Tag Archives: Jason Ankrah

Practice report Aug. 28: RB Taylor to redshirt

Adam Taylor requested to redshirt this fall to focus on his development as a player, but running backs coach Ron Brown said the staff will continue to prepare the 210-pound freshman, just in case.

“He’s good enough to play, there’s no question about it,” Brown said. “He’s a talented dude.”

Brown said Taylor will continue to take practice reps with the main offense (not the scout team). Again, just in case. The Huskers have sophomore Imani Cross and true freshman Terrell Newby backing up starter Ameer Abdullah. Brown also mentioned walk-on King Frazier as a guy who could help out as well.

And Taylor was right in that mix, according to Brown. He’s a hard worker on the field and he’s committed to getting better …

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Practice report Aug. 27: Defense’s top unit taking shape

This could (and probably will) change by next week, but defensive coordinator John Papuchis provided a detailed update of the Huskers’ starting lineup after practice Tuesday.

We won’t waste time. Here’s the good stuff, courtesy of Papuchis…

>> Defensive end Jason Ankrah and defensive tackle Thad Randle are starters (you knew that). Redshirt freshman Avery Moss and sophomore Randy Gregory are still battling out for the other top D-end job. And if the game were today, Papuchis said, the fourth lineman would be redshirt freshman Vincent Valentine — who’s apparently better conditioned (what used to be his biggest obstacle).

>> Sophomore David Santos is settled in as the top middle linebacker in the nickel and dime formations. Junior Zaire Anderson, freshman Nathan Gerry and senior …

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Training camp: More (vague) talk about new strategies on defense

Get ready. This kind of chatter from Nebraska defenders could be common over the next month. No one wants to reveal any secrets that might expose an eventual game plan, but they’d also like to acknowledge that some changes are coming.

Let’s first issue this reminder: At the start of the last two training camps, this kind of nondescript dialogue about alterations to Bo Pelini’s system also surfaced. And there wasn’t much of a drastic difference.

In 2011, we heard about the potential permanent move to a three-man front, or at least more consistently utilizing Jared Crick’s athleticism off the edge. Last year, there was talk about never-seen-before blitzes and a desire to call games more aggressively.

Turn on the game film from those seasons …

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Post-spring D-Line odds and ends

Sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Williams is at the point in his career when everything should soon start to click, and he’ll take a big jump. That’s how he sees it, anyway.

He’s had two years to pick up the scheme, learn some helpful techniques and adjust to the physicality of D-I offensive linemen. He’s settled into his role on the team and his responsibilities off the field. And, oh yeah, he’s FINALLY healthy.

When Williams started running again in February (after offseason surgery to clean up “all the nasty scar tissue” in a knee originally injured in the spring of 2011), he felt as good as he has since arriving at Nebraska. He’s a 6-foot-2, 275-pounder who ignored late recruiting interest from Ohio State to …

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Spring Practice Quick Hits, March 27: Reality checks common for young players

The way coach Bo Pelini sees it: Every player has his own hurdles to overcome before coming close to reaching his own potential. And Pelini can spot lots and lots of hurdles surfacing this spring.

But that’s a good thing.

“I think we have some young guys who kind of got hit with the realization of the type of hard work, the type of attention to detail that’s required to have success,” Pelini said. ”
That realization comes in a lot of different ways but it affects guys and I think it allows them to keep growing. That’s what’s happening with our team.”

The Huskers wrapped up their 10th practice of the spring Wednesday evening, another session that earned a positive review from the sixth-year …

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New responsibility for Ankrah on NU defensive line

As Jason Ankrah looked down the defensive line Saturday, the senior saw teammates like Kevin Williams, Aaron Curry and Avery Moss with him during the first spring practice for Nebraska.

Two Husker sophomores-to-be who played a limited amount last season and a redshirt freshman. Three players who could use his help and draw from his wisdom.

Ankrah knows that changes the way he has to go about his business as he prepares for his third season as a starter at defensive end.

“I wasn’t really a vocal guy and talking this whole 3½ years I’ve been here, but I got no choice but to do it,” Ankrah said. “So I embrace it and I’m happy about it.”

Ankrah will have leadership help from Thad Randle …

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Pelini on defensive scheme: ‘We’re not dialing back at all’

Coach Bo Pelini said he’s not changing the fundamental principles that make up his defensive system. No surprise there. But are subtle alterations coming?

Pelini, speaking on “Sports Nightly” on the Husker Sports Network Wednesday night, made a point to say that his scheme is “multiple” yet “simple,” indicating that no plans for a complete overhaul are needed.

But last season, he thought that too often his players “were trying to be so perfect” that it hindered their playmaking ability. Pelini characterized that approach as “one of the worst things we did” on the defensive side of the ball.

So, it’s teaching the system without overwhelming the young players or compromising their instinctual nature — that seems to be the NU coaching staff’s primary defensive objective …

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Pelini: Nice starting point, but lots to improve

After a second quarter hiccup, Nebraska cruised to a convincing 49-20 win over Southern Mississippi Saturday, appearing to meet coach Bo Pelini’s expectations in its season debut.

The fifth-year coach said he told the players that the victory was a nice way to start the year. The Huskers did more than enough to win. But this is the baseline standard. Pelini said his team has to get better going forward.

“It gives us an assessment of, kind of, where we are and what we need to get better at,” Pelini said. “I thought there were a lot of good things out there. I thought there were a lot of positives, but there’s a bunch we need to fix.”

We’ll start with the good stuff.

>> …

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NU in control after three quarters

Nebraska’s extended its lead and seized control of the opener, which appeared to be a little too close for comfort at times during the first half.

The Huskers have been sharp and efficient after halftime, on both sides of the ball, really.

Southern Miss moved the ball a bit, but had nothing to show for it. The Eagles’ first possession ended on a botched handoff. NU’s defensive guys seem to be getting a little more comfortable.

Other than a quick three-and-out to start the half, Nebraska’s offense moved the football effectively again. Much of the production came through the air, again. Kyler Reed’s touchdown capped a seven-play drive, and Braylon Heard’s 10-yard run up the middle highlighted a six-play possession.

It’s 49-20 now, with 7:47 …

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Halftime: Nebraska 28, Southern Miss 17

It’s been a bit sloppy for Nebraska, but the Huskers are holding on to a 28-17 lead. Credit Taylor Martinez and several of his receivers for that.

Martinez has completed 18 of his 23 pass attempts for 247 yards and three touchdowns, including a 4-for-5, 71-yard effort on the two-minute-drill TD drive just before halftime. He’s completed a pass to 10 different receivers.

The Southern Miss secondary isn’t making it too difficult on Martinez. And Nebraska’s pass protection has been great so far. But Martinez is doing work himself. He’s as confident as ever.

That’s good news for NU. Without Rex Burkhead and with the defense showing vulnerabilities, Martinez has to win the game for the Huskers in the second half. Should be a good …

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