Lincoln, Neb. — The Nebraska football team practiced continued preparations for Saturday night’s season opener on Thursday, working out for a little more than 90 minutes in half-pads. The practice was split between Memorial Stadium and Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields.
Head Coach Mike Riley spoke with the media following practice to wrap up the week and look ahead to the opener.
“It’s an exciting time, I suppose with this length of time that we’ve had, it’s probably the first time we’ve had a full month like this,” Riley said of the long preseason camp leading up to the first game. “I think what our team did in a very non-dramatic way is a good indication of their intention of sacrificing to do the right thing and do it consistently because they knew it was important to the team. You’ve gotta go play now.”
Riley had no new injuries to report to the media, but clarified that receiver Keyan Williams will not play. Williams has battled a leg injury throughout preseason drills.
Riley commented on the progress of sophomore punter Caleb Lightbourn as he prepares for his second season as a starter.
“We’ve noted an improvement all around in his ability to be consistent which will eventually identify him as a punter, his consistency,” Riley said. “That’s where he has to change from a year ago, that’s what he’s worked on. It’s a big factor for him, and I’m excited for him because I think he’s really talented and he’s worked really hard.”
Riley said that despite being a head coach for more than two decades he continues to get excited for the start of a new season.
“I love it. When you’re dealing with a whole bunch of different people, it always keeps a new life in the moment,” Riley said of the 48 hours leading up to a game day. “This world is all about people, and it’s always changing that way in my job. Every team forms a different identity, and I’m energized by the formation of a team and a program, so everyday is important to that.”
“I’m excited, as it gets closer. You can feel it, you can feel it in the team and you can feel it around time. It’s an exciting time of year to be involved with what we get to do.”
The Huskers will host Arkansas State for the home opener of the 2017 season on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.