Huskers Conclude Weekend with Scrimmage

By NU Athletic Communications
More than 800 coaches attended the weekend's Coaches' Clinic, which concluded Saturday with NU's two-hour practice.
More than 800 coaches attended the weekend's Coaches' Clinic, which concluded Saturday with NU's two-hour practice.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

LINCOLN—A busy weekend wrapped up Saturday for the Nebraska football program, as the Huskers polished off the second week of spring practice with a two-hour workout in half pads inside the Hawks Championship Center. The two-day Nebraska Football Coaches’ Clinic also came to a close during the morning with featured guest speakers Juan Castillo, offensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Frank Gansz, former head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It was a great weekend,” Head Coach Bill Callahan said following practice. “We had close to 800 coaches attend our clinic, and it went great. We couldn’t have had a better outing than what we had yesterday and today.”

On the field, the Huskers concluded their second week of spring ball with a situational scrimmage featuring close to 50 live snaps.

“We didn’t scrimmage as many plays as we normally do, because it is still very early in the spring,” Callahan said. “We’re just getting acclimated to the spring, but we did get enough to evaluate. It was a good scrimmage, one where you kind of get to knock the rust off.”

The progress made by the NU defense through spring’s early going was one positive that Callahan took away from the scrimmage.

 “I like everything they did, and it all starts up front,” Callahan said. “(He was impressed with) the ability to penetrate and make plays in the pass rush, and of course our linebackers—I think we have a solid corps or backers who can make plays. Whether it’s picking of the ball or tipping balls for an interception, there are a lot of positive signs in that regard. I thought our backers flowed to the ball well. I thought our secondary was very sound and solid defending the pass, so I’m encouraged by all levels and each phase of our defense today as we came out of the scrimmage.”

Callahan also addressed Nebraska’s depth situation at cornerback, which suffered a hit this week when senior Zack Bowman was forced to undergo surgery after injuring his knee in practice on Wednesday. Callahan said that while the Huskers return both of last year’s starters at corner, the position group would be forced to step up in order to compensate for the loss of the talented Bowman.

“The next guy plays,” Callahan said. “Armando Murillo has stepped up, and of course Andre Jones and (Cortney) Grixby have all done well. They are challenged by that. You are disappointed to lose a player like Zack Bowman, but then again, it also provides an opportunity for another player to step up.”

Murillo has made an imprint early in spring ball despite having only a short time to work in Nebraska’s defensive system, and Callahan noted several things that stand out about the junior transfer from Eastern Arizona Community College.

“He is strong legged, can burst and change direction,” Callahan said. “He can play the physical type of technique that we want him to, so that is that upside that we see. And every day is a learning process (for Murillo). He gets better, comprehends more and is absorbing a lot more of the defense than a lot of guys who have come in at this point of time. We are encouraged by his progress. He has a long ways to go, but we do see a lot of upside and positive signs.”

Nebraska returns to the practice field on Monday afternoon.


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