LINCOLN–(NU Athletic Apr. 18)–Nebraska defensive coordinator Tony White met with members of the media following Thursday’s practice.

He discussed the linebacker room and replacing Nick Henrich and Luke Reimer.

“Without those two guys, you’ve got guys like Mikai (Gbayor), you’ve got Javin (Wright) – Buddha – (John) Bullock. Last year he learned how to play safety and linebacker. So far this spring, he has really stepped it up. He is a linebacker. I think you can see in the speed of how he’s playing in practice, how comfortable he’s starting to get. He’s just seeing things a little faster, he’s a little bit more aggressive on the ball. Then you’ve got those other guys starting to show up – Jacob Bower is doing a really nice job, he’s starting to flash and show. Gage Stenger, Stefon Thompson, he’s worked himself into shape. He knows the defense and he’s starting to put things together. You’ve got a lot of guys who are starting to come up, but again, it’s all about the buildup to Saturday. Because Saturday is just like a game and that’s where you really get a chance to say ‘this is who I am.’”

He spoke on the defensive standard, his and his staff’s intensity and how the players handled it.

“You’re never good enough. The really cool thing – after the scrimmage, when we came back and watched it, coaches got on me because it wasn’t good enough. It just wasn’t good enough. We went back and we looked, because this group of guys in the locker room, they do what you ask. These guys are blue collar. They make coaching fun. I looked at it and we went back as a defensive staff and asked ‘how can we do this?’ We tweaked some things on defense and explained to them. I apologized and said ‘hey guys, this is my fault. This is what we want to look like, this is what we want to do’ and showed them, actually showed them. Tuesday, they went out there and they ran around with their hair on fire, and I was like ‘wow.’ I think everybody was like ‘holy cow, what’s going on?’ Then today, to start off, they had the same attitude toward it. I had to apologize to the guys. It was my fault. It was really fun to watch those guys – Jimari (Butler), (John) Bullock, Giff (Isaac Gifford), those guys, go out there with a little chip on their shoulder and fly around. You’re never good enough. You’re always tweaking something, trying to challenge somebody. You’re always trying to make sure that guys are getting better. When coach jumped us for that, it was a great thing. We were able to redefine some things.”

White also talked about how the veteran players handled his intensity, and what it says about the culture that they also took accountability.

“That’s 100% those guys. They’ll do whatever is asked of them. I can’t talk enough about those guys. When I apologized to them and we showed them, they went out and they did it. They started to do it. It was really neat for them to do it on Tuesday and then go out there today and have that same attitude. Now, what coaching is is fixing things, making adjustments, seeing why certain guys did something, but really working on the confidence. Really working on the ‘when you step on that grass, you just let it go. Let it go and go play.’

The Huskers will continue their spring season with a scrimmage on Saturday.

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