Lincoln, Neb. — The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours on Monday outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields in shoulder pads and helmets. Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander addressed the media after practice, commenting on the addition of new players since the spring. “There’s a lot of new pieces, the older guys must have done a great job of teaching the younger guys and the young guys have put some work in because they are playing at a high level right now. With the young guys and the new guys we’ve added playing at a high level, the competition has increased everywhere,” Chinander said. “It’s been really good for the entire defense to be honest with you. We look like a completely different unit on both sides I think than the spring.”
He also commented on the progress of defensive back Aaron Williams, as the senior returns from injury. “I think Aaron has done a nice job,” Chinander said. “Right now we’ve been watching him obviously, taking some hits off of him because he’s coming back and all those kind of things. He’s done a nice job running around out there. He’s a very smart football player. System aside he’s just very football savvy. He can guide those young safeties and help them out but that’s a great asset to have in that room.”
Staying in the secondary, Chinander said Central Florida transfer Tre Neal has been a valuable addition. Neal brings a great understanding of the defensive scheme, as he played two seasons under Chinander at UCF. Neal joined Nebraska after graduating from UCF this summer.
“We’ve already seen it,” Chinander said about Neal’s knowledge of the system. “He knows the answer to the question. A lot of the time the way I teach is I present them with a problem, and I let that problem occur then we give them the solution. He knows the answers to the question so a lot of times already those kids have been able to make a new call, we haven’t even put it in yet, but Tre will tell them ‘Hey this is what is going to happen, here’s what we’re going to do’ so having him in the room has allowed the teaching at safety and corner to raise to a higher level, and he knows what we expect for practice so he can guide them in the drills and different segments.”
The Huskers will take their first day off of fall camp on Tuesday before returning to the practice field on Wednesday morning. Nebraska kicks off its season on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Akron at Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. CT.