Giving potential a shot

Nebraska sophomore wide receiver Jamal Turner will likely only have one focus this spring.

Lincoln, NE - Nebraska spring practices start tomorrow and the media is invited for the first time under head coach Bo Pelini to observe a whole practice.

What's being called a "great opportunity" by most reporters, it's likely media outlets will only see five quarterbacks take reps: Taylor Martinez, Brion Carnes, Ron Kellogg III, Tyson Broekemeir, and Bronson Marsh.

Sophomore Jamal Turner, a former high school quarterback turned college receiver, likely will not receive reps at the position this spring. This after being an emergency quarterback last year.

"That isn't something we are doing on the surface, but we know he is a guy that could move over there and be there if we need him for some snaps," said Pelini on Tuesday. "We feel good about the quarterback position and how we have it set up and Jamal, first things first, we want to get him honed up at the wide receiver spot so he can continue to grow. He hasn't played there for a long time and we want to give him the best chance to let that talent come through."

As a true freshman, Turner caught 15 balls for 243 yards, leading the team in receptions early on in the season. But the Texas product hit his sophomore slump early, not recording a catch in his last six contests.

The coaching staff cited his practice time not warranty the game reps, as he was eventually replaced by junior Tim Marlowe.

He reportedly had good Capital One Bowl practices, getting high praise from wide receiver coach Rich Fisher in Florida. Now, Turner will try to crack the starting lineup again over the next 14 practices and Red-White game.

"I think early on, when he didn't have a lot on his plate, it was a little different," Fisher said in Florida. "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."

So is playing quarterback ever again out of the equation?

"In order for the kid to have a chance to be an electrifying playmaking wide receiver/kick returning guy, we have to give him that chance first," said Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck. " I think if I had to, game six and he has never taken a snap, and I put him back there for the plays we have repped him...he could do it."

A true dual threat quarterback in high school, Turner rushed for 1,888 yards on 267 carries and 35 rushing touchdowns his senior year. Through the air, he completed better than 60 percent of his passes for 1,551 yards and eight touchdowns in Texas 5A football.

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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