13-Aug-2019 / UNK Athletics
Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney football team began workouts for the upcoming 2019 season with its first practice of fall camp on Monday, August 12.
Around 120 Lopers took part in the helmets-only morning practice. Until schools begins on Monday, August 26, UNK will practice in the morning (9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.) most days followed by a night walkthrough (9-10 p.m.). The first full-contact practice comes on Friday, August 16, with scrimmages set for Aug. 17, (Saturday), Aug. 24 (Saturday) and Aug. 29 (Thursday). All practices and scrimmages are open to the public.
"We had good effort today," said third-year head coach Josh Lynn. "Because we're an older team, we were able to get in a lot of reps done in a short amount of time ... it's a good review for everyone. Conditioning is important this week as is working on the finer details of blocking and tackling."
Lynn saw the Lopers go 5-6 last fall, winning its season finale, 17-16, on a last minute field goal at Washburn. UNK dropped four games by a total of 21 points, including a double overtime setback to MIAA Champion Fort Hays State, 29-26. To record its first-ever winning season as an MIAA member and to send out a 24-member graduate/senior class out in style, UNK hopes to take advantage of six home games. Those battles include tilts with traditional league powers Pittsburg State (Sept. 28), Northwest Missouri State (Oct. 19) and Central Missouri (Nov. 2).
The Loper defense was among the stingiest in the conference in 2018, ranking among the statistical leaders in most categories. UNK held four foes under 17 points, pitched its first shutout as an MIAA member and had five players named all-conference.
While both starting cornerbacks and All-MIAA defensive end Ty Spies must be replaced, most of the rest of the unit returns. That includes All-Central Region inside linebacker Sal Sivio (Kansas City), two-time All-MIAA end Hinwa Allieu (Gaithersburg, Md.), two-time All-MIAA safety Dallas Vaughn (St. Louis) and 2019 team co-captains/captain alternates Rakid Hill (St. Louis) and Jordan Ingraham (Miami).
"All the way through the middle of our defense ... we have a good solid foundation and core," said Lynn.
UNK's option-based offense managed 28.0 points and 269.0 rushing yards per game in 2018. Nearly everyone returns including the top five backs and starting quarterback Alex McGinnis (Crete).
"This is the first time since I've been here we've had a returning starting quarterback. Being in his second year as a starter, Alex has a lot more confidence. He's a leader out there and the guys respond to him," said Lynn.
Senior Darrius Webb (Allentown, Pa.) earned All-Central Region honors last fall after running for 998 yards and 10 scores with four other backs combining for 1,225 more yards and 11 TD's. McGinnis, in his first year as the starter, completed exactly 50 percent of his passes for six TD's and 124 yards per game. He also had the second most carries (157) to the tune of 471 yards and six TD's.
"We have a great group of backs and we're doing some different things in our offense to make sure everyone gets touches," said Lynn. "It's a nice luxury to have all these guys here at the same time and it develops competition within the group. You have to come to work every day or you're probably not going to touch the ball."
locking for this powerful ground game is a veteran group including 2017 All-MIAA left guard Josh Stoltenberg (Creighton Prep), senior right guard Kolin Kenton (Lexington) and junior right tackle Corey Hoelck (Giltner), a team co-captain.
The wide receivers will be led by senior Sedarius Young (Orlando) and sophomore Montrez Jackson (Trenton, Fla.). Young redshirted last fall with Jackson earning All-American honors in the high jump as a member of the track team. At tight end/cruiser, two-year starter Alex Harms graduated with junior Kyler Van Housen (Polk) and fourth-year sophomore Zack Blaschko (Kearney) the veterans.
Finally, on special teams, senior Kendall Raschein (Red Bluff, Calif.) is back at punter and kickoffs after earning 2018 All-MIAA honors. He could vie for starting place kicking duties with former junior college teammate Junior Gonzalez (Corning, Calif.) a newcomer to watch. Also, junior Blaine Kennedy (Albion) is back at the important long snapper position.
UNK opens the year on September 5 at Missouri Southern State with Central Oklahoma coming to town the following Thursday night.
12-Aug-2019 / NU Athletic Communications
Florence, Italy – Charlie Easley’s 15 points led five Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska wrapped up its tour of Italy with an 84-62 win over Italian Select Monday evening.
