Huskers award Blackshirts, get down to business in Ireland
Team working to adjust to the six-hour time difference
DUBLIN (WOWT) - The team got started a little later Wednesday, with practice in the afternoon as the team works to get acclimated to the six-hour time difference.
Husker defense players earning the team’s coveted Blackshirts found them hanging in their lockers Wednesday when they arrived for their first practice in Ireland.
“Was in our locker today, as opposed to last year: They had all the previous players come out and give it to us,” linebacker Luke Reimer said. “It was a different experience; but obviously, you can’t have all the ex-Huskers fly out to Ireland and hand it to us.”
Blackshirts were awarded to Ty Robinson, Nick Henrich, Luke Reimer, Quinton Newsome, Caleb Tannor, Myles Farmer, Garrett Nelson, Colton Feist, and Marques Buford Jr.
Reimer went from being a walk-on to having a second Blackshirt; same for Feist — this is his first, and it’s a huge deal for the kid from the state of Nebraska, and he will have a chance to show everybody what he’s all about on Saturday.
“Hopefully, there will be a few more — a couple guys maybe just got here,” Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander said. “We’re kind of waiting to see how they operate under the bright lights. ... A couple other guys are still battling for some spots, but hopefully we’ll get a few more shortly. But the guys who got them, they deserved it — they were in those Blackshirts right now.”
Defensive Lineman Ty Robinson said it’s a great incentive.
“It’s something special every year that I’ve gotten one,” he said. “I’ve embraced it. It’s a new standard for me that I hold myself to, just like the other guys do.”
Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple said the team is becoming more tight-knit, with the older players offering help and support to the younger players.
“I’m excited to see their performance on Saturday,” he said.
TAKING IT ALL IN
It’s not a bowl trip, but it’s still a treat for the players, many of whom have never been overseas.
“Being from O’Neill, there was a lot of Irish celebrations around St. Patrick’s Day. This is nothing like I expected. It’s huge around here — there’s a lot more shamrocks than there are in O’Neill,” receiver Wyatt Liewer told 6 Sports. “It’s good to get out and experience something I can share with my family and friends back home in a community of O’Neill.”
It’s a whole new experience for Chinander, too.
“I’ve never been here before, just like most of our guys,” he said. “I’m sure there’s only a handful that have been in the country. It’s cool for me to see some of the older architecture, some of those types of things. But the people have been fabulous.”
The new experiences definitely have been making an impression, but the focus remains clear.
“It’s an awesome experience — different. The roads are different; the signs are different; the people, the accents are different,” running back Gabe Ervin Jr. said. “It’s a wonderful experience seeing something new that I haven’t seen before. I’m just ready to play — that’s the main focus.”
The running back crew and the offensive line are going to be key on Saturday. Gabe Irvin will be back on the field after a knee injury against Oklahoma, and hopefully Nebraska can establish a downhill running game.
About 10,000 Nebraska fans are expected to be at Aviva Stadium rooting on their Huskers on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. Saturday; the game will air on Fox.
Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this story.
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