Nebraska began its winter conditioning program last Wednesday with a different kind of urgency, and here’s why: The Huskers’ start to spring practice is their earliest in recent memory with the first 2013 workout set for March 2.

What NU usually stretches over seven or eight weeks, Husker strength and conditioning coach James Dobson said, will have to be done in about 5 1/2 to six.

“It’ll be a first for me, but it is what it is,” Dobson said. “We’re going to go like crazy, and we’ll see what we can get done.”

Dobson said Nebraska will go hard for about five weeks and then back off enough in late February so players are ready to get a good and fair evaluation in spring drills. Some of the time that the Huskers lose during winter conditioning, he said, will be used by getting right back into the weight room the Monday after the April 6 spring game.

“We’ve just got to be smart in what we do and what are objectives are,” Dobson said.

We’ll have more from Dobson in a story in Tuesday’s paper. Among the things on the Huskers’ winter to-do list is developing some of the leadership that departed the program when 29 seniors suited up for the final time in the Capital One Bowl.

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