Fan day

Running back Ameer Abdullah poses for a photo during Nebraska football fan day at Memorial Stadium.

1. You know the amended NCAA bylaws we wrote about earlier this summer, the ones that allowed head coaches and assistants to oversee summer weight training, on-field conditioning and film study?

Anybody who's watched Nebraska's preseason practices can see the benefits of the change.

You don't see as many freshmen and newcomers with faraway looks in their eyes.

They don't seem lost.

You see much more confidence.

Four true freshman defensive backs, in particular, are making an immediate impression on the coaching staff: Chris Jones, Josh Kalu, Trai Mosley and Kieron Williams.

If you watch Williams in particular, you see him strutting to the music played throughout practice. He is very confident in his movements once the action begins. I don't want to sound erratic -- it's only been three practices -- but I would be surprised if he isn't playing a prominent role this season.

2. Talk about culture change. About 40-plus media gathered to watch practice Wednesday. Ryker Fyfe, the sophomore walk-on quarterback from Grand Island, became the "flavor of the day" based partly on comments from a few receivers -- one of whom is a sophomore -- whose comments arose from down-field throws in live action. Never mind that Nebraska hasn't donned full pads yet. So, no option runs. No zone-read game. No QB draws. No play-action. Only part of the play-book has been installed.

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The process of selecting a starting QB will play itself out over the next several days.

As it stands, Tommy Armstrong is taking most of the reps with the first string. His passing needs to improve. But there is a much bigger picture to consider.

3. Kenny Bell was among those working out with the punt returners Wednesday. I like that (although I still remain squarely in the Jordan Westerkamp camp). Meantime, Ameer Abdullah has been participating in punt-blocking drills.

How does Tim Beck feel about that?

"He's a difference-maker (on offense), so I hate to see him out there, but if it helps the team ... If he can block punts for us, it's going to help our field position, then so be it," Beck said smiling.

You always look for the positive spin, right?

I say turn Ameer loose and see what happens.


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