Nebraska football now has three practices under its belt to begin the 2016 season. Defensive Coordinator Mark Banker and a few defensive players talked to the media after the conclusion of the practice.
While the Huskers have yet to go full-pads, there have been a couple of big storylines out of fall camp. Here are the biggest takeaways:
Comfort level higher than this time last season
Banker, safeties Aaron and Kieron Williams, and linebacker Dedrick Young all stressed that everyone is feeling much more comfortable in Banker's defensive scheme than at this time last year. Banker said now that players better understand their assignments, reaction times are improving.
"They know more of what to expect, so it's second nature," Banker said. "It's helping with taking the thinking out, the reactions are getting better, and we're starting to play faster."
Kieron Williams said that he's noticed that guys not only know their assignments, but other players assignments as well. He said this has greatly improved communication on the field.
The battle for the safety position opposite Nate Gerry
Banker said that he has narrowed the list of names of who can replace Byerson Cockrell at the safety position opposite Nate Gerry to Aaron and Kieron Williams. Aaron Williams said the position battle is going to increase the level of competition.
"It's driving everybody. Whoever gets the job, they know it's still going to be a competitive hunt throughout the season," Aaron Williams said. "I feel like it just increases everybody's play. Since it increases everybody's play, it should be a productive spot next season.
Banker said that once things in practice start to pick up, each player will be graded just like everyone else, but he had informed the team in players meetings that Aaron and Kieron were at the top of the list.
The emergence of Mick Stoltenberg
One player that Banker spoke very highly of was defensive lineman Mick Stoltenberg. Stoltenberg injured his knee before the bowl game against UCLA last season and is just now rejoining the team for fall camp.
Banker said that he thinks the injury, while unfortunate, has greatly improved Stoltenberg's flexibility and strength.
The Huskers are hungry
The resonating theme for the Huskers from Fan Day through the third day of camp has been the fact that they are hungry to win.
"Nobody likes losing," Kieron Williams said. "We don't like it. It's about learning this defense, let's learn our opponents, and lets win."
Running back Terrell Newby said the Huskers have just one thing on their mind: winning.
"Our team is definitely hungry," Terrell Newby said. "We definitely want to be able to go out and win games this year, that's our biggest goal."