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Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Taking off from Husker Country

By Adam Rittenberg

LINCOLN, Neb. -- It's time to hit the road and return to Chicago, but I had a very fun and productive visit to the Big Ten's newest member.

There was a bit of bad news today, as Huskers star defensive tackle Jared Crick told me he'll miss the rest of spring practice after suffering a sprained MCL (partial tear) in his right knee during Monday's practice. Crick will rehab for up to the next four weeks but fully expects to be ready for the summer and preseason practice. So it's a minor setback for a guy who really didn't need the spring to get better.

I also had some interesting discussions today with coordinators Tim Beck (offense) and Carl Pelini (defense), and several Huskers players.

Beck is really stressing an attacking nature with the new system, wanting to be more of an "offensive offense." Tight end Kyler Reed and others mentioned that Nebraska played a bit too defensively at times toward the end of last season on offense. Beck really wants to turn things loose and give the players more freedom, a decision that is sitting well with Reed, quarterback Taylor Martinez and others.

For Carl Pelini, it's about maintaining a championship-level defense during the transition to Big Ten play. He talked about a need to enhance the multiplicity on defense after the unit got a bit too comfortable running its base package in 2011. The Huskers are pressuring and moving around outside their base more this spring. It doesn't mean Pelini will totally turn things loose this fall, but he wants his players to become more acclimated to blitzing and the like.

I'll have MUCH more from this visit in the coming days and weeks, so be sure and check back often.