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  1. 2012 Feb 18

    NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: The Husker Locker Crew's Weekend Thoughts (2/18/2012)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Every week, the Husker Locker staff sits down and is presented a number of questions addressing various aspects of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports.

    This week:

    What Husker football player do you feel has to improve the most this offseason?

    Brian: It’s not so much a player, as an entire group - the offensive line. Guys like Tyler Moore, Spencer Long and Ryan Klatchko need to step up and not only give people like Andrew Rodriguez and Seung Hoon Choi competition for starting roles, but also build depth that the line seemed to lack as 2011 progressed.

    Chris: It’s hard to gauge “improvement” for new guys that will be filling voids this season since we don’t have a lot of evidence of how good they can be in order to make such a conclusion (Zaire Anderson obviously has to play well to fill in for Lavonte David, Mohammed Seisay needs to lock-down one of the corner spots, etc.).

    Looking at players who logged significant time last season, it’s safe to say that Taylor Martinez must take a large step forward in order for Nebraska to have a chance at a Big Ten crown. He was an enigma last year, playing extremely well at some points (Ohio State, Northwestern) and looking completely lost at others (Wisconsin and Michigan ).

    T-Magic is a redshirt junior now with plenty of experience under his belt. Can he overcome his poor decision-making, cut down on turnovers, break the big runs he had in his freshman campaign and improve his completion percentage on longer throws? If so, Nebraska’s offense can be deadly with the skill at running back, tight end and wide receiver, especially with the addition of Jordan Westerkamp.

    On defense, Cameron Meredith needs to improve significantly for Bo’s front four to work properly. Meredith played very well during his sophomore season, but regressed significantly last year. He looked slow and winded by the third quarter of most games which may be due to the staff’s emphasis on bulking up for the rigors of Big Ten play. Whatever the reason, No. 34 needs to be a leader on the defensive line.

    Greg: As far as individual improvement, I'd like to see Chase Rome. He has a ton of potential and he needs to display marked improvement next year.

    Brandon: Ryan Klachko as I feel he’s the next big thing at center, even as a redshirt freshman. At 6’4” 285, he has plenty of time to pack on 5-10 pounds of muscle while keeping his speed.

    I don’t see PJ Mangieri, Cole Pensick or Nick Ash as permanent solutions in the middle of the offensive line. Klachko’s got the physicality, the smarts and the desire to be a great interior lineman for Nebraska. I’m not going to say he’ll be a Rimington Award winner, but he has that level of potential.

    Who comprises your starting 2012 defensive backfield (CB and S)?

    Brian: Mohammad Seisay isn’t coming here to sit on the pine, folks. He’s starting from the first snap of the season on. The other three? Good question.

    PJ Smith should be out there, however the word is that he didn’t quite know what he was doing last year which makes it tough to project him seeing much time. Daimion Stafford has to be considered a lock for a safety.

    To start the season, a combination of Ciante Evans and Andrew Green will be out there. Snaps and experience will dictate who takes the spots by the time Arkansas State comes around.

    Chris: There are so many variables heading into the spring and summer that it's hard to nail down anything definitive. Braylon Heard has been moved to cornerback and brings plenty of athleticism. Mohammed Seisay was one of the most coveted JUCO players last year and should be able to make an impact right away.

    Stanley Jean-Baptiste showed flashes of brilliance when he was healthy. Additionally, Charles Jackson is rumored to have become eligible to enroll at Nebraska after the highly-coveted corner was unable to qualify last season. At safety, only Daimion Stafford played significant minutes last year.

    With all of that in mind, the starters come the first kickoff will likely be Andrew Green and Mohammed Seisay at cornerback with Daimion Stafford and P.J. Smith at safety.

    By the time conference play rolls around, look for a starting group of Heard and Seisay at the cornerback spots with Stafford and Corey Cooper at safety.

    Greg: Seisay and Green at cornerback, Stafford and Heard (who knows?) at safety.

    Brandon: I’ll stick Mohammed Seisay and Andrew Green at cornerback with PJ Smith and Courtney Osborne at safety for now. Green’s spot is up for grabs until the first kickoff and it may not be solidified even then.

    Stanley Jean-Baptiste has an awesome frame for a cornerback and Braylon Heard’s move is intriguing. Everyone and their brother wanted him as a defensive back, including Ohio State. Green did improve as 2011 went along, so he’s getting the spot opposite arguable the roster’s best defensive back.

    At safety, Smith’s not as cerebral as Austin Cassidy was, but he’s a far better athlete and will make more plays resulting in offensive possession, good field position or points. Osborne gets the nod over Daimion Stafford right now simply due to his time in the system.

    Stafford struggled in coverage at times in 2011, but he has an entire offseason to work on his deficiencies. I’d imagine we’ll likely see a mixture of Osborne, Smith and Stafford during the 2012 non-conference schedule.

    Considering the difficulties Connie Yori's team has been facing, how do you see the Lady Huskers' regular season ending?

    Brian: Hopefully this team isn’t hitting a wall. However, after the triple overtime thriller in West Lafayette, it seems that this team has slammed head first into one. Wisconsin comes into Devaney on Sunday. Let's hope the kinks get worked out. If not, keep them away from Doc, at least.

    Chris: In ESPN’s latest projections, Nebraska is listed as a potential No. 6 seed in the women’s NCAA tournament. Three losses in a row spells trouble for the Huskers' chances of making the dance, though.

    The committee likes to take teams that are on a hot streak come tournament time, and while the Huskers have some decent wins to hang their hat on, they’ve struggled at times against top competition.

    Three games remain to finish the year. The Huskers need to win two of these games to feel good about their chances.

    Greg: They'll bounce back and finish strong, complete with a decent showing in the Big Ten tournament.

