Here's an edited transcript of the postgame press conference with Husker football coach Mike Riley and select players following the spring game. Text provided by the Nebraska athletics department.
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COACH MIKE RILEY
On what he saw from QB Zack Darlington this spring:
"I think Zack, it's been so long since he's been able to play in a game, I think as the game progressed he got more comfortable. By the time he threw his touchdown pass I thought he was seeing things real well, playing confidently and he has a nice quick release and he's a good athlete. I think those are his main attributes.
On establishing a quarterback depth chart heading into the fall:
"I would say we probably do. I've got an idea but we don't have to decide or announce it today. I wouldn't do that. The kids would know first, if there was an order but there will be. We have to have someone take the first snaps and the second snaps and the third snaps. We will have a pretty defined first, second and third string going into the camp now that we have spring ball over. I will talk to all of the players in the next month individually. It will be another time of year that is good for me to get to know these guys personally. There were parts today, we had a couple good screens, a couple good opportunities at deep balls, nothing that was really exciting consistently. There were some nice looking running plays that were encouraging. I think as good as it was for the players to play it will be just as good for the coaches to take what we have been doing and condense it before we add any little parts. I was just a little worried at the end of this last week that we had tried to put too much stuff in for spring practice, but it was probably OK."
On whether he was nervous for the spring game:
"The players had nerves, I did too. I think for me personally there has been a lot happening in the last two months, and it's frankly still kind of a strange feeling. There are a lot of mixed emotions but a lot of this is simply very exciting, feeling yourself in to a new role and new place, and I think that is what is touching about it is the amount of support and caring the fans have. There's nothing like being around people that care in general, when you are a football coach and there's this much support it's pretty neat."
On quarterback AJ Bush:
"AJ was one of those guys I thought started out very nervous but then settled in and started making some plays. Then he threw a couple interceptions that were more mental than physical, but I think we all saw glimpses of what he can do there."
On the environment for the game:
"I've been in an environment like that before but not even close for a spring game. That's what really separates it. I don't want to overdue it, but I've been around a lot of really great fans but what really stands out about today was the amount of fans. I think it's a very consistent feeling of what you are always getting about this place, we think we have the greatest fans in college football and they're out to prove it all the time. It's a pretty interesting thing to be a part of."
On having the Gatorade bucket dumped on him:
"That was a first for a spring game. I was glad to do it though. I moved to the Red sideline just in time to end the game and get my record right to start it."
On Johnny Stanton not playing until late in the game:
"Don't make too much out of it right now. We had a hard job in getting that many quarterbacks ready enough to play in the spring game and perform. Sometimes it's a very small difference in who gets to play for us. I wouldn't put too much into that until we come out with a definitive depth chart."
On Tommy Armstrong's performance this spring:
"The hard part for a guy that has been playing for a couple of years is all of the sudden having a new system put in. I thought he did a really good job of learning it and there's some new football that he's dealing with. The thing that never wavered about Tommy was, and is a separator for him right now, and that's his confidence. He's a confident guy and he plays like it. When something doesn't go exactly right he doesn't blink, he goes right back out there and plays. I like that about him and I think the football part of it is a tough thing mid-way through your college career to have what you know pulled out from under him. That's a tough deal for him. But I think he's done well and he should continue to grow."
On plans for the last month before the players go on break:
"I think that one of the main things will be getting to visit with them about specific goals they need to accomplish before the fall. Then they will begin work right down here (the weight room) very soon again."
On Terrell Newby's performance:
"I liked that. I've been noticing that about halfway through spring. I think that his ability was pretty evident today. We also saw today from other backs, that we have pretty good depth."
On Newby's skills:
"I think he is a versatile athlete. He's a good back, good runner. I think he understands pass protection and I think he can catch the ball well. A guy with what we've done in the past with those things can function pretty well."
On the defense:
"As you could see today, we were pretty vanilla on defense. What it all boils down to at the end is a guy's ability to get off a block and make a play. I think that the more you practice like that, the better it is for you defensively. The other parts can come and all the curveballs you can play with. We have learned a lot about what the guys can do, like defeating a block and making a play or seeing something and making a play. That will be good information going into fall camp."
On whether they will have a post-spring depth chart:
"Yes, how soon it will be I am not sure. But it won't be immediately. We have a weird time of year coaching-wise because what comes next in the coaching world is that April and May evaluation time. The combination of the next month and a half we should have something after that."
On the simplicity of the spring game format:
"I loved that. The first thing that was behind it was that we had enough players to do it correctly. I think the players liked it better. I don't know how many players said to me it was just fun to be able play a regular game. It was really neat to be able to have all those live special team situations that we can look at and use as teaching opportunities in film for the fall. I asked AJ Bush the other day when the last time he had been tackled. I think they had one scrimmage a year ago, so he has probably been tackled a couple of times since he left high school in Georgia. I think we all kind of cringe about getting the team to the season healthy. I sure liked how we were able to do it this spring by limiting a lot of live work through spring practice so we can teach and learn to play fast. I think we had four days where we said these next 12 plays are live. This was like having all of that time to get ready to play and then playing game. It sounds good to me and it looked good. We got to play a lot of football and we got out of it pretty good."
