Big 12 Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Moving into a new offensive style of play, Nebraska has a host of challenges in front of them. It won't be a matter of just working in the new west coast system, but working the system into the personnel available. This team will be a work in progress most of the year as it's impossible to tell just how this will all translate throughout the season. In an era where teams like slogans, Nebraska's could be "Caution: Construction Ahead"

When the Cornhuskers are on offense
-offense they run – "West Coast"
-favorite plays/formations – first year running offense
-strengths – TE, WR and RB positions; NU has ample experience at each, not to mention solid depth
weaknesses - Inexperience in running this offense along with using personnel from an option history trying to make that segue happen as smoothly as possible.
-key players – TE, Matt Herian – Center, Richie Incognito

Nebraska will be successful on offense if they can shore up that offensive line. The entire season will basically bank on that offensive line coming together and being able to work into this offensive system with a depth chart and even starting line-up in the trenches that isn't favorable right now. The O-line will also probably dictate as well who the starting QB is, as Joe Dailey can move whereas Jordan Adams stands as the more prototypical type slinger.

When the Cornhuskers are on defense
- defense they run – 4-3
-tendencies – It's not clear what NU will do under new defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove. Anticipate more man coverage vs. zone, which means the secondary will be a little more aggressive under rather than over the top like the prior season. Blitzes should still be common and in nickel, expect the linebackers to be used on the end like Demorrio Williams was last year. When that happens, the rush ends will move inside for a quicker pass rush.

-strengths, - Experience. Nebraska's defense is loaded with guys that have been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. On top of that, they have two probable all-American candidates in MLB Barrett Ruud and safety Josh Bullocks. This is a solid group, from the interior to the secondary and will have to once again shoulder the load for the entire team early on, and perhaps the entire year.

-weaknesses – Depth is a concern on the interior as it is in the linebacking corps. While Nebraska is stocked well at the starting positions with talent, speed and strength, if you start going into the two-deep, you will have issues in experience and overall potential.

-key players – RE, Adam Carriker – CB, Fabian Washington – LB, Barrett Ruud

Nebraska will be successful on defense if they can stay off the field. Going back to the offense a little, this defense has the chance to be one of the best in the country once again this year. They can do that given enough time to rest between series. If the offense can give that to them, this group should turn out to be one of the elite.

Key games Oct. 23 – at Kansas State
Oct. 30 - at Missouri
Nov. 13 - at Oklahoma

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