    Brandon: I wasn't anticipating a three-loss skid out of Yori’s team this year, even in Big Ten play. Must be something in the Gatorade down in Lincoln. Regardless, this team can finish the season strong.

    They’re set up for a potential 2-1 or 3-0 end to the regular season with games against Wisconsin and Ohio State at home with Michigan State on the road bringing them to either 21 or 22 wins.

    Any initial thoughts as Nebraska baseball's season gets underway?

    Brian: All the talk has been wonderful, but eventually you have to walk the walk. Let's see how this team is sitting after their trip to Corpus Christi next weekend.

    Chris: Very excited to start the Erstad era and see how this team stacks up in out of conference play. I’m going out on a limb and saying Nebraska wins the Big Ten in Erstad’s first year through a combination of solid pitching, defense, and small ball.

    Erstad appears to be making all the right moves and saying the right things. However, he has no prior Division 1 coaching experience, so it will be vital for him to rely on his top assistants, and great hires, Will Bolt and Ted Silva.

    As the team takes the mold of its coach, expect a hard-nosed group who plays smart baseball and accomplishes the little things very well which means plenty of wins in the long run.

    Greg: I'm disappointed in the loss to Gonzaga. If this team is going to be successful, they will have to close out games. It'll come together. Baseball is great that way. Go Big Red!

    Brandon: Last night’s loss to the Zags stunk as you always like to see a new coach get his first win right off the bat, pardon the pun, but I think a 2-1 series win would sit with just fine with Erstad. Gonzaga’s no scrub club and it’s going to be beneficial for the Huskers to play a squad of this caliber coming out of the gate as they head down the road.

    Regardless of the loss, I’m excited to see what this team can do. One loss isn’t going to damper that enthusiasm.

    Brandon: @huskerlocker
    Brian: @btbowling
    Greg: @thehooch36
    Chris: @chris_labenz

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    Tags: ryan klachko, tyler moore, spencer long, taylor martinez, chase rome, mohammed seisay, andrew green, daimion stafford, baseball, basketball

  2. 2011 Dec 19

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Eleven Blackshirts Was Enough


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brett Baker

    One of the things that I love about college football is the history and traditions that make each program special. Among my favorites are Ohio State's Buckeye helmet decals, Michigan's winged helmets and Texas A&M’s "12th Man.”

    However, the Blackshirts are at the top. I love explaining the history and the meaning to opposing fans and what it represents, or at least what it used to represent. It used to represent excellence and exclusivity. For years, only the starting eleven were granted the honor. Those days appear to be gone.

    Under Pelini’s reign there have been some changes to the tradition that haven't set well with many fans, most noticeably the number of Blackshirts that are handed out when they eventually are. This year, the number was anywhere from 16 to 20. Nobody really knows for sure.

    I understand the argument that the defense is more specialized now than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. There may be 15 guys that start regularly depending on the game's opening package. I comprehend it, but when it comes to handing out Blackshirts, I don't buy it.

    With that in mind let’s have a look at a true Blackshirt team where only the Huskers’ top eleven defenders will get the coveted garment.

    In alphabetical order:

    Defensive end Jason Ankrah - Playing opposite Cam Meredith, it has to be tough to draw attention, but Ankrah has more than held up his end (pardon the pun).

    Linebacker Will Compton - As the 2011 season wore on, the better Compton played. After recovering from an early ankle injury, he was as stout and dependable as anyone on the defensive unit.

    Defensive lineman Jared Crick - Knocked out with a season-ending injury against Ohio State, this future NFL first-rounder maintained a presence on the sidelines and remained an emotional leader.

    Linebacker Lavonte David - If it made any sense, I'd give him two or three Blackshirts. His effort was so high that it seemed like that many Davids needed to be on the field to equal his productivity.

    Defensive back Alfonzo Dennard - Out from under the sizable shadow that was cast by Prince Amukamara, Dennard was a force to be reckoned with after bouncing back from early injury.

    Defensive back Andrew Green - With Dennard out for the first three games of the season, a large amount of pressure fell on Green's shoulders. He struggled early on, but eventually got his feet under him and became a valuable member of the secondary.

    Kicking specialist Brett Maher - Breaking with tradition for this one. Alex Henery should have been a Blackshirt for his last three seasons and so should Maher for his first. He was an absolute weapon punting the ball.

    Defensive end Cameron Meredith - By any measure his motor and intensity were an integral part of this year’s defensive unit. His non-stop energy could always be counted on for a memorable play or two.

    Defensive lineman Terrance Moore - Thrust into the starting lineup due to Crick’s injury, Moore held his own and then some.

    Defensive back Daimion Stafford - With a booming hit in the season's opening game, Stafford announced to the world that he was a big hitter who was ready for the prime time.

    Defensive lineman Baker Steinkuhler - As stout as they come. The Steinkuhler name has meant a lot to Nebraska football and the junior defender has only begun to add to the family's legacy.

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    Tags: blackshirts, jason ankrah, will compton, jared crick, lavonte david, alfonzo dennard, andrew green, brett maher, cameron meredith, terrence moore, damian stafford

  3. 2011 Dec 19

    Husker Heartbeat 12/19: Green Continues to Improve, DEs Compare Past to the Future and the Big Red Report Card


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Defensive back Andrew Green works to become a more complete athlete like those that preceded him

    - Current Husker defensive ends are putting in the time to live up to past greats

    - Rittenberg: Nebraska football's regular season report card

    - The Lady Roundballers's record stretches to 10-1 following a schooling of Vermont

    - The No. 16 Nebraska wrestlers improve their dual competition record to 7-0 following a taming of the North Dakota State Bison

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    Tags: andrew green, cam meredith, basketball, wrestling

  4. 2011 Dec 05

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Huskers’ Party of Five


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brett Baker

    Back in August, most Nebraska fans thought come December they'd be making plans for a trip to the Rose Bowl at worst. Obviously, that did not come to pass.

