Turner getting over the freshman hump

Could freshman wide receiver Jamal Turner be a difference in the bowl game? His practice reps lately might warrant it.

Orlando, FL - No topic has been more discussed on the Big Red Report message boards in the second half of the season than freshman wide receiver Jamal Turner's absence.

After leading the team in receptions through the first five games, Turner's game reps were cut to almost none – with the coaching staff citing the freshman's practice time not warranty the reps.

Now with three weeks of practices in preparation for South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl, Turner is making a charge for playing time again.

"Jamal's been great," said Nebraska wide receiver coach Rich Fisher. "The great thing about Jamal is when he looks in the mirror, he understands what his issues are."

A 4-star quarterback out of high school Sam Houston high school in Arlington, TX, it's amazing the true freshman was able to transition to the wide receiver position as quickly as he did. But raw talent only went so far and when conference play started, Turner needed to show the little things to stay on the field.

"I think early on, when he didn't have a lot on his plate, it was a little different," said Fisher. "As the game plans started getting a little more lengthy, and he started seeing more defenses and press coverage - things changed.

"In high school, he was back there. If he didn't like (what he saw), he could take off running. Here you have to use your craft to get open and read on the run."

Not only has practice preparation and effort been something Turner admitted he needed to work on, but so was his blocking as a receiver.

"You're not going to be a one-dimensional player and get on the field," said Fisher. "You have to make sure you're doing everything adequately.

"That's a lot of pressure for a true freshman. To come into a system, change positions, learn the craft and then execute the craft at full speed, especially in game situations."


Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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