Students return to classes on Monday which means the Nebraska football team will be getting back to work.
The start of spring practices haven’t been officially announced, but we are likely less than two months away from seeing the Huskers return to the practice field.
Big Red Report takes a look at the top players at each position who need a solid winter heading into spring football to help their cause.
QB.) Patrick O’Brien, freshman – It’s pretty simple. O’Brien will be taking his first set of college classes, but will also be going to school inside the program. He’s about to be introduced to not only a college weight program, but a D-1 film room. O’Brien doesn’t want to redshirt in 2016. If that is the case, he’s got a lot of learning to do over the next seven months.
RB.) Mikale Wilbon, sophomore – After flashes in fall camp, Wilbon didn’t receive a carry after South Alabama – the Huskers’ second game of the season. Whatever caused the running back to fall out of the good graces of the coaching staff, it’s time to make up some ground. Showing a dedication in workouts could go a long way. Wilbon was often one of the last players to leave the field after practices during the fall.
WR.) Alonzo Moore, senior – It would be easy to say early enrollee Derrion Grim, but we think Moore has the frame to put on a little more weight. It would be interesting to see how it translated to his game on the field. Moore has yet to have a season where he didn’t miss at least one game with a nagging injury. Getting entirely healthy this winter and getting prepped for next will be big.
TE.) Matt Snyder, redshirt freshman – We actually projected Snyder to be on the field last fall, but an elbow injury during fall camp hindered those chances. Cethan Carter came on in the second half of the season and will be the guy at the position during his senior season. But Snyder has a chance to make an impact as well. The coaching staff won’t be afraid to run a double tight-end set often if they have the talent to do it.
OT.) Christian Gaylord, redshirt freshman – With a job opposite of Nick Gates open, Gaylord won’t likely be the favorite going into spring considering David Knevel has a few years on him. But, Gaylord likely has more room to grow over the next two months than the junior. A first semester can be a shock for a freshman. Gaylord has had a chance to refresh the batteries. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear early in spring the staff pointing him out as a guy who’s grown a lot.
G/C) Jerald Foster, sophomore – With the graduation of Zach Sterup and Chongo Kondolo, a spot on the interior line is open and you can bet Foster will be giving his everything for it. Last year his everything wasn’t enough, but with another big push in the weight room this winter, he should likely see a big jump in his strength.
DE.) Alex Davis, redshirt freshman – It was great to hear the former Florida prep progressed quicker than expected – winning the scout team defensive MVP in 2015. When he hit campus he was raw and undersized. While he was able to likely put some weight on during the fall as a redshirt, he’s got a ways to go before he looks like a Big Ten defensive end.
DT.) Vincent Valentine, senior – With no announcement yet regarding his future, we are projecting Valentine returns for his senior season. If he does, the next two months could go a long way in improving his body for the next level and to have a great senior season. Every year Valentine has improved in this category and we don’t expect 2016 to be any different – if he’s in Lincoln.
LB.) Tyrin Ferguson, sophomore – The former Louisiana prep played mostly on special teams in 2015, but did a nice job bulking up in the process (usually hard to play and get bigger at the same time). Now with his 100 percent focus on shaping his body, Ferguson should be a new man once spring hits. While it’s unlikely he cracks the starting lineup, the second year player can set himself up for a big role on special teams and playing time
CB.) Eric Lee, redshirt freshman – Nebraska seemed to settle into the corner spot late in the year with Joshua Kalu and Chris Jones, but the former four-star prospect has to be chomping at the bit to show position coach Brian Stewart another look. He came in ready to play. A little extra strength to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage won’t hurt.
S.) Aaron Williams, sophomore – Nate Gerry might be tapped out body wise and Antonio Reed looks like a linebacker, but hard hitting safety Aaron Williams has room on his frame for another 10 pounds. He was already good in the fall when he played around 185 to 190. Can you imagine him at 200-205?