Thus far this year, Nebraska's running game has resembled anything but a Nebraska running game. Averaging 220.6 yards per game, the Husker standard would judge this output, anemic. The NU rushing game needed a spark and it is the coaches' hope that David Horne can take his exceptional ability and help to be that spark to get NU's bread and butter back on track.
Horne comes out of "RB U", Omaha Central. Rated by The Insiders as one of the top 20 running backs in the country his senior year. As a senior, Horne showed his versatility, rushing for 1,467 yards, scoring 22 touchdowns and tallying up almost 300 yards receiving. David's emergence from Omaha Central marks yet another great I-back to come out of Central, a tradition spanning all the way back to the legendary, Gayle Sayers.
The expected contributions of Horne this coming weekend against McNeese state will mean that Horne will forego his redshirt year. It's a decision that would have obviously been tough for the staff, but considering the fact that Horne will instead of having a full four years, now will have 3 and a half seasons to play. "At first, I was a little discouraged by it." Horne stated. "We'll see how it goes, but if it helps the team out, I am all for it."
Horne's vault up the depth chart no doubt raised some eyebrows around Husker land, but it would have had to draw just as much attention from his own teammates. With players that have been at the running back position much longer than Horne, with actual playing experience, you might assume that some internal animosity would be not just possible, but expected. Horne disagreed. "I haven't seen it." Horne stated. "There haven't been any feuds and I don't think there will be any. Everyone wants to do what's best for the team."
The excitement behind Horne's sudden emergence comes from two different directions. One, obviously because of David's well-chronicled achievements, but the other (and perhaps most significant) is the fact that NU can't run the ball. Whether it's the O-line blocking, the FB blocking or the blocking to the outside or the play-calling, the basic idea here is, when nothing is working try everything you haven't.
Horne's debut will indeed be exciting for the public and possibly even the team, but for him, a true freshman, this could be the realization of a dream come true. That type of moment will no doubt be filled with excitement, but Horne stated that it won't get the most of him."I know I have to be calm when I get out there." Horne stated. "I have to be calm and relaxed and just make sure that when I do get on the field, I don't make any mental mistakes."
The mental mistakes have been key for Nebraska this year. On offense, it's been turnovers and penalties at seemingly the worst points of the game, not allowing Nebraska to build on or even to establish any type of momentum. Even before Horne was named as an "active" player, he shared just as much in the frustrations of the offensive miscues as any playing the game. "We are a team." David said. "We are a group and if one falls, we all fall. I mean, everyone is helping me out, giving me pointers so that I can help when I get in the game, so we are all together on this."
What Horne should bring to the NU offense is another versatile back that gives the Huskers yet another option to go to in trying to get the running game going. David's toughness, versatility and speed are all welcome additions to a unit that has been all but stagnant. Whether that happens, only time will tell, but Horne says he's ready to give his best shot. "I am just trying to help." Horne stated. "My only goal is to get out there, run the best I can and help the team to get back on track."