Published Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm / Updated at 11:09 pm
Defensive line 'fraternity' sees progress in opener

LINCOLN — The modern football player bachelor pad comes with a high-tech twist.

On the Sunday morning after Nebraska's 37-34 win over Wyoming, four young Husker defensive linemen who collectively saw the first major playing time of their careers gathered to watch film in the house they share.

Only Aaron Curry, Greg McMullen, Avery Moss and Vincent Valentine didn't have to lean their tired, big bodies toward a television. NU supplies them with iPads on which to watch the highlights — and some lowlights — of the Huskers' defensive performance. For all the talking the guys had done about the first game, when they'd all play, it was a considerable moment.

“We were just talking about what went on, how was the guy you went against, how did you play overall,” Valentine said.

None of the four ever caught Cowboys quarterback Brett Smith. Film of Smith, Valentine said, didn't tell the whole story of Smith's speed. But each had at least two tackles. Valentine, who was often asked to push the pocket against a double-team — finished with four tackles. Moss had three tackles and two quarterback hurries from his end spot. McMullen — whom coach Bo Pelini specifically praised — had two, as did Curry.

Who played the best? Valentine said the foursome — who could very easily be the starting four at some point this year or in the future — decided not to figure that out.

“At parts we shined and at parts we could have played better than we did,” Valentine said. “Overall, it was a good first game. We got the win.”

What the house doesn't have, Moss said in an interview right before the Wyoming game, are any leftovers.

“No food in the fridge,” Moss said. “We've eaten everything.”

But they live together nonetheless, all members of a 2012 recruiting class that, at Big Ten media days, Pelini said was his best group of defensive line recruits to that date in his career.

The Huskers took five defensive linemen in 2010. Only one, the recently transferred Chase Rome, played any significant minutes. The key piece of the 2011 recruiting class, Todd Peat Jr., transferred in December 2012. Moss remains friends with Peat, who attended the same high school as Moss and now plays for Glendale (Ariz.) Community College.

Moss has created an equally strong bond with his recruiting class. They chose to live together, Moss said, in part because they want to be the class of players that “brings back the Blackshirts for the D-line and be that group that every offensive coordinator has to watch out for.”

“We want it bad,” Moss said “We're hungry. I can see it in Greg's eyes, in Vincent's eyes and Aaron Curry's eyes. We can get there.”

Moss seems to be the natural leader of sorts, the most vocal of the group. He calls the other linemen his “brothers” that he'll love for life. He also claims superiority if a wrestling match ever comes up.

“Vincent's too soft, I'll beat him up,” Moss said, smiling. “And Aaron's too lackadaisical. I'll catch him slipping. Greg's the toughest one, but I got it.”

* * *

Video: Pelini talks after Thursday's practice:

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.



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