Orlando, Fla. - The Nebraska football team hit the practice field in Florida for the first time on Tuesday morning, working out for nearly two hours in helmets and shoulder pads at Freedom High School.
The Huskers, who arrived in Orlando on Monday evening, practiced for the first time in a week after the players were given a Holiday break. Head Coach Bo Pelini addressed the media following practice and said his team was focused in its first practice from the bowl site.
"I thought the tempo was good. I thought the focus was good, and I thought there was a lot of retention from our earlier practices from before the holidays," Pelini said. "I thought it was a good start to the week."
Nebraska also practiced for the first time with a new defensive coordinator, as John Papuchis was promoted to that role last week. Assistant Coach Rick Kaczenski also participated in his first Husker practice, after being announced last week as Papuchis' replacement as Nebraska's defensive line coach.
"It was a pretty obvious choice to me," Pelini said about promoting Papuchis to defensive coordinator. "He's been a guy who's been around me for a long time now. He knows how I like to work. He's a bright young guy.
"The chance to get Rich Kaczenski as our defensive line coach, I think he's an outstanding football coach. He has a lot of energy, and I think it's a really good fit for us."
On Tuesday, Pelini also announced that linebackers coach Ross Els will take over Papuchis' role as special teams coordinator, beginning after the bowl game. Pelini said he will also replace Papuchis as recruiting coordinator with another member of the staff, but that an announcement on that would come at a later date.
In player news, Pelini announced that sophomore offensive lineman Andrew Rodriguez did not make the trip with the team, as he continues to rehab a foot injury. Rodriguez will not play in the Capital One Bowl, but could join his teammates later in the week. Junior tight end Ben Cotton returned to practice on Tuesday and is expected to play in the bowl game.
Following Tuesday's practice, the Huskers will spend the rest of the day at Walt DisneyWorld. Nebraska will strap on full pads for Wednesday morning's practice, as the Huskers continue preparation for their matchup with South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2.