Practice observations: Wan’Dale Robinson; base defense lineup; and a Zavier Betts visit

April 3, 2019

Nebraska’s 11th practice of spring ball included about 30 minutes open to reporters on Wednesday morning. A few quick observations:

A few notable absences right off the bat: Sophomore running back Maurice Washington, junior receiver JD Spielman and redshirt freshman defensive back Cam’Ron Jones were not in attendance during the early part of practice.

No official word on why for any of them, though of course, Washington has been labeled as a “limited participant” this spring while his court case plays out in California. His next scheduled appearance is next week on April 10.

*** In the absence of Spielman and Washington, freshman back Wan’Dale Robinson got a lot of looks out of the backfield early on. Robinson has dealt with a minor hamstring injury over the first half of spring, but looked fluid on Wednesday.

Wan’Dale Robinson working quite a bit in the backfield today. Didn’t see Maurice Washington or JD Spielman this morning. #Huskerspic.twitter.com/t3C55jmaL5 — Parker Gabriel (@HuskerExtraPG) April 3, 2019

*** Center is going to be interesting, maybe all the way up to Week 1. Redshirt freshman Cameron Jurgens, the converted tight end from Beatrice, is really athletic — Noah Vedral on Monday called him “a freak of nature” — but it’s a steep learning curve. He fired several accurate snaps in a row on Wednesday but then lollipopped a high one. Snap consistency was an issue for Tanner Farmer last year and it’s going to be interesting to see how fast Jurgens is able to smooth those issues out.

*** The “No. 1” base defense looked like this at one point: Darrion Daniels between Ben Stille and Carlos Davis up front, Mohamed Barry and Collin Miller at ILB, Tyrin Ferguson and Alex Davis at OLB, Deontai Williams and Marquel Dismuke at safety, and Lamar Jackson and Dicaprio Bootle at corner. JoJo Domann was also in that rotation.

*** A couple of young in-state inside linebackers have worked together quite a bit this spring, freshman Nick Henrich and redshirt freshman walk-on Joey Johnson. They were paired up again on Wednesday, forming something of a No. 2 line. Will Honas is still not participating in contact drills — at least that reporters have seen — as he recovers from October ACL surgery.

*** Take this for what it’s worth: The past two times practice has been open to reporters, Jaron Woodyard and Andre Hunt have worked almost exclusively on the top WR line. Last week it was with Spielman. This week, in Spielman’s absence, it was Kade Warner.

At one point Wednesday, it was those three with Robinson in the backfield.

*** One of Nebraska’s two in-state offers, Bellevue West wide receiver Zavier Betts, was on hand for practice on Wednesday morning. Offensive coordinator Troy Walters came over and said hello briefly while Betts watched the early portions of the session.

Betts, listed at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, is a consensus four-star prospect. He’s the No. 46 overall player in the nation and the No. 8 receiver, according to Rivals, and he’s the No. 311 player according to 247Sports.

Betts’ recruitment has been quiet to this point. As a junior, he was a first-team Super-State selection by the Journal Star after catching 48 passes for 856 yards and 12 touchdowns.

[ PHOTOS: The Huskers hit the practice field at Hawks Championship Center ]