    After two blowout losses and a complete gag against the “other NU”, the Huskers were left with the pageantry of the Capital One Bowl. It's kind of like getting socks for Christmas. Useful sure, but not quite the mega-haul you dream of.

    Rather than coming to grips with the underwhelming feel of this 9-3 campaign, now is a good time to look at what, or in this case who, went right. With that in mind here are my top five most-improved Huskers from the season that was.

    5. Andrew Green - Cornerback

    Having watched this young man play his high school football at San Antonio's Madison High School, there was particular interest in watching his development. Early in the season, he was about as far from this list as a player could be.

    After taking his lumps against Fresno State and Washington before seeing his playing time reduced with the return of Alfonzo Dennard, the redshirt sophomore settled down and became a dependable member of a sometimes suspect secondary. He learned a lot from a healthy Dennard and began to play with the kind of confidence that a cornerback has to have to succeed.

    4. Spencer Long – Offensive Guard

    From walk-on who had never played a snap at Nebraska to second team All-Big Ten, Long has to be among one of the most pleasant surprises of the Huskers inaugural jaunt through their new conference.

    Without Long doing the heavy lifting up the middle or pulling to lead the way for Mr. Burkhead, Rex's numbers most likely wouldn't be as sexy without Long's blocking. The best part is he'll be in Lincoln for two more years and should only improve.

    3. Will Compton – MIKE Linebacker

    After getting a decent amount of playing time following a return from injury in 2010, Compton took full advantage of his increased role this season. Next to Lavonte David and Alfonzo Dennard, Compton was easily the Huskers’ most reliable defender. At the beginning of the season, the Blackshirts’ biggest problem was not being able to get teams off the field on third down.

    As the year went on this became less and less of an issue in large part due to Compton's play. He would consistently shed blockers and fill holes where ball carriers were trying to go. A solid wrap-up tackler, he'll be the leading force on next year’s defense.

    2. Brett Maher – Kicker/Punter

    To the casual fan, this was probably the first season that they’d heard Maher's name. After having played in 27 games in the past two years, he’s no stranger to the field. That said, when you're the holder for Alex Henery you're probably not going to get noticed if everything goes right, and with Henery it almost always did.

    When Maher trotted onto the turf as Nebraska’s starting kicker for the first time in September, Husker fans had no idea what to expect, in that sense the junior from Kearney wildly exceeded expectations.

    Going 19 for 22 on field goal attempts, a perfect 42 for 42 on PATs and averaging will 45 yards per punt will go a long way towards making you a fan favorite. Being named the Big Ten Kicker and Punter of The Year will only add to that.

    1. Taylor Martinez - Quarterback

    After the Wisconsin game, there were two directions for Martinez to go. Fortunately for Husker fans, T-Magic put that debacle behind him and played really good football from there out. Following a turbulent week of media criticism, Martinez responded by pioneering the biggest comeback in school history against Ohio State. It seems that something clicked for the talented sophomore during that game.

    Rather than trying to win every game on every play, he became the kind of decision-maker that could grind out wins with his head as well as his feet. Statistically, his cumulative numbers in 2011 were almost identical to his numbers in 2010.

    Rushing - 1,292 yards / 11 TDs
    Passing - 1,631 yards / 10 TDs / 7 INTs
    Total - 2,923 yards / 21 TDs / 7 INTs

    Rushing - 958 yards / 9 TDs
    Passing - 1973 yards / 12 TDs / 7 INTs
    Total - 2,931 yards / 21 TDs / 7 INTs

    Martinez tops this list for some of the things that he didn't do. He didn't take unnecessary punishment, stepped out of bounds after a good gain rather than going one on one with a defensive back and stayed positive with his receivers.

    It's not hyperbole to say that Martinez would have had much bigger passing numbers in the second half of the season if his receivers didn't drop a good number of his chucks. While his throwing style will never be fundamentally beautiful, it can be functional. His receivers have to step up for him to truly succeed.

    If there was one play that solidifies Martinez's top ranking on this list, it was the option pitch to Burkhead at Penn State. At the very last second, he channeled his inner Tommie Frazier and made the perfect pitch that allowed Rex to score what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. It was a thing of beauty that illustrated just how far he'd come.

    There they are, the five most-improved Huskers of 2011. The best part, they will all be back in scarlet and cream next season.

    Follow Brett on Twitter: @BigRedinTejas
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    Tags: andrew green, spencer long, will compton, brett maher, taylor martinez

  5. 2011 Nov 27

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Iowa


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Call Rex Burkhead’s final tote of the rock what you want, but he deserved the record for carries after his day/season.

    - Speaking of Superman, he was responsible for over 72 percent of Nebraska’s rushing yardage and over 41 percent of the Cornhuskers’ entire offensive output.

    - The gameplan was vanilla, but when you have a weapon like Burkhead and an opponent that can’t stop him, why mess with a good thing?

    - Ameer Abdullah ran hard when he had the opportunity. Another year’s tutelage under No. 22 will only end in positive results for the young backups.

    - Taylor’s touchdown lob to Kyler Reed was awfully Tebowesque.

    - Martinez has improved over the season, but it’s been two steps forward, one step back.

    - Props to seniors on the offensive line. This is a unit that's pulled a 180.

    - Lavonte David plays like the entire opposing team has personally wronged him. In other news, the sun rose today.

    - Andrew Green looks remarkably different from game one. We might see brothers playing regularly on offense and defense come next season.

    - Wonder what five things Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt wishes he could’ve brought to Dennard Island.

