Back into hibernation

People ask me 'What is so special about spring football?'. Well, the obvious answer is simply that it is football. However, spring football is about timing. It divides the off-season. It breaks up the monotony of professional sports that I don't care about and for about a month I have it good again reading practice reports and capping it off with a spring game.

Sure, a spring game is a glorified practice, but I love it. I have been looking forward to Saturday since Zac Bowman and Titus Brothers made the "game-saving" tackle in the Alamo Bowl. It's demented, I know. But I will bet that the majority of the 57,000+ in attendance think along the same lines as me about Nebraska football.


Yes, there were some recruits in town. More than just the ones that Nebraska is now courting, but the ones that Nebraska just signed. It was great to see a good few show up and support their team. From what I saw:

- Kenny Wilson is huge. If this guy has 4.4 speed and gets it mentally then throw another wrench into the depth chart at running back.

- Keith Williams is impressive. The early word that I got on Williams was that he was maybe 6-foot-3.5 and not 6-foot-6. Well, he may not be 6-foot-6, but he is closer to 6-foot-6 than 6-foot-3.5.

- Great to see Cruz Barrett and D.J. Jones together. D.J was wearing a shirt that read: The Future. Barrett is my pick out of the freshman lineman to see action first from this last class.

- Tight end may really not be an issue if Matt Herian is healthy, but by the looks of Michael McNeil he could be physically ready to and might be a sleeper to come in and make an impact as a freshman.

Those were the high points of the commits. I got a chance to personally eyeball Michael Keck, Blake Lawrence and Andre Christian. All three look like players and Lawrence is surprisingly tall. He is a legit 6-foot-2.5 and possibly 6-foot-3.

While there weren't any commits this weekend it sounds like the game was a success. There was one concerning comment that I heard and that might have something to do with the quantity of the kids coming in.

One player did tell me that he had a great time, but that at no point did they ever meet with a single coach all day. It is the spring game, but you would think that a position coach or recruiting coach might make a stop.

I was invited to listen to a story about a lady and her two sons that chose to visit the S. Stadium on Friday. Her sons happen to be 6-foot-3, 280 and 6-foot-6, 240. Not bad, but they're just sophomores. Wow. Great story to hear and two kids that we will have to keep tabs on.


Personally, I never had a chance to meet Brook Berringer despite knowing some players on the team during that timeframe. The only thing that I can tell you was that he was very well liked by the people that I knew that played with him and their opinions I trust.

It's hard to believe that it has been 10 years since Brook's passing, but there are players that are trying to live similarly to how Brook did and that is always a good feeling.

The pre-game ceremony honoring this years 10 winners of the Brook Berringer award was a very nice touch. It's fun to see every year, and nearly every game, that the past is not forgotten in Lincoln.


There is little doubt that the face of this year's game was much different than the past two years. Two years ago Joe Dailey came out as the starter and set passing records for the spring game. A year later he was fourth string and Zac Taylor owned the numbers.

This year you heard about the race for number one at running back and the only issue that really existed at quarterback was the health of Harrison Beck. While the game was different it didn't mean that the offense was any less efficient.

You were going to see Marlon Lucky and Cody Glenn, regardless of who started, come in and get a lot of carries. You also knew that Leon was going to start out with the 2's and hopefully come over and get some reps with the 1's.

It was exciting to see the race that everyone had been reading about all spring play out on the field and in the end I am not sure if anything is more clear. Lucky and Glenn had fairly similar stats, Glenn had better yards per carry and Lucky had two touchdowns, but both showed that they can run with the football.

Leon Jackson also showed you that he can run with the football. Now, obviously he is going to have a bit more to learn about this offense until he is 100% comfortable. I also think that he is about 5-10 pounds too light. If Kenny Wilson comes in and grasps the mental side of the game immediately you might want to think about red shirting Jackson.

I got a text message in the stadium stating that Matt Herian was going to play, but that the action he would see would be limited. With that, I was a bit surprised to see how much Herian actually was in the game. It was pretty obvious that there is some rust of Matt's game and it appeared to me that he might have lost a step. Let's hope that the summer pays off for him.

If we can get Spain the ball, he will be a force. It was amazing how he could sell the post-corner in pre-game. He and Terrence Nunn both looked to be in mid-season form. From the sounds and the looks of it, Nunn has improved in the consistency of catching the ball.

Drops is something that Nebraska simply can not have this year. They are drive killers. Zac Taylor had a 66% completion percentage going 14-21, but they also said that three of the seven interceptions were drops.

The offensive line looked O.K. and I really wasn't sure what to expect when I saw it. I certainly didn't expect Matt Slauson to be that big. Holy cow. You know what's more than just pure size? This guy ran in the 5.3-5.4 range this spring and posted an impressive 34 inch vertical jump.

