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FOOTBALL

Nebraska's Teddy Prochazka talks Donovan Raiola and Casey Thompson

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Omaha World-Herald sports reporters Jimmy Watkins and Evan Bland reflect following a Husker football pre-season practice at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Wednesday, August 10, 2022.

LINCOLN — Teddy Prochazka’s first practice back after his knee surgery felt like his first practice as a freshman.

Prochazka hadn’t felt football's "initial shock,” as he called it, in 10 months. Hand placement, conditioning, hits.

“You have to roll with the punches,” the Elkhorn South grad said.

Two weeks into camp, those feelings are fading. Prochazka has shifted his focus toward building off the two starts he made last season. He said Wednesday that he wished he had more film to watch, but “I felt confident (last season),” he said. “It felt good to get those first game jitters out of the way.”

Now he’s got a new position coach, and he’s blocking for a new quarterback. Prochazka has high praise for both. Offensive line coach Donovan Raiola is a “really good communicator.”

“Sometime it could be a harsh thing,” Prochazka said. “He’s gonna make sure he’s not babying you. He’s gonna make sure to give you tough love (tell you) what you need to do, and over-communicate it so you can fully understand.”

Quarterback Casey Thompson helps, too. It’s easier to understand pass protection responsibilities when you know where your quarterback is going to be. And when Prochazka watches film, he sees consistency in Thompson’s dropbacks.

“I think that Casey does a good job of kind of knowing where he needs to be in that pocket,” Prochazka said. “You watch film, you know, ‘Ok, Casey's gonna be here. This is where everybody needs to be on this block.’ If I know where the quarterback is, I know where my body needs to be lined up to stop defenders from getting to him.”

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