NEBRASKA CITY – Husker Radio Analyst Damon Benning told the Big Red Buzz crowd at Valentino’s Grand Italian Buffet at Nebraska City Thursday that this year’s spring football game left him more optimistic than a year ago.

Benning: “I like the level of physicality, especially up front. One of the cool things is, they could not play some defensive linemen and I wasn’t like, whose playing d-line? The depth they are building up is pretty good.

“And I don’t remember singling out offensive linemen in my head either. That’s not to say they can’t get better, but I like the fact that they are tougher closer to the ball. I don’t know if you can win meaningful games ….  I’m cool with the back-end guys being tough, you know a tough running back, but the tougher you are close to the ball, the better your team is going to be.”

With his son, freshman defensive back Caleb Benning attending, Benning said he is confident that Nebraska is on the right track.

Benning: “I know I’m going to get him back better than I gave hm.”

He said the quarterback room appears to be improved and in a good place emotionally, even with freshman Dylan Raiola separating himself the last couple of weeks. He said he is impressed with quarterback Heinrich Haarberg’s mindset to compete and Daniel Kaelin’s attention to detail.

He said seeing deep passes thrown in the spring game was “kind of cool” but Nebraska will want to run the ball when it’s cold and windy.

Benning: “It’s a 52 to 48 kind of thing run/pass for them.”

He credits coach Garrett McGuire for improved receivers who are motivated to catch balls and an all-business stance from defensive back coach Evan Cooper.

Benning: “The one thing you are going to learn in that room is how to carry yourself as a professional.”