Safety Hatari Byrd began his collegiate career last fall with high expectations, but playing time didn’t come as quickly or as often as he planned his freshman season.
As he enters his sophomore campaign, Byrd said things are starting to click a little more.
“It was moving kind of fast,” Byrd said of the college game. “It was moving kind of fast because there was a whole bunch of stuff that I didn't know that well.”
Byrd, a four-star safety prospect from Fresno, Calif., should have a better opportunity to play next season with lots of experience gone from the Sooners’ defensive backfield.
“This spring I feel like I came in pretty comfortable, knowing my stuff, but I'm still getting better each day,” Byrd said. “Still, little stuff I've got to fix up and get better with.”
DARLINGTON’S BROTHER RECOVERING WELL
Zack Darlington is fully participating in Nebraska’s spring practices, and his big brother couldn’t be happier.
Oklahoma junior center Ty Darlington watched in horror as Zack was carted off the field last August after a concussion during a high school football game, then airlifted to a hospital. It was his second concussion in as many months.
The game was being nationally televised on ESPN.
Zack Darlington, a quarterback, missed the rest of his senior season at Apopka (Fla.) High, but enrolled early at Nebraska, as he originally planned to do, and is doing great.
“He got a good couple weeks of practice in with Nebraska, and he’s just continuing to get better,” Ty Darlington said. “He’s not cleared for contact, but that doesn’t really matter because it’s spring; he’s not gonna get tackled.”
Nebraska coaches pledged after the injury to honor Zack’s scholarship regardless of his playing future, a gesture that deeply touched the Darlington family.
“Coach (Bo) Pelini, it was really honorable of him to say that and to hold true to his commitment to Zack,” Ty Darlington said. “They’ve been nothing but hospitable to him and my family, and so far, he’s been able to fully participate. That’s been a blessing. We just pray that his health continues to improve and that he doesn’t have any lingering symptoms.”
Junior linebacker Eric Striker, on the defense’s potential:
“I think we can be the top defense in the nation, really, when we all put it together. Our best 11 is pretty dang good, so if we get our fits right, our scheme, if the players get to know the scheme, we’ll be pretty good.”