Spring Stumpers Finale'

There's too many questions, just too many questions about this Spring. Well, the only way you are going to answer them is if you ask. So, we do and we here at BRR do our best to answer some of those oh-so-important questions that are keen to the mind of your average-everyday-husker-fan. And, we let you get in on the fun. Check out the finale' of Spring Stumpers.

Has Gilmore been the biggest difference in the offense?

Ted Gilmore may be the single-most, biggest addition to this offense this year. Now, barring some unforeseen circumstances like injury, I anticipated before the spring game that the wide receivers would be the most improved group of players.

Now, I say this because the wide receiver position will get an overhaul personnel-wise later this summer, but it also has a true wide receiver coach there to help out. Now, don't get me wrong, Turner Gill is one of my favorite Nebraska coaches, players and people of all-time, but this offense needs credibility in turning out professional talent from the wide receiver position to lure the nation's best players into coming to Lincoln.

Could Turner Gill have done that? Possibly. It seems like it isn't a maybe situation with Gilmore though as opposed to when. The talent and the production that he has gotten out of his players at Colorado and Purdue lead me to believe that it is a matter of time.

You saw glimpses of it this past weekend with improved wide receiver play. I will argue that it is wide receiver play while one might argue that it was Zac Taylor. I would agree to some extent. However, it only works both ways. While the receiver or quarterback could be all-world, he doesn't get there without the other.

I really think that the players coming in this summer to go along with Nunn, Fluellen and Swift will benefit the most by the Gilmore hire.

Steve: Last year, if every receiver runs their routes the way they are supposed to be run, who's to say that Joe Dailey would still be looking at almost 20 interceptions on the year.

Jay Norvell even admitted that at times, people just weren't on the same page. "We left a lot of yards on the field" seemed to be the phrase of the day, the week and in the end, the year.

It's hard to expect much out of receivers that weren't made for this offense for one, but the biggest thing is that their coach was learning how to coach receivers while the receivers were learning how to BE receivers in this type of offense.

It's a shock that the passing game worked at all, to be honest, as the learning curve for everyone was dramatic and they were literally doing it on the fly.

Now, you have a guy that not only teaches this system, but uses the same terminology, the one thing that most players say is the hardest thing to grasp right away. That's not big, that's huge.

Many of the receivers are gone from the glorified blocking days and now, Ted Gilmore is slowly but steadily teaching these guys how to be receivers in the west coast attack.

It's already paid off big and this is just three weeks into their tutoring, so with even more receivers coming in, in the fall, there's plenty of optimism around as to this group and its potential.

I think that if Nebraska does indeed get back into the flow and has a good year, there's going to be a lot of credit to pass around, but I would say that you should look at Gilmore, because the value of a true receiver coach in this system, that can't be understated. Gilmore could be the most valuable assistant Nebraska has this season.

Is this new and improved pass rush legit?

Bryan: Legit? I am not sure. Better? Definitely. You can tell that there is something different this year with the boys-front. Is it the competition from the JC transfers? How about an upgrade to the WILL position? If it's one of those, how do you explain Jay Moore's four sacks?

Yes, it was the No. 1 offense and defense vs. the world, but this year the world was a lot better than the world last year, in my opinion. While many of the players that will/might see time with the No. 1 offense or defense changed jerseys at half, you still got to see them battle at a 1 vs. 2 level for a half.

By the looks of it Carrikar is healed, Moore is improved (again after being 2004 most improved player), Smith and Adams look to be the key cogs to the interior defensive line and the added depth from Cryer and Dagundero seems to equal a legit upgrade to the defensive line.

Steve: What made the defensive lines so good in the mid to late-nineties? Talent? Yes. Speed? Yes. Strength? Yes. But, even Grant Wistrom is going to be virtually useless outside if he doesn't get help from the rest of the guys on the line.

What made that line so great was that EVERYONE was great, so that means you could have a host of stars in any given quarter, game or season. That's just what happened back then.

That's what it takes. You need a solid D-line that can stop the rush, but get enough of a push up the middle, so that at least one of the interior guys draws a consistent double-team. Likewise, you need at least one playmaker on the outside, so that they also draw a double-team or force the offense to use the tight end or a back to chip them from time to time.

That frees up at least one, possibly two guys to take advantage of one-on-one situations and Nebraska has the guys that can take advantage of that.

The biggest help inside this year is the depth offered by two quality junior college transfers in Ola Dagundoro and Barry Cryer. Le Kevin Smith is already referring to Ola as another him and Barry Cryer has both a quick step and the ability to be strong at the point of attack.

