LINCOLN — The number of Blackshirts has been cut in half, but it’s somewhat unclear how long that will last.
Of the 15 players initially awarded the black practice jerseys last month, only eight of them wore one during Tuesday’s practice. Defensive coordinator John Papuchis said he and the players collectively made the decision.
But Papuchis said nothing more on the topic Tuesday, saying that he preferred not to share specifics about his conversation with the unit.
“We ended up making the decision as a group, as I talked to the players (about) how we wanted to handle it, and I prefer to keep that in house,” Papuchis said.
The eight defenders wearing black Tuesday were Josh Mitchell, Jonathan Rose, Nate Gerry, Josh Kalu, Byerson Cockrell, Trevor Roach, Zaire Anderson and David Santos. Josh Banderas hasn’t worn his black jersey in practice since they were handed out last month.
The other players without black Tuesday: the entire defensive line (Randy Gregory, Greg McMullen, Vincent Valentine, Maliek Collins and Kevin Williams), plus Daniel Davie and Corey Cooper.
Mitchell said at a press conference Monday that he didn’t think the Huskers should wear the storied black practice jerseys after their performance in the 59-24 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. Collins declined to answer a question related to the Blackshirts on Tuesday, though he did say that the entire defensive line is motivated to improve after last week. Davie told reporters he chose not to wear his.
“In order to wear those jerseys, you need to be playing at a high level,” Davie said. “We’re going to be looking to play at that level this week.”
Davie shrugs off exchange with Pelini
Cameras zeroed in on coach Bo Pelini screaming at Davie on the Nebraska sideline Saturday, but the junior cornerback said he wasn’t bothered by the heated nature of the exchange.
After Melvin Gordon’s first touchdown run, the ABC broadcast cut to Pelini and Davie three times. Davie was getting chewed out in all of the clips.
Davie said Tuesday that he was simply “getting coached up hard,” which is just part of the game.
“Growing up, my dad always told me, ‘Don’t listen to how it’s being said, listen to what is being said,’” Davie said. “(Pelini) was coaching me up. That’s how I took it, and I just kept playing.”
Davie’s expected to start against Minnesota on Saturday.
Bell: NU must — and will — bounce back
Senior receiver Kenny Bell said he has full confidence that Nebraska will bounce back Saturday against Minnesota. The Huskers have not lost back-to-back regular-season games since falling to Texas Tech and Iowa State in consecutive weeks in 2009.
“That’s what we do,” Bell said. “We’re a Bo Pelini-coached team. We’re resilient. We bounce back, just like our head man does. It’s not about getting beat and then feeling sorry for yourself and pouting about it.”
Bell also was blunt about the Huskers’ next outing after the loss at Wisconsin.
“We need a win,” he said. “I don’t need to elaborate on that. We need to win this football game. We have to.”