Marlon Lucky – There wasn't a lot of opportunities for any of the running backs, though a few did happen to shine when they could. The defensive line was simply daunting and considering the offense basically knew nothing when they started, the disadvantages for the backs would be obvious.
Marlon got the ball a few times, but there were two particular runs that gave me a firsthand look as to what's in store for NU.
Inside out: When you look at someone Marlon's size, you don't think at first that he's a very physical player. Marlon actually showed, though, a propensity for taking it right up the gut.
It might have something to do with the fact that the speed on defense just wasn't allowing the corners to be a real option, but nevertheless, Lucky hit the gut and amidst a crowd trying to take him down, Lucky was still elusive, legs always driving and to see him cut in a crowd, you can only imagine what he's going to do to ankles in the open-field.
Outside in: One of the quickest backs I have seen in a long time in just getting to the line of scrimmage dates back a bit to an old Raider running back Napoleon Kaufmann. Lucky shows that kind of burst in getting to the line of scrimmage and he's able to cut nearly at full speed. That kind of versatility, at least in my mind, has upped his chances to at least give Cory Ross a serious run for his money as possibly a co-number one if not an outright holder of that at some point during the season.
Leon Jackson – He's got sprinter's
calves to be sure. Great off the snap, long but shifty stride,
He adapts well also,
The thought process with him has
been and will probably be for some time, that he's simply not going to be a
running back at NU. With what he showed today in his sparse time, though, I have
Rodney Picou – He worked out at left guard, right guard and right tackle and I am telling you, he looked good doing them all. Picou struggled a bit with Powe, but who wouldn't and again, the defense had all the advantages.
Rodney is quick off the snap, very physical and he moves down the field instead of hitting the point of impact and stopping right there. Rodney injured his thumb a bit, but in classic football fashion, he said no cast on a thumb is going to keep him out this week.
One thing that I particularly
liked about Picou was how fast he got off the ball and his footwork. Before
Jordan Congdon – What can you say about a kid that practices at 47 yards? Yeah, not much, but Congdon did as most kickers do during regular practices, kicked, kicked and kicked.
What I really liked and take into account this is coming from a guy that is certainly no aficionado of special teams' players, I loved this kid's delivery, so to speak.
He just kicks with such confidence, like he knows he's not going to miss. If the snap is right, the ball is right, the kick is going to be right on the money.
That's what Congdon is: Pure money.
Phllip Dillard – An example of the rules that frustrate linebackers, only the defensive line can rush the QB. That means linebackers end up playing off the line a ways and many times find themselves in pass coverage.
That's not Dillard's forte', but one thing you can't hide no matter what the scheme is pursuit to the football and the ability to read plays. Now, I am not going to be dubbing Phillip the next Barrett Ruud in the ability to read plays as they happen, but he's got good instincts and you just can't believe how a kid that thick can accelerate as fast as he does.
Dillard has the time to mature and he'll do that, but he's a solid foundation, will be looked at very hard for time his first year at NU and I wouldn't bet against him. I think Phillip has a bright career with the Huskers.
Craig Roark – If there is one thing you don't know until you hit someone is just how different it is from the competition you normally face at the prep-level. Craig learned real fast.
A backside counter going left, Craig came motoring along and said hello to Raymond Henderson.
That's how it goes and until you get into someone like that, you just don't know.
Craig didn't make that mistake again.
He actually got Raymond a couple of times and a few more people after that, but I think that reality check was just what Craig needed to step it up.
One thing that Craig just does so well that doesn't seem to be affected by the size of the player he's taking on, he's able to use that tremendous strength of his to move guys around and he's physical enough to take them down once he gets them twisted out of their rush.
Very quick off the ball, obviously great feet and once Craig got going, he wasn't going to stop. You still have to take into account the competition and Craig got beat just like everyone else, but he showed a lot and showed why that he, like Picou is going to be pretty hard to keep off the field his first year.
I remember talking to one recruiting guy from Scout.com that hadn't seen a lot of him, suggesting that he wasn't sure just what Powe could do. We watched one play of Powe and it was him coming off that snap, getting in between the guard and tackle and literally exploding up-field.
The biggest question isn't really
about where Powe is going, but if he'll be able to go there at all, academics
being a major issue right now.
Whoever gets him, they are getting a beast that masquerades as a man.
Reggie Smith – The secondary didn't get too much work very often because the defensive line and linebackers were just tearing the backfield and short field up like crazy, but I had a chance to watch Reggie a few times and the kid can close like lightning.
Reggie is smart and in a defense like this where the rules are so quirky, the safeties are either playing safe so nobody goes over the top or they are playing a lot of zone, so they can make plays underneath.
Smith was able to read a lot of that, closed nicely, but didn't get a chance to get in on a ton of plays. That will change, though, and I will be watching him closely.
Raymond Henderson – Another wolf in sheep's clothing, this kid is an edge-rusher, an inside rusher and a few times, he made one of the best offensive tackles in the country (Reginald Youngblood) look slow. That's no small feat, but "Gametime" found himself deserving of that, because this kid has playmaker written all over him.
You look at these kids and know
they have so much to learn yet before they can truly be effective at the
Division 1-A level, but
He's going to be something to watch.
Ndamukong Suh – If he were teamed up with probably any other defensive line unit, he might have been the star. But, playing behind bonafide freaks like Demarcus Granger, Jerrell Powe and Roy Miller, Suh didn't stand out.
Don't take that as bad, because it's not. Suh is a solid player and he reminds you at least in frame of Seppo Evwaraye. Big, physical, fast off the ball and he knows how to beat a double-team. In fact, I saw him beat double-teams more than once and again, look at the competition these guys are facing.
You have to like him for a lot of reasons, but it's the future that you like him for the most. He's just physically daunting and has a frame where he could get bigger, even faster and that's a scary thought as he's a young man that definitely knows how to play his position.
There's more players to cover of course and today, I will be watching the East team as they prepare for the bowl game. And, I will be eyeing players like Nyan Boateng and Adam Myers-White especially. I will bring you full reports on them, video interviews and more in our next round of updates, so stay tuned for the best All-American coverage you can get, right here on Scout.com