2004 Nebraska Freshmen Forecast (Offense)

With so many new scenarios to wrap your conscious around, there's little need for the average fan to go out searching for something to contemplate. Seeing as how we don't cater to the average fan, here we are with yet another couple rounds of speculation on this or that. This time it's the freshmen and junior college transfers coming in. So, enjoy our forecast

OFFENSE

Wide Receiver

Nathan Swift - A tall and lanky athlete, Swift's Minnesota player of the year honors came well-deserved. Swift came out of the woodwork for many as he put up over 2,300 yards in total offense as a Senior for Hutchinson high. One of the more impressive stats for Swift, however, was his 22 career touchdowns from plays that were 50 yards or more. That's big-play potential and Swift's size, speed and ability to make things happen after the catch make him a very realistic candidate to work into the line-up his first year. Swift is just an all-around solid player that brings too much not to get a serious early look.

Terrence Nunn - While the "West Coast" offense may be initially predicated on the shorter timing-oriented passes to set up the rest of the playbook, the need for someone that can stretch the field consistently is always a plus. Nebraska currently has one legitimate threat in that area in Isaiah Fluellen, but Nunn could be the other. While Nunn doesn't boast that impressive 10.3ish type 100, what's good about Nunn is that what he does do (10.6) translates well on the field. That's called "football speed" and Nunn has plenty of it, so just by the very fact that he could give Nebraska a two-headed threat in going over the top, that makes him an ideal candidate to see playing time right away.

Marque McCray - Out of San Mateo junior college, the main question about McCray is if he will make it to Nebraska at all. At this current juncture, that would appear to be a favorable possibility and if that's the case, Nebraska scores themselves another big-play weapon. Where McCray shines is his open-field ability, being able to cut extremely well while possessing a great initial burst. Point of fact, McCray projects more likely to the special teams before wideout simply because he is proven in that regard and Nebraska doesn't currently have a set person for that position. Because he's a JUCO transfer, the expectations are that he should play right way. Considering McCray's potential though, he would have probably had a great chance even if he was coming straight out of the preps.

Shamus McKoy - Out of Scottsdale Community College, McKoy brings a solid frame (6'1"-205 lbs.) with sure-handed capability. Unlike McCray, McKoy isn't likely to stretch the field, but his acclimation to the West Coast should be fairly seamless as he'll be a definite in the 5-15 yard range for the high percentage passes that Nebraska will be utilizing. His coach describes him as fearless when going over the middle and again, that fits the West Coast to a tee because though the Tight End will receive a lot of attention in this area, you can't have the defense keying off in one area too much. McKoy will have two years to play, but it's obvious that Nebraska will need to see him on the field right away.

Running back

Brandon Jackson - Get used to this one's name, because you'll be seeing a lot of it early on and if the coaches have their way, throughout the entire season. While David Horne has put on even more muscle over the off-season, pushing his weight to a solid 205+ pounds, Brandon is seen as the one serious threat that Nebraska will have as an every-down type of back that can go either outside or up the middle. Between the tackles is where Nebraska has feared to tread as of late, but that should be at an end this year. The backfield for Nebraska has a great compliment now of speed and physicality along with elusiveness, Jackson looking as a potential candidate not just to play, but to vie for some serious time.

Quarterback

Joe Ganz  - Out of all the quarterbacks coming in, Ganz has had the least amount of press. That's probably not going to change much as Ganz will either redshirt this year or possibly even move to a different position. Now, Ganz is a very capable QB and athletic to boot, but looking at the depth chart right now, his chances are probably going to be slim over the next few years. With both Jordan Adams and Joe Dailey having three years to play, Ganz might find the defensive side of the ball, but he'll probably know nothing for certain until after his redshirt year.

Beau Davis - The one common comment when talking about Davis has been his weight or lack of it I should say. A woefully undersized QB, Davis' potential is just that, but to take even a fraction of the pounding he's going to see at this level of play, Davis has at least 30 lbs. to go With that kind of weight gain needed and the enormity of what it takes to put weight on at all in the correct manner, Davis will easily see a redshirt year, but could be looking at, at least another year after that before he's even in the ballpark of physically able to play.

