football practice

Competition at running back, Ozigbo continues to impress

Even after fall camp, the post-Ameer Abdullah picture remains fuzzy.

With the likes of Terrell Newby, Imani Cross, Mikale Wilbon and Devine Ozigbo, it may take a few games to figure out who will do what.

“We’re going to play them all,” Langsdorf said.

Though the backs are competing against each other, they have high praise for each another, and Ozigbo has continued to impress throughout the preseason.

“He’s a real energetic guy,” Newby said. “You can see it on the field and in the scrimmages. He doesn’t stop, and you can tell he’s got some big things going for him.”

At 5-foot-11 inches, 225 pounds, the freshman from Texas has an intriguing combination of both power and speed.

“You know, he can move. He’s pretty quick,” Newby said. “He runs real hard, and does whatever it takes to gain yardage.”

But though the position might be highly competitive, it’s nothing the players aren’t used to experiencing.

“It’s always been a competition since I’ve been here,” Newby said. “Even when (Abdullah) was here, there was always the question of who was going to be No. 2, and who was going to get the most reps after him.”

Offensive line picture clearer

With the days until the opener dwindling, the offensive line starters are nearly ready to go.

“We’re pretty close (to finalizing the starters),” Langsdorf said. “We’re not 100 percent, but we’ll have that in the next few days.”

With four seniors and a junior, the line won’t be short any experience. But there still has to be a certain level of comfort.

“We want to try to get that group to work together,” Langsdorf said. “As we’re focusing more and more on BYU, we want to get that first group (comfortable).”

Langsdorf is also happy with the way the offensive line has progressed as a unit throughout the preseason.

“We lost a few 1-on-1 battles (in Saturday’s scrimmage), and gave up a sack or two, but for the most part, I think (our quarterbacks) have had time to throw the ball.”

Managing differences with classes in session

After developing a routine for the few weeks of fall camp, players now have to adjust to attending classes all morning, with workouts in the afternoon.

Langsdorf was happy to see that didn’t affect the concentration.

“I thought (the focus and energy) were good today,” Langsdorf said. “We were a little bit worried about that with the players (in class) all day, but I thought the energy and effort were good today.”

But it’s something that remains on the coaches’ minds throughout the transition from fall camp to the start of school.

“We’ve really been talking to them about showing up ready to practice at 3:45,” Langsdorf said. “That’s all that’s on their minds.”

Also, with school now in session, the coaches have been able to add 25 or 30 new players to the roster.

“There’s a lot of new faces out here, and we’re going to have plenty of guys to look at and have on scout team.”

With various injury issues, adding a few players in certain spots gives Nebraska a little more depth.

“Keeping (the players) fresh and having enough guys to practice without having to go every single play is really helpful,” Langsdorf said. “It’s helpful just to keep them fresh and ready to go each period.”

sports@dailynebraskan.com