Published Saturday, March 30, 2013 AT 1:59 PM / Updated at 2:18 PM
Spring Practice Quick Hits, March 30: NU’s productive week ends with scrimmage
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini seemed pretty upbeat after watching a competitive scrimmage Saturday, which he said ended a week of practice without any significant setbacks or letdowns for the Huskers.

Pelini said they went for more than 100 plays and seemed to carry an energetic approach throughout.

“I like the way first and foremost how our guys competed, flew around and hit,” Pelini said. “There was a lot of enthusiasm and passion out there on the field. It was fun to watch.”

Clearly, there’s been some progress, Pelini said. He mentioned that he thinks the group, as a whole, is growing up. More players are making a commitment to the little things.

Said Pelini: “You can want to do have success as a football player, but you’ve got to want to do the things that get you what you want. That’s the most important thing. Our guys are understanding that.”

That’s why he’s seeing daily progress. But there’s plenty more to do, Pelini said.

Other tidbits from Pelini Saturday…

>> Senior quarterback Taylor Martinez didn’t participate much in Saturday’s scrimmage, which allowed for redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong to receive more reps. Armstrong is improving, but still struggles at times with the game’s fundamentals, according to Pelini. Walk-ons Ron Kellogg and Ryker Fyfe took some QB reps, too.

>> To take the next step, redshirt freshman linebacker Jared Afalava needs to focus on the details of the game, according to Pelini. Focus and consistency, too. Pelini said Afalava’s “a guy who’s shown me he can put his hand on the ground and rush the passer.” Kind of like redshirt freshman Thomas Brown, who did struggle a bit early this spring. But Pelini said “the light’s starting to come on” for Brown.

>> Junior Josh Mitchell (despite a nagging ankle injury) has had a strong spring on the field and as a leader, according to Pelini. … Pelini said there’s been improvement from senior Mo Seisay, too. … And sophomore Daniel Davie, who’s worked at cornerback and nickel, has developed through the occasional “brain-locks,” Pelini said.

>> More unsolicited praise for the progress of junior safeties Harvey Jackson and Corey Cooper. Said Pelini: “They’re growing. They’re getting better. I feel real good about where they are.” … Behind those two guys, Pelini said freshman D.J. Singleton and sophomore Charles Jackson are “coming.”

>> How deep into the playbook has Nebraska’s defense gone this spring? “Not very,” Pelini said. It’s more important to solidify the system’s foundations. The coaches haven’t installed anything new all week, he said.

>> Nebraska worked some live kickoff drills Saturday. Pelini said there were times last year when the lack of depth at spots on offense or defense limited the available pool of players for NU’s special teams units. Not anymore. Said Pelini: “You’re going to see starters out there on special teams this year. We’re going to have the best 11. Period.” … Sophomore kicker Mauro Bondi “had a very good day,” Pelini said.

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: jon.nyatawa@owh.com. He welcomes feedback.