"They came back OK," Pelini said. "The tempo was good, installation continued a bit. We're rough around the edges in some areas, but I'm seeing some progress. It's about where you'd expect to be."
Pelini and his staff have implemented a philosophy of an evolving defense and are continuing to teach that philosophy in the spring.
"We're always doing that defensively and we're continuing to do that right now," Pelini said. "I think we're pretty multiple in what we do. We've become more multiple through this offseason and through spring. I think we do a lot of things that are going to create problems for people in the Big Ten. That is the whole purpose of what we're trying to do on defense."
With the injuries to defensive linemen Jared Crick and Cameron Meredith during spring drills, Pelini has seen other players step up to fill their shoes in their absence.
"Guys are getting more opportunities," Pelini said. "Thad Randle is stepping up and playing well. Eric Martin has taken full advantage so far of playing defensive end. We've seen some guys that are stepping up."
The coaches have also seen more players compete at the running back position. Junior Rex Burkhead will look to lead the squad through the completion of spring practices and into the fall.
"Rex had a great day today," Pelini said. "He looked great out there today. It's given guys an opportunity; some guys are taking advantage of the opportunity, other guys aren't. We have a pretty good stable of running backs coming in, we feel real good about the guys who are going to come in and play running back for us. This has given us the opportunity to look at the guys who are lined up there for us right now and see if they take advantage of the opportunity. Some guys have stepped up a little bit, other guys haven't, but we've still got seven more practices to go."
Tickets for the spring game remain available on Huskers.com and through the NU Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-8 BIG RED.