Bo Pelini couldn’t have been clearer about his emphasis coming into spring practice than if he were a manager at any one of thousands of companies across the country. His message was clear and to the point:
No job is safe.
Pelini re-iterated on several occasions that coming into spring starting positions are wide open to competition. While this is a common motivational tool, it serves the purpose of putting the players into the mindset of knowing that they’re not only going to have to work hard throughout spring practice, but that they’ll need to work hard beyond that and into fall if they expect to gain a starting role in the fall.
Photo by Dennis Hubbard
Pelini’s emphasis was no clearer than when his response when asked about returning senior linebacker Phillip Dillard:
He is healthy and I expect him to come out there and compete for a job.
Translated - If you don’t put in the effort, you’re not going to have one.
Pelini also made clear that he focuses on details as he mentioned that he had just come from a class, clearly checking to verify that his student-athletes hadn’t forgotten the “student” aspect of their job description.
It's this kind of attention to detail that turns teams into champions. It was comforting to hear that coming from the current head coach of Nebraska Cornhusker football.
Other noteworthy developments
Freshman recruit Cody Green has a soft-tissue hip injury and will miss some spring practice. Pelini indicated that the injury wasn't serious, but he also made mention of the fact that Green should be considered a high school senior and that it's a bonus that he's already on campus. Reading between the lines indicating that it may not be much of an issue because he doesn't expect that Green will be playing much this year.
The other big announcement regarding the quarterback position is the movement of Latravis Washington from linebacker to quarterback. The move makes sense for the team and for Washington. Coming into last year’s spring game there was an enormous lack of depth at linebacker. This year the position appears to be overflowing. With the departure of Patrick Witt, the quarterback position is the spot that is suffering from a depth issue. Washington, who played quarterback in high school, adds depth to the position. The move offers Washington a better chance of getting on the field, and at the least adds another player to round out rotations for practice. The move benefits Washington and the team.
Jaivorio Burkes will miss spring practice due to an undisclosed medical condition. With regards to Andy Christensen, Pelini stated:
The secondary theme regarding Pelini's message is an indication of just how rough of shape the defense was in when he arrived last year. Pelini indicated that the Huskers will do more with the defense this coming season because his players are more experienced with his philosophy and methodology.
Again, nice to hear from the current head coach of Nebraska Football.