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RED REPORT

Red Report: Who is Nebraska's No. 2 TE? Sean Beckton has a few ideas

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The competition for Nebraska’s second tight end spot has been “fierce” in fall camp, according to tight ends coach Sean Beckton.

After Monday’s practice, Beckton named Nate Boerkircher, Chris Hickman and Chancellor Brewington as contenders for that spot. He also mentioned that Creighton Prep grad AJ Rollins, who did not practice Monday, is “in the mix” for that spot. And Norris grad James Carnie had “one of his better days” on Day 5 of camp.

Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple said Brewington, who added 15 pounds to his frame this summer, moved up the depth chart this summer. Brewington said he did so by “being a professional,” which included working out between three and four times per day.

“I can feel it,” Brewington said. “I’m moving people more.”

The Huskers are still waiting for the next move from Council Bluffs Lewis Central grad Thomas Fidone, a former top-100 recruit. Fidone has not yet practiced this fall due to a knee injury.

“The only person I’ve really anointed has been Travis (Vokolek),” Beckton said. “I’m looking for guys to be (numbers) two, three, four — fill out the rest of the roster.”

Bando ready to prove himself in sixth season: Whatever Broc Bando goes through in the coming months, it almost certainly won’t be worse than last September.

The Nebraska offensive lineman was ready to make his first start against Buffalo and go from there. But that week he came down with mononucleosis. Rhinovirus too. Then bronchitis. He dropped 30 pounds to 280 in a few days, bedridden and unable to eat.

“I thought I was dying,” Bando said Monday.

The interior blocker out of Lincoln Southeast came back to appear in nine games a season ago but never felt his best. He wondered if that was how his career would end.

“I didn’t feel like it was,” Bando said. “I wanted to come back.”

So he did, taking advantage of the free pandemic year to run it back for a sixth and final college campaign. He continues to trend toward making his first career start in his 30th career game this month in Ireland. Right guard is where he’s spending most of his time.

Bando is fully recovered, he said, and holds a prove-it mentality shared by many players much younger than him. Same goes for another guy as old as him, center Trent Hixson, also a holdover from NU’s 2017 class.

Both are on their third O-line coach as they prepare for their first day in pads Tuesday. One last fall camp to show what they can do on a line that will take all the experience it can get.

“If one of the five guys does their job wrong, the play is dead,” Bando said. “We have to be a unit and do our job.”​

More urgency on special teams: The Huskers’ special teams are practicing with more urgency this fall.

Beckton, who also coaches returners, said special teams coordinator Bill Busch’s drills are designed to foster competition. Brewington said NU’s third unit is playing “full speed” with every rep. And wide receiver Alante Brown said “everybody’s hungry” to make an impact as a special-teams player.

Nebraska ranked 128th out of 130 teams in ESPN’s special teams efficiency last season (only Temple and Mississippi State ranked lower. NU appears motivated to improve that number.

“You can feel it when we’re in the special teams meetings,” Brown said. “You can feel it when we step on the field. You can feel it when we transition (to special teams drills).”

Quick hits

* Brewington appreciated the fanfare for his crack-back blocks at the goal line last season, but the former wide receiver wants to showcase his pass-catching skill set in 2022.

“I just want to add more to the offense, be more of a versatile tight end,” he said. “(The blocking videos) are cool; I love the fans. But this season, I want to prove what I can really do.”

* Monday was Nebraska’s first “red zone day” of camp. Brewington thought it went well.

“We obviously have stuff to clean up,” he said, “but I think we’ll do a little bit more (red zone work) tomorrow.”

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