Lincoln – The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours in full pads on Thursday inside the Hawks Championship Center.
Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters and Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander spoke to the media following practice. Each coach discussed where he thinks the team stands with just two days until the sold-out Spring Game on Saturday. Walters spoke first and talked about how the quarterbacks will get reps on Saturday.
“We’ve got two quarterbacks on each squad, so they’ll go 50-50,” Walters said. “They will all get a lot of action and a lot of work and we’ll evaluate them afterward. You’ve got Adrian [Martinez] and Tristan [Gebbia] on the Red team and then [Andrew] Bunch and Noah [Vedral] on the White squad.” Walters went on to praise the depth of the offensive line and the progress that he has seen the unit make during spring practice.
“They’re doing a great job,” Walters said. “Right now we have maybe 10 deep, so they’re getting a lot of reps. They are getting used to the tempo but they’ve done a great job at just setting the tone coming off the ball. We throw a lot at them, so they are doing a great job of just playing as a unit.”
Walters wrapped up his comments by explaining how much it means to him to be able to coach in front of a sold-out crowd in Memorial Stadium for the first time.
“To coach there is special,” Walters said. “The history, tradition of this stadium, all the great players and coaches that have played in that stadium; it is going to be a thrill. I don’t know the night before if I am going to be able to get much sleep… it’s going to be phenomenal, so I’m excited. The players have worked their tails off so I told them that this is the reward for all your hard work that you all put in. Go out there in front of 90,000 and have fun and show them how far we’ve come.” On defense, Chinander touched on the progress of his unit and how he expects the defense to look on Saturday.
“We’re kind of getting to the finer points a little bit, some of the detail work within each call and they’re starting to pick it up,” Chinander said. “It’s getting a little better especially with the linebackers controlling what’s going on a little bit more, having a little more ownership and not being afraid to be loud and make a call.” Chinander also said he is anxious to see how the players perform in front of a large crowd.
“I think you’re going to learn who can operate in that environment,” Chinander said. “This is a beautiful game. You can talk all the stuff you want in pregame and practice but when the lights turn on we’re all going to find out. I want to find out who are the real guys? I don’t believe in gamers, but sometimes guys amp it up a little more when the lights turn on, and I want to find out who those guys are.”
Nebraska’s annual Red-White Spring Game presented by First National Bank is set for 11 a.m. on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.