LINCOLN (AP) — No one is happier than Sean Fisher to be back on the Nebraska practice field this spring.
It sure beats riding around the sidelines on a motor scooter like he did last year after he broke his left leg in preseason camp.
“It was tough,” Fisher said after Wednesday’s practice. “Early in the season we started off so strong, and to see the guys having such a great time, it was hard being off to the side. I was at my house sitting around with my leg up. It wasn’t really what I envisioned. I pushed past it and got better as soon as I could.”
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Fisher is the kind of versatile linebacker the Cornhuskers are counting on as they move into the more physical Big Ten.
The Huskers mostly used two linebackers and a nickelback against the Big 12’s spread offenses but might be apt to go with three linebackers against the run-heavy teams they’ll face in the fall.
Fisher was on track to be a starter before he got hurt. He said he isn’t taking a job for granted now.
“Nothing here is guaranteed,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you did last season. It’s all based on present performance. So I was not anticipating coming back and just being handed anything. I was going to come back and have to work, which will be the case through summer and fall camp.”
Fisher played a lot as a redshirt freshman in 2009. He started six games at strongside linebacker and played in all 14 games, finishing with 35 tackles and earning a spot on the freshman All-Big 12 team.
The 2010 season ended before it started for the Omaha junior: A defensive teammate banged into his left leg during a mid-August drill.
Fisher’s fibula was broken, and he tore a ligament in his ankle. The ankle injury actually took longer to heal than the leg, he said.
Defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said Fisher’s speed is back, and he’s able to change direction as if nothing ever happened.
“He came off rehab very, very quick,” Pelini said. “He worked his tail off in rehab. Usually with that injury there would be some lingering aftereffects. He came through a pretty tough winter workout session. He probably gained some confidence through that.”
For much of the fall Fisher commiserated with fellow linebacker Will Compton, who broke his foot in the preseason.
“We wanted to be out there playing,” said Compton, who returned for the second half of the season. “When I got back, you could tell he was down because he wants to be out there doing what he loves to do and I was playing football. But he’s happy as ever to be back right now.”
Fisher still battles soreness in his leg and ankle but otherwise is fine physically.
Mentally, he’s regaining trust in his leg. Every day he goes to practice, the doubts fade a little more.
“I’m still working on it,” he said. “A guy falls down in front of you, and it catches your attention. It didn’t feel very good the first time it happened. As you go out there more, that diminishes, and probably this summer it will be pretty much gone.”