Two years ago
Add them to Brandon Jackson, a
star in his own right out of
If you played all of your games
on paper, that might be true. If you simply looked at what they did at the prep
level or junior college level, yeah,
|Brandon Jackson's career has been one|
of battling injuries and not defenders.
But look at just what this entire group has proven from the I-back position and it isn't so clear cut.
Cody Glenn, the most prolific of this group last year, was used in short yardage situations, never being looked at as anything more than a bull in a china shop, and when he came onto the field, you almost knew the play that would be ran.
It wasn't until this spring that we got to see him and all of his versatility, Glenn showing that he could be not just a bullish type, but a finesse player, who could go outside of the tackles as effortlessly as he did in-between.
Marlon Lucky, for all of his high school publicity, never did see all that much time last year, with his continuing struggles in being able to pick up the blitz and block for Zac Taylor, was for most of the year, continuously under assault by defenders, due to a sorely lacking ability to pass block on the offensive line.
The one glimmer from Lucky was
his 100-yard runback on a
Brandon Jackson was two years ago like Lucky, the seemingly best suited for kickoffs, as he took to the job in the latter parts of the season, taking a beleaguered unit and injecting some life with his exciting returns and more importantly, productive.
While each showed in their own way just what they could do for the team, to this day, none of them has proven on the field, during a season, that they will indeed be THE guy. A back that can like Cory Ross, give production even in the face of suspect blocking. They haven't shown that in a variety of down and distance situations, they can run inside, outside and sometimes make a play when there is seemingly none that can be made.
Between all of those running backs combined, you come up with 191 carries for 702 yards and 10 touchdowns.
That's a 3.6 yard per carry average and 85 of those carries, along with six of the touchdowns were by Brandon Jackson during his freshman year, where he averaged almost five yards per carry.
Add that to the fact that Leon Jackson, having just moved back from safety, to his original position, having proven nothing on the field and the unproven commodity of Kenny Wilson coming from the junior college ranks, you literally have a group, that while talented and with loads of potential, is almost a complete unknown in regard as to what they are going to do this year.
Can the staff sit back and just say to themselves that at least one or maybe two of these youngsters will indeed pan out and not go after a single back? And that's not even taking into account the very obvious possibility that health might be an issue with one or even more of them throughout their career.
Take the 1999 offensive line class for a clear example of not being able to count your chickens before they hatch:
Toniu Fonoti was a star, but
Out of six players, two contributed to their original positions, only one significantly so and the rest either didn't pan out or couldn't play because they were hurt most of their career.
|Glenn is the only proven tailback from|
last year, but that doesn't mean anyone
really knows what he'll do this year.
Brandon Jackson is now on his second major rehab, both shoulders now having been operated on. Marlon Lucky has had a pretty mild spring overall when it comes to showing some of what made him one of the most coveted running backs in the country. And Glenn, while proving every bit of what he is capable, is just one guy and Jackson and Wilson haven't played an actual game at the position at this level of play.
With so many question marks, there's little doubt in my mind that Nebraska has to go out and get at least one legit running back and, of course, "legit" is a curious label, because out of every running back on this team, ALL of them were considered that as they headed into collegiate play.
But that's what you need and even
with their depth, there's still a number of kids who certainly have earned the
label and at least for now, look at
John Clay out of
Brandon Saine , out of
That seems to be the prototype of what this staff is looking for, because while they are going after other running backs like Hazelwood East's Thomas Merriweather, who certainly isn't similar to that trio in his physical presence, those offers are few and far between.
We do get back to the question,
though, of just how hard
Yes, the secondary is going to be a serious need until there is a proven group of starters, along with at least some representation of depth. And with the entire starting defensive line gone after this up coming season, those positions are a must. In addition, this corps of linebackers looks great now, but after this year, Stewart Bradley will be gone and the very next year, all but two of this group with starting experience, will be heading into their last season.
But you can't ignore the running back position.
|Joseph Reese could be one of Nebraska's|
best shots at a top-tier RB this year.
It looks good on paper, but like
Like any position on the field, the variables that follow it in respect to what a player will contribute, if they will stay healthy and if they can actually play at this level – all have to be taken into account. And unless you have a crystal ball telling you that Lucky, Glenn, both Jacksons and Kenny Wilson, will all do exactly what you thought they could, you can't expect that they will.
Recruiting is never about today, it's about tomorrow. And as we have seen from various classes and players, you don't know what that will bring.
There's certainly a lot of positions that need to be attended to, some obviously more important than running back. But the Huskers still need another running back this year. If you wait until the mid-point of the regular season to figure out just how hard you want to go after one, though, it could be too late to get the ones that you really want.
It's been said of recruiting, drafting and overall talent analysis that it is anything but an exact science. So, when in doubt, do what you know needs to be done.
Get another running back and if you have to , get two. This is one position where you can't depend on things to happen. You have to depend on anything but.