Future Husker's visit to CU over. Now what?

When news surfaced about future Husker Michael McNeil taking an official visit to Colorado, there was a little bit of a stir in Husker land. Was he rethinking his decision to Nebraska, due to the Huskers' up and down year? It would be impossible to tell just what he was thinking until talking to Michael himself, something we did today. And he put it simply just what he thought of Nebraska right now and of course, the game.

Plenty of skepticism arose about Kirkwood, Missouri tight end Michael McNeil and just how solid he was to the Huskers. He was taking an official visit to Colorado after all and the ‘Buffs have been actively recruiting Michael to this day.

If you had to question just what Michael was there to do, all you have to do is ask him how his visit to Colorado went. "It was awesome," Michael said. "It was awesome because Nebraska beat the crap out of Colorado."

You might know this already, but McNeil didn't trip to Colorado, because he wanted to go, rather his teammate and current Oklahoma commit, Jeremy Maclin. The standout wide receiver was looking at the Buffaloes, but didn't want to take the trip alone. So, he asked Michael to go.

And going into the game, even this future Huskers wasn't sure how the game would go, seeing the Nebraska we have all seen, a team not terribly good on the road. This wasn't a trip to Waco, though, to play the Baylor Bears. This was in Boulder, facing the division-leading ‘Buffs. "I'm not going to lie, I didn't think Nebraska had a great shot at winning," McNeil said. "Especially after the first play from Colorado."

Michael probably had company amongst the downtrodden Husker collective, Colorado running back Hugh Charles breaking off a 40-plus yard run to start their first drive of the game. After that, though, McNeil settled in, watched the defense dominate, but when it came to that offense, even this future Husker was amazed. "They were awesome, just clicking on all cylinders," he said of the Nebraska ‘O'. "I have never seen them play like that all year."

"Everything they did was just great."

McNeil even commented about Nebraska's special teams, punter Sam Koch specifically. "That guy is awesome," he said.

Unfortunately for Nebraska Koch won't be coming back, but Michael took notice of how many that would. In fact, he looked across the board at the youth and the guys that weren't on the team due to injury, commenting that with everything Nebraska has had to go through over the last couple of years, the future was looking good. "You got guys like Nathan Swift starting as a freshman and young guys all over the field," he said. "Plus the guys they had injured like Steve Octavien, I don't think anyone has seen what this team can really do."

Along with individual ability, it's McNeil's hope that the fans of Nebraska have now seen something he's noticed during the entire year:

It's not always about the coaches

"I understand that coaches have to coach, but it's up to the players to get it done on the field," he said. "And you have seen them improve and a game like this just shows everyone what they can do."

"I just hope that this gets the coaches a little relief, because I think they have done everything they are supposed to do and with all the young guys on the team, this stuff takes awhile to learn."

McNeil is already chomping at the bit to learn as much as he can even before he arrives in Lincoln. Having seen the tight end becoming increasingly involved in the offense helps, but especially for someone like himself, a tight end that can catch, but also pose a threat to receivers as more than just a possession guy.

"I like what the tight ends have done for Nebraska, but I think they are just a different type of tight end than someone like myself," he said. "That's why the coaches recruited me and that's what they told me as far as the different dimension that I could add to their offense."

Nebraska would have had that dimension had junior tight end Matt Herian been able to play this year. The 6 foot, 5 inch field-stretching ball catcher gave the Huskers a weapon at the position that they haven't had in years and certainly didn't have this year. And with the west coast offense, the use and effectiveness of a tight end like that can't be overstated.

McNeil recognizes that and sees an offense with yet another weapon as an even deadlier version of what the fans have already seen. "In any offense, it's about the weapons you have to make plays and having a tight end like that just gives you something else the defense has to think about," he said. "That goes with anything, the more you have for them to defend, the harder it's going to be able to stop you."

With Herian probably back next season, McNeil arriving as well, and with Taylor almost assured of retaining his starting spot, along with the prospering group of young linemen and receivers, it's hard for anyone not to be optimistic, but it's especially hard for someone that will be part of that team.

"If you just look at the improvement, I don't know how you can't be optimistic about the future," Micael said. "Any offense or defense works based on the players you have involved and Nebraska is getting those. A lot of them are still really young and even more coming in, but you saw how it looks against Colorado. They killed them."

"That's the kind of team I see in the future."

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