Lincoln -- The Huskers headed out to Memorial Stadium in full pads on Wednesday to begin their second week of spring training. After a team meeting on Monday and a day off on Tuesday, head coach Frank Solich said the team appeared sluggish at the beginning of practice due to the warm weather.
"As they got into the practice the team kept encouraging one another and picked it up as the time went along. I feel fairly comfortable with the way we finished up," Solich said.
After two hours and 20 minutes, practice came to an end with a 12-play scrimmage. The Huskers worked on the pass rush and pass protection while the backs were tackled live any time they touched the ball, and the quarterback was again off limits.
"We worked on third and long," Solich said. "Third and long to us is third with seven or more to go. Ideally, if you can complete 35 to 38 percent of third and seven or more, you?re doing a pretty good job statistically. We?re working on making sure that we?re able to get the first downs when you get into a third and long situation."
At the conclusion of practice Solich said he feels good about where the Huskers stand entering their second week of spring training in terms of picking up the offense and defense and learning the terminology.
Solich announced that Carl Pelini will report to practice on Friday and will serve as the Huskers? defensive graduate assistant for football. He joins Dan McLauglin as one of two graduate assistants. Pelini replaces Jimmy Burrow, who passed on his third year of his graduate assistantship to accept the defensive coordinator position at North Dakota State. Pelini, 37, comes to the Huskers from Fitch High School in Austintown, Ohio, a suburb of Youngstown, where he was head coach for the past three years. He played at Columbia University and spent two years as an Assistant Coach at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown. He also coached at Kansas State as a graduate assistant. The older brother of Husker defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, this is the first time the Pelini brothers have the opportunity to coach together. (A complete biographical sketch on Carl Pelini will come on Thursday).
Solich said having experienced graduate assistants is extremely beneficial to the team. "If you look at Tim Albin and Jimmy Burrow, those are guys with great experience and both were very knowledgeable at the college level. Over the years we have been very fortunate with the caliber of graduate assistants we have had. We make those decisions very carefully because they can really add a lot to your staff. We think Carl will be a great addition as well."
The Huskers will meet but not practice on Thursday, before heading back to practice on Friday afternoon.