Easley, a walk-on from Lincoln, came off the bench to ignite a 10-3 Husker run late in the first quarter with consecutive 3-pointers after NU trailed 15-12. His second trifecta put NU ahead for good, as the Huskers stretched the lead after a slow start.
In addition to Easley’s 15, Dachon Burke added 12 for the Huskers while Shamiel Stevenson (11), Thorir Thorbjarnarson (11) and Kevin Cross (10) all finished in double figures. With the win, Nebraska went 4-0 on the trip over the last week.
Nebraska led 22-21 early in the second quarter before the Huskers ran off six straight points, including four from Stevenson, to push the lead to 28-21.
Italian Select was within 35-30 in the final minutes of the second quarter, but Nebraska closed the half with seven straight points to take a 12-point lead and opened the third quarter with nine unanswered points to build a 53-32 cushion with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
Nebraska learned its lesson from Thursday’s game with Silute BC, finished the third quarter strong. The Huskers scored six of the final eight points of the quarter to push the lead to 66-42 after Easley’s basket in the closing seconds of the quarter.
In the final quarter, Nebraska led by as much as 30 points with 6:08 remaining before cruising to a 22-point win.
The Huskers will return to Lincoln on Tuesday evening and will have some time off before the fall semester on Aug. 26.
09-Aug-2019 / NU Athletic Communications
The Nebraska women's basketball team completed a perfect three-game summer trip through Italy and Spain with a 94-77 win over the Barcelona All-Stars on Friday in Barcelona.
Sophomore Leigha Brown led the Huskers with 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including a 4-for-7 night from three-point range. Brown, who added four rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals against Barcelona, averaged a team-best 19.7 points per game in Nebraska's three victories in Europe.
Junior center Kate Cain enjoyed a big night with 18 points on 9-for-9 shooting while adding nine rebounds, three blocks and a steal. Cain capped her three-game trip with averages of 9.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.7 blocks for the Big Red.
Senior Nicea Eliely added a strong all-around game of her own with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals on Friday. The 6-1 guard from Colorado Springs, Colo., hit 7-of-9 shots from the field for the game. Eliely averaged double-figure points over three games for Nebraska in Europe.
Junior Taylor Kissinger gave the Huskers four players in double figures with 12 points on 4-of-9 three-point shooting. The 6-1 guard from Minden, Neb., added five rebounds and four assists. She also averaged double figures in scoring for Nebraska in Italy and Spain, while leading NU's three-point shooters.
All nine Huskers who played in Friday's game in Barcelona found the scoring column, including eight points and nine rebounds from sophomore forward Ashtyn Veerbeek. Sophomore guard Sam Haiby pitched in six points and five assists, while senior guard Hannah Whitish added four points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Sophomore Kayla Mershon contributed four points and three rebounds, while senior forward Grace Mitchell added two points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal.
The Huskers opened the competitive portion of their international tour on Saturday, Aug. 3, with a 60-43 win over TTT Riga in Rome. Brown led the Big Red with 18 points, while Whitish contributed 14 points. Eliely scored 12 points, while Cain pitched in six points, 10 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
On Monday, Aug. 5, Nebraska improved to 2-0 on the tour with a 78-46 victory over the EuroBasket Turkish All-Stars in Florence. Kissinger led Nebraska with 20 points while knocking down six three-pointers, and Brown scored 18 points for the second straight game. Whitish contributed nine points in the victory.
Nebraska's trip to Europe began on Thursday, Aug. 1, and the Huskers arrived in Rome on Aug. 2. Following tours of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica on Aug. 3, the Huskers defeated TTT Riga that evening.
The Huskers were welcomed to Rome by the Pope at St. Peter's Square on Sunday morning (Aug. 4), before touring the Colosseum on Sunday afternoon.
They traveled to Florence on Monday, where the long day of travel concluded with a win over the Turkish All-Stars.
After a Tuesday morning bicycle tour and an afternoon of shopping at Mercado Centrale and Mercado di San Lorenzo, the Huskers enjoyed free time in Florence on Tuesday evening before taking cooking classes on Wednesday morning.
The Huskers departed Florence early Thursday morning (Aug. 8) for Barcelona, and enjoyed the afternoon exploring the city. Friday morning included a tour of the Sagrada Familia, before preparing for Friday night's game with Barcelona.
Nebraska will enjoy one more day in Barcelona on Saturday before departing Spain on Sunday morning for the United States. The Huskers will have two weeks off before the start of fall semester classes at Nebraska on Monday, Aug. 26.
