Bryan: First, you have to think that the secondary could look a whole lot different once Zach Bowman, Brian White, Tyrell Spain, and Wallace Franklin are introduced. I would have Bowman penciled in as a starter while White may start out to be the nickel man, I think by mid-season those two could be our starting CBs. I would look for a move of Brothers to safety this fall as well.
Second, the tight end depth chart should have Herian back on top with Justin Tomerlin coming in at #2. If Herian isn't back, which there are rumors of a RS year he might take, I'd expect to be seeing a lot of Tomerlin as the #1.
Third, wide receiver will look different with Brooks, Hardy and Hunter introducing themselves in Lincoln. There is a great combination of size and speed with these guys and coming from passing offenses is a plus.
There will also be changes on the offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and special teams that will be affected by players that will be enrolling this summer/fall. However, their impact won't be as great as those positions that I listed above.
Steve: I think the defensive line is basically set. While I don't discount the abilities of Barry Turner, Zach Potter and others, I think that is set and for good reason. Regardless of who starts, they are going to have some great depth on the interior and if Carriker can stay healthy, he could be THE impact player for the Huskers this year.
At quarterback, I think it will be fairly set as I do expect Taylor to be number one and Dailey to be number two. With the lack of real progression from the other QBs, though, Harrison Beck could easily find himself suiting up for every game just in case. He's a very realistic shot for that number three spot at least.
What position is the most likely to be taken by a player coming to Lincoln in the fall?
Bryan: While this question is very similar to the one above it does require a bit of a different answer. I am going with the secondary. I really think that there may be only one cornerback (Grixby) that is currently in Lincoln that will see a lot of time at the position this fall.
I am also thinking that the addition of Spain could provide some depth at the safety position and will see him get on the field immediately. While Bullocks and Shanle look to be the starters now, Spain will definitely be there to provide instant competition and some immediate depth. I would also look for a position change for Brothers to safety.
Steve: Cornerback is a hugely vulnerable position. I fully expect that the depth chart at that position will totally wide open and for the taking come training camp. There's just too many questions there right now and with Donald DeFrand having to miss the Spring, there's just no idea of what this secondary can do.
Players like Zack Bowman, Bryan Wilson and even others if the depth is a problem, there's going to be a lot of candidates for the starting spots and even the two-deep.
If Cory Ross stays healthy, can he realistically lose his starting job to Lucky? Bryan: Lose his job? No. Lose some snaps. Sure. I think that Cory might even welcome that to some degree as well. I think that the goal this year is to not only get Ross the ball, but get a good mix at the running back position. Get a couple of guys used to the offense and ready for next year.
Lucky will make his presence known, there is no doubt about that. I'd say that there are two wildcards here too. I like Cody Glenn on film and believe that he can come in and do something different in this offense as a FB or a single back. I also have not seen any film more impressive than Leon Jackson. I am not sure given the lack of depth at safety how long he will remain at running back, but here is to hoping.
Steve: I think that it would take an act of some higher power to unseat Ross at any point this year. First, Cory has paid his dues, running almost an entire season on a terribly painful turf toe.
In addition, Ross is just a helluva back. I don't think anyone coming in can cut like Ross, plus he obviously knows the playbook up and down.
If Lucky is good to go, he'll go, no doubt, but unless Ross gets another injury, it's his job, period.
What part of the football team needs to be addressed the most to translate into wins for this year?
Bryan: While many might say pass defense, I tend to side with our special teams needing an overhaul. From punt protection, to kick off and punt returns to better kicking overall. Last year was a pathetic display.
I really think that we might win another game or two if we had better special teams last year. It starts with the return game and getting someone that can do more than just consistently catch the ball, but get the ball and make some things happen. You never realized how good you had it with people like Groce and Newcombe back there until they are gone. Heck, I'd take Joe Walker, please.
Steve: Passing, passing, passing. The coaches said that they would ideally like to run at around 60% on the year. Last season, they didn't even hit 50.
This offense is a sleeping giant, in my estimation. It has shown itself to work and when the receivers and quarterback are doing their job, the potency has been there.
The problem is, it's imperative that this position do its job and if they do, you will see an entirely different team.
Why do either of you feel that teams are picking up a few or even a LOT of commitments (Texas) this early? What factors go into these occurrences and why, thusly, has Nebraska not sealed any deals yet?
Bryan: With Texas, it's easy. They are making it a point to get kids, in-state, earlier this year. Their double-digit commits are staggering at this point, but knowing offers that are on the table to other in-state players like Chris Stewart, Sergio Kindle, Sherrod Harris, Matthew Stafford, Jered Norton, Orie Lemon, and Jevan Snead tell me one thing and that is they are not taking these kids for granted anymore.
My biggest peeve last year, and maybe peeve isn't the right word, was how schools like Texas and Oklahoma especially sort of slow-played or took for granted the in-state talent. Then, Oklahoma gets dipped into to a certain extent and Dillard and Roark both leave the state. Texas has lost the top player in the state the last two years in a row to Oklahoma.
Texas is finally wising up, and so is Oklahoma to a certain extent, about keeping the talent that they would like to have from in-state come to their school with early offers. With Texas though, they have more than Oklahoma to worry about. Franccione has something brewing in College Station and Leech is getting some people to start paying attention to him out in Lubbock. LSU has always had their pull on E. Texas players. So what UT is doing is smart, plain and simple.
The philosophy is to be more aggressive this year and in the past in-state kids were waiting for UT offers until January. To have this many out this early is getting kids off of the fence of indecision and into the commitment saddle.
Nebraska hasn't sealed any deals yet because there aren't as many in-state kids to offer like Texas (or that they want to offer). D.J. Jones is the only player so far from in-state to have an offer. He's an Omaha Central kid so that makes for a long, drawn-out process that will include Jones not even camping in Lincoln this summer most likely. I don't believe that Jones will leave the state, but I am not looking for an early commitment either.
Players holding Nebraska offers now not only need to hear about the changes that are taking place in Lincoln, but they need to see some results. I think that this is the year where Nebraska needs to show on the field improvements to get some people to listen. Not having talent to run the system(s) worked last year. However, kids more and more follow recruiting and know names like Lucky, Roark, Dillard, etc. and know they will have to contend with. However, to be part of something that will bring back Big XII and National Titles to Lincoln needs to be the calling now and Nebraska will have to improve on the field and in the W-L column.
Steve: Texas is Texas and look at their commits. Yeah, they are all from Texas. This is a team that doesn't have to throw out a lot of offers to get a few players. They have the ultimate luxury of being the big dog one a state that is one of if not THE big dog in producing division 1-A talent.
Mack Brown got lazy. I'll just put it simply in that I think he got complacent, started expecting kids to just show up and commit, hence the slight drop off from their normally incredible recruiting class to moderate by their standards.
The renewed vigor in recruiting has resulted in getting a lot of early commits and because they are from Texas kids and because they are Texas, don't expect many of those to de-commit.
The actual number they have is irrelevant as is the timing, as far as I am concerned. It would almost seem logical that Texas have that kind of impact in the state year after year. This year, everything just seems to be falling in place. Next year could be different.
I don't think it's a trend of any sort. It's just them doing a great job and kids committing earlier and earlier year after year.
What are your thoughts? Let's hear 'em over on the RED ZONE.