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  1. 2012 Mar 09

    Husker Heartbeat (3/09/12): Sadler's Status, David in the First? and Brown Doesn't Speak for NU


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Doc Sadler understands the business of college sports. He and Osborne will "talk."

    - New DB coach Joseph feels Nebraska is "the perfect fit"

    - The returns from Pro Day are very promising, especially for Jared Crick and Brandon Kinnie

    - Mel Kiper:Lavonte David is a first round pick

    - Perlman makes his stance clear: Brown's position is not UNL's

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    Tags: doc sadler, terry joseph, jared crick, brandon kinnie, lavonte david, ron brown, harvey perlman

  2. 2011 Dec 15

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Draft Update - WR Brandon Kinnie


    By HuskerLocker

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    Husker Locker will be working with WhosNextFootball.com to bring you the latest news on Nebraska Cornhuskers that could find themselves selected in the 2012 NFL Draft.

    Interview Conducted by @NFLDraftinsider and edited/written by @helloerinmarie

    A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Brandon Kinnie arrived at Nebraska in 2008 as a sophomore from Fort Scott Community College. During Kinnie’s first season with the Huskers, the wide receiver had an impressive 15 catches for 141 yards. Kinnie’s stats only got better as a junior, adding another 44 receptions for 494 yards, with three touchdown catches alone against Oklahoma State.

    Entering his senior season, Kinnie led the group of young wide-outs and to date has logged 22 catches for 257 yards and one touchdown. While his statistics are strong, it won’t be what Kinnie is remembered for at Nebraska. Fans, teammates, and coaches will remember a strong leader who fought hard through adversity to become a better player and person. In fact, fellow wide receiver Kenny Bell summed Kinnie up in a simple, yet poignant, way: “BK’s a thermostat. He’s not a thermometer.”

    Brandon takes the time to catch up with Who’s Next Football:

    WNF: If you had to pinpoint the strongest aspect of your game, what would it be?

    BK: I would probably have to say my blocking skills and being physical on the field. I pride myself with being a great down field blocker. Catching the football comes with being a wide receiver and I feel I do that extremely well too. However, If I had to choose one biggest strength it would be my all around blocking skills.

    WNF: What is one area of your game would you say most needs improvement?

    BK: I think focusing better really. Make sure I look the ball into my hands with every catch, mentally preparing for the game, really focus on the mental aspect of the game and envisioning what I can do to be the best I can be.

    WNF: What was the biggest difference between Big 12 and Big Ten play?

    BK: To be honest, I didn't really notice a difference. I just love playing the game of football and it didn't matter who I was out there against.

    WNF: If you had to pick one NFL player that you think you closely resemble, who would it be?

    BK: I always liked how physical Terrell Owens played and how he used his size to his advantage. I would not resemble myself to his attitude and how he acted with his team but more how he played with a sense of physicality.

    WNF: Tell us about your son Julian, and what he has taught you about life in general?

    BK: First, he taught me to be humble. Taught me that everything is not about me. I got someone else to look after now and I love it. He has taught me so much about myself that I hadn't discovered before. It was truly a blessing to have him, best thing to ever happen to me.

    WNF: If I was an NFL GM, why do I want Brandon Kinnie on my team?

    BK: Well first, I am a great teammate, fun to be around, and my work ethic is crazy. I want to be the best at what I do and will do whatever I can to be just that.

    WNF: What is the main thing you’ll miss about Nebraska football? (Submitted by@KyleAtkins91)

    BK: I'll miss being around my teammates, joking around with them, and traveling with them. I learned so much about myself senior year. I will miss the fans and everyone that supported me as well.

    WNF: How would you like to be remembered by the University of Nebraska?

    BK: A leader, outgoing, funny, and overall good guy who gave everything he had.

    Quick Hits:

    Favorite Food: Fried Chicken
    Pregame Music: Lil Wayne
    Biggest Inspiration in Life: My mom and son. My mom could care less if I made it to the NFL, she is just so happy that I'm graduating from college. She has always been there for me and my son. My son is my other inspiration because I want to give him everything when he grows up. I want him to look up to me and want to be like me.

