Sixth-year Nebraska kicker Connor Culp has been around college football for a while now.
Freshman punter Daniel Cerni has … not.
So Culp had to laugh a little Wednesday when telling the story of how the Huskers have had to get Cerni up to speed on the game after the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder arrived in Lincoln from Australia last year.
"The fact he didn't know the difference between offense and defense, we had to start pretty broad. And how many yards it was for a first down and all that," Culp said. "He's getting the hang of it it real well — understanding special teams more every day, and he's adjusting."
Cerni missed last season after suffering an injury in preseason camp and taking his redshirt gave the Canberra, Australia, native some more time to pick up on the nuances of the game.
"He's a little confused that all he has to do is go out there and punt the ball and maybe get a tackle if need be," Culp said. "But he's been doing really well, and he will help us tremendously on this team."
Freshman OLs progressing: Greg Austin has a deep stable of veterans and experienced players to sort through as he puts together his two-deep on the offensive line.
Even if freshmen Teddy Prochazka and Henry Lutovsky don't crack the two-deep in their first seasons, Austin made it clear Wednesday that the early returns are promising.
He called Lutovsky, 6-6 and 330 pounds, "a self-starter who wants to be really good."
"Still making the same mistakes that a normal mid-year or high school kid would make right now," Austin added. "But nevertheless, a kid that's going to compete his ass off. I mean, when I say compete his ass off, I'm talking about got into a couple of fights just because he's going to the echo of the whistle.
"Love the kid, excited about what he's going to be in the near future. The best thing for him was coming in mid-year and getting all that out of his system and now learning what he has to do and what his responsibilities are. He's another guy that's going to be showing up soon as well."
Ditto, essentially, for Prochazka, the former Elkhorn South standout, who worked at left tackle during an open practice Saturday.
"They're like the same kid. I call Henry Teddy and vice versa. They get a kick out of that," Austin said.
Carnie "full go": Former Norris standout tight end James Carnie is "full go" after being slowed earlier this spring by shoulder surgery during the offseason, Husker tight ends coach Sean Beckton said.
"When you're coming off a shoulder injury, and you haven't been used in a while, he's struggling with that right now," the coach said, noting that Carnie actually enjoyed a strong outing in Wednesday’s scrimmage.
"I'm really proud of where the young guys are going as far as understanding everything," said Beckton, also offering words of praise for freshman walk-on Nate Boerkircher of Aurora. "He actually had his best day, also."
Henrich inside: Nick Henrich moved around a lot in 2020.
Not so much this spring.
The redshirt freshman said he’s played all inside linebacker so far this year after starting last year inside, bumping outside and then moving back inside late in the season.
"Right now I'm playing all inside, but I’m comfortable playing both and I’ll do either," he said.
Rather than a hindrance to his development, though, the Omaha Burke graduate said the time outside served a benefit.
"I was always comfortable at inside, but moving to outside actually helped me learn the defense better as a whole," he said, "So that was a good experience for me."
Good to go: Culp didn't participate in Saturday's open practice held in front of about 3,200 fans. No reason for concern, though, he said.
"I'm doing OK. Just a little tweak, so they just decided to hold me out for that day," Culp said. "Practiced today, so everything's good."
Despite not participating, Culp said he was excited to have even a small number of fans in the stands after kicking in empty stadiums all of last year.
"It got my juices flowing even last week with just a few thousand in there," Culp said. "And I'm really looking forward to that, because I haven't experienced in a while. And I realized last week how much I missed it."
— Chris Basnett, Steven M. Sipple and Parker Gabriel