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JUNIOR QB TOMMY ARMSTRONG
On how he feels he progressed this spring:
"Really well. I felt like I improved, just mentally. Being able to know where I needed to go with the ball. My assignments, giving other guys assignments. Putting myself in the right situations."
On the differences in the new offense:
"It's a lot different terminology-wise. I pretty much tell offense line, the receivers, the running back, where they need to be, what route they need to run. By the play call I know exactly who needs to do what and when they have to run it. Other than that we haven't really gotten into detail about alerting certain situations."
On the spring progressing and the coaches discovering what players are good at:
"I feel like it was a great thing for us. Not just for me but for our offense in general. We have some guys that can make plays, get first downs when we need to. I think that they took that into consideration when it came to building this playbook around the guys in the offensive room. We have guys all over this field who can make plays as well. It's a big diversity of different plays that help out this offense by just giving the guys the ball that can make plays."
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JUNIOR LINEBACKER MICHAEL ROSE-IVEY
On how it felt getting back on the field after returning from injury:
"It felt good, having the ability to go out there and compete for the whole spring practice felt good. Just trying to get some growth and development and chemistry with the guys. They had a whole year playing, and I had a whole year sitting out. It's been a journey, but it feels good to finally get into it."
On how difficult it was not being able to play while injured:
"It was difficult. I had never gone that long without playing ball. It is a big adjustment. At times you feel isolated just because you are not with your teammates, especially on the road. There was a lot of people around here and people back home that helped me out through the process. They have as much of a hand in it as anybody."
On if there was any apprehension:
"No, I think everything is good. The only thing I think I really get is a little tendinitis, a little swelling but that is just something you have to deal with, it comes along with the surgery."
On how the defense did as a whole:
"I think we did good. There were some things that we missed that were emphasized but as of right now, it's spring ball, it's a chance for growth and development. When we get into fall camp that is where it will get more strict as far as our assignment and being more disciplined. As far as the spring, I think it went pretty well."
On the lack of depth at linebacker and how solid the group is:
"I mean as far as number-wise, we have some guys who can play. Chris Weber did have a great spring, good with everything. Dedrick (Young) coming in was a big help for us, like you said with a lack of numbers, but he had a good spring game. He's a kid that is going to be looking to play in the fall, and I think Dedrick expects that. As a group I think we saw some development, some growth. We just have to continue with it in the summer and then in the fall."
On the new coaching staff in the spring game:
"They're professional, they understand what is going on. I know Coach (Mike) Riley personally from the first couple of months he wasn't even around us, he was doing stuff around Nebraska. I think he understands the importance of football in Nebraska and he understands how big of a football culture this is. I think they enjoyed it. I think they enjoyed being out there with 76,000 I believe we had, and we all enjoyed it as well."
On the Gatorade shower after the game:
"That was just a little initiation for Coach Riley. He made it through a spring ball with us, so we figured we would welcome him to the club."
On how he would describe the defense:
"I'm very confident in the defense. I think a lot of other people are. We put in some great work. Of course during spring ball, especially with the new offense coming in, we would expect the defense to kind of set the tone for the whole spring ball. Which we did and I'm glad we actually did it. It was pretty good. I think we have some things to work on this summer. We'll get some of the freshman guys coming in and I think it will be fun. It should be a fun summer for us."
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JUNIOR I-BACK TERRELL NEWBY
On how comfortable he feels:
"I feel like I've developed a lot throughout the spring. Just getting acclimated through the little time period. I feel comfortable with this offense and they've done a good job keeping some stuff we had last year and new stuff from this year, so I feel really adjusted."
On what clicked:
"Things just started clicking for me. Picking up on the little things on offense and studying the film."
On changing staff:
"I think a lot of us came in not really knowing what to expect, but I think we've all adjusted well."
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SENIOR DEFENSIVE END JACK GANGWISH
On the coaches' reactions to the crowd:
"As a Nebraska kid I came to a lot of spring games growing up and I wondered if they understood how big of a deal it is here. I don't think many people do the spring game as big as we do."
On defensive performance:
"I feel like we performed really well. We had guys working hard and moving fast. The calls we did run, I thought we ran with good speed and technique."
On his passion on the field:
"This is something that I have wanted to do my entire life, Every moment that I get out there is a huge deal for me. You only have so much time to do something like this, so I make sure I cherish it."
On building relationships with the NU coaching staff:
"The amount of growth is absolutely huge. Coming into spring ball we just had a few brief meetings. Light introductory stuff with our coaches. Even though they've been here for two and a half months, we've only been around them very briefly. We went from not really knowing and feeling the situation out to now we understand what's expected and where we're at in this situation. The relationship between the players and coaches has really expanded during spring ball."