Nebraska football continues to prepare for coach Mike Riley’s inaugural Spring Game on April 11, and Wednesday afternoon’s practice was heavily focused on offense and special teams. It included some 7-on-7, 11-on-11 and punt return drills.
After dealing with back spasms the week before spring break, quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. took some snaps and looked comfortable, while the competition at running back continues to progress with a leader yet to emerge.
Armstrong looks, feels good
Armstrong stayed in Lincoln over spring break last week, rehabbing after back spasms troubled him in the weeks leading up to the break.
The decision to stay was a good one, Armstrong said.
“(The back) feels good. It feels great. We took a week off, and I got a little time to rehab,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong got work in both the shotgun and under-center packages on Wednesday.
“I’ve been able to know my assignments and know where I need to go with the ball,” Armstrong said. “I’ve been able to put myself in the right situations (this spring).”
Still no clear-cut leader at RB
Backs like Terrell Newby, Imani Cross and Adam Taylor, alongside a few others, continue to compete for the starting job in 2015, trying to fill the void former running back Ameer Abdullah created with his graduation.
A few weeks into spring practice, while some backs are performing better than others, there’s still no clear-cut candidate for the role.
“There are some players that look really good,” offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said. “But there’s more to it. There’s the protection part of it, catching the ball out of the backfield.”
Along with the new offense comes a different role for NU running backs than in years past, but nevertheless, Riley inherited a rich core of RBs, and the competition is tough so far this spring.
“I’ve really liked (Terrell) Newby these last few days,” Langsdorf said. “He’s had some good practices.”
While Newby looked solid out of the backfield on Wednesday, Taylor, a four-star recruit from Texas who lost all of last year with an injury, continues to impress as well.
“Adam Taylor’s looked good,” Langsdorf said. “He’s gotten a lot of work here lately, and he’s had some good runs. He’s also looked good out of the backfield.”
Jamal Turner (kind of) feels good
Wide receiver Jamal Turner’s Nebraska career looked promising, but the Texas-native has been plagued by injuries from the moment he set foot on campus.
But, after losing all of 2014 after suffering a torn Achilles, Turner battles with motivation issues.
“I was going to rehab and rehab (when it happened), but then I was telling myself I didn’t even want to play football,” Turner said.
Turner said it isn’t something he’s dealt with in his football career until now, but he’s happy enough where he’s to keep going.
“Sometimes I get out of bed and my back hurts, and my knee hurts, and my Achilles hurts,” Turner said. “But I just think of my teammates and my coaches, and I keep going.”
But, he’s having a good spring, and after looking at potential transfer options, Turner’s glad he now has an offense that values receivers.
“We throw the ball a little more than in previous offenses,” Turner said. “That’s always good for receivers.”