Nebraska's Annual Red-White Game , 04.16.2016

Running back Devine Ozigbo (22) evades safety Aaron Williams (24) during the first half of Nebraska's annual spring game on Saturday, April 16, 2016, at Memorial Stadium.

Devine Ozigbo learned quickly as a Husker that what seems easy enough on a Tuesday in August isn't always so simple on a Saturday in September.

"It's totally different," said Nebraska's true sophomore running back. "I was talking to Tre, I was like, 'Yeah, all these holes that open up in practice, don't expect them to be that easy.' That was one thing that in my head (last year). It was like, 'In practice I'm killing it every single time.' But it's never that easy in the game.

"So it's understanding there's going to be some tough times but if you keep pushing, you're going to break through."

While senior Terrell Newby is listed as the top running back, and there's much eagerness from fans to see the aforementioned true freshman Tre Bryant, don't sleep on Ozigbo. He expects he'll also bring more to the table in 2016 after gaining some lessons while playing as a true freshman.

Ozigbo carried the ball 38 times for 209 yards last year. More than half of those attempts (20) came in the bowl win over UCLA. He had 80 yards rushing, as well as a 15-yard reception that night.

He knows you have to stay sharp, and at the ready, in a room that has four running backs who could play key snaps. Sophomore Mikale Wilbon is also in that mix. NU coaches have also seemed to involve more two running back sets in the offense this offseason.

Everyone is wondering how much Nebraska will run it. And how well? Ozigbo thinks this, "We have the backs to do it and we have the O-line to do it."

Much was made after the bowl about Mike Riley's public comments about wanting to be a Top 3 rushing team in the Big Ten in 2016. Ozigbo believes the Huskers have had the right attitude all fall camp to be the kind of team that runs the ball with success.

It has to start there.

"That's the attitude we had going in and we just stuck with it," Ozigbo said. "We know we're going to need to run the ball in this conference and against teams we play. This shouldn't be a moment where, ‘Oh, today’s the day we do run it.' We should always be able to run it. That’s the attitude we had with the offensive line and the backs."

Reach the writer at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


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