Category Archives: Huskers News

At prayer vigil, players and community face that ‘there’s going to be a hole on our team that’s not going to be filled’

Teammates of Nebraska punter Sam Foltz remembered and praised him during a prayer vigil held at Memorial Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Foltz, who died Saturday night in a car crash, was well-liked throughout the team, several teammates agreed. At the vigil, players from various position groups — not just special teams — spoke.

Nebraska safety Keiron Williams organized the prayer vigil. Nebraska fullback Graham Nabity brought a guitar and led a long prayer. Teammates, friends and Nebraska fans sang Christian songs from a white piece of paper. A few people left flowers. One left a red helmet with the No. 27, Foltz’s number, written on the back. Athletes from most — and perhaps all — other Husker teams attended, as did former NU players Jeremiah Sirles and Greg McMullen.

“There’s going to be a hole on our team that’s not going to be filled because people like him don’t come around often,” NU receiver Zack Darlington said. “He’s probably the hardest worker I’ve ever been around. Most of all he’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever been around.”

Williams said Foltz “epitomized what it means to be a Husker.”

Kicker Jamie Sutcliffe attended the same Kohl’s Kicking Camp with Foltz this weekend. He saw Foltz on Saturday.

“We just got done with our kicking camp on Saturday morning and he kind of looked me and said ‘I didn’t do so well,'” Sutcliffe said. “So what’s he do? He goes and punts more balls after he just got done. That kid really worked hard. I asked him ‘What are you doing?’ and he said ‘I’m going to kick some.” The camp’s done and he says ‘I know.’ That kid really worked hard. We all know that. That kid would definitely be the first one in the weight room. He was not only my first friend here, he was my brother.”

NU players said they started finding out about Foltz’s death around 11:00 a.m. Sutcliffe said he got a call at 10:45 from kicker Drew Brown, who also attended the camp. Nabity said he had to read the text message several times before it sunk in that Foltz was gone.

“He was so contagious,” Nabity said. “He came into the room and everybody was motivated already.”

Williams said God inspired him to have the vigil.

“That’s my brother, man,” Williams said. “That’s my brother. That’s my brother. And he’s gone — he’s gone. That’s my brother and he’s gone, he’s gone. And we can get another punter, but it won’t matter. That’s a human being. Football doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. It’s a sport.”

“It’s going to hard for all of us in the coming weeks, so stick with each other,” said left tackle Sam Hahn, who was among Foltz’s best friends. “Do great things in Foltz’s memory. I’ll remember him forever. He was going to be next to me at the altar on my wedding day. My best friend in the world. It still hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Husker Punter Sam Foltz Passes Away After Car Crash in Wisconsin

Nebraska football player, Sam Foltz was killed in a car accident overnight early Sunday, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln official said Sunday.

The 2012 Grand Island High School graduate was on his way home from a football camp at the University of Wisconsin, said Ronnie Green, chancellor of the Lincoln campus.

Investigators determined that a Mercedes-Benz driven by Sadler, 24, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was traveling westbound on Beaver Lake Road at a high rate of speed when it lost control on the wet pavement. The car left the roadway and struck a tree about 11:45 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The car was on fire when authorities reached it, said Jennifer Wallschlaeger, a Waukesha County administrative deputy. The wreck occurred on a two-lane road in Merton, which is about 30 to 40 minutes west of Milwaukee, she said.

The Village of Chenequa Police Department, Hartland Police Department and the Merton Fire Department also responded to the scene. The accident is under investigation.

Head coach, Mike Riley issued a statement and said the team lost one of the best young men who has ever worn the Nebraska uniform.

“Sam was universally loved and respected by everyone he touched and on who he had a positive influence each and every day. His tragic loss is immeasurable to his family, his friends, his classmates, his teammates and his coaches and our thoughts and prayers are with all of them.

Foltz was the Big Ten punter of the year in 2015 and was on the Ray Guy Award preseason watch list going into this season. The 22-year-old senior from Greeley, Neb ranked 22nd nationally in 12 games last season. He had 56 punts, averaged 44.2 yards, a long of 62 yards, and had 15 punts inside the 20-yard line.

University of Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst says the athletic department will do all they can to help the Foltz family.

