Ten things Husker fans learned against BYU

BigRedReport.com contributor Matt Svoboda lists ten things Huskers fans learned against BYU over the weekend.

1.) Junior quarterback Tommy Armstrong has what it takes to lead this team through the season. A lot of questions loomed around the Husker quarterback all offseason. Does he has the accuracy? Can he make the reads? Can he stay in the pocket? How quickly can he pickup the system? He threw for 24/41, 319 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He also stayed composed and led his team well in the second half after a disastrous second quarter. Armstrong showed he has the arm and the leadership needed to lead this team all season.

2) The offensive line needs to improve in both how they gel, and in their need of a "nasty streak." Head coach Mike Riley noted, “I don’t think we were very clean up front blocking for the tailback runs.” They had three opportunities to close the game out with a 3rd and 1, 3rd and 1, and 3rd and 3. They ran the ball every time and failed to move the chains. If just one of those is picked up, Nebraska might win the game  

3) The wide receiver are still some of the best in the Big Ten- even without De'Mornay Pierson-El. With DPE, only Michigan State and Ohio State have secondaries to match. Six different wide receivers caught a pass and Jordan Westerkamp led the team with seven catches, 107 yards, and one touchdown. 

4) Dedrick Young is everything we thought he would be. He looked like a veteran and made some big plays. He will be a four-year starter and all-conference by the end of his career. Young didn’t look lost in coverage and stepped up and made some big plays in the running game. He doesn’t look like a true freshman out there.

5) The defensive line has got to get a pass rush, from somewhere, from someone. ”Pass rush-wise, I think that one of the most important things is that we were not great on just lane integrity all the time. When you don’t blitz, you’d love to have somebody win and put pressure on (the quarterback), but the other thing you want to do is just make the quarterback throw the ball on time.” The defense was forced to blitz because not enough lineman were consistently “winning” their matchup. 

6) This defense still gives up the big plays. BYU had 511 yards. Yet, they only went 3 for 14 on third down conversations. The defense gave up over six plays over 20 yards, including gains of 53 yards, 42 yards, and a rush for 35 yards. Overall, the blackshirts played a pretty good game, but when they got beat they really got beat.

7) There are still a lot of kinks to work out in the new offensive and defensive systems. Nebraska committed 12 penalties for 90 yards. They hurt themselves a lot and a few of them were things like, “Illegal formation.” False starts, illegal formation, defensive timeout, and other things showed as a reminder that this is still a team getting comfortable in their new systems. 

8) Mikale Wilbon, a redshirt freshman, looks to be a good running back for now and especially in the future. He showed great patience and vision, two things that you hope develop for upperclassman. For such a young player to display the type of vision, patience, wiggle, and burst that Wilbon showed tells Nebraska they have a great running back on their hands for the next four years.

9) Wide receiver Alonzo Moore is a weapon and one we will see a lot of this year, with or without DPE around. The head coach had some high praise, “He’s made a ton of plays throughout spring ball and fall camp and then in the game the other day. I’m real excited about Alonzo.” He isn’t going anywhere. If he stays healthy he won’t disappear just because DeMornay Pierson-El comes back. 

10.) Safety Nate Gerry is the playmaker this defense needs. He will step up in big situations, often. Gerry had five interceptions last year and made the defensive play of the game with his interception that totally changed the trajectory of the game. It wasn’t just that he got an interception, it’s that he forced a turnover when the defense was absolutely desperate for one.


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