This means that instead of both Smith and Adams taking 60 snaps a game with little to no rest, they can look at cutting that almost in half, everyone that much fresher each time they take the field.

That's huge and I do mean huge.

You get into the latter parts of the game, the legs and stamina inside is what is going to keep that outside rush potent and make the blitz that much more effective.

I don't know that we will be comparing this unit to any of the greats, but they are going to be much better than last year. I think that the four-man rush could actually work in many of the games they play.

What affect will Joe leaving have?

Bryan: This wasn't supposed to be the question today folks. It was originally supposed to be "should Joe go?". Needless to say, you will get my opinions on both questions.

I think that the coaching staff's response to Joe's request hits on the points that I wanted to make. Our problem at quarterback this year is two-fold. While the talent level seems to have increased with the addition of Taylor and the promise of Beck, you still have a lack of quality depth and experience.

Before Joe announced that he was going to leave the Nebraska quarterback experience equaled only 13 total games played between Dailey, Goodman and Davis. Of which, 11 of them were started by Dailey. So, you had a relief effort that Goodman and Davis both made during the season to account for any other experience that Dailey brought to the table.

This year, your JC QB is experienced in a similar system like Nebraska is currently using. It seems that his experience in that type of situation has allowed for him to learn quickly and use his skills that he has learned before coming to Nebraska to run the new offense.

But what happens if Taylor gets hurt now? I really don't see any way that Beck can redshirt now, which I preferred before Dailey announced his intentions to leave, and he has no practical experience either. He is a savvy quarterback who, like Taylor, has run a similar offense before in the past and is very talented.

I didn't want to see Joe go simply because he had experience. The staff, like in their statement, have put a lot of time and effort into Joe only to have him take the experience and leave because he wasn't the #1 guy anymore.

People need back-ups. Nebraska definitely needs quality depth. But more than that, Nebraska, Taylor, Beck and others might have been able to get some benefit through competition or wisdom with having Dailey around.

I don't like Dailey leaving. Is it the best for the program? No. Is it the best for Joe Dailey? Maybe.

And so it goes….C'est la vie, Misteur Dailey!

Steve: To be honest, the effect is going to be marginal in respect to the team and its performance. Regardless of the fact that the spring game is a contest built for success, Zac Taylor looked very good, threw the deep ball well and shows the mental aptitude to run this offense with efficiency.

Joe never really exhibited that all season last year against any team that had the horses to get some sort of pressure in the backfield. If they had speed in the secondary and at linebacker, Dailey was easily confused and made some rather poor choices at times.

And, let's not forget that run out of bounds on fourth down against Southern Miss.

In all honesty, I thought that Joe was a guy that was willing to wait his turn out of respect. I didn't see him as a guy that came to town thinking that the QB position was his and all he had to do was take it.

Because Joe is so darn nice and respectful and probably one of the most stand-up people you will run across, I think he had this idea that with hard work and steadfastness, the job was going to be there for him and might not have even considered that those coming in behind him could take that job away.

They did, Dailey dropping to fourth, but it wasn't just ability alone that made him plummet that far.

I think Joe did what he needed to do and I know everyone is going to wish him luck, wherever he decides to go. From the recruiting process up to now, I remember talking to him and thinking to myself that this is one kid that you want to root for, that you hope succeeds. I guess now, we'll have to hope he does it someplace else.

Joe's loss will probably be felt more in the locker room than on the field, but as we have seen with changes in personnel, that will pass and the bottom line is, this offense has to work. It wasn't with him. We'll see if it does with Zac, Beau, Harrison or whoever.

Is the secondary really that bad?

Bryan: In one word, yes. But this is temporary. The cavalry is on the way and on their horses is Bowman and Wilson to the rescue. I have just not heard too many positive things about anyone this spring in the secondary.

The problem beyond all of that is Bowman and Wilson will be new to Elmassian's system now. Furthermore, there seems to be some reasons for people to be concerned about relationships at that position with the coaching staff.

The passing defense last year was terrible not just by the direct play of the secondary, but because our defensive line just didn't do a great job getting pressure on the quarterback. If that changes and comes together to be one of the strengths of this year's defense then our secondary will be fine. Carrikar and Moore are just as much a part of this solution as Bowman and Wilson.

Steve: Bad? Well, they're not good, that's for sure, but I would opt to say that they are more undermanned than they are bad. You have Tierre Green, who admits that right now, he is surviving on just speed and guess what, he's been working out as one of the starting cornerbacks.

