2004-2005 Nebraska Cornhuskers "Needs" List

There are tons of questions that are swirling around this team. Who changed positions? Who is going to red-shirt? Where are the positions with the biggest competition? How many players will Nebraska take at a particular position?

Nebraska Cornhuskers 2004-2005 "Needs" list and summary

Offense

WR (X) - Pilkington (JR), Birkel (SO), Zajicek (SR), Amos (SR), Swift (FR)R,______
LT - Mann (SO)^, Evwayrae (JR)^, Thomas (JR), Murtha (FR), _______
LG - Povendo (SR), Helming (JR)^, Erickson (SR)*, Christensen (FR)R, ______,______
C - Incognito (JR), Byford (RFR), Muy (FR)R, ______
RG - Koch (JR), Pike (JR), Anderson (SR)*, Austin (SO)*, ______,
RT - DeLone (SR), Loos (SR), Patrick (RFR), Timm (SO), Huff (FR)R, ______
TE (Y) - Herian (JR), (Keiser)(SR), Septak (SR), Mueller (RFR), Phillips (RFR), Sievers (FR)R, _____
QB - Dailey (SO), Stuntz (JR), Adams (SO), Ganz (FR)R, Davis (FR)R, ______
FB - Kriewald (SR), Todd (SO), Miller (SO), ______
IB - Ross (JR), Horne (JR), Green (RFR), (Pittman) (RFR), Jackson (FR), ______
WR (Z) -Fluellen (SO), LeFlore (JR), McLaughlin (JR), (O'Holleran)(SR),Smith (RFR), Nunn (FR)  

Defense

LDE - Thomas (SR), Bradley (SO), Steinkuhler (FR)R, ______, ______
NT - Smith (JR), Adams (JR), Greeson (SO), ______
DT - Teamer (SO), Carriker (SO), ______, ______
RDE - Muhammed (JR), Moore (SO), (McBride) (SR), Blankenship (FR)R, ______
BUCK - Cooper (SR), Bo Ruud (RFR), ______, ______
MIKE - Br. Ruud (SR), McKeon (FR), Brandenburgh (FR)R, ______
SAM - Sievers (SR), (Brungardt) (SO), Keenan (FR), ______
LCB - Washington (JR), Brothers (RFR), Grixby (FR), ______
FS - J. Bullocks (JR), Shanle (SO), ______
SS - D. Bullocks (JR), Panico (FR), ______
RCB - McPherson (SR), DeFrand (JR), Turner (RFR), _____

Special Teams

K - Dyches (SO), D'Angelis (SR), ______

^ - Switched from offense to defense or vice versa
* - Injured
() - May or may not be on scholarship this fall
R - Will most likely redshirt


Summary -

I count 77 total scholarships as of right now. I would bet that after spring ball the players above in parentheses will be on scholarship in the fall (or may even be right now). There are 15 total seniors (9-offense and 6-defense) that have scholarships so doing the math and taking into consideration 2-3 from attrition is where I came up with the full class and the possibility that there will be some JUCO's in at the start of the spring semester.

The new depth across the offensive line helps fill in some of the holes on the offense, but it also has created some concerns across the defensive front four. I would look for Nebraska to go the extra mile and try to bring in 2-4 JUCO's who will enroll in the spring semester of 2005. Although I don't like carrying six quarterbacks around on scholarship I wouldn't even be surprised to see Nebraska take two QBs this next year.

Competition, especially at the QB and RB positions, could ultimately mean players leaving/transferring or "quitting". The depth there is pretty good so quality is going to stand out.

The lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball really has me pretty scared. We are realistically one injury away at just about every position on that side of the ball from having serious problems. I like the quality of the up-front four DL, but the lack of depth scares me. The only spot I hate worse for it's depth (or the quality of it's depth) is at both of the safety positions.

So who red shirts and who doesn't this year? I would tell you that if you don't see a lot of Cornelius Thomas this fall that something is definitely wrong. The move of Incognito inside makes a huge hole at the left OT position. On offense, I could see Lydon Murtha playing this fall if he comes in physically and mentally ready to play. The OT position though is one of the most difficult positions to play on the field so that is a big "if" on Lydon. I would almost encourage him to redshirt. I would also look for Nunn and Jordan Adams (JUCO with 4 to play 3) to play and maybe even start at some point. Also look for Brandon Jackson to play if he passes the test. He is one point shy, but if he doesn't receive a passing grade expect Brandon to take the partial qualifier tag.

On defense it's about as clear as mud who might play as a true freshman. I would almost bet that either, if not both, Adam Blankenship and Ty Steinkuhler play this year. This is really based on couple of different things- developing the depth at that position and getting them ready for next year. I see Nebraska taking at least 5 kids across their DL this fall. It's almost a guarantee that Michael Keenan as well as Cortney Grixby will play this fall. I think that Keenan may be the most physically ready out of any of the incoming high school seniors and Grixby may be the most athletically gifted out of all of the recruits this fall. You may not just see Grixby at CB. He could be at either return position or even on offense. Callahan mentioned this in his LOI press conference.

CONCLUSION -

This is really a team that is looking for some people to step up and for leadership. This team right now lacks quality depth and kids who have game experience. My biggest fear is fatigue or injuries due to the depth concerns. This situation can not be looked at like a weakness though and has to be embraced and sold to RFR and true FR that they can play this year. This is even more important with the new emphasis being placed on colleges by high school seniors who play freshmen. People will be given their shot to play there is no doubt about that.

NURules@comcast.net


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