LINCOLN — Nebraska won't hold back several freshmen from seeing if they can make contributions and help this season, and head coach Mike Riley on Monday talked about how they got there.
In his first game-week press conference of the 2017 season, Riley said that receiver Tyjon Lindsey, linebacker Avery Roberts, I-back Jaylin Bradley and nose tackle Deontre Thomas are all in line to play as NU opens against Arkansas State on Saturday night.
In addition, nose tackle Damion Daniels, offensive tackle Brenden Jaimes and outside linebacker Guy Thomas all have a chance to play, with all but Guy Thomas listed on the current Husker depth chart.
"We're going to have them being ready for action," Riley said.
Although Riley said the staff was high on each coming in, along with quarterback Tristan Gebbia, they still had to prove themselves.
"They had to show during the fall camp that they could fit and play, that they would be comfortable with what they had to do and how they did it, so technically they could make plays," he said. "We felt good about the talent, we felt good about where they are, (but) it's a process of discovery during that time. Deontre Thomas is a good example."
More from Riley's gathering with reporters at Memorial Stadium:
>> Riley said it was not surprising to him that quarterback Tanner Lee was selected as one of five team captains, even though the former Tulane transfer hadn't yet played a game as a Husker. It goes back to what he earned after arriving more than a year ago and sitting out a redshirt season.
Riley said he also believes the pressure and microscope of playing quarterback at Nebraska won't be too much for Lee.
"I think that's why he came," Riley said. "He wanted to put himself in it."
>> The plan for Gebbia is very similar to what NU did a year ago with No. 2 quarterback Patrick O'Brien during his redshirt season. That includes traveling and keeping him game ready just in case, but with an eye toward this being a redshirt season.
>> Riley said Nebraska would name its first recipients of Blackshirts later on Monday afternoon. It will be the first batch under defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, who was hired last winter to replace Mark Banker.
>> Bradley has joined an I-back pack that includes Tre Bryant, Mikale Wilbon and Devine Ozigbo. Those three returnees were listed as co-No. 1s on the depth chart.
Of the four, Riley said: "We feel good about all those guys. I won't guarantee it, but my guess is they will all play."
>> On NU expectations, Riley said: "We don't put any ceiling on the success, nor do we announce anything." Nebraska is coming off a 9-4 season that included a 7-0 start.
>> Former walk-on Cole Conrad beat out Michael Decker for the No. 1 spot at center. Conrad in the past has played every offensive line spot, and Riley said the junior has been "a steady player and person" since the new staff took over in 2015.
>> Among the Arkansas State returnees is defensive end Ja'Von Rolland-Jones, who will start the season as the active FBS leader with 30.5 career sacks. "We want to do everything we can not to add to that total," Riley said.