“Sam was truly a tremendous young man, who represented everything that a Nebraska student, athlete, teammate and friend should strive to be. While his loss is devastating, his impact will be felt forever.”

According to his bio page on Huskers.com, Foltz has been on the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll five times. He has volunteered with team hospital visits, School is Cool Week, the Lincoln Marathon and Nebraska’s Sportsmanship Rally. He was named to the 2016 Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne Citizenship teams.

A second passenger, Colby J. Delahoussaye, 21, of New Iberia Louisiana, was transported by ambulance to Waukesha Memorial Hospital for treatment. Delahoussaye was a senior placekicker for Lousiana State University.

Riley, Tommy Armstrong, Jordan Westerkamp and Josh Banderas will not be attending Big Ten Media Days this week.

World-Herald News Service contributed to this story.

Senior back Terrell Newby determined to deliver better Husker ground game

LINCOLN — Terrell Newby doesn’t have to wait until September to carry a big load. The Nebraska I-back is toting one this summer with 15 hours of classes.

Newby has long been focused on graduating in 3½ years with a degree in sociology and, to do it, he’s had to carry extra hours while balancing offseason workouts.

“Once you have your mind set on it — that one thing — nothing was going to stop me,” Newby said.

In a recent interview inside Memorial Stadium, Newby also outlined his mindset for his senior season at NU and improving the Huskers’ running game, a key to the team bettering its 6-7 record from last year.

“It’s time to get to a graduate level of knowing this offense,” he said. “I’m basically approaching it like a coach would.”

A former top-100 recruit out of Chaminade High School in Los Angeles, Newby wasn’t satisfied being the Huskers’ leading rusher (765 yards) in 2015. He played hurt much of the season, especially after he badly sprained his ankle against Purdue. He had just 18 carries in the final four games while Imani Cross and Devine Ozigbo handled most of the job.

As a result, NU lacked a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time since 2008.

Nebraska’s run game also sputtered — especially on first down — in several losses, including Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue. The Northwestern game stands out as a tough one for Newby. He carried the ball 16 times for 52 yards. The Wildcats’ defensive front hounded him on a few runs outside the tackles that Newby didn’t execute as well as he wanted.

Is it a game he’d like back?

“I’d like to have them all back,” he said. “But you look at Northwestern — that’s a game where, as an offense, I feel we had to be more physical with those guys, because they brought it every single play.”

Newby rewatched every game from last year. He watched every spring practice. And through that process, he said, he’s developed a different mentality. He wants to be more physical. He wants to run tougher and “more violent.” When the 5-foot-10 200-pounder is in a tight spot on the field and it’s just him and a defender, he wants to get “more north and south” and attack that defender — and force the defender to make a decision, and maybe a mistake.

“This spring and summer, I’ve really hit that hard,” Newby said. “After looking at film — at plays that could have turned out differently — that’s when I hit it hard. A lot of it is a mindset. I’ve never been the biggest guy on the field, so to make those type of runs you have to have a certain type of mindset.”

Much like one of Newby’s biggest fans — former Husker I-back Ameer Abdullah.

Now an NFL player with the Lions, Abdullah has long been bullish on Newby’s potential.

“He has NFL talent, I’m telling you,” Abdullah said in a recent interview. “But you gotta make sure you use him right.”

Abdullah was back in the state this summer for his camp. He also worked out in Lincoln, and he and Newby watched Husker game tape together.

“He’s one of the greatest players who ever played here, and it’s great having that type of friendship,” Newby said. “It’s just great to work with him. He knows a lot. All the things he learns — and he’ll say he’s still learning in the NFL — he passes down to me.”

Abdullah said Newby is “electrifying when he gets to the zone game.” A zone running play allows the running back to pick the best hole based on how he reads the linemen. In spring practice, Newby said, he grew to like the inside zone play quite a bit. During scrimmages, he also showed off more burst and confidence on those plays.

“We worked it a lot in the spring,” he said. “I like how it’s looking and how it’s been blocked up front.”

A young offensive line “just progressed every day in the spring,” he said. “You saw it every day on tape. You saw them work more as a unit and how quickly they got their technique down.”

Both units — running backs and offensive line — have to get better if Nebraska is to commit more to a running game that keeps pressure off quarterback Tommy Armstrong, who tossed 16 interceptions in 2015.

