It has been a strange, tragic and rather distracting offseason for Nebraska football. It started with the tragic death of beloved teammate Sam Foltz, and continued this week after Keith Williams was arrested for a DUI.
These incidents both occurred around the start of fall camp. Most kids ages 18 to 22 would be distracted, but according to Mike Riley, his team has been focused.
"I love this team," Riley said. "I think the focus has been good, I think leadership is good. I think practices, they rev it up well."
Riley said he does worry about the focus with so much going on off the field, but he said his team has been resilient despite the distractions.
"There are things that have to be on their mind almost continually," Riley said. "The thing I'm impressed with is how they just go perform, they put a smile on their face...For whatever reason, however they've done it, with all of the stuff that's gone on with these young men, I think they've done really well that way so I'm impressed."
Despite everything this team has faced players still showed up to practice looking loose. From dancing during warm ups to clowning around with each other during interviews, this does not look like a team dealing with adversity.
Following a brutal 5-7 regular season, the team will need all the focus and leadership they can get to turn the tides and finish some of the games they were not able to finish just a season ago.
"We've got things going on, but were focused right now on fall camp," quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. said. "We've got to let things play itself out. Things happen, we've just got to make sure we stay on the right path."
Armstrong said he and the senior leadership group are taking it upon themselves to make sure everyone stays focused during practice.
"I'm not the only leader on the team," Armstrong said. "We've got a bunch of senior guys that are leading the right way. We hold each other responsible for our groups and we hold each other responsible for each and every individual. We've got to make sure we hold each other accountable for certain things."
Keith Williams did not attend practice following his release from jail, but more information regarding his punishment or consequences will be coming soon.
For continuing coverage of Nebraska Football's Fall camp, follow @OSIsports and @TylerMartinOSI on Twitter, check back with OmahaSportsInsider.com and tune into KMTV and AM 590 ESPN Omaha.
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