    - Brett Maher had a 16-yard punt and still ended the game with a near 42-yard average on seven boots.

    - Bowl Prediction of the Week: Capital One vs. Arkansas.

    - Nebraska and Iowa should be playing for a six-foot-long bronzed pitchfork. There, it’s been said.

    Follow Brandon on Twitter: @eightlaces
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    Tags: rex burkhead, ameer abdullah, taylor martinez, kyler reed, lavonte david, andrew green, alfonzo dennard, marvin mcnutt, brett maher, capital one bowl, arkansas, heroes game

  6. 2011 Nov 01

    Husker Heartbeat 11/01: Nebraska's New Legend, Blackshirts Cause a Frenzy and Ironman Recruit Eyeballing Huskers


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - A legend is growing in Rex Burkhead

    - The return of the Blackshirts causes an eruption of excitement, but focus remains a key element for Bo Pelini's team

    - Andrew Green's actions are finally starting to click at cornerback

    - Nebraska volleyballer and player's coach Lauren Cook knew her car struck people according to a witness

    - TE/DE recruit Nate Lese is strongly considering both UCLA and Nebraska

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    Tags: rex burkhead, bo pelini, andrew green, lauren cook, nate lese

  7. 2011 Sep 28

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Five Keys To Beating Wisconsin


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brett Baker

    5. Forget the Hype: Yes, it's Nebraska’s first conference game as a member of the Big Ten. Yes, the game is going to be televised nationwide in primetime, and yes, ESPN College Gameday will be in Madison. None of that matters without the win to go with it. It all has to be tuned out.

    If last Monday's press conference is any indication then Bo Pelini is already well on his way to instilling this mindset. He’s making sure the team knows that this is just the next game on the schedule. Which of course it is and isn't.

    4. Take the Crowd Out: Husker Nation is going to represent in Madison but the Badger fans aren't just going to roll over and let the corn replace the cheese. That means that Camp Randall Stadium is going to be the loud, crazy and hostile environment that's it's known to be.

    The defense needs to get Wisconsin off the field on third down. Too many times already this year they have let the opposing team off the hook on third down, and that can't happen Saturday night. Keep the Badgers’ offense on the sideline for extended runs and sap the energy out of their fans.

    3. Get in Russell Wilson's Face: The Wisconsin football department generously lists the Badgers quarterback at 5'11". It’s a firm guess that's about an inch and a half taller than the NC State transfer signal caller actually is. That said, he's still pretty dang good.

    The Nebraska defenders would do well to get in his passing lanes early and often while keeping their hands up, going full bore, and closing his field of view. That's no magic potion for victory, but it's a start.

    2. The Defensive Backs' Best Game to Date: The secondary has to grow up and fast. The great thing about Nebraska's defense over the past few seasons was the ability of so many to do so much. Unfortunately, Prince Amukamara, DeJon Gomes and Eric Hagg have all moved on taking their abilities and corporate knowledge with them.

    If there was going to be a game where the Pelini brothers needed "it" to click for Green, Evans, Blatchford, Thorell and company, this is that game. The physical ability and mental preparation that has brought the Blackshirts back to prominence in years prior needs to emerge. It's time to put it all together and slow down what has been a very impressive offensive unit.

    1. Ground and Pound: The one area where Wisconsin can probably be exploited is along their defensive line. After toiling at more than seven thousand feet about sea level last weekend, Madison's modest 832 feet above sea level should be a breeze for the Huskers’ offensive line.

    In an ideal scenario, the offense enters the original "three yards and a cloud of dust" conference with that mindset. Four yards per snap wouldn’t be too shabby, either. Nebraska should lean on Wisconsin’s defensive front for three quarters and not let up. Wear the Badgers down and take advantage of them when the situation presents itself.

    What this game is going to boil down to is playing mistake-free football and imposing will. The question is, are the Huskers able to do that?

    Follow Brett on Twitter: @BigRedinTejas
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    Tags: russell wilson, prince amukamara, dejon gomes, eric hagg, andrew green, ciante evans, justin blatchford, lance thorell

  8. 2011 Sep 24

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Five Things To Watch For Versus Wyoming


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Erin Sorensen

    It was 1994 the last time Nebraska and Wyoming played each other. The two faced off in Memorial Stadium, where Nebraska ultimately won 42-32 over the Cowboys. It’s been 17 years, and Nebraska is about to begin a two-for-one series with Wyoming. While the two won’t see each other again for a while, this is a big game for both teams.

    For Nebraska, a win in Laramie is about more than just improving to 4-0. This game is about showing Wyoming’s head coach Dave Christensen that Nebraska hasn’t forgotten about when he helped hang 50 points on the Cornhuskers as Missouri's offensive coordinator.

    It would be unlike head coach Bo Pelini, or Nebraska fans for that matter, to let such a thing go. Here’s what fans will be looking for this evening:

    1.) A Win on the Road

    Nebraska will not be at home in Memorial Stadium again until October 8 when Ohio State rolls into town. Having the opportunity to play on the road before facing Wisconsin could be a very positive experience for the Huskers, however. A win away from friendly confines would be a good confidence-builder for the team as a whole before heading to Camp Randall.

    Bo Pelini’s bunch has had success on the road in recent years, especially during the 2010 season. It almost seemed as if the Huskers preferred playing in more hostile environments than in Memorial Stadium. Regardless, Nebraska needs a big win on the road to boost morale – for both players and fans.

    2.) Defensive Dominance

    Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard will play tonight against the Cowboys. Whether he starts or not is another story. His appearance will to be comforting to Nebraska fans that watched sophomore cornerbacks Andrew Green and Ciante Evans struggle to defend against Washington. With Dennard healthy enough to play, Husker fans will be interested to see who will end up playing opposite the veteran.