First-down rushing average is important because it kick-starts a series and keeps the offense out of third-and-long situations. The Huskers’ 4.7-yard average on first down was 65th nationally. NU was ninth in first-down average in 2014, 14th in 2013, 15th in 2012 and 33rd in 2011.

After the spring game, coach Mike Riley said NU had winnowed down the type of run plays it would use in 2016, which should help the team execute a smaller menu of schemes more effectively.

“We really have a better idea of, ‘These runs are going to work for us,’” Riley said.

Newby also has a better understanding of what position coach Reggie Davis wants. Davis is in his second year as the successor to longtime Husker assistant Ron Brown.

“Coach Brown let us know exactly what was going on right then and there — you didn’t even need to ask any questions,” Newby said. “Coach Davis is more reserved. But he’s open to things like Coach Brown. You just go see him, any time, and he’ll gladly help you. So that’s what I did this summer. If I needed to go over something or needed help, he was there for me.”

In the running backs room, Davis kept a daily tally in the spring of how often NU backs missed assignments in practice. Newby said the improvement from last spring to this spring was major for every back.

Though Newby won the job last year, there’s no current No. 1 for 2016. He’s competing with Ozigbo and Mikale Wilbon, a redshirt sophomore from Chicago who played sparingly in 2015. That trio has been joined by true freshman Tre Bryant from St. Louis, who has impressed Newby with his mindset and purpose.

If all four play up to their capability, Nebraska may not have a 1,000-yard rusher in 2016, either. But it could still have a better running attack.

“We win games, and everything else will come along,” Newby said. “And to win, we need a good run game.”

Nebraska second, Iowa overwhelming favorite in Big Ten West preseason poll

The Big Ten media expect Ohio State and Iowa to meet in the conference title game, but a poll of 39 media members predicts it will be all Buckeyes from there.

Those are the findings in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s preseason writers poll released Friday morning. Because the Big Ten discontinued the traditional preseason polls found in other leagues, the Plain Dealer compiles the annual writers poll, which includes media members who cover every Big Ten team.

In the race for the Big Ten West, Iowa took 32 first-place votes, and Nebraska was picked second with three first-place votes.

In a complete ranking of division teams — with seven points for a first-place vote down to one point for a seventh-place vote — the Hawkeyes led the Huskers 265-206, followed by Wisconsin (194.5), Northwestern (171.5), Minnesota (132), Illinois (76.5) and Purdue (46.5).

In the East, Ohio State earned 25 first-place votes to Michigan’s eight (other voters forecast ties at the top). The Buckeyes led the Wolverines 260.5-241 in the total point calculations, followed by Michigan State (195.5), Penn State (155.5), Indiana (110), Maryland (81.5) and Rutgers (52).

Voters were almost unanimous in picking the East winner to capture the conference championship game, with all but one ballot picking Ohio State (27) or Michigan (11). The lone voter to pick a team from the West tabbed the Hawkeyes to capture the conference crown.

Take the poll with a grain of salt, though. As The World-Herald detailed earlier Friday, media polls aren’t the most accurate predictors of success, both in the Big Ten and across all Power Five conferences. Since 2011, the Big Ten media poll has yet to correctly predict the conference champion.

In this year’s individual preseason honors, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was picked as the offensive player of the year, receiving 34 first-place votes. Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard finished third in the voting, and Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong was sixth.

Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers earned preseason defensive player of the year honors, with Iowa cornerback Desmond King coming in second.

NU’s Justine Wong-Orantes Impresses in International Debut

LINCOLN — In the middle of a competitive 10-day tryout to make a team that would represent the United States at the Pan Am Cup, Justine Wong-Orantes’ past may well have opened a new door for her volleyball future.

The reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year ultimately won a coveted spot to be Team USA’s lone libero and helped lead a team of college stars and recent college graduates to a bronze medal at the Pan Am Cup earlier this month in the Dominican Republic.

“This gave me a lot of perspective of how the international game is, and I definitely want to continue that after college,” she said. “I think that it gave me really good exposure as well. I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”

Wong-Orantes, who will be a senior with the Huskers this fall, started each of the USA’s seven matches and averaged a team-high 4.8 digs per set in helping the Americans to a 6-1 record. It was another step in what’s been a fast rise for the former high school setter who had not played the libero position extensively before joining the Huskers.

