Lincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska football team practiced in full pads and helmets for 90 minutes Tuesday evening. The team met in Memorial Stadium for the first half of practice. Then, the defense moved to the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Field for the second half, where the starters received their Blackshirts.
Defensive coordinator Mark Banker met with the media after practice to discuss the distributing of the Blackshirts and the Huskers’ upcoming game against Fresno State on Sept. 3.
“I think, as you mentioned, giving out the Blackshirts this time around was fun,” Banker said. “The addition this year is the fact that we have [our defensive line coach] John Parrella, a former Blackshirt. [We]had him come up in front of the group and tell the group from a player’s perspective what it meant. [For example], bringing up the word brotherhood, playing together, playing for one another, the sacrifices that you put forth for one another and the fact that you come out every day to establish a way to play and you earn it every day when you come out to the field.”
Five linebackers (Josh Banderas, Marcus Newby, Dedrick Young, Michael Rose-Ivey, Chris Weber) received Blackshirts on Tuesday. Banker pointed out that the linebacker position is not a position that usually stands out but felt each were deserving of a Blackshirt.
“It’s not a matter of how we feel about the position, it’s a matter of an accumulation of time and effort,” Banker said. “You know what they did for the program, for the Blackshirts, [how they performed] last season, how they progressed in the offseason and then what they’ve done going forward here during camp.”
Banker also talked about the team’s first game on Saturday against Fresno State.
“Ready or not here we come, but I think they are really excited to play a game,” Banker said. “That game is getting closer and closer. That anticipation and excitement grows. It will be fun to play for real and to keep a score. We need to let these guys play. I don’t think there will be any magic juju or fairy dust to sprinkle on anybody. I think we just have to go play and establish some physical dominance and make plays.”