    Another change in the defense will be senior defensive tackle Jared Crick. He was injured against Washington and was seen leaving the practice field this past week without pads. The severity of Crick’s injury is unknown, but head coach Bo Pelini has said Crick’s participation will be a game time decision. If he is not active for tonight's game, it will be a huge opportunity for Wyoming to take advantage of a struggling defensive line.

    Regardless of whether Dennard starts or Crick plays, the defense needs to find its’ mojo and step up. It has been a long start to the season with a disjointed defense, but it cannot be attributed to one player’s absence. The defense needs to find its’ leader and start owning that side of the ball.

    Fans will be looking to see what the Blackshirts can do tonight as it could be very telling as to what will be seen against Wisconsin. If Nebraska can’t stop Wyoming, fans know it won’t be pretty at Camp Randall.

    3.) Tim Beck’s Play Calling

    It will be interesting to see just what offensive coordinator Tim Beck will do this week. Beck called arguably his best game of football against Washington and proved just how strong his offense can be. Using Rex Burkhead as he did showed a keen ability to read the other teams’ weakness.

    Will Beck make similar calls this week or will he hold back a bit before Wisconsin? Husker fans will be looking to see if his offense can score quickly, allowing the starters to sit out and get playing time for the younger guys. Many fans are already hoping to see Brion Carnes by the fourth quarter.

    4.) Brandon Kinnie and Jamal Turner

    Both Kinnie and Turner were noticeably absent from many rotations of the receivers last Saturday. This proved to be somewhat shocking for fans that felt Turner had been showing a lot of growth and progress. Quincy Enunwa and Kenny Bell ended up being the go-to guys, leaving him on the sidelines.

    As for Kinnie, he was on the field from time to time, but mostly to run block. In fact, he was given very little opportunity to make plays as a receiver. The senior wide out instead spent most of the time supporting his team and watching from the sidelines. While not ideal for Kinnie, he hasn’t lost his drive, tweeting, “Don’t ever doubt or count me out!”

    Tonight, fans will be looking to see catches from all receivers. Wyoming’s defense is a perfect opportunity for Nebraska to give chances to those who have not had them yet. For Turner, the experience is vital. For Kinnie, it could ultimately be what turns the season around for him before Big Ten play begins.

    5.) A Red Out

    Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium holds 29,181 people. For Bo Pelini, the size of the stadium does not matter. “I’m sure it will be fun and will be a good crowd. As far as I know, the field is still the same size,” Pelini said during Monday’s press conference.

    Regardless of size, Husker fans are going to be looking for a “Red Out” in Laramie. Fans are hoping to see more red than brown in a stadium that ultimately feels like home for the Huskers. If the stadium becomes a scarlet-tinted majority, it will be a statement to the Big Ten who are not quite used to the way Nebraska fans travel.

    Tonight will be important for Nebraska’s fan base to show their road tripping abilities, and based on the excitement building in Laramie, Cowboys fans are ready to play host.

    It can’t be stressed enough how big the game is for both teams. For Nebraska, it will be about getting prepared for Big Ten play. For Wyoming, it will be about showing what the Cowboys are capable of.

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: bo pelini, alfonzo dennard, jared crick, brandon kinnie, jamal turner, ciante evans, andrew green, rex burkhead, tim beck

  9. 2011 Sep 20

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Laramie, Wyoming - It's a Trap!


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    This pesky offense. This upsetting defense.

    Somewhere in the midst of a 51-38 victory, the Nebraska football team showed the ability to not only weather a storm, but to put their foot down and play a quarter of football that can separate themselves from any team in the nation. However, they also showed that there is not only room for improvement on both sides of the ball, but also a need to cultivate the maturity to close out a football game.

    The offense was beyond outstading for most of the day. Taylor Martinez, Braylon Heard, Aaron Green, Kenny Bell, there were athletes making plays that needed to be made. Quincy Enunwa made some big blocks, and the much maligned offensive line had their best game of the season by far. Even without a Brandon Kinnie and Jamal Turner, playmakers were everywhere.

    The defense is Nebraska’s current liability. 274 yards of passing and a greater amount of yardage per play (6.2 vs. 6.1 for Nebraska) kept Washington in the game. Huskies head coach Steve Sarkasian had his team ready for a knockout punch early and often. The Nebraska defense's back seven were reeling for most of the game.

    There will be days where the offense bails out the defense (Stillwater last year, anyone?), but for two games in a row, there hasn’t been a knockout punch delivered by this team. After being on top 44-17 with a little more than 10 minutes left in the game, both sides of the ball went into a protective shell.

    Even Bo Pelini admitted that the calls on defense were a little lax in the post game presser. Pelini let the front four go after the quarterback, which is fine since Sarkasian and quarterback Keith Price were in four-wide sets. However, with the kind of day that Andrew Green and others in the secondary were having, that turned out to be a bad call.

    This secondary is young, but at the same time, they shouldn’t be having the same issues game after game. Giving the benefit of the doubt thanks to Alfonzo Dennard’s absence is like putting a small bandage on a huge wound. When Dennard returns, he can’t cover the whole field.

    Ciante Evans and Andrew Green have to be playmakers. Daimion Stafford, P.J. Smith, Austin Cassidy, all have room for improvement. It’s not time to call out secondary coach Corey Raymond, but when Fonzie returns, there will be no more excuses for this bad play.

    Nebraska did come away with a somewhat convincing win over a BCS school that should do some damage in the Pac-12 conference (it may be the Pac-16 by the time you read this). Wisconsin looked alright against a team they should have throttled, as did Michigan. Ohio State and Michigan State? Not so much.

    However, there is a game in Lariamie under a starry Wyoming night sky against a Cowboy squad that will fill the house and have fans ready. They've been ready for a long time, too. This is the ultimate trap game for Nebraska; between a revenge game and the Big Ten opener against a potential new arch-rival.