But it was Wong-Orantes’ out-of-system setting skills that first drew the eye of Pittsburgh coach Dan Fisher, who was tapped to be the USA head coach in the Pan Am Cup. Fisher recalled seeing Wong-Orantes run her club team’s offense as a setter in high school, and it was her ball-handling chops that again gave her the edge over the other competing liberos during tryouts in June and July in Anaheim, California, to make the 12-player roster.

“At the tryouts, we had three very good liberos where the defense and passing numbers were very close,” Fisher said. “By far, she was the strongest setter of the three.”

In previous years, the USA has selected professional players for the Pan Am Cup roster. But with the senior national team competing in the FIVB World Grand Prix in preparation for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, USA Volleyball sent a younger group to the Dominican Republic to get international experience and face teams like Argentina and Puerto Rico with their full Olympic rosters.

Besides the nerves of making her international debut, Wong-Orantes said she also had to transition to playing with a different kind of volleyball that altered the way serves move through the air. The challenge was compounded by the unfamiliarity within the Team USA roster, which had two weeks to get adjusted to playing with one another and acclimate to the fast-tempo system passed down by Karch Kiraly, head coach of the senior women’s national team.

“The offensive system was super-fast, that fastest I’d ever seen a setter go,” Wong-Orantes said. “I just stuck to what I knew and just played volleyball.”

As the lone libero, Wong-Orantes didn’t come off the court during the Pan Am Cup run. She put up 10 digs in a five-set win over Cuba in pool play, then added another nine digs in a rematch with Cuba in the bronze medal match after the USA suffered its lone loss of the tournament in the semifinals to Puerto Rico, which featured its Olympic-bound unit.

“What stands out is she didn’t have a bad match,” Fisher said. “She was very consistent, which is not easy to do your first time in an international match. I think she’s got a pretty good ability to bounce back quickly after she makes a mistake. She was very consistent in serve receive, and I think she grew a lot in terms of her leadership and court presence.”

As her familiarity with the other USA players increased, Wong-Orantes said new relationships strengthened. On the trip, she roomed with former Arizona All-American outside hitter Madi Kingdon and became close with outside hitter Brittany Howard, who finished her Stanford career in 2015.

Both of the USA setters were familiar faces, too. Micha Hancock, the former NCAA player of the year from Penn State, set a new Pan Am Cup record with 12 aces in the bronze medal match against Cuba after tallying 11 against Costa Rica in pool play.

Wisconsin’s Lauren Carlini was the other USA setter and was one of at least three players on the roster who Nebraska will see in the regular season this fall, joining Florida teammates Rhamat Alhassan and Alex Holston. The Huskers and Gators will meet to open the season at the VERT Challenge in Eugene, Oregon, on August 26.

“We’re going to go up to Oregon and open up with them, so I’m super excited,” Wong-Orantes said. “Then, of course, with Carlini we play each other every year. I got to know them on a deeper level instead of just playing on the other side.”

Since achieving a AAA ranking as a beach volleyball player before she became a teenager, it was long thought that Wong-Orantes’ post-college playing career would be on the sand. But after proving to be a quick study as a libero, those plans could change. Fisher said Wong-Orantes could strengthen her case further by making some technical improvements as a serve receiver, and she would need to prove she can adjust to playing with the Mikasa volleyball used in most international competitions and professional leagues.

But after Wong-Orantes made an impressive international debut, Fisher said the Pan Am Cup might not be the last time she wears the libero jersey for the United States.

“One of my big jobs is evaluating and giving Karch that feedback of who he needs to be looking at,” he said. “I definitely think she’ll be in the mix in the next (Olympic cycle) at that spot. She’s got a lot of tools.”

Tom Osborne ‘Puzzled’ by Jim Grobe’s Comments on 2007 Husker Coaching Search

On more than one occasion, former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe — who is now interim head coach at Baylor — has suggested he would have taken the Nebraska job in 2007, but that then-Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne required Grobe tokeep some of Nebraska’s assistants at the time.

At Big 12 media days Monday, Grobe, who resigned from Wake Forest in 2013 and appeared headed toward full retirement before Baylor came calling, told reporters that story again.

