Nebraska starts preseason practice on Thursday, and head coach Mike Riley met with the media on Wednesday to preview both camp and the 2016 football season.
Some notes from Riley as he prepares for his second season in Lincoln:
>> Riley said he purposely had put off talking about the void left at punter after the death of Sam Foltz, but Wednesday admitted it will be “impactful.” Foltz had handled the duties the previous three years, and led the Big Ten as a junior.
“He wasn’t just good, he was great,” Riley said.
Riley said NU will look at freshman Caleb Lightbourn and redshirt freshman Isaac Armstrong, and would like to make a decision fairly quick to move forward, especially since one is left-footed and the other right-footed. Lightbourn was a scholarship signee last February.
>> Nebraska also must find a replacement at holder. Riley mentioned Armstrong and quarterback-turned-receiver Zack Darlington as two candidates, but said it also will have to do with finding the person that kicker Drew Brown feels most comfortable with.
>> Nebraska plans to preserve Foltz’s locker and wear helmet stickers to honor the former walk-on, who was killed in a Wisconsin car accident on July 23. Riley said some other things will be planned.
As far as his own personal advice to the team, Riley said: “Do it like he did it. Enjoy it like he did.”
>> Riley said again that the Foster Farms Bowl win over UCLA was huge for the program and gave the Huskers a “hungry theme” that they carried through the offseason.
>> Riley did not mention specific names, but said the Nebraska staff is prepared to test the readiness of a good chunk of the Huskers’ incoming freshmen.
“There’s five or six names we want to push into this thing, and see how they do these first couple weeks,” Riley said.
>> Nebraska will watch how hard it works receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El to start fall camp, but the junior has been fully cleared in his return from a leg injury suffered last October.
“He hasn’t really done much for a long, long time,” Riley said. “So it’s not like we might give him the workload of every other receiver on the team.”
>> Riley said freshman tight end Jack Stoll, recovering from wrist surgery, won’t report with the initial 105-player roster. Also currently out are defensive back Nolan Graham and linebacker Jacob Weinmaster.