First Nebraska football spring practice, 3.2.13

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini (left) said that the spring practice schedule has worked out well for the team this season.

With Wednesday's practice in the books, a practice which coach Bo Pelini described as "a spirited go," all that remains is Saturday's Red-White Spring Game.

What can Husker fans expect to see when they get a look behind the curtain this weekend?

Pelini laid out some of the plans for the scrimmage:

* Coaches are picking the teams this year. There will be no player drafts of teams as happened one year in the Pelini tenure.

* Taylor Martinez probably will play a couple series, Pelini said.

The senior quarterback likely will be off limits for contact, but the other quarterbacks probably are going to be allowed to take hits.

* Notable players ruled out for Saturday include running back Ameer Abdullah, linebacker David Santos, cornerback Daniel Davie and probably wide receiver Alonzo Moore.

"It was a physical spring," Pelini said. "With all the things we have coming up after the spring game, the offseason program and that type of thing, we're not going to put somebody at risk who's nicked up going into this thing."

* Some players may see action on both teams.

"We're going to be thin," Pelini said. "Obviously, when you go into a spring game and you're splitting your team up, we're going to be thin because we do have some guys nicked up."

* Pelini said the game likely will feature a running clock in the second half, though there hasn't been a final determination on that.

When it comes to special teams, "there will be portions that are live and portions that aren't," Pelini said.

* LIGHT YEARS: If Martinez could, he'd play the whole scrimmage Saturday.

"I get really tired out there just sitting and standing there," he said. "My back starts killing me. I'd prefer to be doing something."

Whatever his wishes, the quarterback knows his action will be limited.

Still, Martinez leaves the spring with a real good feeling about this Husker offense.

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"It's light years from where it was from last year's spring to this spring," he said. "You could totally see a difference in Coach (Tim) Beck, our offense and how fast we were going and what plays we were installing."

The offense is playing at a faster speed, Martinez said. But it's not just that. He thinks players have an understanding of exactly what this offense is going to be come the fall.

As far as offensive pace for the spring game, Martinez said he expects it'll be just as fast as it has been in recent practices.

How does he think the defense will keep up?

"They've been lining up really good in practice," said Martinez, praising the defense's recent progress. "If they're not lined up, we'll snap the ball, so they better hurry up and get their butts lined up. They'll get yelled at if they don't get lined up."

* LIKING THE SCHEDULE: Pelini has no regrets about choosing to have the spring practices so early in the year. Aside from some early weather concerns, he said it worked out just as hoped.

Pelini also likes the advantages of having practices done by April 6, the earliest finish to Husker spring practices that anyone can remember.

"It's good to have some time after spring practice with these guys -- in the weight room, in a lot of different ways," Pelini said. "It gives them a chance to make sure that they're ready to finish off the semester the way they're capable of doing. ... And we had a couple guys that got hurt, and it's going to give them plenty of time to get back before fall camp comes."

Pelini said the weeklong break halfway through the practices also proved critical in helping this team along this spring.

"It gave me a chance, and us a chance as coaches, to look and see exactly where we were ... and alter some things, really do what what was necessary to allow this team to grow during the last half of spring practices," he said.

* RIDICULOUS RICE: By now, you've probably seen the video of former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice's bizarre practice behavior, which included footage of him grabbing, kicking and throwing basketballs at players.

Rice was fired from his job at Rutgers on Wednesday, a day after video of his practice behavior was shown on ESPN.

"Obviously, any kind of action like that, it's uncalled for," Pelini said when asked for his take. "There's no room for anything like that."

How disturbing was it to see a coach acting that way with his players?

"It was ridiculous. And, you know, let's face it, that's an isolated incident. I would think, I would hope that's not a common thing going on out there."

Reach Brian Christopherson at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


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