Nobody knows who the next coach at Nebraska will be. Nobody knows what offensive and defensive style he will bring to Lincoln. But, here are five players Big Red Report has tabbed as guys that could benefit from a new coaching staff. Guys that looked buried on a depth chart or need a second chance.
QB.) Johnny Stanton, redshirt freshman:
The California quarterback didn’t have a great start to fall camp, which buried him on the depth chart. With Bo Pelini repeatedly putting his full support behind sophomore quarterback Tommy Armstrong this season, Stanton didn’t look like a guy that was going to get a chance anytime soon. With a new staff, Stanton will get a fresh look at the offense. It should give him the amount of time as Armstrong and sophomore Ryker Fyfe to prepare and showcase his talents. The offense might even fit him better than Armstrong and Fyfe? I wouldn’t have been shocked if Stanton had left at semester (pure speculation), guys want to play, but now Stanton would benefit from sticking around at least through the spring to see if he’s got a shot.
OL.) Paul Thurston, redshirt sophomore:
Big Red Report was a big fan of Thurston’s game coming out of high school, but the former No. 1 player in the state of Colorado in the 2011 recruiting class just hasn’t been able to make up ground on the depth chart after getting hurt early in his career. Thurston was called upon to play center against Iowa when Ryne Reeves went down, but he can also play guard.
DE.) A.J. Natter, redshirt freshman:
Natter was never going to dethrone Randy Gregory and Greg McMullen this season, but spring was a rough one. His knee just didn’t’ allow for him to get the amount of reps for growth in Bo’s system. With Gregory liking heading to the league and Avery Moss’ status still up in the air, a starting open defensive end spot will be open this fall. Natter has as good of a chance as anybody if he stays healthy. The four-star defensive end had great pursuit in high school – let’s see if it translates to the next level.
LB.) Josh Banderas, sophomore:
The linebacker should have never been on the field his freshman year, but an injury to Trevor Roach during summer conditioning forced him into the MIKE spot instead of redshirting– a spot we thought he would eventually grow into down the road. Banderas looked to be the starting BUCK heading into 2014 (a position we have always thought he would be great at), but once again an injury forced him to play the MIKE exclusively. Already a junior next year, the former high school All-American has the tools (recorded the fastest 40-time at the position in the fall) to be an all-conference linebacker. It’s easy to lose a little confidence when you are getting constantly moved around.
LB.) Courtney Love, redshirt freshman:
Love has been another linebacker who’s moved around at various times during the last two years. He even was getting some speed rush looks in the fall at defensive end (we sort of liked him there). According to a Big Red Report source, Love had informed the coaching staff of his decision to transfer from Nebraska before Pelini’s firing. It wouldn’t surprise us to see him try to stick out through at least the spring to see what the new coaching staff runs for a defense. If he does, how would the bowl game be handled? Would he just not make the trip and be back in winter conditioning when the new staff takes over?