Nebraska Football: Come For A Spring Game, Stay For A Party
It was a very festive atmosphere in Lincoln Saturday, complete with a man with a cat, Twitter handles, a goal post hitting contest, a marriage proposal, oh, and a football game as Nebraska concluded Spring practice with the annual Red-White game in front of 61,772 at Memorial Stadium.
It all started with Huskers head coach Bo Pelini emerging from the tunnel toting a feline, a nod to the Twitter site ‘Faux Pelini’, which has become famous for a photoshopped profile picture featuring Pelini holding a cat.
The day also featured Nebraska players being introduced by their Twitter handles, Husker cheerleaders calling plays, coach Pelini and wide receiver Kenny Bell holding an impromptu contest to see who could throw a football and hit the goal post with greater frequency, and former Husker lineman Jeremiah Sirles ‘popping the question’ to his girlfriend from the middle of the field.
The ‘Voice of the Cornhuskers’ Greg Sharpe told me he believes the good vibe on display in Lincoln got its’ start in Florida back on New Year’s Day with Nebraska’s 24-19 win over Georgia in the Gator Bowl:
As for on the field Saturday, much of the focus was on the quarterback position, as Nebraska look for a replacement for the departed Taylor Martinez. Tommy Armstrong is listed first on the depth chart, but threw an interception on the very first play of the day, although he did finish with 97 yards passing and a touchdown.
Co-number two’s on the depth chart, Ryker Fife (9-for-12, 89 yards, TD) and Johnny Stanton (8-for-12, 135 yards, 2 TD) opened some eyes as well Saturday:
The offensive star of the day was running back Imani Cross, who picked up 100 yards on just six runs, scoring two touchdowns. He benefited from Ameer Abdullah being kept out of the game by the Nebraska coaching staff:
Defensively, it was hard to get a read on exactly how good this unit is given the limitations of a Spring game format, but Greg says he likes what he saw from this group throughout Spring practice, especially without lineman Avery Moss, who will miss the entire season because of disciplinary reasons:
The immediate area of concern for Nebraska is the kicking game, or lack of, with Mauro Bondi, Grant Schumacher, and Spencer Lindsay putting on what coach Pelini calls a ‘capable, but inconsistent’ display this Spring. That opens the door for true freshman Drew Brown, who joins the team this Summer:
As for other incoming first-year players that might be able to make an impact right away in August, Greg says there are a few: