the start of camp come August. We actually came out of spring pretty healthy."

But the fact some of those players were out Saturday contributed to some of the defense's struggles in the recent scrimmage, Pelini believes.

"First of all, you can't have one of your better days when a lot of your better guys don't practice. I thought our defensive line made some great strides, especially in the second half of the spring. I think it's a work in progress but I like the potential there."

* Senior Jason Ankrah, a rare veteran on the defensive line, did well this spring as he took on a slightly tweaked role at his end spot.

"We did some things a little bit differently with Jason. Gave him a little more freedom," Pelini said. "I think he's going to be a good football player for us. Hopefully his best year is yet to come."

I'll have some more on the teleconference (which only featured the Legends coaches and players on Wednesday) in a story.

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