LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska football team split practice time inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields for roughly two hours on Tuesday evening in full pads.
Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco spoke with the media after practice about Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
“He is the total package,” Diaco said. “He’s got contact balance, great speed, great vision, powerful runner, big thick bodied guy, he breaks tackles, he makes you miss, he can jump over you. And you know what is fun to watch, is his pass protection. He’s an aggressive blocker. He’s the absolute total package. One of the best backs that has been in the league in some time. There’s been some great ones, when I played Penn State they had a great back, the years we played, Ki-Jana Carter, so I mean, Eddie George, Tyrone Wheatley, Ezekiel Elliot, and Saquon. He’s right in the company of some greats, at least during my time.”
Diaco also talked about how to approach fixing mistakes in such a finite amount of time.
“(I) love the players’ diligence, detail, pour it on, show up the next day, give more, try harder as a coach to serve them and their needs. They have been wonderful,” Diaco said. “I’m sad for them, and particularly the seniors. So as they get ready to do battle, which they are excited about, they’ve shown up with energy and excitement and they want to get better. Everybody is straining to get that done.”
He also addressed whether or not there was any danger in focusing too much attention to Saquon Barkley.
“Oh, absolutely,” Diaco said. “You’ve watched that. We’re at a point in this development and have been before everything was, whatever you want to call it, hijacked, probably a good word, but before that any time you’re going to load up, you have got to feel that there is an aptitude to do the other piece, to eliminate the other piece. If you’re going to load up the other way then you’re confident there’s an aptitude to eliminate the other piece. So as you move your puzzle pieces around, which I can move all the puzzle pieces around, I’ve been moving them around for years, I know exactly where they should be, where they should go, how they should go. It creates other strain, and you’ve got to be ready for that other strain.”
The Huskers continue their preparation for Penn State on Wednesday. Kickoff for Saturday’s game in State College, Pa., is set for at 3 p.m. (CT)