Monday practice kernels

2013-03-04T19:28:00Z 2013-03-04T22:17:03Z Monday practice kernelsBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON
March 04, 2013 7:28 pm  • 

Two spring practices down. The media didn't watch this second one but there were post-practice interviews, which means practice kernels to share.

And so we shall...

Let's start with linebackers coach Ross Els. He's really enjoying working with the young guys it seems.

"I tell you what's really fun about this: The last two years I go to step in and make a correction and they're already telling me what the correction is, which is what you want," Els said. "But here, I'm getting a lot of blank stares, which is fine. This is why we do what we do."

Els said Nebraska is doing a lot of two-group drills during practices to get linebackers more reps.

When he's with one group, grad assistant T.J. Hollowell or Bo Pelini or John Papuchis are with the other .

"So these backers are getting quite a bit of coaching. We're loving it."

The ambition of the young freshmen like Thomas Brown, Michael Rose, Jared Afalava and Courtney Love is helping the process process.

"Great energy," Els said. "They're just sponges. They want to learn. They want reps. They're really focused. They've obviously got a long way to go but we do run to the ball well. It's kind of hard when you don't have pads on because sometimes, (you ask), 'Would I really have gotten off that block or not?' When we go Wednesday I think it will be a lot different to see how we do run when it's in full pads?"

* How's Zaire Anderson doing after coming back from the torn ACL. He's ahead of schedule and been running with the 1s. But he's probably not at his peak performance, his coach explains.

"When (the injury) first happened, we probably wondered how many reps he'd get in the spring. And he's getting almost as much as anyone else, which is good, so I think he's ahead of schedule," Els said. "He's really out of shape because he didn't winter condition at all. First part of practice, he's flying around. Great coverage, doing all that. Later part of practice, he's sucking air a little bit."

Els said coaches just need to keep an eye on Anderson as he gets back into shape to protect him from another injury.

"Make sure he doesn't get too fatigued. So you get that time maybe when you're not bending your knees to make a play and you get hit or something like that. You just got to be smart with the number of reps he takes. But other than that, he's full go."

* Papuchis says Nebraska hasn't eased Love into things at all. The true freshman who arrived to school a semester early is running with the second group right now.

"Doing a good job. He doesn't look like a guy that was in high school a month-and-half or two months ago," Papuchis said.

Els said the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Love is ahead of the game mentally as well as physically.

"Cardinal Mooney has done a good job of coaching him from a linebacker spot," Els said. "He'll compete in there, no question."

* Harvey Jackson and Corey Cooper started the spring off with the top group at safeties.

"I think those two guys have put in the most time," said secondary coach Terry Joseph. "And I told them, 'Right now you're the starting safeties. But we have a lot of young guys that are on your tail and chasing you. And we got a lot of young guys that are champing at the bit to get in there. So every single day you need to hold onto the job, and you need to prove that you can be that guy day in, day out.'"

* One of those young guys pushing for a job is 5-foot-11, 175-pound Charles Jackson, working with the second team at safety to begin spring ball.

"The thing about Charles, you saw on special teams last year, he's a runner and hitter," Joseph said. "And where we're at at corner as far as the guys we got that we feel can cover, he can probably help us the quickest at safeties and we don't have a lot of bodies there. So for how we want to fit those guys in the run, we kind of think that suits his game a little more. A lot of people ask about his weight. But I'd take him more than I'd take a lot of guys bigger than him."

* How many job offers did Joseph get during the offseason?

"Every season you get calls," he said. "Probably reasonably, three legitimate ones that there was something on the table. But for me, getting to work for Bo at a place like Nebraska, and for the guys I brought back, that plays a lot into it. And we're going to try to win as many games as we can."

* Potential is the popular word of use right now for the defense with youth all over.

"You would love for it to be a little bit more balanced for a variety of reasons," Papuchis said. "We're kind of real young at some spots and older at others. We're old at the corner spot but we're young up front and in the linebacker position with six more defensive linemen coming in fall. So there's a lot of potential at that spot. But that's all it is right now is potential, and there's a lot of work that has to get done over the course of the next 40 practices to be ready to go Aug. 31."

* Oh, and here's video of Tim Beck talking after Monday's practice.

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