I am interested in what this line can do with some a summer under their belts, introducing Carl Nicks to the mix and maybe getting Jordan Picou getting back and being healthy. I don't expect this team to be stellar, but I think that with time they can be consistent and not cost our team as much as they did last year.

The defense looked very good to me. I was particularly impressed with Barry Cryer who ended up with two sacks in the game, but more than that brings attitude to the field. I think that players like Jay Moore and Adam Carriker lead by example, but you need all kinds of leadership and sometimes you just need that verbal guy to get things going.

If Steve Octavien stays healthy this year this defense could be scary. I am actually interested to see what Steve Allen might bring to the table. I mean, it seems that things might be open a bit at SAM. So, when Allen gets here doe he learn SAM and WILL? Does this mean that Dontrell Moore moves back to DE?

The bottom line here is that the linebackers are loaded. McKeon, Brandenburgh and Octavien all played very well on Saturday. Now you bring back Bradley, Ruud, and Allen and you are sitting pretty. There is a wildcard here and that is Phillip Dillard.

Dillard playing very physical football on Saturday and was impressive in stuffing the lead blockers and still runs well. However, I believe that if he lost 10-15 pounds might increase his range enough to really push McKeon. This defense favors athletic linebackers versus those with just size.

I thought that Andrew Shanle played well and that is good news. Green is a bit of a work in progress, but I was pleasantly surprised with him. I think that between the two of them that Nebraska has probably not seen a more athletic pair of safeties.

You have to think that the return game this year will be exciting to watch. First of all, you can expect that Marlon Lucky is going to get his chance on kickoffs, but lookout for Titus Brothers. He looked very impressive with the ball in his hands. His touchdown run was one of beauty and it also displayed the team unity when players from both sides came out to congratulate him.

I went from offense going to defense speaking about what I wanted to, but leaving the backup quarterback situation for last. If Zac Taylor goes down this year with an injury it will be catastrophic. I have read some comments on Ganz and the bottom line on Ganz from me is happy feet and not a very live arm.

I could tell very early into warm-ups that Beck was going to be a no go. The constant shoulder stretching and the under-throwing of his receivers through warm-ups were indicators of that. You could also see him shaking his head in a huddle talking with quarterback's coach Jay Norvell.

This situation confuses me all the more. If Jarrett Lee decides not to become a Cornhusker then I have to ask, why? Taylor is a senior and there isn't anything but question marks with the rest of the current backups.


Is it just me or has not enough been said about the gathering of three, Nebraska Heisman Trophy winners this past weekend? I didn't think that it was possible that "The Triplets" could have been shown up, but they might have done it. However, was the presentation of the three enough?

I really enjoyed Irving Fryar, Mike Rozier and Turner Gill coming out to mid-field last year and their numbers being turned over. Their long walks/runs to mid-field were much more appropriate for that presentation then just the three coming out just past the tunnel and waving.

This, to me, was a travesty and something that I wish wouldn't have happened as much as I wish something more would have happened with the walk that the players made a few years back. You have players from every decade in the presence of Tom Osborne and the children of Bob Devaney. There should have been more there too. Good intentions, bad execution.


Ones versus the world has run its course. It's time to return back to the number one offense to team up with the number two defense to take on the number two offense and the number one offense. There have been reasons to run the game then way that it has the past two to three years, but now this game needs to get a bit more competitive.

I know that there are some holes on this current team that would make it very difficult to even put two full squads on the field, but this team is getting closer. And while the spring game is a great show, and the only show in April, it would be much more interesting to see a little more competitive battles on the field.


Overall, I believe that this weekend was a success from a number of different views. Jarrett Lee clearly sees that there could be a chance to come in and compete immediately at Nebraska. You have to also think that players like Zac Taylor, Adam Carriker, Jay Moore, Zac Bowman, Ola Dagundero, Barry Cryer and other players that will get a look by professional teams next spring.

Second, the fans at Nebraska show again that they are second to none. With 57,000 seats to sell out they sold 57,000 seats (not including people ages 1-5!). The fans love this team, there is no doubt.

Third, how impressive is the north stadium going to be? Personally, I was blown away with the south stadium at Austin two years ago. I thought that it was the most impressive scoreboard/replay screen at any venue professional or otherwise.

Lastly though, I think that Husker fans have a lot to look forward to with this team far beyond than just the talent of the players. These players are genuinely into what is going on in Lincoln. They are believers. More than that, the recruits all believe too.

It's time again to head back into my spring/summer slumber, but I do so knowing that the fall looks bright. And to quote one of the best Nebraska shirts that I have ever seen 'We'll be back. And when we are we'll be pissed.' I couldn't have said it better and Nebraska could be back.

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