    It’s been said before that this team isn’t good enough to hit auto-pilot yet. The 2011 season has to truly be addressed on a week-by-week basis. Before Nebraska can win in Madison, or against the team from Columbus, there’s a tilt against a Mountain West team that won’t be scared of the Big Red at all.

    Get better, take care of Wyoming, and then worry about Russell Wilson.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: taylor martinez, braylon heard, aaron green, kenny bell, brandon kinnie, jamal turner, quincy enunwa, bo pelini, andrew green, keith price, steve sarkisian, ciante evans, daimion stafford, pj smith, austin cassidy, corey raymond, alfonzo dennard

  10. 2011 Sep 18

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions – Washington


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - One of two things is a liability: Andrew Green or Corey Raymond’s coaching. Alfonzo Dennard will determine which.

    - On the other hand, it turns out Aaron Green is a baller. Braylon Heard, come on down!

    - That Rex guy’s pretty good, too.

    - Nebraska has approximately a 29 percent third down conversion rate over the past two games. However, they’ve scored 40-plus points in the first three contests of a season for the first time since 1995. Pass the Aleve.

    -It’s safe to say that Ameer Abdullah could score on any given return. When’s the last time that could be said about a Cornhusker? Maybe DeJuan Groce…maybe.

    - In health news, Taylor Martinez finally decides to stop shaving years off of his life by sliding.

    - Mathew May’s heads up play deserves an extra tip of the cap. That sort of play will win you games that you probably should lose.

    - Chris Polk ran for a ton of yardage and it came as no surprise. Not necessarily because the interior defensive line got worked over, but he’s a damn good back. The line issue may want to be resolved before the Huskers hit Madison in black, though.

    - Brett Maher shanks a punt, but redeems himself by making one of the better tackles of the afternoon.

    - Stafford and David are tackling machines, but again none were for a loss.

    - Seven times the Cornhuskers entered the red zone and seven times they scored. That’s a bingo.

    - Is this the first college football game in recent memory where a ref needs to be worried about getting fined by the FCC over an issue with the game clock?

    -The bottom line's three wins and no losses. It’d be a lie to say after being up 44-17 that the final score of the rubber match against Washington wasn’t disappointing, though.

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    Tags: alfonzo dennard, corey raymond, andrew green, aaron green, rex burkhead, ameer abdullah, dejuan groce, taylor martinez, mathew may, brett maher, chris polk, daimion stafford, lavonte david

  11. 2011 Sep 12

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Winning Covered Up a Game That Still Stinks


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    John Madden once said, “Winning is a great deodorant.” If that’s the case, then Nebraska used up a lot of Right Guard last Saturday night. The Fresno State Bulldogs should have a decent season. Derek Carr is going to be a player that the Cornhuskers won’t look forward to playing in the coming years, especially in the Silicon Valley.

    Pat Hill had his bunch ready to go and it showed early on. However, the second half showed that this Nebraska team can come out and answer the call on both sides of the ball. Granted, there are still some kinks that need to be worked out for this team to head to Indianapolis in December, much less win the Big Ten’s first championship game.

    Husker fans knew that there were going to be offensive growing pains this year. Regardless of the redundancy in Tim Beck’s first half play calling, the second half showcased several playmakers. Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner, Kyler Reed and Quincy Enunwa demonstrated that they’re all studs.

    Ameer Abdullah likely saved the day with his 100-yard kickoff return. Many fans wanted to give this offense an identity off a 20-play script from the spring. Martinez is learning and continues to slowly improve. There were moments of clarity in the first half, but by game’s end, he had statistics that mirrored a performance from the first half of 2010.

    There needs to be trust in Tim Beck’s system. He did something that hasn’t happened in three years in Lincoln. He opened up the playbook and allowed the offense to create its own opportunities. Martinez always has and needs to be an option, not the only option for this offense. Burkhead’s a rock Ameer Abdullah’s stock is rising.

    Kenny Bell displayed a deep threat ability to compliment Kyler Reed and Quincy Enunwa. Jamal Turner is going to be electric if he doesn’t lose the ball in the lights. Those alone represents six other options that are available to help this offense. That doesn’t count Brandon Kinnie, who is certain to get back to his 2010 ways.

    The defense will improve. This season resembles 2008, when the staff and schemes were new. Sure enough, there were growing pains. Losing Alfonzo Dennard hasn’t helped, but the experience for Ciante Evans and Andrew Green will pay dividends. Derek Carr was a good test for this secondary, because Dan Persa and Russell Wilson are both accurate and are quick on their feet. Let’s not forget that Denard Robinson will likely be watching tape of last Saturday’s game.

    Some players need to improve, of course. Justin Blatchford needs to step his game up as does Damian Stafford. Stafford had flashes of brilliance, but needs to be more consistent, like former Huskers Dejon Gomes and Eric Hagg. Austin Cassidy had a few mental breakdowns, but he’ll rebound. Will Compton and Sean Fisher both played well, but not spectacularly.

    The defensive line also played at an average level. If Fresno State was a bad game by Pelini brothers’ standards, is the line in Vegas looking temping with a revenge game against Washington coming up? History encourages betting on Nebraska following a poor defensive performance from Pelini’s bunch. (Of course, this article mentions it for entertainment purposes only)

    Offensively, going against defenses that stack the line of scrimmage seems to be the main problem for this team, so why not use formations that take people out of the box? Perhaps installing play-action for Taylor or using misdirection? Regardless, the bottom line is that when the game clock read all zeroes, Nebraska won.

