The Nebraska football team practiced for a little over two hours on Wednesday morning in full pads inside the Hawks Championship Center.
Head Coach Scott Frost and Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander each spoke to the media after practice. Coach Frost spoke first and was asked about the format of Saturday’s Red-White Spring Game.
"We're going to play football," Frost said. "We're not going to have the entire team up and going. There are some guys that are probably going to get held out for a variety of reasons, mostly just little injuries. But we want a chance to have an opportunity to compete. We're going to divide up the team and put a bunch of guys that are only going to play part of the game on one side with their backups, and the rest of the team on the other side and let it go. I'm looking forward to seeing guys compete in a game situation."
Frost went on to speak about the team achieving the goals it set for spring practice.
"We really accomplished a lot of things this spring. I was pleased today," Frost said. "With a team that doesn't have a culture built the right way, your last couple practices aren't very good. I thought we had a great practice out there today. Guys didn't just see this as the last practice, they saw it as another opportunity to get better. I think we've improved in a lot of areas, a lot of fundamentals. The guys' understanding of what we're trying to get done in the scheme is a lot better. So we're a mile ahead of where we were last year, but we still have a long way to go. I think we had a really good spring overall."
Frost sang the praises of Nebraska football fans and explained how much of an advantage the spring game is for recruiting purposes.
"Our fans are the best in the country, and I don't know if it's close," Frost said. "I'm sure other people feel that way too, but when you talk about a fan base that sells out the stadium here in 24-48 hours for a spring game, that's hard to match. I know there are other teams around the country with a few hundred people at their spring games and we're going to have a full house. So it's a great opportunity for us to showcase the type of support we have here and give our recruits a chance to see the stadium and how it looks on a Saturday in the fall."
Chinander followed Frost and spoke about the atmosphere that a Nebraska Spring Game presents.
"We came out of that thing last year, and I think all the coaches kind of got a little chill. That was pretty cool. I'm going to be ready for it. I'm telling all the recruits, 'We've got to get you here for the spring game' because I always want them to witness a game day atmosphere, and I can't tell the difference between Saturday, April [13th] and September 9th, or whatever. I want to get those people, those families here so they can see what Nebraska is all about, so they can see what the fans are all about - the best fans in college football.”
Chinander also talked about the defense stepping up to the challenge after a disappointing practice last Wednesday.
"I think they responded really well," Chinander said. "They came out today and it was a much different attitude. [It was] a very spirited practice on both sides, and I thought we came out and were firing on all cylinders. The guys were excited, good emotion, good communication. A lot of carry-over from drill to team, that's what wasn't happening last year. They were just trying to get lined up and execute, but there's a lot of carry-over happening right now and a lot of good stuff, so I was happy."
Chinander also discussed where he thinks the defense is at right now compared to where he wanted it to be at this point.
"I thought we were going to be pretty good up front," Chinander said. "When you're good up front, then the rest of the team can kind of catch up. So I think that kind of happened. We're good up front, the back end is playing really [well] right now. Collin Miller and Mohamed Barry are playing well, and like I mentioned, we've got to get some guys to come along. But I don't know if I thought we'd be quite where we are at. I'm pleased. I don't think we're ready to go play in the College Football Playoff right now by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm pleased with where we're at. I think it's good progress."
The annual Red-White Spring Game will be played on Saturday at Memorial Stadium with kickoff set for 1 p.m. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network with the Husker Sports Network providing live radio coverage.