Mike Riley kicked off spring practice — which officially begins March 4 — with his Wednesday morning press conference. Key takeaways:
Riley unveiled a 3-4 defensive depth chart — which can be found here — that featured some position moves, which was to be expected. Riley said new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has a "contagious" personality around the office, while position coaches Trent Bray and John Parrella, leftover from previous coordinator Mark Banker, have embraced working with Diaco.
Nose tackle Mick Stoltenberg said Diaco is a big change from Banker.
"He's always talking about effort and energy being the biggest eraser," Stoltenberg said.
Riley did not change defenses, he said, with a temporary setback in mind.
>> On offense, quarterbacks Tanner Lee and Patrick O'Brien will get "even turns" at signal caller, and Riley said the coaches may even flip a coin to see which quarterback takes the first turn. Both quarterbacks participated in Sunday scrimmages as they sat out last season, so neither is entirely unfamiliar with the system.
"They're not total novices," Riley said.
>> With the graduation of quarterback Tommy Armstrong, NU loses one of its best running weapons. With him gone, how does Nebraska rebuild its offense around quarterbacks who won't be mobile, especially when the offense struggled with efficiency and productivity last season?
"We've got to do a better job — and I talked to the coaches about this — of establishing an identity running game," Riley said. "When we turn on the film and it looks like this, my daughter can say 'Whoa, that's Nebraska!' That's how it's gotta look. We do that enough that we've got a signature. And when I say that, you've got to have balance, too."
When his offenses have been best, Riley said, Nebraska should have a good draw game and screen game to compliment the identity running game. The new quarterbacks will need more help from the offensive line, but the line will need help from the draw and screen game — plus a quick-passing game with hitches and bubble screens — that creates balance.
More to come on the identity run stuff from Dirk Chatelain in Thursday's Mad Chatter and throughout the weekend. It's worth chewing on.
>> On the injury front, Connor Ketter (back) Tyrin Ferguson (knee scope) and Collin Miller (toe) are questionable for spring camp.
>> Nebraska will be separating its recruiting operation into the existing player personnel department and a team that focuses on "acquisition" — that is, guys who look specifically at how to promote NU and attract targets to both visit the school and ultimately commit to it.