Big 12 Football News

Lord may not start for 'Huskers Saturday

Tuesday, October 1
Solich says he'll announce starter later in the week

Associated Press (via

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska coach Frank Solich is making some changes he hopes will turn around the slumping Cornhuskers.

Among them may very well be at quarterback, but Solich said Tuesday he will not announce until later this week whether Jammal Lord, Mike Stuntz or true freshman Curt Dukes will start.

Solich has not given any ringing endorsements to Lord since benching him in the Cornhuskers' 36-14 loss at Iowa State, which combined with a 40-7 blowout at Penn State two weeks before has the Huskers in a bit of a tailspin.

Solich announced Tuesday that at least four players will be getting their first start Saturday against Div. I-AA McNeese State. A new quarterback would make it five.

''If a player has played extremely well in the past and maybe isn't quite on top of his game right now, you make a change,'' Solich said. ''If a player is playing at a level as a backup player that is better than the player that is starting for you, then you make a change.''

Stuntz was able to throw the ball and get the offense going better than Lord, but Stuntz doesn't run as well. Lord is leading the team in rushing, but has five turnovers in his last two starts. Dukes has never played in a college game.

Solich is being extra quiet this week despite having an I-AA team coming to town. Already embarrassed by being knocked out of the polls for the first time since 1981, the Huskers' (3-2) can't afford anything close to an upset on Saturday.

''We have quarterbacks that without question have different strengths,'' Solich said. ''We're not throwing anything out there that's going help our opponent play to what our strengths are at that position. We will hold back on that.''

Solich said all three quarterbacks know what's going on, and the tentative starter has been told. The players have been instructed not to say much about it.

''There's really not a good way to compare Jammal and I without putting one or the other of us down,'' Stuntz said. ''I'd rather not do that because I think we're both very good football players.''

The biggest changes announced Tuesday were on defense, where the Huskers have struggled nearly as much as the offense lately. Penn State gained 476 yards and Iowa State piled on 412 yards against Nebraska.

Freshman right cornerback Fabian Washington -- who had two interceptions last week -- right rush end Trevor Johnson, rover Daniel Bullocks and defensive tackle Patrick Kabongo will be getting their first start on Saturday.

''As you look at the tape and you feel one guy is playing particularly better than another one, you make those adjustments,'' defensive coordinator Craig Bohl said. ''When a player demonstrates those skills, that's when we make those appropriate changes. That's all part of college football.''

There were two other changes on offense that did not involve starters. Backup left tackle Nick Povendo is moving over to the right side and freshman I-back David Horne has jumped from the bottom of the pile to No. 2.

Horne was expected to take a redshirt year, but with no running backs breaking the 100-yard mark for this season, Solich is willing to try most anything to get the offensive line and backs in sync.

''It does not solely come back to the I-backs and the guys at that position. There were a lot of factors that entered in to us not getting production from the I-backs,'' Solich said. ''We're looking for what will be our best guy, our best combination. So David will get his chances.''

Solich said he was still awaiting word from the NCAA on whether I-back Thunder Collins would be eligible for Saturday's game. Collins served a four-game suspension for violating undisclosed NCAA rules.

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