Lincoln, Neb. — The Nebraska football team practiced for 90 minutes Thursday evening. The Huskers were inside Memorial Stadium practicing in shorts and helmets.
Head coach Mike Riley spoke with the media after practice to first touch on injuries heading into Nebraska’s Homecoming game against Rutgers Saturday with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m.
“Hot and windy,” Riley started off with. “I think I’ll start out with injuries. David Knevel has practice just a little bit this week, probably at best an emergency-type guy. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. Matt Farniok is kind of the same way. He’s just gotten his cast, and he’s dealing with that. He could possibly be an emergency lineman or in the punch field like he did before. He could do that. Tre Bryant won’t play. Marcus Newby is not going to be ready to play. Josh Kalu won’t be ready to play. (Tyrin) Ferguson won’t be ready to play. Stanely Morgan has had a really, really hard time moving his head, his neck all week. So he hasn’t practiced. It is what we think is all soft tissue so it could start feeling better in the next less than 48 hours, whatever that is. So we’re hopeful for that. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. We’re hopeful that he is okay. Then at the tackle spot. That’s probably the one question that you want to know, is that Brenden Jaimes will start there at right tackle. Good player, good things are expected from him. Cole Conrad has had a rough week with the knee and ankle. Cole has practiced parts of the last two days but not the full practice. So (Michael) Decker has taken most of the reps up there. And [Decker] is ready to go.”
Riley then mentioned his excitement moving forward in the future touching on recruiting and the improvements of individuals as well as units.
“I’m really excited about what we can do. I’m really, really excited as I watch the ’17 class that we recruited practice and get some of them to play a little bit. It’s a really good group. The next group that we have right now committed will be a great group, and so the two things that you have to do is coach then you have to recruit if you want to really build where you want to go. What we have to do as a better job right now with this group is coaching them, I think there’s lots of parts there that are growing and there’s parts that we have to get better at right away. We haven’t played good offense yet, so we’ve got to keep working that. Defense is absolutely individuals getting better, unit getting better, lots of stuff in parts of the kicking game are different and better. The punters are way different this year. That’s individual and as a group. The return game has shown lots of good life. I am excited about that. We have to do that. If you really want to then have a vision down the road you have to recruit like crazy, and our guys have been doing that. I think this ’17 class looks like that and the ’18 class can look like that so that’s what we’re doing. I’m not losing any vision of where we’re trying to go. We’re just going to do it.”
Riley talked about the drive that the coaches and players share to get better by understanding expectations and performance.
“I told the kids this. The old saying, ‘you control what you can and then what you can’t, you got to let go.’ I know I am really confident in what we’re doing and the people that we have. How this thing is being run in the football office, I really feel good about that. I understand both expectations and performance so far to so I get all that. I actually am energized about the future. I guess perspective is one thing that is good and the drive to always want to be good and we have driven people that want to coach these guys at the highest level to do better. We have players like that. It’s not that complicated to me. It’s clear where we have to go on the football field. It’s clear what we have to do recruiting to get to that point where we can get where we want to go.”
The Huskers return to practice tomorrow afternoon as they continue to prepare for their Homecoming game against Rutgers on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.