Lincoln -- The Huskers worked out in full pads in the Cook Pavilion for two hours on Friday. Coach Frank Solich said the team looked tired in torday's practice. "They were a little tired, but that's to be expected with finals week and two tough days of practice. But they worked hard at it."
Nebraska will have a 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. practice on Saturday in the Cook Pavilion, before leaving for the Indendence Bowl on Monday morning. (The team will bus directly to the tarmac and will NOT be in the terminal before departing.)
Solich announced that 12 current Huskers will receive their degrees during commencement ceremonies Saturday morning. The group includes Josh Brown (communication studies), Jon Clanton (special education), Wes Cody (communication studies) Will Dabbert (biological sciences), DeJuan Groce (communication studies), Chris Kelsay (finance), John Klem (finance), Nate Kolterman (animal science), Steve Safranek (psychology), Scott Shanle (family and consumer science) Jemond Smith (communication) and Jay White (biological sciences).
In addition to the 12 players, former player and current student assistant coaches Matt Shook (marketing), Leif Sidwell (psychology) will also participate in Saturday's graduation ceremonies.
In all, 17 current Huskers will play in the Independence Bowl against Ole Miss with their degrees in hand, as Demoine Adams (political science), Ben Cornelsen (communication studies), Dahrran Diedrick (criminal justice), Justin Smith (finance) and junior Patrick Kabongo (criminal justice) all earned their undergraduate degrees before this season and have been in enrolled in graduate school.
Solich said he is very proud of the graduates. "We will have some players miss tomorrow's practice because of graduation. We are very proud of that. We will have even more graduate in the spring, so this has been a great group of seniors in that regard."
Prior to today?s practice, Solich also announced that seniors John Garrison (Tom Novak Trophy), DeJuan Groce (Chamberlin Trophy) and Chris Kelsay (Cletus Fischer Native Son Award) were chosen for the annual senior awards (see separate release). The trio will be honored at the 2003 First Data Corporation Outland Trophy Award Dinner, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Omaha, Neb.
Former Husker alum Steve Pederson was named the school's 12th Athletic Director today, Solich commended Chancellor Harvey Perlman's choice. "Steve is a great choice. He has had success everywhere he has been. He is the type of guy that will fit very well in our program. He knows a great deal about our state and about our athletic programs and he will be an excellent A.D. for us."
Solich has not yet announced plans to name a defensive coordinator, but said he is looking forward to putting some finality to it soon.