Memorial Stadium was full of noise on Saturday morning.
With five weeks still remaining before Nebraska’s home opener, the crowd noise might’ve been artificial, but it still served a purpose to keep NU’s players dialed in during their first live scrimmage of the fall.
Head coach Matt Rhule was pleased to report that the Huskers went “three hours on the dot (with) no injuries.” However, Rhule felt the Husker offense failed to meet their standards during the scrimmage, saying it was “a day dominated by the defense.”
“The defense was lights out, a lot of passion and energy, and they were significantly further ahead than the offense based on today,” Rhule said.
Rhule said the Nebraska offense was hampered by procedural issues such as getting in and out of the huddle and watching the play clock closely. With Big Ten officials watching over the scrimmage, those issues hurt the Husker offense on the day.
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The good news on the offensive end, Rhule said, was that “as the scrimmage went on, they got better.” NU’s head coach was also pleased with what he saw from quarterback Jeff Sims, but the overall depth of the defense was among the key takeaways from the scrimmage.
“That bodes well for us because we’re not going to be a defense that plays 11 guys; the goal is to play 17-25 guys depending on who’s up on the line,” Rhule said. “We’re going to try to throw waves at people, so they’re a talented defense and they’re playing with some energy and aggressiveness which I like.”
On special teams, a windy day led to several missed field goals but punt protection and kickoffs went well otherwise, Rhule said. Nebraska can utilize one more live scrimmage during fall camp, with Rhule looking for an improved effort from his offense the second time around.
“I love days like today; I love chaos,” Rhule said. “I love making guys respond to adversity.”
Gilbert waiver: Nebraska is still waiting on news from the NCAA about tight end Arik Gilbert’s status. Under new transfer rules, players who transfer twice must be granted an NCAA waiver to receive immediate eligibility — hence why Gilbert’s status is in the NCAA’s hands after attending both LSU and Georgia.
The NCAA recently rejected waiver requests from Florida State’s Darrell Jackson Jr. and North Carolina’s Devontez Walker, but Rhule said Saturday that the situation “is not finalized yet.” Rhule declined to comment on Georgia’s involvement in getting a waiver approved, but offered a message of support for Gilbert’s case.
“I’d be really, really disappointed if he doesn’t get it,” Rhule said. “He’s the most deserving young man, and if he doesn’t get it the NCAA shouldn’t even have a waiver. But there’s a lot of parties involved, there’s a lot entities out there that don’t always have people’s best interests in mind. I’ll say what I think — if he doesn’t get it, they should not have this waver.”