The Nebraska football team began its 2014 spring practice season Saturday, as the Huskers practiced in the Hawks Championship Center for just over two hours in shorts and helmets.
After practice, head coach Bo Pelini addressed the media about the first day of practice saying that it was a good first day of practice. He noted that he liked the tempo the team brought with it during practice.
“I just told the team I thought it was a good start to the spring. That was what it was, it was a start,” Pelini said. “I liked the tempo and enthusiasm, and obviously different guys are at different levels right now as far as their knowledge and that type of thing. I thought it was a good start to the practice, and we will get better from here.”
One of the bigger storylines to come out of the Huskers first spring practice was senior wide receiver Jamal Turner taking some snaps at quarterback during practice. Turner, who was recruited to NU as an athlete played quarterback at Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Texas.
Turner was one of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks, racking up more than 10,000 yards of total offense in three years as a starter. As a senior, Turner rushed for 1,888 yards on 267 carries and 35 rushing touchdowns. Through the air, he completed better than 60 percent of his passes for 1,551 yards and eight touchdowns.
“It gives us some different options, some ‘wild cat’ type things, Jamal has some quarterback in his background. It is not new for him he has done that at times for us,” Pelini said. “We are going to give him some significant reps at quarterback this spring, and see where it is.”
When asked if Turner was the one who asked to play QB, Pelini said that it was the coaching staff’s decision to give him snaps.
“We asked him, like I said he has done this before for us for the past couple years. This spring is time for us to experiment and maybe take it to another level,” Pelini said. “He likes it, he thinks he is Russell Wilson. Jamal is not lacking for confidence, I think he is far enough along as a wide receiver where we can take away some of his reps and give them to some of the other guys.”
According to Pelini, Turner looked to handle a lot of the quarterback duties well. Pelini mentioned that he fielded some blitzes well, even surprising Pelini where he was already as a quarterback.
Returning starter, sophomore Tommy Armstrong also impressed Pelini with his play today. Pelini said that Armstrong carried himself very well.
“Tommy came out and did his thing. I liked the way he carried himself, I thought he had a pretty good first day.”
Pelini noted that heading into the spring practice season the coaching staff changed up some of the terminology that is used, and Pelini was pleasantly surprised the players seemed to be handling the change pretty well.
“I was surprised with us changing some of the terminology how smooth practice went. There was very few missed assignments, alignment errors and those type of things,” Pelini said. “We signaled almost everything in at practice and there was very few mistakes. I thought there would be more mistakes than there were.”
Pelini announced that senior safety Corey Cooper sat out practice, and is listed as day-to-day with a minor turf toe injury.