Nebraska strength and conditioning coach James Dobson confused players and reporters alike when he quickly interrupted a couple of post-practice interviews Monday.
“Catapult first! Catapult first!” Dobson instructed.
He then came over, reached underneath the players’ shoulder pads and pulled out 3-by-1-inch black device from between their shoulder blades.
It’s a Catapult GPS system, something Nebraska is trying for the first time this season.
“They’ve got like a thousand pieces of data on you,” said offensive lineman Mike Moudy, who’d forgotten he was even wearing the device until Dobson came over to retrieve it. “It’s kind of cool. It measures like your heart rate and … I don’t know, honestly. They explained it to us, but it took about 20 minutes to explain.”
Roughly 55 players on the 105-man roster – the two-deep on offense and defense, and some special teams players – were wearing the devices.
“They can track these guys, built up some data and learn a lot as far as making sure we’re tailoring practice the right way, not only for performance, but for injury prevention and that type of thing,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said.
* Good vibes: Sophomore linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey said it just felt different out there with this team compared to past years. He meant it, of course, in a very good way.
Whether there is a difference will be seen enough, but clearly it is a confident defense, which was constantly looking for picks, and got a few of them.
"It was kind of a sitting around, I can't wait kind of thing with everybody," Rose Ivey said. "We've built a great thing with our defense, but just the team overall, I think we have a great chemistry. We have a lot of young guys who can make some plays out there. We keep building that chemistry, keep getting familiar with the playbook, I think we'll be just fine this year."
* Newby looks the part: Sophomore running back’s Terrell Newby spent a lot of his time in the weight room this summer. It shows. Newby said he weighs 197. Whatever he weighs, he looks formidable.
“Just to get the mental side and the weight room were the biggest things I focused on,” he said.
The 5-foot-10 Newby was about 185 pounds when he first arrived to campus. The weight addition hasn’t seemed to cut into his speed at all.
Not to be outdone, redshirt freshman Adam Taylor flashed his promise on a long run, that featured a great cut to juke a defender about 20 yards downfield.
* Popular guy: Husker video coordinator Mike Nobler did his best Tom Osborne impersonation during Monday's practice, wearing a practice wardrobe straight out of the mid-80s.
"He's a cool dude," said junior cornerback Daniel Davie. "You saw him out there with the shorts on and the socks. He's real animated, man. If guys are walking around with their heads down upstairs in the meeting room, he'll kind of crack a joke and make them smile. Everyone on the team loves Nobler."
* Foot on pedal: Yep. The Huskers picked up the pace. Everything was fast moving, faster than we've seen it at any practices we've attended in the past.
"I actually like that a little bit more," said sophomore tight end Cethan Carter.
Fellow tight end Sam Cotton was even stronger with his words.
"I love it."
* Safety work: Byerson Cockrell, who mostly worked at cornerback in the spring, saw some reps at safety. We'll leave it there for now since it's Day 1.
But the versatile Cockrell will be an interesting piece of the puzzle to keep an eye on this camp.
* Eye test: Two incoming freshmen that stood out to me were quarterback A.J. Bush and wide receiver Jariah Tolbert.
It's not as though they made any dazzling plays, but they both are physically impressive. The left-handed Bush clearly will have plenty to figure out, but at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he makes a real good appearance trotting into the huddle.
* Working overtime: Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. probably had a few throws he'd like back today. But without pads, and the passing game being so prominent, it seemed to me to be a practice that probably would favor a confident defense, which has some defensive backs who look like they could be pretty good ball hawks in 2014.
Charles Jackson, in particular, got his hands on a couple passes throughout the evening. And Josh Mitchell made a fabulous one-handed interception.
But back to Armstrong. No need to form some grand critique about one practice. You do, however, have to like the way he goes about his business of trying to get better.
Here was his post-practice tweet.
Made myself a promise that I'll be the last to leave the stadium after practice. Extra film doesn't hurt anyone.— Tommy Armstrong Jr. (@Tommy_Gun4) August 5, 2014
That's all for tonight.