Osborne, reached by phone Wednesday, said he was “puzzled” that Grobe keeps telling reporters that.

“I interviewed Jim Grobe and I think he’s a good coach, but I never offered him the job and there were no stipulations on assistants,” Osborne said.

Why did Grobe think there were?

“I have no idea,” Osborne said.

Osborne said he talked to all potential candidates — including the eventual hire, Bo Pelini, and former Kansas and current Liberty coach Turner Gill — about who they might hire for their staff, but that’s standard for any athletic director to inquire of a coach.

“I certainly never said to anyone, ‘These are the assistants you need to keep,'” Osborne said. “It’s a moot point anyway because I never offered Jim the job.”

Grobe has given the impression a few times that he could have taken the NU job — first to a CBS Sports reporter in 2014.

Osborne said he liked and appreciated Grobe’s coaching style but did not extend an offer and did not give the impression Grobe had one. The former Nebraska coach and athletic director has long declined to name any candidates for the 2007 job other than Pelini and Gill, but now includes Grobe because Grobe himself has talked about it.

When Pelini was hired, he retained offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson and wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, who then became the recruiting coordinator. Pelini also hired former Nebraska coaches/players Barney Cotton, Marvin Sanders and Ron Brown. He hired Carl Pelini, his brother, as well.

Husker Hoops Freshman Isaiah Roby Out 6 to 8 Weeks

LINCOLN — Nebraska freshman basketball player Isaiah Roby will be sidelined the next six to eight weeks as a precautionary measure to address pain in his pelvis.

NU coach Tim Miles said doctors have described it as “a stress reaction.’’ No fracture has been found, and Roby will be re-evaluated in early September.

“We just want to be very cautious with this because we want him on the floor for us this season,’’ Miles said.

Roby, a 6-foot-8 wing, first reported the pain about three weeks ago. The Dixon, Illinois, product has impressed teammates with his ability during summer drills and free play.

Switch-Hitting Catcher Cameron Chick Picks the Huskers

Cameron Chick, a switch-hitting catcher out of Columbia, Missouri, announced his commitment to Nebraska on Tuesday.

“Truly blessed to say I have committed to play baseball and further my education at the University of Nebraska,” Chick posted on Twitter.

Chick, a member of the 2018 recruiting class, plays multiple positions for his summer league and high school teams, but he told Huskers Illustrated Nebraska wants him to play behind the plate.

Chick helped lead Hickman High School to the state semifinals this past season.

Chick also plays running back for his school’s football team.

Minden Guard Taylor Kissinger Follows Her Heart, Becomes Nebraska Coach Amy Williams’ First Commit

LINCOLN — The best women’s basketball prospect in the state — from a family with its share of basketball stars — gave new Nebraska coach Amy Williams a key first commitment for her 2017 recruiting class.

Now 6-foot-1 Minden guard Taylor Kissinger earns the chance to eventually face off against sister Brooke, who just transferred to in-state rival Creighton. Taylor, a top 100 prospect nationally, announced her decision Tuesday. She told Williams over the phone on Monday.

But she’d actually made up her mind last week and called Brooke to tell her the news.

Brooke, who played two seasons at Illinois before transferring to CU, naturally lobbied for Taylor to pick the Bluejays. But Taylor, who averaged 28.8 points per game for Minden last season, had wanted to play for Nebraska “since I was a little kid.” And that desire, along with Williams’ vision for Nebraska’s offensive scheme, won out over Creighton.

Brooke’s response? “We’ll be a Jaysker family,” Taylor said.

True enough. Mom and Dad might just have to bring extra shirts to games. Brooke’s twin sister, Jamie, is a guard at San Diego. Together, the three girls have hit their share of jumpers in their Nebraska prep careers.

Taylor has been the most heavily recruited, and is one of the nation’s best shooters, according to her club coach, All-Iowa Attack program director Dickson Jensen.

“Her range is deep as anyone in the country — and she’s accurate,” Jensen said.

Kissinger said she’s comfortable shooting from 30 feet. She takes inspiration from her favorite NBA player, Steph Curry. When she’s at home in Minden, she shoots for hours in the gym that her dad, Brian, built for the girls. Her goal each day: Make 500 3-pointers. Usually, that means hoisting between 650 and 700 shots.