    It was a victory sparked by a stud named Ameer Abdullah, great second half work by Beck, and a Nebraska team’s realization that this they can’t look forward to anything other than the next play. A triumph that, while not 60 minutes of a Picasso, was better than Monet. Once the pads came off, a 2-0 record is all that mattered.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: fresno state, derek carr, pat hill, tim beck, kenny bell, jamal turner, kyler reed, quincy enunwa, ameer abdullah, taylor martinez, brandon kinnie, ciante evans, andrew green, alfonzo dennard, justin blatchford, daimion stafford, austin cassidy, will compton, sean fisher

  12. 2011 Sep 09

    Husker Heartbeat 9/9: Meredith Goes Throwback, Turner Wants to Unload and Dennard's Status for Saturday


    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Defensive end Cameron Meredith says that his playing style is a throwback to the Huskers' glory days

    - Cornhusker youngsters remain confident

    - Jamal Turner is ready to show everything that he's got in his arsenal

    - Alfonzo Dennard's status for Saturday remains uncertain

    - Andrew Green puts faith before all as he progresses

    - Erstad's first squad starts the season with a four-hour practice

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    Tags: cameron meredith, jamal turner, alfonzo dennard, andrew green, darin erstad

  13. 2011 Sep 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - UTC


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Despite what appears to be overwhelming sentiment, Taylor has improved a bit. He primarily reverted to his old ways when it came to passing as he locked in on receivers and didn’t check down too often, but when he took his time, he found success.

    - For option runs to work properly, a number of things have to be in sync. When the quarterback, running back and offensive line are all scrambling, everything’s going to pot.

    - The offensive line looked anything but crisp, however youth and inexperience as a unit needs to be taken into account. If Beck’s offense continues to utilize a heavy run game, they’ll need time to gel.

    - The interior run defense appears to still have some issues while the ends appear to be the strength of the front four. This was honestly the opposite of what I expected.

    - Linebackers looked a touch slow and even Lavonte bit on some fakes, but first game jitters can do that. Compton’s absence was noticeable and Fisher needs to work on wrapping up.

    - Andrew Green’s raw, but has the talent to play his position. UTC did the right thing in trying to exploit the lack of Dennard. Did you notice how they rarely tested Ciante?

    - Daimion Stafford is a bad man.

    - Mendoza’s hit was satisfying if only to see a hard-working kid who’s been all over the field finally get involved and make it count.

    - Brett Maher may not be Alex Henery, but he’s a reasonable facsimile.

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: taylor martinez, tim beck, lavonte david, will compton, andrew green, ciante evans, daimion stafford, marcus mendoza

  14. 2011 Aug 10

    Husker Heartbeat 8/10: Commit No. 6, Kickers Aplenty and Questions for Compton


    By HuskerLocker

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    A daily dose of what's new in Husker Nation from Monday through Friday:

    - Nebraska football picks up a commitment from Louisiana linebacker Deion Jones

    - The competition to take over for Alex Henery is wide open

    - Q&A with linebacker Will Compton

    - Now healthy, DB Andrew Green (Aaron's older brother) is getting going

    - Brooke Delano is pain-free as Nebraska volleyball practice begins

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: will compton, deion jones, andrew green, nebraska volleyball

  15. 2011 Apr 04

    Husker Heartbeat 4/4: Kenny, Cody, Khiry, Case, Beebe and Zou Zou


    By HuskerLocker

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    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.

    *Because of his speed and competitiveness, Kenny Bell has the full attention of his teammates. So is Jamal Turner.

    *Nice story about three NFL-caliber players - Jared Crick, LaVonte David and Alfonzo Dennard - choosing to play one more year of college football.

    *The Longhorn Network is officially here, sporting black in its logo for some bizarre reason. Because UT has a lot of black in its team colors. In Texas' spring game, Case McCoy - Colt's younger brother - appears ready to challenge Garrett Gilbert for the starting QB job.

    *Khiry Cooper is content to play two sports even if slows his progress at either one.

    *Andrew Green, finally healthy after two years of struggling with a variety of injuries, has moved to cornerback where new coach Corey Raymond is helping him with technique.

    *Always willing for a chat, Cody Green says again: He won't transfer. He'll also change positions if it will help the team.

    *Dan Beebe backs the Fiesta Bowl in the wake of the stupendous corruption revealed in a fraud probe.

    "I feel good about their commitment to do the right thing," Beebe told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday. "There hasn't been a reluctance or pushback [from Fiesta officials] at all."

    Beebe said he has been in contact with Fiesta Bowl officials often in recent weeks and they have asked for help and suggestions for how to reform the organization's leadership structure to ensure similar mistakes won't be made again.

    "I don't feel good about what happened," Beebe said. "I'm saddened by what occurred."

    Of course there's no pushback now.

    *After getting shot down by Purdue's Matt Painter, Missouri more or less settles for Miami's Frank Haith, who has been to one NCAA Tournament in his tenure in the ACC.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, spring football 2011, cody green, andrew green, big 12, texas, missouri, fiesta bowl

  16. 2011 Mar 23

    SPRING FOOTBALL: 5 Players On the Mend


    By HuskerLocker

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    We've reviewed 10 “Prove-It” Players and Five Sleepers for spring camp. Here's five players on the mend who missed significant chunks of the 2010 season because of injuries and can play a big role for the 2011 Huskers:

    Linebacker Sean Fisher: He suffered a left broken leg/torn left ankle tendon midway through fall camp, which forced LaVonte David into service and left the Husker run defense a bit light against some of the more power-based teams. David fit in nicely, of course, but Fisher's 6-foot-6, 235-pound frame and lateral speed makes him a nice weapon for a versatile Brothers Pelini defense.

    Defensive back Andrew Green: Bo and Carl Pelini like this sophomore's length and versatility, but he's never really been healthy since he arrived on campus. The 6-foot, 190-pounder could play Peso, corner, or even safety, but he's expected to make his move this spring – now that he's back at full speed.