09-Aug-2019 / NU Athletic Communications
Lincoln, Neb. -- The Nebraska football team practiced in full pads to end the first week of fall camp on Friday, working out for nearly two and a half hours while splitting time inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joanne Gass practice fields.
Head Coach Scott Frost spoke to the media following the conclusion of practice and talked about the team living up to his expectations from summer workouts moving into fall camp.
"I expected it to be better and it's better," Frost said. "I said that before and it's a lot better. Every position looks better than it did a year ago. The speed of practice looks better than it did a year ago. I'm having a lot of fun coaching this team. Last year there were times it was hard coaching the team, but this year everybody shows up with a smile on their face. I don't see one person that I don't want to talk to and they're having fun. This is a fun team to coach, so there's just a ton of things that have gotten better and it’s up to us as coaches and players to make sure that improvement leads to success."
Frost commented on the physicality of practice and how it has been another drastic improvement for the team.
"It's funny, we've had to have talks two nights in a row about slowing them down because we've been a little too reckless," Frost said. "It's not everybody, but that can lead to injuries on the field. You've got to practice like a pro and take care of each other, but I would much rather have to say slow down a little bit than telling them to go faster. I think the toughness and enthusiasm of practice has improved drastically as well."
Frost spoke about the defensive mentality and focusing on forcing turnovers and three and outs.
"We talked to our defense about getting the ball back," Frost said. "If a team drives it and we get a turnover and we get the ball back, that can sometimes be just as good as a three and out. The biggest stat for us is going to be turnovers and the other thing I wants to see us improve a little is three and outs. They make a big difference so we can get the ball in better field position offensively."
Frost finished off with the improvement at the quarterback position all throughout the depth chart.
"I think all the quarterbacks are doing a good job," Frost said. "We're vastly improved at that position from the number one guy all the way down the roster. It was a little depressing at times last year going into a few games with one, maybe two healthy quarterbacks. Noah (Vedral) has been throwing the ball as well as I've seen him throw it. Obviously, he's athletic and is familiar with our scheme. Luke (McCaffrey) is doing some really good things throwing the ball, also making a bunch of plays with his legs. He's picked up the offense really fast. Bunchy (Andrew Bunch) has improved drastically. Matt Masker's making some good plays, so we're at a lot better place at that position. I wish our season would come down to 4 by 1 relay with our quarterback group against everybody else's because we've got some guys that can run."
The Huskers will continue fall camp with practice on Monday, with the first game taking place at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 31 against South Alabama at 11 a.m CT.
08-Aug-2019 / NU Athletic Communications
Florence, Italy – Freshman Samari Curtis led three Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska held on for a 73-70 win over Silute Basketball Club Thursday evening.
Curtis finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals, as Nebraska built a 24-point halftime lead and hung on down the stretch after playing its second game in a 22-hour span.
Senior Haanif Cheatham finished with 12 points while Dachon Burke added 11 markers for the Huskers, who improved to 3-0 on the trip.
Silute BC had pulled to within 67-61 before Thorir Thorbjarnarson’s steal led to a Burke layup to push the lead back to eight points. Thorbjarnarson finished with seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and two of the Huskers’ 10 steals.
BC Silute made one last run, cutting an eight-point Husker lead to 71-67 with 47 seconds left, but Burke’s tip-in basket with 11 seconds remaining preserved the win for the Big Red.
The Huskers came out firing early, jumping to a 12-4 lead as NU scored its first 12 points from long distance. NU hit nine 3-pointers on the day, but just two in the final 20 minutes. The Huskers led 19-14 midway through the first quarter, but Silute fought back and tied the score at 22 at the end of the first quarter.
BC Silute took its only lead at 25-24 before Jervay Green helped key what would be the game’s decisive stretch. Nebraska ran off 14 unanswered points, as Green scored six of his eight first-half points to help stake the Huskers to a 38-25 lead. NU then closed the half on another 15-3 surge, including the final eight points before intermission. Curtis capped the half with a long 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 24 going into the break.
The Huskers quickly found themselves in a tussle, as BC SIlute opened the half with the first eight points before a Cheatham basket ended the NU dryspell. The teams traded baskets the remainder of the quarter, as NU had a 64-52 cushion after three periods.
