LINCOLN — Media were allowed into Husker football practice for the first time of fall camp Wednesday morning.
Here's what we observed during the 40-minute session:
SEEN: Running back Maurice Washington walking alone through the Hawks Center lobby, murmuring to himself as he arrived at practice.
SEEN: The Nebraska women’s soccer team finishing its practice inside the Hawks Center while football was beginning its workout. Because NU moved to morning practice, it makes for an interesting traffic situation within the facility. The soccer team has its own outdoor fields but the threat of rain pushed it inside.
SEEN: Junior defensive end Ben Stille vomiting into a trash can before practice. Stille spent about five minutes with his head in the can, then went back to prepractice warmups with the rest of the defensive linemen.
SEEN: Wan’Dale Robinson and Miles Jones working with the running backs for part of the practice. Each played that position in high school, as did JD Spielman.
SEEN: Nebraska quarterbacks passing in route-specific drills. That’s a specialty of position coach Mario Verduzco, who eschews the usual generic slant and stop routes to work on the kinds of passes Nebraska actually has in its offense. Some of those are on the move, like a half rollout that turns into a 25-yard corner route. The quarterbacks don’t stop their feet when they throw it. They stay moving, which tends to bring the arm angle down a bit on the launch of the ball. It works, though, and Verduzco has clearly done some work with true freshman Luke McCaffrey, whose stroke has smoothed out.
SEEN: McCaffrey, so different a quarterback than Adrian Martinez, working some magic on an improvised option play. McCaffrey felt a pass rush, burst up the middle of the field and then, in traffic, whipped the ball out to an open Rahmir Johnson near the sideline. Johnson ran for 20 yards. Technically, it was a running play for Johnson, but McCaffrey did all the work.
SEEN: Redshirt freshman receiver Andre Hunt beating freshman corner Quinton Newsome on a route for a first down.
SEEN: Quarterback Noah Vedral struggling to throw the ball into the net on a mobility drill of Verduzco’s. Vedral otherwise had a good start to practice.
SEEN: A most-physical defensive backs drill that started calmly — with a corner tackling another corner — but quickly escalated into a fierce competition, in part because of freshman Javin Wright, who refused to be tackled. That led to other cornerbacks not wanting to play along with the drill, to the point where DiCaprio Bootle trucked Lamar Jackson. Wright and Cam Taylor, each refusing to give an inch, hit each other in a stalemate that went 10 yards out of bounds and into a reporter.
SEEN: Kanawai Noa dropping an inside screen pass that wasn’t going anywhere anyway. Nebraska’s defense snuffs out the short passes easily.
SEEN: A starting offensive line, from left to right, of Brenden Jaimes, Trent Hixson, Will Farniok, Boe Wilson and Matt Farniok in front of Martinez during passing drills. The second-team line, left to right, was Christian Gaylord, John Raridon, AJ Forbes, Matt Sichterman and Brant Banks. Bryce Benhart also saw some second-team time at tackle.
SEEN: Benhart, a true freshman, grabbing fellow freshman Banks by the shoulder pads and demonstrating technique.
SEEN: Returning O-line starters Jaimes and Matt Farniok observing a few early drills while less established teammates lined up.
HEARD: A trainer to running back Dedrick Mills: “I’ve got your watch, man.”
SEEN: Defensive lineman Damian Jackson leading the dynamic stretch on the north side of the Hawks Center. The former Navy SEAL exhorts teammates with helmet above head before jumping to the front of the line.
HEARD: A long “Wooooooo!” from McCaffrey as he completes the stretch warmup and tosses a football to a student manager.
SEEN: Quarterbacks throwing into a net. Junior Andrew Bunch showed particular accuracy during his chances.
SEEN: Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Cameron Jurgens suited and present for practice, but watching drills. The candidate to play center continues to recover from an unspecified lower-body injury.
SEEN: Tight end Travis Vokolek looking the part of someone who has played two seasons of Division I football. The Rutgers transfer, who will likely have to sit out this season, held a blocking pad and stonewalled multiple position mates.
SEEN: Wide receiver Jaron Woodyard in Stanley Morgan’s No. 8 jersey. Defensive back Deontai Williams is now also No. 8.
HEARD: “Hands! Hands! It’s go time! Go!” Walters to freshman Darien Chase during 1-on-1 drills between receivers and defensive backs.
SEEN: Scott Frost taking reps at quarterback, rolling to his right and completing a pass to Vokolek.
SEEN: Strength coach Zach Duval in camouflage cargo shorts, camouflage shoes and a well-groomed beard watching practice from midfield.
HEARD: Offensive coordinator Troy Walters saying “Good! You didn’t jump too soon,” to freshman wideout Demariyon Houston after the coach ran with Houston down the sideline on a caught deep pass.
HEARD: O-line coach Greg Austin shouting “Work your upper body!” and clapping as his players ran through drills stepping over pads.
SEEN: Matt Farniok setting up orange cones for a drill, then sprinting through it first. He can’t stop himself before bumping into the back of Vokolek, who is part of a different drill. Vokolek turns and slaps him on the shoulder.
HEARD: “Repeat! Repeat! Play it again!” Khalil Davis, getting up after recovering a fumble in a drill, to the practice DJ. He and the defensive lineman wanted to hear “Higher” by DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend again.
HEARD: “This is, like, my only time to shine.” Kicker Barret Pickering to punter Isaac Armstrong running to do warmups in front of the media.
SEEN: Two NFL scouts watching Nebraska’s defensive linemen. One from the Kansas City Chiefs, the other from the Los Angeles Rams.
SEEN: Ron Brown, arms crossed, watching the inside linebackers. Brown is a former running backs coach and the current director of player development.
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