Nebraska punter Caleb Lightbourn makes Ray Guy Award watch list

Nebraska punter Caleb Lightbourn makes Ray Guy Award watch list
Caleb Lightbourn averaged 42.1 yards per punt last season. (World-Herald News Service)

Nebraska junior Caleb Lightbourn appears on the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation’s top punter.

Lightbourn has started both of his seasons as a Husker, thrust into action as a true freshman in 2016 following the death of Sam Foltz. Lightbourn averaged 42.1 yards per punt last season and placed 21 of his 59 attempts inside the 20-yard line. He’s one of 27 players on the Ray Guy Award watch list.

Three finalists for the award will be announced in November, and the winner will be named Dec. 6.

Lightbourn is the fourth Husker to appear on a preseason watch list. Receivers Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman made the Biletnikoff Award’s, and tight end Jack Stoll was on the Mackey Award’s.

Scott Frost’s ‘quiet wisdom’ reminds Nebraska nutrition expert Dave Ellis of Tom Osborne

Dave Ellis spent years building Nebraska’s nutrition program. Then he left to tackle new challenges. He worked with professional players from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR and more.

Now he’s back. Ellis is Nebraska’s director of performance nutrition, a move made with hopes it will restore the football glory from the 1990s.

And naturally, Scott Frost was a big reason he returned.

“He is wise beyond his years,” Ellis said Wednesday on “The Bottom Line.” “He’s had great experience. He’s proven his leadership ability. He had proven it to me as an athlete, and now he’s proven it to us all as coach. He’s just got a quiet wisdom about him that is very reminiscent of a guy I worked with named Tom Osborne. That does a lot for my soul.”

Ellis shared more about his return during Wednesday’s interview. He discussed the intricacies of nutrition, how to connect with the modern athlete and his early impression of Nebraska’s football team.

Watch the full interview at the top of the page or check out a transcript below.

On whether he’s excited to be back:

“I sure am. I think it’s an honor to go full circle in my career to where I started out 35-plus years ago. There’s a lot that’s going to be a mutually beneficial relationship for sure.”

On the importance of being competitive:

“You’ve gotta be a competitor to be good at this. You can’t work in sports and not have some competitive bones. You’ve got to be a great relationship builder when it comes to working with these athletes and these coaches.”

On what he learned from working outside the college game:

“It forced me through a lot of different evaluation problem-solving processes that will translate back as we look for unique advantages that other people just haven’t seen. What you’re really getting is experience and the wisdom to apply it.”

On how he gets athletes to buy in:

“The wisdom isn’t enough. The experience isn’t enough. What I’ve learned is when you can tell an athlete how they’re going to feel before they feel it … once they experience it, and you have foreshadowed it, the buy-in is there.”

On how he deals with those that don’t buy in:

“The most successful people you run into at the next level are those people that were the most gifted and really buttoned up, because you’re not going to get paid that much driving the beer truck. It’s going to be worth your time to get this right and to have some longevity in those pro-paying gigs.”

On the importance of heart and what he’s seen from the current Husker football team:

“We’ve had some Outland and Lombardi trophy winners come through this university that didn’t look like prototypes that were unbelievably huge-hearted competitors. I don’t get too judgmental until I see them in that competitive environment. I’ll watch a lot of practices during camp. I’ll learn a lot about the heart and soul of these guys, but I was impressed with them …

“Scott is a genius when it comes to recruiting kids with those big hearts, those try-hard genes … All that that I adore about Nebraska athletics and football in particular, Scott is all about. Tom was a genius at breaking down selfishness and keeping these kids grounded and pushing toward a goal as a team. I see all of those attributes in Scott.”

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