The Huskers completed week two of fall camp, going through a two-hour practice in full pads Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Bo Pelini said afterwards the players have been through a long week of practice, but likes the team’s direction with two weeks to go before the season opener. “We just finished up a long week, a good week, got a lot accomplished, still got a ways to go as a football team, but we got a lot accomplished this week. I’m liking the direction this football team is heading in right now, but we got a lot of work ahead of us. We are not game ready yet, but I am seeing a lot of progress in a lot of areas.”
A key position the Huskers need to find depth in during the season is tight end with the losses of graduating seniors Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed. Jake Long will be one of the guys in the mix and according to Pelini, even though Long suffered a minor injury at the start of camp, the senior will be ready for the start of the season.
“Jake Long is way ahead of schedule right now. He will be coming back any day right now. He will be ready for game week and he will probably be ready sometime this week.”
Even though it is only two weeks into fall camp, Pelini said the offense is already a well-primed machine with an experienced core group coming back. “I think we are a deeper group right now, which really excites me. We have more depth and some of our younger guys are really competing for some playing time. We have a lot of guys that can play and can play well and hopefully that will continue.”
On the defensive side, one newcomer who has stood out in the early portion of camp has been freshman linebacker Josh Banderas and the coach talked about his development during camp.
“Josh Banderas has done well, he still has a long way to go, we are putting a lot on him and throwing a lot at him. The thing I am most excited about Josh is we knew he could run, he is physical and is showing tremendous instincts for the position. But it hasn’t been too big for him, for somebody who plays linebacker and has to make a lot of calls and do a lot of things that we put on him. He has handled it extremely well. He is going to be a tremendous football player.”
Pelini announced that sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Williams will miss the season due to a knee injury. Williams, a third-year sophomore, played in five games in 2012 after returning to the lineup following a knee injury and had four tackles, including a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hurry.
“This is the second time he has had a knee injury. I just feel for the kid. He’ll come back, it was a pretty clean injury. We think he will be able to rehab and he will be just fine going forward.”
Nebraska will be back on the practice field Monday.