Published Monday, April 1, 2013 AT 7:29 PM / Updated at 7:30 PM
Spring Practice Quick Hits, April 1: More progress for NU’s defense
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

It appears that last week’s practices were productive for every position group within the Nebraska defense. Plenty of positive vibes to go around after practice Monday.

And look, nobody’s going overboard. This young group has plenty of work to do — defensive coordinator John Papuchis made a point to reemphasize that.

But…

Here’s what Papuchis said about Saturday’s scrimmage: “I thought the energy was better. The enthusiasm was better. The effort was better. But I think that’s all a byproduct of knowing what you’re doing. It’s hard to play fast and enthusiastic when you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to do. We made a big jump last week, in terms of just our general understanding of the entire defense.”

Some tidbits from Monday’s practice, the 13th of the spring, are below…

>> Receiver Quincy Enunwa was asked to name a couple defensive backs who made an impression during the scrimmage and all he could talk about were the Husker linebackers. Said Enunwa: “They were really firing. They were really just competing out there, making plays, running all around the field. It was just really nice to see that, especially from young guys.”

>> Continuing this improvement-oriented theme for the D… Papuchis said redshirt freshman Vincent Valentine, redshirt freshman Avery Moss and sophomore Aaron Curry all flashed their potential at times Saturday. Redshirt freshman Greg McMullen, it seems, is starting to make a jump (even though Papuchis said McMullen’s still in the baby-step phase of his development). “He’s a big, physical kid who’s athletic, and when he turns it loose, he’s hard to block,” Papuchis said.

>> Offensive coordinator Tim Beck said the coaches have made it a point to mix-and-match at I-back (with Ameer Abdullah out), in an attempt to build chemistry between the reserve backs and quarterback Taylor Martinez. … Presumably, Beck’s referring to Nebraska’s zone read option play, which does require a good deal of QB-IB chemistry.

>> As a result, there have been some standouts at I-back. Redshirt freshman King Frazier is “catching a lot of coaches’ attention,” Beck said. Senior Mike Marrow “had a really nice scrimmage,” Beck said. According to Beck, redshirt freshman Graham Nabity’s had his moments. Even sophomore Andy Janovich has taken a couple I-back carries, too.

>> Here’s sophomore I-back Imani Cross giving his thoughts on what he needs to do going forward: “I’m still climbing the mountain. It’s not easy. I just focus on certain things every day — getting vertical, pass pro. Just try not to make the same mistakes over and over again.”

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.