Huskers Continue Preparations; Two Huskers Receive Blackshirts
Lincoln? The Husker football team continued preparations for Saturday?s regionally televised contest at Oklahoma State with a two-hour practice Tuesday afternoon inside of Memorial Stadium. The full pads workout went "fairly well" according to Nebraska Head Coach Frank Solich.
Solich announced that freshman cornerback Fabian Washington and sophomore rover Lannie Hopkins were presented Blackshirts, symbolic of being a first-team defender, prior to today?s practice. Washington, the first true freshman to receive a Blackshirt since Keyuo Craver in 1998, is second on the team in both interceptions (3-35) and pass breakups (five), while recording 13 tackles in six contests.
"It is not something that happens with regularity," Solich noted about Washington receiving his Blackshirt as a true freshman, "You have to be a great player to get it done, and then to do it this early on is the exception rather than the rule."
Hopkins, who has 12 tackles, including three for losses, and 1.5 sacks for 12 yards, has shown his value on defense and on special teams, where he has blocked a punt this season. He starts for the Huskers in several multiple defensive coverages.
"Lannie is a guy that can pressure and blitz and also fake that situation and cover a lot of ground," Solich said. "He can be valuable along those lines and on special teams. He is a great hitter and also has outstanding speed and change of direction. When watching film, he probably has as many big hits on people as anyone on the team."
On the injury front, Solich said that linebacker T.J. Hollowell returned to practice after missing Monday?s workout, while I-back/returner Josh Davis and rush end Chris Kelsay were progressing from their injuries. Solich said that Cory Ross and Marques Simmons, along with several of the other I-backs, could be potential options as kick returners if Davis, who averages 23.4 yards per kickoff return, is unable to play against the Cowboys.
The Huskers return to practice Wednesday afternoon and will practice in Lincoln on Wednesday and Thursday before departing for Stillwater, Okla., on Friday.