Practice Report, Aug. 29: NU's Bob Diaco says Blackshirts defend 'hopes and dreams' of state

Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said he knew of the Blackshirt tradition before he arrived at Nebraska and he wanted to make sure the players understood that just getting the Blackshirt wasn't the end goal. 

Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco reached for grandiloquence when describing the meaning of 16 Husker football players wearing Blackshirts. 

"If their goal was to get a shirt, then we're going to have a learning curve," Diaco said. "If their goal was to take on the responsibility and accountability of defending the hopes and dreams of the team, the university and the state, that's super-exciting." 

Diaco said he knew of the Blackshirt tradition before he arrived at Nebraska — no defender, Diaco said, could grow up in America and not know it — and he wanted to make sure the players understood that just getting the Blackshirt wasn't the end goal. 

"It's the beginning of a process," Diaco said. "It's the beginning of the responsibility and accountability to work, habits, leadership, strain, pain." 

Sophomore inside linebacker Mohamed Barry, one of the 16 Blackshirts, got Diaco's message. 

"I have to go hard, I have to get better, I have to hold myself to a higher standard, because that's what it means," Barry said. "It's not the beginning. It's not that you arrived. It's what's in you. Every day, you've got to get better." 

Diaco said Nebraska's defense will evolve as the year goes on. 

Other quick notes: 

» Diaco said Arkansas State's offense uses an "innovative system" that will be an "awesome challenge" for Nebraska's defense. Diaco praised ASU quarterback Justice Hansen, the Red Wolves' receivers, and tight end Blake Mack, who led Arkansas State last season with 34 catches for 652 yards. 

"Talented player," Diaco said of Mack. "Matchup issue." 

» Special teams coordinator Scott Booker is using the JUICE acronym in his coaching approach. It stands for "Jacked Up Intensity Continuous Effort.” More in a Wednesday story from Evan Bland. 

» Slot receiver JD Spielman said one of his favorite players is Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin, who previously starred at West Virginia. 

Should only defensive starters receive Blackshirts?

NU coach Mike Riley said they decided to give out a Blackshirt to anyone they thought would contribute a great deal in games, not just starters. Do you think starters and backups should receive Blackshirts?

You voted:

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