Cockrell Impressing Papuchis at Nickel

Posted 4 months ago

By Robert Lovell

nebraska_helmetLincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska football team continued its second full week of Fall Camp Friday evening with a 90-minute practice at the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields outside of the Hawks Championship Center.

Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis met with the media after practice, noting that the team has had a good week of practice, mentioning that the tempo has been improving since the start of Fall Camp.

“I think it has been a pretty good week,” Papuchis said. “I thought as practice went on our tempo got better—we finished well and yeah, there has been some good and bad but that is every practice.”

Junior newcomer Byerson Cockrell of Columbus, Miss., has continued to impress the Husker coaching staff at nickel back. With fellow junior Charles Jackson out for the season with a knee injury, Cockrell has taken a huge step in filling the void Jackson leaves with his absence.

“(We are) Feeling really good about Byerson, he did a lot during the spring,” Papuchis said. “We came out of spring thinking he could be a nickel for us, but Charles was playing well so we didn’t want him sitting behind anyone.”

True freshman Josh Kalu has also been seeing a lot of action at nickel, and according to Papuchis, is really becoming a fast learner.

“Kalu is a quick learner, he is coming fast, he works hard and he asks good questions,” he said. “I don’t have many doubts that he will be ready to roll.”

Kalu is not the only freshman that has been impressing Papuchis, according to him the whole newcomer group on defense has been making some improvements these past two weeks.

 “I think with all the freshmen they are up and down. There is so much that has to be installed and so much teaching, they will have a couple days that are really good and then take a couple steps back,” Papuchis said. “This next week is about polishing up—making sure we get the details down, and then I think we will be ready to roll.”

The Huskers will be back on the practice fields Saturday morning to wrap up the second week of preseason practice. Check back here or at Huskers.com for a practice report and video coverage following practice immediately.