7 Questions: Offense in the Offseason

By at January 2, 2010 | 10:41 PM | Print

Shotgun to stay? Whether we or you or any Husker fans prefers an under center power game is immaterial to what offensive coordinator Shawn Watson’s players can actually execute. And the Huskers look better in a shotgun spread offense. They just do. It suits the quarterbacks, the running backs, the offensive line, the receivers and the Wildcat formation.

How long does it take Zac Lee to recover – and is recovery successful? Funny that Nebraska fans would pin a potential national title run on the health of No. 5, but, after seeing Cody Green’s wobbly work in the Holiday Bowl, so be it. Lee is unquestionably the No. 1 guy going into spring practice – and he still isn’t very good. So not only does he have to rehab after surgery on his right torn flexor tendon, he has to find a way to improve without throwing the ball – possibly through all of spring camp.

Can Cody Green capitalize on Lee’s absence to develop for 2010 and beyond? We can’t ignore his struggles during the last half of the season – but we also can’t take too much from them, either. Green hasn’t been allowed to grow into a starter – too much attention for a handful for a good plays, too short of a leash for a handful of bad ones – and he should make “the leap” in the spring. Well, he’d better, anyway.

Whither Kody Spano? The things Spano reportedly did best – throwing those skinny slants and posts, and hanging in the pocket when bullets started flying – are attributes Watson appreciates most. Can he come back from two ACL tears? Can he trust his knee enough to make plays. It’s rare – but possible.

Is there a No. 2 receiver in the building? Some Husker – Brandon Kinnie, Khiry Cooper, Antonio Bell, Curenski Gilleylen – has to take the heat off of Niles Paul. And receivers coach Ted Gilmore has to stop sampling every guy on the roster for the role. Find two or three complimentary receivers, stick with them, and develop chemistry with Lee – when he returns – Green and whoever else tries out at QB.

How much can the redshirt freshmen – plus Jermarcus Hardrick – push the vets on he offensive line? Hardrick will push Marcel and D.J. Jones at right tackle – and potentially win the job. As for the redshirt freshmen, we’re talking about Brent Qvale (guard), Jeremiah Sirles (tackle), Jesse Coffey (guard) and Nick Ash(guard/center). At the very least, Qvale (huge, and nimble) and Sirles (looks the part) were slated for the two-deep before injuries tilted the risk/reward scale against burning their redshirt. Neither will likely start for NU in 2010, but they can provide important depth every third or fourth series, or serve as injury protection. At any rate – they sorely need experience for the future.

Where does Taylor Martinez fit in? We dug around in the few weeks after the Big 12 Championship game about Martinez, and found he was more feared as a receiver than he was at quarterback. And yet he’ll start at QB – potentially as a Wildcat guy – and take a run at the backup job. Either way – the kid needs to see the field, and get the chance to make plays. He’s among the fastest players on NU’s roster and he’s big enough to take some licks. T Magic is more like T Mystery.

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