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    Tags: brandon kinnie

  3. 2011 Dec 13

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Husker Tweets of the Week (12/13)


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Erin Sorensen

    Every week we'll be tapping into the heart of social media, Twitter, to find the best Husker tweets of the past week. This week's highlights:

    @SharpeGreg (Greg Sharpe): Excited to see all the Husker fans in Orlando to ring in the new year with a Husker victory! #huskers

    @jestyr7 (Christopher Peters): The Pinnacle Bank Arena was originally going to be called the Rex Burkhead arena. But that was too much swag for one place. #FactsAboutRex

    @Kspeeeed25 (Kyler Reed): Thanks to all my bros on the team spreading #ATB I dont personally know him, he is from KC and I was contacted to help via twitter.

    @BoPelini (Bo Pelini): Just interviewed M. Nobler for the D-Coordinator position... Very impressive to say the least!

    @AFRO_THUNDER80 (Kenny Bell): The roads are so much better today..... someone must have asked #Rex to plow. #1800-TheManCanDoAnything

    @JrodVCrick (Jared Crick): Congrats to Coach Carl for getting the FAU job! I wouldn't be in this position without him. Those FAU cats are very lucky to have him

    @PJ_Mangieri (P.J. Mangieri): If I can change one persons life for the better while I'm here then it's all worth it

    @NUequipment (Nebraska Equipment Crew): Excited for a good morning bowl practice #GBR. @CapitalOneBowl

    @FonzieDennard15 (Alfonzo Dennard): CONGRATS TO COACH SANDERS FOR GOING WITH COACH CARL BEHIND Y'ALL 100% #believedat

    @Joebro9 (Joe Broekemeier): Love it @D_Gomes24 and Roy blasting off today!

    @acass8 (Austin Cassidy): The Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow are the best drama on TV.

    @BRASKA_4 (Lavonte David): Some ppl ask me if I make it to da top would I forget about them? I ask them same ppl, if I never make it to da top will you forget about me

    @BKinnie84 (Brandon Kinnie): They say your senior year flies bye! Smh! So true!

    @_willcompton (Will Compton): Damn proud to b getting my degree!! College wouldn't b a success w out it!! #ClassRing #HuskerGrad #Business pic.twitter.com/H7fQ2GAp

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: kyler reed, bo pelini, jared crick, pj mangieri, alfonzo dennard, austin cassidy, lavonte david, brandon kinnie, will compton

  4. 2011 Dec 10

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Bowl Season Thoughts


    By HuskerLocker

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    The Husker Locker staff will be presented a number of questions addressing various aspects of each week in the world of college football all season long.

    This week:

    Three names seem to be at the top of the list to replace Carl Pelini as defensive coordinator: Mike Stoops, Ron Zook and John Papuchis. Who’s your pick and why?

    James: I'm torn between Ron Zook and Mike Stoops. I think Mike is probably the better defensive coach, but Zook might be the stronger recruiter. Then again, was Zook's recruiting success due to his former recruiting coordinator Mike Locksley?

    I think the doubt about Zook's true recruiting prowess leads me to Stoops. Ultimately though, this is Bo Pelini's defense, the real key to me is bringing in a guy who is killer at coaching a position, can take some of the film breakdown and basic gameplanning off of Bo's plate, and will recruit like crazy.

    Erin: Luke Fickell.

    Just kidding. I can dream though, right? I'd take Mike Stoops, even though I'm fairly positive one ref would go deaf every game from being yelled at by the Pelini/Stoops combo. The two of them are so similar, so maybe Ron Zook is the better option?

    Moral of the story: Not John Papuchis.

    Brandon: I’m high on Zook and have been since I heard his name was a possibility. He can walk into Lincoln and make an immediate impact as a recruiter which is something the program desperately needs. His connections throughout the Big Ten won’t totally nullify Urban Meyer’s advances, but Zook’s been around the block and knows how to play ball.

    He’s got experience with the secondary, so I could see him helping Corey Raymond continue to grow and he’d be able to handle a number of the duties that Bo simply doesn’t care for. It seems like a win-win to me.

    What are your thoughts on the Capital One Bowl matchup with South Carolina?

    James: It's not as bad of a match-up as it initially appears. South Carolina has a nasty and stout pass defense, but is soft against the power running game. Big opportunity there, especially with a healthy offensive line and rested Rex Burkhead.

    Bo Pelini, with a month to gameplan and install said gameplan, should wring out a great game from the Blackshirts. I think Nebraska's in for a physical brawl down in Orlando. The team should be jacked for this game against a good SEC team, unlike last year's Holiday Bowl.

