March 28, 2010

Week 1 spring practice breakdown

Nebraska wrapped up its first week of spring practice on Saturday. If you haven't visited HuskersIllustrated.com on a daily basis in the past week, you've probably missed a lot.


Here is a quick summary and breakdown of NU's practices since last Saturday. The Huskers will hit the field for week two of spring ball again on Monday afternoon.



POSITION MOVES


***Sophomore linebackers Eric Martin and Will Compton swapped positions during the first week of spring ball, as Martin moved to Mike linebacker and Compton replaced him at Will linebacker.


***Senior Joe Broekemeier moved from quarterback to wide receiver. Broekemeier is already getting his share of praise from the coaching staff, as they say his natural athletic ability has allowed him to make his presence known at his new position.


***Senior Mike McNeill made the biggest move of the spring so far when he moved from tight end to what the team is calling the "adjuster" position - a mix of slot wide receiver, H-back and fullback.


***Senior Mike Smith has moved from left tackle and has been working at center and guard since the start of spring practice. Smith and the coaches said his body type is more suited for an interior lineman.


***Junior Marcus Mendoza made yet another position change this spring, moving from running back to defensive back. The move marks his third position change since last spring.


***Redshirt freshman Cole Pensick moved from defensive tackle to offensive line.


***Though he ended up staying at defensive tackle, Nebraska's coaches seriously considered possibly moving sophomore Baker Steinkuhler to the offensive line this winter. Head coach Bo Pelini said Steinkuhler's broad talents made him a contender to start on either side of the line of scrimmage.



ROSTER NEWS


***Senior offensive lineman Cruz Barrett, senior defensive tackle Ben Martin and sophomore Quentin Toailoa were all given medical scholarships this winter.



INJURIES



***Senior guard Ricky Henry will have to miss the entire spring while he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery.


***Senior quarterback Zac Lee is also sitting out while recovering from tendon surgery on his right arm.


***Senior tight end Dreu Young missed both Friday and Saturday's practices with a hamstring injury.


***Sophomore tight end Ben Cotton sat out of Saturday's practice with an unknown injury, while redshirt freshman tight end J.T. Kerr has yet to practice this spring with an undisclosed injury.


***Junior linebacker Mathew May also missed the first week of practice with a groin injury, but head coach Bo Pelini said May could return by the end of the spring.


***Redshirt freshman cornerback Andrew Green has been held out of practice with what Pelini called a "nagging" injury, and there's a chance he might miss the entire spring.


***Junior offensive lineman Luke Lingenfelter has also yet to practice with an unknown injury.



FIVE NAMES ON THE RISE


Brent Qvale, OL (6-7, 320), RFr.
With Henry sitting out all of spring practice, Qvale is getting a golden opportunity to work in at the No. 1 right guard spot. After an injury slowed his hot start last season, Qvale has a chance to pick up where he left off and compete for some serious playing time throughout the spring and on into fall camp.


Jermarcus Hardrick, OL (6-7, 320), Jr.
Hardrick came into the spring as a newcomer expected to make an immediate case for a starting job, and he has yet to disappoint. With his blend of size and aggressiveness, Hardrick look right on pace to potentially claim the starting left or right tackle spots, especially considering Mike Smith's move to center/guard.


Austin Cassidy, S (6-1, 210), Jr.
The competition to replace Larry Asante and Matt O'Hanlon as the starting safeties is wide open, and there's no reason Cassidy can't emerge with a starting spot by the time the season starts. Even going back to the end of last season, Nebraska's coaches have had nothing but praise for Cassidy's ability and work ethic, and that's certainly carried over into the spring.


Dontrayevous Robinson, RB (6-1, 236), Jr.
All the talk about Nebraska's running backs may go to senior Roy Helu and sophomore Rex Burkhead, but Robinson is right there along with them in the mix. He added 20 pounds of muscle since last season, and the coaches are excited about his potential as a physical power back.


Joe Broekemeier, WR (6-4, 210), Sr.
After coming in as an emergency fill-in at quarterback last season, Broekemeier may have found his true position at wide receiver. While he's only played the position for a few months, Broekemeier has already been brought up by Pelini and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson during interviews. With the Huskers' lack of proven depth at receiver, there's a chance Broekemeier could work his way into the rotation by season's end.



QUOTE OF THE WEEK


"That day is coming, because today was a lot of woofing around on the offensive side of the football. When we get out there (Saturday) when we get the pads on, we'll see who comes and brings it and who don't. That's when the skirts lift up."


- Sophomore linebacker Eric Martin on his thoughts about Nebraska practicing in full pads for the first time on Saturday.




SPRING FOOTBALL HQ


Check out all of HuskersIllustrated.com's coverage of spring practice on our Spring Foottball HQ, a daily reference page linking all of our related content items.



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