Nebraska's Mick Stoltenberg

Nebraska's Mick Stoltenberg looks upfield after making an interception last season against Iowa. Stoltenberg is expected to compete for playing time on the defensive line in 2016.

Mick Stoltenberg is healthy and ready for another run at playing time on Nebraska’s defensive line. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound sophomore from Gretna has recovered from the second knee injury of his career, which came during preparations for the Foster Farms Bowl victory over UCLA and forced Stoltenberg to miss spring drills.

Q: How are you coming along after this most recent knee surgery?

A: Obviously there’s been a ton of work done in the training room. It’s a day-in and day-out thing. It’s something I’ve been through before, so it wasn’t too new to me. When spring came around it was really good for me, without the physical part, to get most of the mental stuff down.

Q: How is the physical part going?

A: It feels good. Obviously I’m shaking a little bit of rust off and everything. This is the first day we went against our O-line with just a little one-on-one period.

Q: Are you ready to do more of that?

A: I feel next week will be when I really get back into it, when we start doing a lot more engagement periods with the offensive line. Right now my knee feels great and my body feels pretty good, too.

Q: There’s a great opportunity in front of you, for everybody in your group, to make a difference. What do you think of that chance going into camp?

A: I have a lot of work to do, especially after missing the spring. I know nothing is out there to take; I have to go get it. Obviously I have to work really hard and work with the guys in the room. We have a pretty good mindset going into the fall.

Q: What kind of a relationship have you been able to build with Coach (John) Parrella since he got here earlier this year?

A: He’s the type of guy you can just go up there, open door, just talk to about anything. He’s a real personable guy, obviously, someone a lot of guys are connected to now. Even though I wasn’t playing in the spring, I’ve been able to build a pretty good relationship with him.

Q: How do you guys drive each other when it’s going to take a lot of you to make things work?

A: We’re trying to push each other because we know, in order to make this a successful season, we’re going to need to roll eight, nine, 10 guys. That’s what the elite teams do. We’re trying to push each other to do the right things mentally and physically.

Q: What has been the competition level during practices so far?

A: There haven’t been too many live periods, but I feel like the competitiveness will pick up a lot here in the next week. It’s definitely competitive mentally. Everyone’s making sure they’ve got their stuff down.

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