Jensen, whose team plays in Nike’s hyper-competitive Elite Youth Basketball League, said Kissinger has honed her game in the year she’s been with All-Iowa. She’s getting better taking the ball to the hoop, and in a recent Chicago tournament, she had 12, nine and eight rebounds in consecutive games. Her team is 8-2.

Kissinger said playing in the summer league will “help me get ready for the college game.”

Over the months, several major national programs took interest, including South Carolina, Louisville and Arizona State. The Cardinals and Sun Devils extended offers.

Kissinger chose months ago to narrow her list to Creighton, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. Later she narrowed it to CU, NU and OSU.

“I love the Midwest,” she said. “It’s a great place to live, and your family and friends can watch you play.”

Taylor might have made a decision more quickly, Brian Kissinger said, but the process was slowed by Nebraska’s change in coaching staffs. Connie Yori resigned and Williams, a former Husker player, took the job.

But Taylor said Williams’ staff did a good job of recruiting her in a short amount of time.

Williams and her assistants are “like a family,” Taylor said. “All the coaches are unique in their own way.”

Nebraska’s new offensive style — with its emphasis on tempo and perimeter shooting — also interested Kissinger.

Jensen, her club coach, said Williams will give more freedom to players on offense than Yori did.

“Amy’s a terrific coach, and they’re going to have a lot of success,” Jensen said.

At one point, Jensen said, Kissinger asked him if Nebraska had the potential to go to Sweet 16s again, as it had in 2010 and 2013. Jensen said that if players like Kissinger go to NU, it could happen.

With the commitment, Nebraska has four scholarships left for the 2017 class. Women’s basketball teams are allowed 15, NU currently has 13 for this seniors, and two of those players — Allie Havers and Esther Ramacieri — are seniors.

Kissinger is the No. 56 player in the country according to Prospectsnation.com and No. 58 according to Blue Star Report. ESPN has Kissinger as a high three-star but outside the nation’s top 60.

Wrestler Jordan Burroughs, Former Husker, Receives Special Send-Off Before Olympics

LINCOLN — Plenty has changed since the summer of 2012 for Jordan Burroughs.

That includes the buildup locally for him heading to the Olympic Games.

“I didn’t have a send-off at all in 2012,” said Burroughs, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion for Nebraska before winning the 163-pound gold medal at the London Olympics. “The expectations change when you’ve won once, and I’ve done a better job of integrating myself into the community.

“The opportunity to do something great in wrestling has arisen. People recognize that and want to be a part of it.”

Hundreds were a part of it Saturday night as an official Olympic send-off for Burroughs took place in downtown Lincoln.

About 500 people packed the Railyard to hear the likes of NU president Hank Bounds and former NU football coach and Athletic Director Tom Osborne wish the wrestler luck when he competes for another gold medal in Rio de Janeiro next month. Bounds called Burroughs “a great, great role model.”

“I think they realize the stature of this guy and what type of ambassador he is for the university and the state,” said Mark Manning, who coached Burroughs at NU and continues to work with him. “Obviously, he’s a champion, but he’s got a champion character as well.”

The Railyard wasn’t the only place fans came out to see Burroughs on Saturday.

Before the event in Lincoln’s Haymarket district, more than 100 fans lined the walls in the Husker wrestling room at the Hendricks Complex to watch Burroughs go through his workout.

He drilled for about an hour and then spent the better part of the next hour talking with fans and signing autographs for kids.

“This is home to me. I’ve been here 10 years now,” said Burroughs, who grew up in New Jersey before wrestling for the Huskers. “Everyone appreciates what I’m doing for the university and the city. It’s been an amazing journey thus far, and I think there’s a lot more to come.”

Burroughs, who turned 28 this month, isn’t heading to Rio just yet. He’ll travel to Colorado Springs this week for a training camp and then return to Lincoln before heading to Brazil on Aug. 2.

The opening ceremonies are Aug. 5 for the Olympics, which will run through Aug. 21.

“He’s a much better wrestler than he was four years ago,” Manning said. “Obviously, the pressure is ratcheted up tenfold since 2012, but he’s ready for it. He’s training great and feeling great.”