BC Silute trimmed the Husker lead to 64-59 before Cheatham answered with a 3-pointer from the corner to stretch the lead to eight with just over seven minutes remaining, setting the stage for the remainder of the game the Huskers faced adversity for the first time on the trip before holding on for the win.
Several members of the Husker travel party started the day with a visit to the Accademia Gallery Museum, which was located a short walk from the Huskers’ team hotel in downtown Florence. The museum features several famous sculptures by Michelangelo, including the masterpiece David. The 14-foot-tall marble masterpiece depicts the Biblical hero David in his battle against Goliath, and took Michelangelo more than two years to construct when it was finished in 1504.
“It was beautiful,” Thorbjarnarson said about the Huskers’ trip to the Accademia. “The sculpture of Davis was one of the main things I wanted to see here in Florence. At first, I thought it was going to be smaller, but when you realize how long it took him to build it, it was truly spectacular to see.”
Following the Accademica, the group took a walking tour through Florence and learned more about the city that was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Some of the tour highlights included the Florence Cathedral, which took over a century to build and towers over the city and Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge with a thriving market featuring jewelry and leather shops.
The Huskers will finish up in Florence tomorrow before traveling to Como for the final portion of the trip. The Huskers will play their final game of the week on Monday night against Italian Select. Tipoff is scheduled for Noon (central).
08-Aug-2019 / Associated Press
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to terms with cornerback Morris Claiborne on a one-year deal Thursday to fortify a thin and unproven backfield, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person, who said the deal could be worth about $3 million with incentives, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced it. Claiborne still must pass a physical to make it official.
The Chiefs have been searching for help at cornerback all offseason, and that need became even more apparent when backup Keith Reaser suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Claiborne would give Kansas City some depth behind the starting trio of Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward and Kendall Fuller.
Well, when he becomes eligible to play.
The former sixth-overall pick has been suspended the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. That means the earliest he could play is Week 5 against the Colts, giving him plenty of time to learn defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's system.
Claiborne, who was teammates at LSU with new Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, spent his first five seasons with Dallas before spending the last two with the Jets. He has started 73 of the 77 games in which he has appeared, making 251 tackles and seven interceptions while scoring a pair of touchdowns.
One of his biggest problems has been staying healthy.
Claiborne has missed time with injuries ranging from hamstring and groin problems to a torn patellar tendon that caused him to miss 12 games in 2014. He also has missed a game each of the past two seasons in New York, first with a foot injury and last season with a shoulder problem.
The Chiefs have been working on a deal with Claiborne for a while, which is one of the reasons they felt comfortable switching second-year pro Tremon Smith from cornerback to running back last week.
"They're competing," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of his collection of cornerbacks, "but I feel comfortable doing this move right now with Tremon."
Breeland, who signed as a free agent in the offseason, and Fuller are listed as the first-team cornerbacks on the initial depth chart released for Saturday night's preseason opener against Cincinnati. But the Chiefs intend to use Fuller primarily in the slot, which means Ward could start on the opposite side of Breeland when the Chiefs are in their base 4-3 defense.
The Chiefs knew what they were getting in Breeland. Ward has been a pleasant surprise.
"When I did watch the tape, and I had mentioned it to (general manager) Brett (Veach) that I think this particular player — I didn't know him at the time — had some potential to be a good press corner," Spagnuolo said. "I like the guys with the long arms. Now, I have to get used to the inner makeup of a corner. That's really important in this league. I'd like to see him always challenge every play."
Perhaps an internal challenge from a new signing in Claiborne will help to spur Ward along.
That goes for the rest of the Chiefs' reconstructed defensive backfield, too.
NOTES: The Chiefs signed TE Hunter Dimick late Wednesday. He was an undrafted free agent out of Utah who spent time with Jacksonville last season. ... WR Sammy Watkins hurt his finger during Thursday's practice, but Reid said it should be OK. ... DT Xavier Willilams (lower back soreness), TE David Wells (calf bruise), DE Alex Okafor (sore hip) and WR Gehrig Dieter (back spasms) did not practice. ... RB Damien Williams (hamstring) practice for the second day after missing most of the first two weeks of camp. "We're just easing him back in," Reid said. "We don't want him to take any steps back with his hamstring, but he looks good."
07-Aug-2019 / NU Athletic Communications
Florence, Italy – Haanif Cheatham and Dachon Burke had 20 points apiece, as Nebraska improved to 2-0 on the trip with an 83-58 win over Silute BC on Wednesday evening.
