Monday nuggets: Armstrong sits out
[rl]Here are some quick notes and observations to pass along from Nebraska's helmets-only walk-thru practice on Monday afternoon...
***The most notable injury nugget came with quarterback Tommy Armstrong in street clothes and wearing a protective boot on his right foot. Armstrong was also wearing the boot following Saturday's game, but he said it was purely for precautionary reasons.
***Other players who were not in jerseys on Monday included linebackers Luke Gifford (hip) and Michael Rose-Ivey (groin) and defensive linemen Kevin Maurice (foot) and A.J. Natter (unknown).
***After head coach Mike Riley said that cornerback Chris Jones was questionable with a neck injury, defensive coordinator Mark Banker said after Monday's practice that Jones' injury was "certainly nothing of peril" and that he expects him to play Saturday at Purdue.
***If Jones does miss any time, Banker said NU would likely have to look at burning a redshirt of one of their true freshmen cornerbacks.
***Jones said he was very confident that he'll play, and he was going through full-speed receiver routes after practice and catching passes from AJ Bush.
***Banker also said that linebacker Chris Weber (neck) was "not totally back" after missing the past two games, but linebackers coach Trent Bray said he expects Weber to play this week. If Weber returns, Banker said Josh Banderas would remain the starting MIKE.
***Bray said Dedrick Young graded out at 88 percent against Northwestern, which is apparently very high for any linebacker, yet alone a true freshman. Young again said he was grateful he enrolled early this spring to get a jump on adjusting to the college game.
***Banker said it was great to get Daniel Davie back on the field vs. Northwestern after not playing since the Miami game due to poor play and then a lingering groin injury. Banker said Davie appeared "very, very confident" in the game, and "you could see it in his eyes" that he was back to his old self. Against Miami, Banker said Davie didn't have that same "spark" in his eyes.
***Banker said he counted seven missed tackles vs. Northwestern. Asked if more physical, full-pads practices would help with NU's tackling problems, Banker said it was a fine line because the team was already dealing with a number of injuries. Banker said at this point tackling was more of a mental fix than anything physical.
***Defensive backs coach Brian Stewart said he'd never gone through a season like this in his career, but the only thing they can do is continue to push on and make the most of the rest of the season.
***Despite serving his second suspension of the season, cornerback Jonathan Rose was still wearing a Blackshirt on Monday. Banker said the staff is still learning how to handle the Blackshirts the best, and that they "don't want to play games with it" by giving them out and taking them away too often. However, he noted there could be scenarios when players would lose them, and when asked specifically if suspensions could be a cause to lose one, Banker said yes.
***Bray said freshman Tyrin Ferguson wasn't far off from being ready to make an impact for Nebraska's defense. Ferguson has been playing almost exclusively on special teams, but it sounds like he could be working into the LB rotation sooner than later, especially with Gifford and Rose-Ivey out.
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