It was running backs and quarterbacks day after Nebraska’s Wednesday practice, and some of the top personnel pieces are beginning to be clear with those I-backs. We’ll focus on that position in this particular spaces, with much more from the players coming
Mario Verduzco and Ryan Held spoke after the practice, as did the main backup QBs and three running backs who could be positioning themselves for leading roles: Gabe Ervin, Markese Stepp and Sevion Morrison. And, yeah, those guys are carrying a bit of a chip with them. Their coach will tell you that.
“There’s a lot of stuff out there, ‘We don’t have a very good group. What’s the group?’ Everything is a little unproven,” Held said. “So our guys want to go out there and prove that we have talent in the room and be able to be a position that helps our football team. We need to be.”
– Held said “it’s starting to come to light” who’s where. “I’m not going to give you the depth chart right now, but it’s starting to work itself through. It’s a very competitive group and they’re very supportive of each other in the room – good and bad. So it’s fun. It’s fun coming to work every day because I don’t have a day that’s played a million snaps. So every day is a new opportunity for us to look at a situation and have it presented us, and then go out and execute it in the way we need to.”
– Held said the Huskers are probably down to about four guys, and a couple other guys need to pick it up or they’ll be left behind. “The other guys have been a little more inconsistent, but I haven’t given up on them. They have to come to work and get better, because the talent’s there. But I need consistency. We don’t get to hit reset like these guys do, they play video games and hit reset. We don’t get to reset it. We got to go out there and I got to know that you know what you’re doing.”
– Stepp was limited in the Sunday scrimmage, but was involved today in some goal-line work, Held said. “He runs hard. Very engaged. He’s getting better. Building him up. I’m very pleased with Markese. He has a chip on his shoulder, because he wants to come in here and help our football team win games.” Held wouldn’t say Stepp is still limited physically. It’s just a matter of getting more reps and getting his body used to it again. The coach doesn’t see the back being hesitant on the foot that was injured, though.
– Sevion Morrison is now at 205 pounds. “He’s done a really nice job. He’s lost weight. He’s changed his body in the summer. He’s always had nice feet, but even better now. His vision is getting better each day, even though he’s had really good vision. He’s dialed in. He paid the price this summer, so he’s done well up to this point.” Held added that Morrison is definitely making a move to play.
– Held’s group has all all been out there this fall. He knocked on wood. So that helps in the process of formulating the depth chart quickly, as hoped. “I’d say it’s coming very quick down the train tracks,” he said.
– Gabe Ervin knows the playbook “really well,” his coach said. “He’s a student of the game. He loves football. So he studies and it matters to him. That’s the thing. It matters. That’s why he’s put himself in position to be a contender for the spot.”
– Ervin told media he came in with the mindset to be the lead dog. Said you have to have that. “Yes, I’m ready.”
– “I feel like Coach Held is in a good predicament in deciding who the lead back is,” said Markese Stepp.
– Held brought up the old movie “Days of Thunder” when describing the mission for his backs. “Harry tells Tom Cruise, ‘You’ve got to drive through the smoke.’ We can’t tiptoe through the smoke. We got to drive through that deal.”