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In Nebraska's third and final major scrimmage of spring camp, the veteran-laden defense got the better of the offense Wednesday.

That's according to offensive assistants Greg Austin (O-line) and Sean Beckton (tight ends), who both were critical of the offense’s approach to the scrimmage, which is often a dress rehearsal for the spring game.

“For the most part, the defense pretty much gave it to us today,” Beckton said.

In many spring practices, the offense and defense were more competitive.

“It was the whole offense," Austin said. “Pick a position, guys weren’t dialed into the details of what they were doing, and certainly our defense played with more energy this morning initially. They carried it throughout practice. We had some bright moments, but overall it just was not to our standards.”

The defense is “making the schemes work” with “reps on reps on reps” of experience, Austin said.

The defense returns its entire starting front seven except for linebacker Collin Miller, who retired after injuring his neck last season. The offense is breaking in a new starter at running back, multiple wide receiver positions and at least one guard spot.

The offense has had good days this spring when it met or exceeded its own expectations, Austin said. He hoped Wednesday would serve as a “wakeup call” for the offense just 10 days before the spring game.

The competition on the line has evolved as the Huskers draw closer to the May 1 spring game. Austin said as many as nine linemen could play in games right now — the key will be getting everyone to buy into their roles.

Junior Matt Sichterman has continued his strong spring, Austin said, and is becoming the vocal leader of the line as he competes for the open spot at right guard. The Cincinnati native will graduate in May. At left guard, junior Broc Bando continues to battle with Nouredin Nouili and Ethan Piper. Trent Hixson is taking reps at center behind starter Cam Jurgens.

Working at tackle behind presumed starters Turner Corcoran and Bryce Benhart are Brant Banks, Nouili and Ezra Miller, Austin said. Nouili — a seven-game starter at Colorado State in 2019 — has had to adapt to NU’s different style of offense and get into better physical shape, Austin said, which he has done well.

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Other quick hits from the media availability:

» Big Ten kicker of the year Connor Culp sat out Saturday’s open practice but participated Wednesday. “Everything’s good,” Culp said. “It’s fine.”

» Culp said scholarship punter Daniel Cerni, an Australia native, had almost no understanding of American football when he arrived in the United States last summer. But he’s settled in now and showing off a strong leg in practices, Culp said.

» Hixson said one illustration of how far the O-line has come is that older players like himself are the ones teaching newcomers about technique. He said coaches did almost all the instructing a few years ago.

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