Notebook: DE talk

Randy Gregory is getting better? Greg McMullen is trying to capitalize. Come inside for the latest on the Nebraska defensive end position.

LINCOLN, Neb. - Big Ten offensive coordinators stand guard. Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory is coming for your quarterback.

The Huskers have completed three spring practices and Gregory is giving his squad's offense all they can handle.

"He hasn't even touched the surface of what he's going to become or what he's going to be," said head coach Bo Pelini. "(Gregory) has been a lot better football player these first three days than he was a year ago. I think he's more comfortable than he was a year ago. He's more technically sound. He's getting bigger. He's getting stronger. Like I said, he's got a lot ahead of him. He's got a long way to go as far as reaching what he can be. He didn't even know what he didn't know last year and you see what he was able to do. Randy has the chance to be a great player."

The All-Big Ten defensive end also has the opportunity to make his teammates better.

"Having Randy over there is excellent, because teams are going to look out for him," said defensive end Greg McMullen, the odds on favorite to win the starting job opposite of Gregory. "If we can bring our A game, they will be shocked and say ‘it's the whole d-line.' It's excellent to know it's your time to step into the spotlight because they are keying in on Randy so much. "

Gregory 10.5 sacks and 18 hurries in year one. Can he really have an encore?

McMullen coming on:


Jason Ankrah has graduated. Avery Moss is suspended. Next up? Greg McMullen, who appeared in 11 games last year, but is a veteran at the defensive end spot this spring.

"I try to stay poised and patient, taking it one day at a time. It's my opportunity to go out and be a starter and get 50 to 60 snaps a game," said McMullen. "I'm going to go out and make the best of it.

"I'm excited. Last year when I didn't know too much, I was a little timid and scared to mess up. I'm much more comfortable and confident. I'm ready to go."

McMullen realizes that while he's still learning his position and getting used to the bulk of first-team reps, he has younger guys watching him closely.

"The younger guys are looking to me to help them out. I'm sort of the way Jason Ankrah was to me, I am to them," said McMullen. "They look at me to help them with their steps, technique, alignment, assignments, it's an awesome feeling to know I'm one of the guys they look up to."

One of those guys is Joe Keels. While he's a junior college transfer, Keels is getting used to Nebraska's defensive system through the first couple of days.

"It's one of those things where you come from a system that the same stuff being taught here isn't being taught there," said McMullen. "It's hard to get it all down in three practices. He's steadily improving and we are enjoying his play. He's going to be a great asset to this team."

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