Huskers on KLIN


Tommy Rezac

Nebraska head football coach Mike Riley had a comment following Thursday’s practice that strikes a chord with players, coaches, fans and media alike.

“I guess you could say it’s time to play a game.”

The Huskers wrapped up their fourth practice of the week on Thursday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. The team will have a brief walk through Friday afternoon before the game kicks off on Saturday evening at 7:10 p.m., officially.

After starting fall camp on July 31 and reporting on the 29th, there’s almost an added excitement this year before game No. 1.

“It’s an exciting time,” Riley said. “With this length of time that we’ve had, it’s probably the first time we’ve had this full month like this. I think our players have done really, really well with that. It’s been very much a low maintenance camp and practice time and a pretty seamless start of school.”

“As it gets closer, you can feel it. You can feel it in the team, you can feel it around town. It’s an exciting time of year to be involved in what we do.”

Coach Riley says the schedule and format of practice during game week will, for the most part, remain the same for the duration of the season.

“In this game week, with the format that we put in place for getting ready for the game, it’ll be pretty consistent. The times of practice, the length of practice, the periods. Each day may change a little bit, but they’re consistent week-to-week.”

Suspensions and Injuries

The news here is there is none. Juniors Antonio Reed and Stanley Morgan, who were charged with marijuana possession during a traffic stop in Florida back in May, had the charges dropped earlier this month, went through the required protocol and will not miss any playing time.

Junior receiver Keyan Williams, who had a hamstring pull earlier in August, will be unavailable for Saturday.

Running Backs

Riley said during Monday’s press conference that he “had a plan” as to which running back will get the first snaps in Saturday’s game. The plan is still there, but Riley hasn’t told anyone, not even the team, which running back will receive the first carry of the 2017 season.

Deontre Thomas and Damion Daniels

The two true freshmen, Thomas and Daniels, are lined up behind senior Mick Stoltenberg at nose tackle on the depth chart. Riley says those two should provide solid, reliable depth.

“Deontre gives us, when you look at the (nose tackle) position in the new defense, and you look at the guy who’s starting there in Mick,”

“Deontre, because of who he is, was not necessarily recruited at the time exactly to play (nose tackle) for us in our past defense, our previous defense,” Riley said. “He has been a very good fit, a very good curveball, and we think he’s a productive player who should play in the games.”

Daniels may not play quite as many snaps, but will be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“Damion is a guy that we think can play in the games,” Riley said. “We certainly have prepared him to be game-ready. He has not practiced with the scout team. He’s been practicing with the defense. We expect him to be game ready. We don’t know if he’ll play.”

Night Games

Waiting around on a Saturday for an evening game is nothing new to Riley, who’s entering his 26th year as a head coach. However, he might change the waiting game this season from a routine standpoint.

“We are going to try something new to handle (the waiting time) as far as a little bit more of a dynamic morning,” Riley said, “rather than just laying around and waiting for the game all day. Sometimes, you can get caught in a hotel all day and not get a bit of fresh air until you walk out to the bus, and I’ve always not liked that. So, we’re going to change some stuff up and try to get (the players) a little more active in the morning, and then cut down the time they’re just in the hotel.”

“Guys have to be brought up and trained in a fashion that they don’t care what the game time is, because they’re all over the place and they will continue to be that way.

Caleb Lightbourn

Riley was asked about the readiness of sophomore punter Caleb Lightbourn this season as opposed to last year, where he had to step into the starting role in an unexpected fashion.

Lightbourn seems ready to take a step forward in 2017.

“I really like it that Caleb has had a year to punt in games and crowds and handle all of that,” Riley said. “We’ve noted an improvement all around in his ability to be consistent, which will identify him as a punter. That’s what he’s worked on. I’m excited for him, because I think he’s really talented, I think he’s worked hard at it, and I think we’re going to see a good, consistent year from Caleb.”

Wendy Anderson

Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson’s wife Wendy underwent breast cancer surgery in Memphis on Monday. Anderson said his wife was resting well on Monday, following the procedure.

Wendy was diagnosed in April with triple-negative breast cancer, a subtype of breast cancer that doesn’t have the three ‘receptors’ that the most successful treatments target, according to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.

Riley says the team plans to honor Wendy in some way either before or during Saturday’s game.

You can contact Tommy at 402-840-5226, or you can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_KLIN.

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