    Erin: Another Big Ten-SEC matchup and this one should be interesting. South Carolina has a great defense and will definitely give our offense a tough time. Hopefully Taylor Martinez can replicate how he played in the second half of Ohio State here. If he can, it should make for a win. It'll be close, but a good game.

    Brandon: Couldn't love it more. I spoke to some Capital One Bowl representatives earlier in the season and mentioned the possibility of this matchup when asked who I’d like to see Nebraska face if they went to Orlando.

    The storylines are plentiful: Spurrier-Nebraska, Alshon Jeffery-Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska’s offense versus South Carolina’s defense (the gamecocks are No. 2 in pass defense and No 13 in scoring defense). No matter how you slice it, this game’s awesome. I wish Marcus Lattimore would be suiting up for the Gamecocks, though.

    How do you feel about the BCS’ selection of LSU-Alabama for the national championship?

    James: From a pure perspective of the BCS existing to ensure the top two teams play for the national championship, this is the correct decision. From a "fairness" and "watchable" perspective, it's a bit of a bummer. I would've loved to have seen Oklahoma State get a chance to play in this game.

    The fact that LSU already beat Alabama (at home), means the Crimson Tide doesn't really deserve another shot at this game. On the other hand, it's going to be fun to watch these teams go at each other with a whole 5-plus weeks to prepare for this game. How sick must you be if you're Boise State's kicker though? If they beat TCU, I think the Broncos might've played for the title.

    Erin: Well, I know it's not ideal. Most people wanted Oklahoma State to face LSU. Unfortunately, Okie State held up their ticket to the National Championship and let Iowa State snatch it from their grasp, then burn it. It was one loss, but it was a defining loss. Alabama lost to the No. 1 team in the country. OSU lost to Iowa State. So like it or not, the BCS says this is what is.

    But if you want to talk playoffs...

    Brandon: The BCS is what it is. It technically did its job. The problem with computers is that there will still be human input (See: garbage in, garbage out). Alabama and Oklahoma State can (and probably will) argue over their rightful place in the BCS National Championship Game, but honestly I can’t say Team X should be in without noting the case for Team Y.

    I was happy to hear that the Plus-One model is being looked at seriously and while I don’t think it’ll be implemented immediately, I’d like to see it as a part college football’s post-season ASAP.

    Which players do you feel have the most to gain/lose in terms of draft stock against USC?

    James: I don't think anyone can change their position too much at this point. Brandon Kinnie could potentially elevate his worth a bit. Lavonte is probably late first/early second and if he plays really well in this game, he might help secure a first round spot. I think Dennard is pretty locked in where he's going to be. I don't see this as make or break for most of the players, though maybe some of the fringe seniors could make a statement for a late round draft choice with a big game.

    Erin: Alfonzo Dennard. I think Lavonte David has more than sealed up his fate in the NFL, but Dennard needs another strong game. He'll be drafted, but this game will determine how high he goes.

    Also, Brandon Kinnie will need a big game. It's been a rough season for the senior wide receiver, but he's proven that he has the strength and speed to play his position. If he can make one more big outing, it could create some buzz that he desperately needs.

    Brandon: Right now, I think things are pretty well set. A loss to Nebraska, no matter the size, isn’t going to hurt an SEC player. Guys like Alfonzo Dennard and Lavonte David have nowhere to go but up as they’ve been scouted all season long, made highlight reels, heck David is a first-team All-American during his second year of FBS football.

    It’s a shame that Crick isn’t able to step in, but he’ll have his opportunities down the line and will still likely make a good chunk of change on Sundays.

    Follow the panel on Twitter:

    Brandon: @eightlaces
    Erin: @helloerinmarie
    James: @jamesstevenson

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    Tags: capital one bowl, ron zook, john papuchis, mike stoops, alfonzo dennard, lavonte david, brandon kinnie, taylor martinez, jared crick

  5. 2011 Dec 08

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Capital One Bowl Comparison - Receivers


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    Nebraska’s Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa and Brandon Kinnie vs. South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery, Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington

    - Receiving

    Bell: 29 catches for 408 yards (14.1 YPC) and two touchdowns
    Enunwa: 21 catches for 293 yards (14.0 YPC) and two touchdowns
    Kinnie: 22 catches for 257 yards (11.7 YPC) and one touchdown

    Jeffery: 45 catches for 614 yards (13.6) and seven touchdowns
    Sanders: 26 catches for 338 yards (13.0 YPC) and two touchdowns
    Ellington: 17 catches for 211 yards (12.4 YPC) and one touchdown