    Right tackle Marcel Jones: Back troubles repeatedly sidelined the 6-foot-7, 320-pounder last year, as he missed most of his junior season trying to get back to a place where he could physically contribute. As a senior, his health is crucial to the depth of an offensive line that's never really been able to play a large number of guys because of recurring injuries. Jones probably isn't an elite tackle, but he's steady enough.

    Quarterback Taylor Martinez: No-brainer, right? Martinez was one kind of runner – explosive, electric, hard to catch – before his ankle injury, and another kind – indecisive, fragile, slow – after it. Throw in a nasty turf toe injury suffered in the Texas A&M game, and Martinez had holes in both of his tires. A blazing 10-yard dash time recorded in conditioning suggests he back. He needs to be. Martinez wasn't savvy enough to make plays with his arm last year.

    Right guard Brandon Thompson: Like Jones, another offensive lineman dogged by injuries since his arrival in Lincoln. Thompson hasn't seen much playing time in two years because of a variety of ailments – including hernia surgery – but he's in the mix for the starting job at guard. He'll be one to watch – and hope stays healthy for depth purposes.

    Tags: spring football 2011, taylor martinez, sean fisher, brandon thompson, marcel jones, andrew green

  17. 2011 Mar 16

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 25


    By HuskerLocker

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    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 25 Peso/corner Andrew Green

    After waiting his turn behind some of Nebraska's best defensive players – and rehabbing from a groin injury that kept him out for chunks of practice last year – this redshirt sophomore could be a guy who gets the longest look at Peso or Dejon Gomes' old dime linebacker spot. Green could play some corner, too. If he's healthy, it will be hard for new secondary coach Corey Raymond to keep this 6-foot, 200-pounder on the sidelines. Green has long arms for his frame and good speed. Can he tackle in space? That's a big question – and that's what spring is for.

    See all 50 Huskers! No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, andrew green

  18. 2010 Sep 30

    Non-Conference Report Card - DB


    By HuskerLocker

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    The Huskers' finest unit gets sparkling grades from HL's Samuel McKewon. Who's the standout? Find with a 30-day free trial from Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: report card, prince amukamara, alfonzo dennard, dejon gomes, rickey thenarse, eric hagg, pj smith, anthony west, austin cassidy, andrew green, courtney osborne

  19. 2010 Aug 12

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 44


    By HuskerLocker

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    Our 50 Huskers to Know series returns for the fall, as we count down the key players on Nebraska’s 2010 team. Check back throughout fall camp for the countdown, and scroll to the bottom for links to the whole list.

    No. 44 Andrew Green, Peso, 6-0, 190, RFr.

    Green suffered through some nagging injuries in the spring, but he’s back in fall camp with a new position: Peso back, where he’ll back up Eric Hagg and, occasionally, Austin Cassidy. Green has a terrific frame and solid coverage skills and, along with Lazarri Middleton - who’s not in fall camp - he’s the defensive back with the most potential from the 2009 recruiting class.

    You should see Green on some special teams and during mop-up duty of certain games. He could ascend to No. 2 at Peso if Cassidy moves back to play more free safety in preparation for 2010, when Cassidy could start there.

    See all of the Huskers: No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45

    Tags: 50 huskers to know fall 2010, andrew green

  20. 2010 Apr 26

    SPRING IN REVIEW: Secondary


    By HuskerLocker

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    Following the 2010 spring camp, Nebraska now looks back at the progress made by each position group - and what progress is yet to come.

    Position: Secondary

    Spring Summary: For all the grumblings we heard about the defense taking its lumps in spring scrimmages, only on a few plays did the Huskers look out of place in the Red/White Spring Game. Prince Amukamara was beaten twice by friend and teammate Niles Paul - but one of those catches was clearly offensive pass interference on Paul, while the other was a trick play. Alfonzo Dennard locked up his guy most of the afternoon despite giving up a touchdown. Can’t argue with the safety work of Dejon Gomes, P.J. Smith, Eric Hagg or Austin Cassidy, either. Anthony West seemed to take well to his position change, while Rickey Thenarse appears recovered from a torn ACL. Given the depth all over the secondary, this is Nebraska’s strongest position - as it must be in the pass-happy Big 12.

    Big Mover: Cassidy, who is a legitimate backup to Hagg, and should see plenty of playing time in the non-conference season before Hagg gets most of the snaps in the Big 12 campaign. Cassidy is big like a linebacker but can run like a safety. Pencil him in at Peso for 2011.

    More to Prove: West has all the physical tools to be a gifted safety. He should have been moved earlier, but now he has to play a big dose of catch-up. Thenarse continues to learn and master the playbook in his fifth season.

    Wild Card: Thenarse. He’s a big-time playmaker who struggled with consistency. Nebraska has to find the time and place for his talents.

    Freshmen to Add: The big name is safety Corey Cooper, who looks headed for strong safety or perhaps the Peso. Defensive backs Harvey Jackson, Ciante Evans and Joshua Mitchell are almost-guaranteed redshirts. Bronson Marsh, a grayshirt, may or may not join the team in the fall.

    Injuries: Andrew Green sat out most of spring camp. Walk-on Justin Blatchford tore up his knee in camp; he was a valuable special teams guy.

    How to Spend Summer Vacation: Staying humble. Don’t get too big of a head, Husker secondary.

    Spring Reviews on Linebacker Defensive Line, Quarterback, Offensive LineRunning Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End

    Tags: springtime with bo 2010, spring in review, austin cassidy, prince amukamara, eric hagg, anthony west, dejon gomes, pj smith, peso, andrew green justin blatchford, corey cooper, recruiting

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