Defensive tackle Jahkeem Green only arrived in camp two weeks ago and has since been trying to learn as much as he can and get in as good a shape as he can as the season draws closer.
“From Day One he’s improved immensely,” defensive line coach Tony Tuioti said. “He’s put in extra time in the classroom with (graduate assistant Tony Washington Jr.), he’s putting in extra work after practice and he’s trying to close the gap as much as possible. There’s a big gap and he’s closing it day-by-day. He’s getting his cardio a lot better, he’s working with (strength coach Zach) Duval and his staff afterward to try to get himself in shape. When he’s ready to play, we’re going to play him.”
Carlos Davis said even during the dog days of camp, when the work day lasts sunup to sundown and sometimes beyond, Green was in the building longer than anybody.
“Come on, you guys know, it’s hard as a freshman to come in in the summer and try to play as a freshman, but I know he’s been working his butt off,” Davis said. “He’s been staying up late, even when we would go home at 9 p.m. during camp, the week he was here, he was always staying after and getting extra work in trying to play.”
Henrich on the mend: UNL classes started Monday, and that means players who were not on the preseason camp 110-man roster started practicing this week.
One of those is rehabbing freshman inside linebacker Nick Henrich, who is recovering from spring shoulder surgery.
“They’ve done a great job with his rehab,” inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud said of the former Omaha Burke standout. “He’s noticeably bigger. I’d bet he’s probably gained 20 pounds, so they’ve done a great job with him."
A mid-year enrollee, Henrich was trending toward being an early contributor during spring ball before the injury. The plan is still for the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Henrich to return to the field sometime during the regular season.
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“Just watching him move around these first couple of days has been really good, I think,” Ruud said. “So, excited for him to just keep progressing.”
Walk-on Johnson cracks two-deep: Redshirt freshman Joey Johnson is on Ruud’s two-deep along with the three veterans despite only returning to practice about a week ago after an undisclosed injury cost him time early in camp.
“We were being smart with him just in terms of number of reps last week and I think now this week he’s pretty much good to go as far as I know,” Ruud said of the 6-3, 225-pounder from Gretna.
Meanwhile, freshman walk-on Luke Reimer, who made noise early in camp, still has not returned from an undisclosed injury. Ruud continued to call the former Lincoln North Star standout day-to-day.
Blackshirt presentation stirs emotions: Former Blackshirts and current Husker football players weren’t the only ones emotional about Monday’s gathering during which the coveted defensive jerseys were handed out.
“You’re talking about a deal where you’ve got some grown men shedding a tear, and there’s one of them right here,” NU defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said Tuesday.
Chinander didn’t want to divulge what exactly was said. He wants former players to feel like they can come back and speak freely to the team.
But “they just told those guys what it meant to be a Blackshirt, and I don’t know if they’ve heard that from enough guys yet to really get this tradition back to where it needs to be,” Chinander said. “It was an awesome, awesome deal and one I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”