Jordan Adams - The question about Adams only include the word "if" when talking about whether he'll be the starter come the start of the season or not. Adams' size and experience in the West Coast give him some sort of advantage when it comes to acclimating quickly to Callahan's new style of play. The questions seems to arise as to whether he can learn enough during the Summer and the short three weeks of practice before the season begins. There's no question that Adams fits this offense, but probably the biggest question is that whether his immobility in comparison to Joe Dailey's will be an issue because the offensive line isn't going to be stellar by Nebraska's standards. In fact, the offensive line will probably determine just who the starter is.

Offensive Line

Mike Huff - A common theme for any lineman on the team either currently or coming in will be one of you getting out there on the field no matter what. Yes, it's that bad as if they are on the line, the coaches will trying furiously to see just what kind of unit they can put together by the beginning of the year, along with Wagner trying to acclimate all the newbies to his rather complex terminology. Huff's size alone makes him a viable candidate, being around 6'6" and weighing in at over 300 lbs. Mike's also got the strength to at least be a realistic shot for probably one of the guard positions this Fall. Under "normal" circumstances, Huff might even still have a shot, but this year especially, you can't rule out him being a great shot for seeing time even in the first game of the year.

Andrew Christensen - Because of a torn ACL mid-way through his Junior year, Andrew's name fell off the map a bit. It was probably good for Nebraska because Christensen for most of his senior year went unnoticed. Andrew is a solid prospect and I have no doubt will show just why he was probably the top lineman in the state his senior year or at the very least, one of them. And, like the rest of the linemen, he'll certainly have a shot. At the guard position especially, there's going to be a need to find bodies and Andrew's potential makes him a very solid candidate to at the very least add some much-needed depth. Don't be surprised though if Christensen's name comes up as possible starters during some point in the season.

Danny Muy - Another lineman, another shot at playing early. That's the theme and it doesn't find itself slowing down in tempo with Florida's Danny Muy. He's a biggun that still has some physical development in his future, but he's very fundamentally sound and is potentially good enough that he could see the second spot behind Richie Incognito at center his first year. Danny's big advantage right now is that while even he would admit that he's got a lot of room to grow physically and develop, he's already strong enough and capable enough to add depth to a position that simply doesn't have any. It would be just as easy to see Muy find other opportunities at guard, but for his immediate future, a center he should be. He's another that should see a major opportunity to play right away.

Lydon Murtha - Mr. Murtha, your starting spot is waiting. Sure, that's putting the cart before the horse, but if there's one linemen that people are almost expecting to take at the very least, a spot on the two-deep, it's the 6'8" mountain from Minnesota. To be honest, Murtha has a lot of room to develop physically for the tackle position, but as anyone that has seen his film can tell you, Lydon knows how to use what he has. Though some habits formed from not facing guys near to his physical stature in high school are an issue, it's doubtful those will last long under coach Dennis Wagner. The progression of Darren DeLone and Seppo Evwaraye is key to just how much time Murtha will see, but this young man will find the field his first year. The only question is if it will be in a starting role or not.

Cornelius Thomas - If Thomas shows up, show him the starting spot at left tackle. Yes, it's almost that simple. From his film, Thomas isn't a run-blocking machine by any stretch of the imagination, but he can pass-block his butt off. In a series of complex pass protections, the person most capable of at least being technically sound for just that, that's the person who's going to find a starting spot pretty quickly. The question to Thomas is whether or not he'll be academically eligible to play for Nebraska come Fall. If he is, Nebraska just got a huge bonus and a much needed body at the tackle position. If not? See everything else stated above.

Tight End

Clayton Sievers - Clayton is one of the lucky ones. While he may not admit that having to come into a roster that has the sure-fire lock for the starting spot Matt Herian at the helm, I would think that in an offense like this, Sievers will have a very comfortable time in trying to see how fast he can acclimate to playing an NFL offense in college. It's a very complex scheme with a multiple of motions, sets and formations that go above and beyond what you are used to seeing across Division 1-A. With the tight end being such a vital cog in the wheel of a Bill Callahan offense, the more time to learn, the better that player will be. Sievers has the raw potential to address some depth, as health issues seem to follow this unit around, Septak a question mark along with Josh Mueller. If he doesn't make it though, no big thing as Sievers will have a nice redshirt year to see for himself just how this offense works.


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