Lincoln - The Nebraska football team continued their practice grind Wednesday morning with a two-hour practice on the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields. Head Coach Bo Pelini talked to the media about how his team is handling the wear of practice, as Nebraska is in the middle of a stretch of nine practices over a six-day span.
"We've had a good week so far," Pelini said. "You know, in the middle, this is when it gets tough. This is when guys' legs are tired and they have bumps and bruises and all the other things. But I think our guys are fighting through it well and making progress."
When Pelini was asked about differences between this year and past years, his response was pretty clear, "Football is football." However, he went on to say that he is especially pleased with certain aspects of this year's team.
"I like the attitude and the work ethic of the team and how they are approaching their jobs. We're not where we want to be yet, but I like the direction of this team," Pelini said. "I like the leadership on the team and the attitude that we have. If that continues, I think it gives us a fighting chance."
Pelini also addressed the issue of replacing All-American linebacker Lavonte David, a two-year starter for the Blackshirts.
"You just don't replace him," Pelini said. "We've lost great players before, and obviously Lavonte was a great player, but it gives other guys an opportunity. We might not use them exactly the same way that we did Lavonte. Different guys do different things, and we'll maybe have multiple guys having multiple roles to fill his slot."
David's leadership will be missed both on the field and off. In order for this year's team to succeed, players are going to have to step up and fill that leadership gap. One of the players that Coach Pelini mentioned Wednesday was sophomore wide receiver Kenny Bell.
"Kenny Bell has (leadership) qualities about him. He's always been a guy who's worked hard and been kind of a leader-by-example type guy, but he's growing into a guy with the right, and the attitude, to speak his mind," Pelini said." He's going to be a leader around here for years to come.
Pelini also announced that freshman offensive lineman Corey Whitaker suffered a knee injury earlier this week and has been replaced on the 105-man roster by junior Brandon Chapek.
The Huskers return to the practice field Wednesday evening for their second practice of the day as they continue to prepare for their season opener against Southern Miss on September 1. The game will kick off at 2:30 pm. (central) and will be broadcast regionally on ABC and ESPN2.