Other coaches on Nebraska’s staff like to show Tony White pictures of shoes. The Huskers’ defensive coordinator isn’t particularly interested in or knowledgeable on the topic, but it’s a product of the rest of the staff’s youth and enthusiasm he likes so much.
White has been impressed by linebackers coach Rob Dvoracek’s attention to detail and understanding of his position group not as a lone, isolated responsibility, but a piece of the defense that influences the rest of the unit on every play. Defensive line coach Terrance Knighton has become close with his group, and it allows him to coach his players hard in practice because they understand it comes from a caring place.
As Nebraska’s defense has gradually come together, its contributors emerging and making the X’s and O’s of White’s scheme a tangible reality, the coaching staff has done the same. The specific contributions of each defensive position coach — many of whom have worked for Matt Rhule before but not the former Syracuse coordinator White — is coming to light as training camp progresses.
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“You got some guys who have played at the highest level, coached at the highest level, coached some of the most elite players on the planet,” White said. “From coach Rhule down, and so it’s really neat to be in the room and listen to all the ideas and then come together and make this our defense, and that’s the thing I can’t stress the most is that it is our defense.”
Jersey numbers: Nebraska football's new offseason tradition of awarding single-digit jersey numbers is off to a good start.
The first four Husker players to earn the honor — Billy Kemp IV (No. 1), Isaac Gifford (No. 2), Luke Reimer (No. 4) and Jeff Sims (No. 7) — were officially recognized on Wednesday. Sophomore Jimari Butler indicated there wasn't a large message to the team about those first four recipients, but said he's glad to see his teammates get recognized for their hard work.
“Those are the toughest guys on the team that come in day-in and out, putting in the work," Butler said.
Linebackers coach Rob Dvoracek took part in the tradition during his playing days at Temple and said he's proud to see one his linebackers, Reimer, earn the honor from his teammates.
“I think they take tremendous pride in it," Dvoracek said. "Obviously their teammates voted for them which also says, ‘Hey, we respect you and the work that you’ve done and we see how you approach the day, are they relentless and disciplined with what they’re doing?’ When they see that in each other and vote for them, it’s obviously an honor and about respect.”