Following practice Tuesday, Nebraska football assistant coaches Barrett Ruud and Tony Tuioti spoke with members of the media over video conference about how the team has progressed during fall camp.
Tuioti mentioned that, especially for the younger members of the team, practicing in full pads brought a critical component to their preparation for the season.
“We can’t get enough of those live situations. Coach Frost is doing a great job putting in those controlled tackling situations for us, but we can’t have enough of those,” Tuioti said. “For the young guys, they are going to take a lot of reps for us and they are going to help us out a lot this year. The more we can be in pads, the more we can be able to strike against the offensive linemen and try to throw them and get in position to make a tackle on the running backs, the better for us.”
Ruud discussed how the team’s rotation at linebacker is important to the team’s success in this season’s Big Ten-only schedule.
“As far as rotation, you want as many able bodies as possible,” Rudd said. “With Big Ten play in general, let alone a Big Ten-only conference season and with the way our offense plays and the speed they play at, typically on defense we are getting between 80 and 90 plays. Ideally you don’t want to just have to play two guys (at linebacker). You want to be able to play three to four, maybe even five to keep guys fresh. I think that really contributes to success in the long haul during a Big Ten season.”
Developing good, consistent habits is a point of focus for Ruud and his unit as they look to maintain high-level practice competition and improve on last season’s performance.
“One thing I have been really happy with as a group, and when you have two seniors in your room, is they understand the expectations and what the standard needs to be. For them, it is going to be how high of a level can you operate every single day,” Ruud said. “Football is just a big game of habits. When your habits are really, really good, the product shows on the field and that is where we are getting to. I’m looking for an overall consistency and really that starts with day-to-day habits.”
Tuioti’s unit will be up against some more veteran offensive lines this season, but he noted Nebraska is ready for what’s to come.
“The only thing we can control is how we play up front. Play with great fundamentals and technique,” Tuioti said. “The thing I love about these young guys is they don’t know any better. All they know is to be scrappy and play hard. We know that the challenge is out there. That is why these young men come here because they know they are going to be playing against some of the best offensive linemen in the country. And there is no better way to just step up to the challenge each and every week. These young guys are eager, they are prepared, they are fighting every day to get themselves ready to show up when it’s game time.”
The 2020 season kicks off at Ohio State on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. in Columbus. Television coverage will be provided by FOX.