Spring Football Practice, 3.27

Nebraska linebacker Nick Henrich (42) takes part in a 2019 spring practice at Hawks Championship Center. 

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Nebraska has several depth chart decisions to make in the coming days before honing in final preparations for its season opener against Ohio State next weekend. 

Among them for defensive coordinator Erik Chinander is where to play redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Henrich. 

The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has dealt with injury issues over the course of his career, but Chinander said during his Thursday evening appearance on the "Sports Nightly" radio program he thinks NU needs to find as many ways to get Henrich involved as possible. 

"Nick Henrich has been playing all over for us," Chinander said. "He's played some inside, he's played some outside. I think you guys are going to see a lot out of him this year." 

Henrich had played mostly inside up until preseason camp, but as the Huskers search for production off the edge, Henrich's combination of skill set and size has been too much for NU's coaching staff to avoid at least considering there. 

Also factoring into that equation is the fast rise of sophomore inside linebacker Luke Reimer, who was awarded a scholarship after just one season after walking on from Lincoln North Star. 

Reimer, Chinander insinuated, could form a three-man rotation with seniors Collin Miller and Will Honas, which might be enough depth at that spot in order to have Henrich roam outside some. 

"What you need is you need at least three, and if you have four that's really good," Chinander said. "I think Nick definitely would have been a fourth, but we're trying right now to decide what's the best place to put him. I think he's a really good football player and I need to get him on the field, so he's kind of filling a lot of different roles right now." 

If Henrich does indeed play outside part of the time or full time, he would compete with junior Caleb Tannor, senior JoJo Domann and a pair of junior college players in Niko Cooper and Pheldarius Payne for playing time. It stands to reason, though, that the staff wouldn't likely move Henrich outside for him to sit on the bench. 

Reimer, meanwhile, has drawn praise from coaches and teammates across the board, including Chinander on Thursday. 

"Luke Reimer, we saw flashes of him — I saw it every day, but the general public saw flashes of him when he got in the football game — and I think he's a really good football player," he said. 

Other notes from Chinander 

* While the Huskers have a veteran starting group in the secondary, Chinander reeled off several names of young players who he feels good about contributing if needed. At cornerback, he mentioned sophomore Quinton Newsome and freshmen Ronald Delancy III and Tamon Lynum, and at safety, redshirt freshmen Myles Farmer and Noa Pola-Gates. 

* Along the defensive line, Chinander had praise for junior defensive linemen Keem Green and Jordon Riley, a pair of former junior college players. 

"Keem's made a lot of progress," Chinander said of the South Carolina native who arrived on campus in late August last year. "He was kind of a late qualifier getting here, and he wasn't with us, so he wasn't in great shape last year when we got him. He's done an unbelievable job with his body in the weight room with coach (Zach) Duval and getting himself down. He's still a big, big man, but now he looks like one of those guys that should be playing on Sunday now. … He's done a great job of learning the package and just developing." 

Speaking of big men, Riley is listed at 6-6 and 330. 

"I tell you what, he's been a pleasant, pleasant surprise," Chinander said. "When he can go, he really goes and he's a big, big man. He's hard to block. I'm really happy with those two guys." 

* Chinander said most of the players on the top two lines of the depth chart know roughly what their standing is, but there are still plenty of depth chart battles going on as NU heads toward game week. 

"Some of those position battles are so tight that it's going to come down to who understands what we're trying to get done the best because the ability is very, very similar," Chinander said. "So I think they have a good idea about who's in that one and two rotation. … There's still a couple of tough decisions to be made." 

No love lost: These players drive Husker fans nuts like no other

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.


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