It is centered around Jammal Lord, and don't expect that to change. New offensive coordinator Barney Cotton is a former Husker lineman and assistant coach for Tom Osborne and Frank Solich. Yes, he added a short passing game successfully at New Mexico State, and while he will likely have that as part of the offensive complement for Nebraska, he will also have the option. I think he will revert back to more triple option where the fullback is involved on the belly to start the play. Expect 6-0, 250-pound fullback Judd Davies to run with the ball, likely catch it, along with his blocking chores. If you were Nebraska wouldn't you try the middle of the OSU defense?
Josh Davis is the new starter at I-back, but the son of former I-back Tony Davis is not the plodder some make him out to be. The 5-11, 205 pounder was a 200-meter sprint champ in high school. David Horne will also get his chance too.
The Cowboys should be very aware of tight end Matt Herian, he really is the best big-play receiver in the Husker attack. Ross Pilkington, Jack O'Holleran, and Mark LeFlore are good, but they aren't the kind of receivers that can beat you constantly.
The offensive line is the biggest difference in Nebraska from it's past. Richie Incognito is an excellent tackle, a freshman All- American. The other tackle Dan Vili Waldrop is good too, but the rest of the Husker offensive line is average. Put a different uniform on them and they would fit in. This is not the line loaded with Outland candidates that Nebraska has had in the past.
KEYS FOR OSU VS. NEBRASKA OFFENSE
1. Tackle well at all times. Tackling in the open field will be important, but tackling in closed quarters is important too.
2. Hold the line. The middle can't be gashed because once they get the middle then they can open up outside.
3. Be smart in coverage, don't let receivers loose.
4. Get turnovers, the OSU defense hasn't done that enough. Saturday is a good day to do it.
The feeling in Lincoln is the defensive line is strong. I agree Trevor Johnson at end is an All-Big 12 type player, but I can't say that for the rest of the line. Junior Bernard Thomas at end, returning starter Ryan Bingham at tackle, and LeKevin Smith at the other tackle are fresh faces, especially Thomas and Smith. Heck, a true freshman, albeit a good one in Omaha's Brandon Teamer, has climbed to second team defensive tackle.
The linebackers run well, but at times, last year had problems making plays. Insiders blame the disorganization on defense. Ira Cooper, speedy middle backer Barrett Rud, and lightning fast Demorrio Williams will play off the line in order to be able to move and not get caught up in the traffic in the trenches. Look for new coordinator Bo Pelini, out of the NFL, to be agreesive but under control. You will see them mostly cover two, but if you get cover one, find Rashaun.
The secondary will miss former All American De'Juan Groce. All four starters return, but it looks like junior Lornell McPherson has beaten out Pat Ricketts at right corner. McPherson or Fabian Washington gets the challenge of covering Rashaun Woods. Woods is licking his chops. Free safety Josh Bullocks and strong safety Phillip Bland, an excellent athlete, will have to be on their toes in both run support and over the top coverage of the OSU wide receivers.
KEYS FOR OSU VS. NEBRASKA DEFENSE
1. Do not turn the ball
over, not at all.
2. If the Cowboys do not turn the ball over they will win.
3. Establish as many weapons as possible.
4. Because of expected stunts and blitzes, the offensive line must communicate on run blocking and pass protection.
NEBRASKA SPECIAL TEAMS
The Huskers even have a new coordinator here. The return guys are Josh Davis and Cory Ros. Be careful on punts, the Huskers block a bunch of them. The kicker Sandro DeAngelis is a nervous sort. Do everything you can to encourage him into mistakes.
KEYS FOR OSU VS. NEBRASKA SPECIAL TEAMS
1. Be smart and tackle
2. Retrun goes for a score, but watch the blocks behind the play, don't make em.
3. Luke Phillips needs to worry about the kick, not the snap.
OSU WINS 27-17