The four Nebraska defensive tackles who missed spring practice have been participating in workouts all summer long and will be fine when camp starts, coach Bo Pelini said Thursday.
Injuries kept sophomore Chase Rome, junior Thad Randle, redshirt freshman Kevin Williams and redshirt freshman Todd Peat from practicing in the spring. But they’re healthy now, Pelini said.
Same goes for sophomore offensive guard Jake Cotton, according to Pelini. “We’re a healthy football team,” Pelini said.
A few other newsworthy nuggets from a 20-minute interview with Pelini are below…
>> Sophomore Braylon Heard is a running back again, but he’ll continue to have a role on the defense. If the workload does get too heavy, Pelini said the staff would first decrease Heard’s defensive responsibilities.
>> Incoming freshman linebackers Jared Afalava and Thomas Brown (both listed in the Nebraska media guide) are still awaiting word from the NCAA regarding their eligibility. Pelini believes they’ll both be on the team this fall.
>> Pelini said he has high expectations for junior quarterback Taylor Martinez. He’s been impressed with Martinez’s work ethic this offseason. “From my experience, usually when a guy’s that committed and puts that type of work in, he usually reaps the benefits. I expect that will happen.”
>> Pelini said freshman cornerback Charles Jackson, who sat out a year meeting NCAA initial eligibility standards, had a “great summer” in Nebraska’s strength and conditioning program. Jackson — listed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds — has the physical tools, but still has things to prove mentally over the next few weeks, according to Pelini.
>> Junior Andrew Rodriguez will begin camp as an offensive tackle. Cotton will work at guard. Junior Jeremiah Sirles possibly has the ability to play center, but he won’t take snaps at that position, according to Pelini. … The candidates to start at center are the same three from the spring: Junior Cole Pensick, senior Justin Jackson and sophomore Mark Pelini.
>> Pelini hadn’t yet commented publicly on Aaron Green, who transferred out of Nebraska’s program after his freshman year ended in May. Here’s a snapshot of what Pelini said Thursday: “He fully knew where he stood and what the options were and he decided it was best to play somewhere else. Have at it. I want guys that want to be here and want to be here for the right reasons. … Aaron, a tremendous young man. I really like him. As it turned out, it was probably better that he went some place else.”