Then, you have Cortney Grixby, who is simply a phenomenal athlete, but while his learning-curve isn't quite as steep as Green's right now, this spring has still be a trial by fire.

And, speaking of fire, I doubt anyone has gotten burned as many times as Titus Brothers has this spring, Titus trying like crazy, but doing his best impression of Lornell McPherson last year, getting beat time and time again.

After that, it's just a matter of throwing bodies out there and seeing what you can do.

They need help.

Fortunately, they will get some this Summer in the form of junior college cornerbacks like Zack Bowman and Bryan Wilson. Also, if Brodrick Hunter makes it to Lincoln, that is another standout that on athleticism alone can vie for a spot on the two-deep.

If it gets bad enough, the coaching staff could look to guys like Tyrell Spain and even Wallace Franklin to try their hand on that side, just in the hopes of getting a unit that the staff can confidently put on the field.

I like the safety group as I think both Bullocks and Shanle are going to be pretty good this year, but the cornerbacks are sorely understaffed right now and there's going to be a crash course for those coming in.

It could be shaky at first, but I think they will be ok. The home game against Pitt and Tyler Palko, however, that's one that makes you worry a little as that young man can throw. That will be the first big test for this group, in whatever form it takes this season.

hobie004: Where do you see the program this fall with our upcoming recruits?

Bryan: We've answered "similar" questions like this before, so I will answer it a bit differently knowing about new injuries, transfers and will give you where I feel that person will be by mid-season on the depth chart.

QB: Taylor - #1 and will not RS, Beck - #2 behind Taylor and does not RS
RB: Lucky - #2 behind Ross and does not RS, Glenn - #4 and does not RS
WR (Y): Tomerlin - #1 and does not RS
WR (X): Brooks - #1 and does not RS, Hunter - #2 and does not RS
WR (Z): Hardy – Co#1 with Nunn and does not RS
OT: Pasteur - #2 behind Thomas and does not RS
OG: J. Picou - #2 behind Austin and does not RS, R. Picou - #3 behind Koch and might RS
OC: Roark - #2 at least and maybe #1 and does not RS

DE (B): Potter - #3 behind Carrikar and Muhammed and will not RS
DE (O): Turner - #2 behind Moore and will not RS
DT: Cryer - #2 and will not RS, Suh - #3 and will not RS
NT: Dagundero - #2 and will not RS
WILL: Octavien - #1 and will not RS
MIKE: Dillard - #1 and will not RS, Covey #3 and will RS
SAM: Moore - #2 and will not RS (I still think that he will play SAM)
RCB: Bowman - #1 and will not RS, Franklin - #2 and will not RS
LCB: Wilson - #1 and will not RS, Rands - #3 and will not RS because of return duties
FS: Jackson - #2 and will not RS
SS: Spain - #2 or #3 and will not RS

K: Congdon - #1 and will not RS

I believe that Spain, Franklin, Covey and Jackson will play defense. Hickman, Harvey and Souder will supposedly take grey-shirts this year.

Steve: Rather than go through who I think will play, I am going to give you the short answer on who I think won't play or at least, I think is a better candidate to redshirt than not.

Ok, first, you have Jeff Souder and David Harvey taking greyshirts. That leaves one that will have to not make it, because of the fact that Nebraska went three over what they could take, counting grad replacement scholarships and the usual allotment of 25 schollies per year.

While I hang no certainty on this, only my own belief of this to be inevitable, I will say that Wallace Frankllin doesn't qualify.

Ok, So, that leaves everyone but those three coming in to contend for a job.

I think Zach Potter redshirts, because while he's potentially a monster at whatever position he plays, I think physically, he has some developing to do.

I also think that Nick Covey redshirts, because I see the outside spots at linebacker taken by guys I am not sure he can be at this point. Covey is a great athlete and we have all heard about his speed, but I think a redshirt year suits him better than getting out there right away.

I see Jacob Hickman redshirting as he has definitely gotten bigger and stronger since the last time I saw him, but he's still got a ways to go.

And, I am torn on Phillip Dillard, because that middle linebacker spot just hasn't shaken out yet. If it were cut and dry established as to who was number one, two and so on, I might opt for thinking that Dillard would take the redshirt. But, with the position still up in the air and the coaches seemingly not satisfied with the combination they have in any one player in being able to play physical in the box and make the calls needed, there's definitely potential here.

Outside of that, I see every single other recruit getting on the field their first year at Nebraska. You might say that is a testament to the depletion of talent on the team, but that's also a statement as to just how well this staff recruited.

They have some playmakers here, something I think everyone will see pretty early on, possibly even before the season begins.

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