While Cheatham and Burke were the only Huskers to finish in double figures, 10 of the 12 players who played got into the scoring column. Despite traveling most of the day and not arriving until Florence until 3 p.m., the Huskers shot well, hitting 10 3-pointers in the win. Matej Kavas added a trio of 3-pointers for nine points, while Samari Curtis added a pair as part of an eight-point effort for the victors.
Nebraska trailed 18-14 midway through the first quarter before Burke and fellow reserves Thorir Thorbjarnarson and Jervay Green, keyed a 14-2 spurt to put the Huskers ahead for good. Thorbjarnarson’s 3-pointer and Burke’s conventional 3-point play gave the Huskers a 20-18 lead before Green’s first bucket capped an 8-0 run to end the first quarter and stake the Huskers a 22-18 lead.
The run continued in the opening minutes of the second stanza, as Nebraska scored six of the first eight points to build a 28-20 lead after a pair of Burke baskets. Nebraska eventually stretched the margin to 35-23 after baskets by Cheatham and Shamiel Stevenson forced a Silute timeout with 5:56 left in the half.
Silute, which trailed 39-30 at the break, opened the half with five quick points to trim the Husker lead to 39-25 before Nebraska responded with six straight points of its own, including four by Stevenson, to push the lead back to double digits, at 45-35.
Silute was within 52-42 after a 3-point play before Nebraska rattled off seven straight points, including consecutive dunks by Dalano Burton before Burke’s alley-oop pushed the lead to 17 with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Leading 59-48 after three periods, Cheatham and Burke combined for 11 points in a 15-4 Husker run to push the lead to 22, at 74-52 with just under six minutes remaining after a Green layup. Burke connected on a pair of 3-pointers as part of a run of 10 straight points for the Big Red. The Huskers hit five 3-pointers in the final quarter, as trifectas from Curtis and freshman Charlie Easley pushed the final margin to 25.
The Huskers will be back in action again Thursday with a rematch against BC Silute. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. central.
07-Aug-2019 / NU Athletic Communications
Lincoln -- The Nebraska football team practiced in full pads for the first time during fall camp on Wednesday, working out for nearly two hours while splitting time inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joanne Gass practice fields.
Offensive Coordinator Troy Walters spoke to the media following practice and talked about the direction of practice and the competition he has seen within the offense.
“The theme of this camp is really, competing on both sides of the ball,” Walters said. “The defense is making us a whole lot better. Those guys are getting after it, we have to compete with them, and then competition within each position has been great. It’s been a good camp.”
Walters spoke highly of freshman wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and how he has taken care of his body throughout the summer.
“He’s (Robinson) looked good,” Walters said. “He’s staying healthy, that was the key in spring, he was nicked up a little bit, so he’s doing a good job of taking care of his body. He did a good job in the summer taking care of his body. He’s everything that we hoped for. He keeps getting better, he makes plays as a receiver, he is making plays as a running back. That dual threat option is going to cause challenges for opposing defenses.”
Walters also commented on the defense and how the unit has challenged the offense to protect the football.
“The entire defense is flying around,” Walters said. “The defensive staff is doing an excellent job of getting those guys to play with a lot of energy, enthusiasm, they’re flying around and they’re creating turnovers. That’s one of the things as an offense, we have to do a better job of protecting the football. Those guys are trying to strip it and create turnovers.”
Walters, who also coaches the Husker wide receivers, was asked about the progress of the freshmen wideouts.
“I like what they’re doing,” Walters said. “Darien Chase is a big target, he’s picking up the offense well, solid receiver, good hands. Demariyon Houston, he’s more of a speedster. We tell the freshmen to dive in, don’t dip your toe in the water. It’s hard for those guys because they’re not used to the speed and physicality and sometimes, they’re kind of going through the motions, trying to feel things out. As we’ve gone along in camp they have gotten faster and understand what the expectations are and so I’m very pleased with their performance so far.”
The Huskers will be back on the practice field Thursday morning, and head coach Scott Frost will address the media after practice on Friday.
05-Aug-2019 / Steve Stein
05-Aug-2019 / Steve Stein
For the first time since the 1970's Hastings is hosting an American Legion Baseball Regional. The Mid South will feature teams from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska
Click here for the complete bracket.
Listen to an interview with tourney director Gail Jones