    - All-Purpose Yards

    Bell: 646 (53.8 YPG)
    Enunwa: 293 (24.4 YPG)
    Kinnie: 257 (21.4 YPG)

    Jeffery: 614 (51.2 YPG)
    Sanders: 476 (39.7 YPG)
    Ellington: 707 (58.9 YPG)

    - Best Receiving Game:

    Bell: Vs. Northwestern – 5 catches for 58 yards and one touchdown
    Enunwa: Vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga – 4 catches for 58 yards and one touchdown
    Kinnie: Vs. Michigan - 1 catch for 54 yards and one touchdown

    Jeffery: Vs. Kentucky – 6 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns
    Sanders: Vs. The Citadel – 4 catches for 49 yards and one touchdown
    Ellington: Vs. Clemson – 3 catches for 71 yards and one touchdown

    - Worst Receiving Game:

    Bell: Vs. Michigan – 1 catch for 8 yards
    Enunwa: Vs. Minnesota – 1 catch for 7 yards
    Kinnie: Vs. Tennessee Chattanooga – 2 catches for 7 yards

    Jeffery: Vs. Tennessee – 3 catches for 17 yards
    Sanders: Vs. Navy – 1 catch for 3 yards
    Ellington: Vs. Navy – 1 catch for 7 yards

    - Size

    Bell: 6’1” 180 pounds
    Enunwa: 6’2” 210 pounds
    Kinnie: 6’3” 225 pounds

    Jeffery: 6’4” 229 pounds
    Sanders: 5’7” 175 pounds
    Ellington: 5’9” 197 pounds

    Follow Brandon on Twitter: @eightlaces
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    Tags: kenny bell, quincy enunwa, brandon kinnie, alshon jeffery, ace sanders, bruce ellington

  6. 2011 Nov 21

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Top Five Things We Saw Against Michigan


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Erin Sorensen

    A few weeks ago, Husker fans were planning their trips to Indianapolis for the inaugural Big Ten Championship game. Nebraska had just come off a big win over Michigan State and the Legends Division appeared to be locked up.

    Then Northwestern came to town and stunned the confident Cornhuskers. Since then, it’s been a rollercoaster season. Nebraska faced a Michigan team who stole momentum early and added another loss to the Big Red’s record. Five things stood out in the loss to the Maize and Blue.

    1. No Control or Containment of Denard Robinson

    Rumor had it that Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was injured. In fact, ESPN analysts spoke about how much differently he had been playing versus last season. Based on film, it was clear that Robinson had not been his old self. That should have been a comfort to Nebraska.

    It seemed that all it would take was stopping Robinson from getting his feet going. His passing hadn’t been worth noting. Containing an already one-dimensional quarterback seemed like something the Cornhuskers were more than capable of doing.

    By the end of the game, senior linebacker Lavonte David had 17 tackles. Of those, only three were assisted. A former high school rival of Robinson, Nebraska’s premiere linebacker was out to get the Michigan quarterback on nearly every down. It’s too bad no one else on the defense decided to join him.

    David spent the majority of the game chasing his rival down. Often successful, one man was just not enough. Take the All-Everything linebacker out of the game and Robinson would have run for miles. Fans saw a defense play without heart this past week. For those used to the dominant Blackshirts that showed up against Michigan State, it was another unwelcome sight.

    2. A Lopsided Offensive Attack

    Offensive coordinator Tim Beck has his strong weeks. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. The offensive strategy was often bizarre. While there were a few shining moments (the double option in the red zone, anyone?), it was a sluggish offensive attack overall.

    All of the blame cannot fall on Beck, as the Huskers found themselves making costly mistakes on plays that should have worked. There were many opportunities for Michigan to give up big plays to Nebraska, only to have a receiver drop a Taylor Martinez pass. It was a painful reminder of the ineffective offenses the Huskers have produced in recent years.

    Give credit where credit is due. Senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie scored his first touchdown of the season bringing Nebraska back in the game for a short period of time. It was an impressive catch and score considering the Michigan defenders clearly held the big-bodied senior.

    In addition to Kinnie’s big moment, junior I-back Rex Burkhead somehow managed to keep his legs moving after the massive workloads of the past several weeks. How they have not fallen off, Nebraska fans will never know.

    3. Lack of Leadership from Taylor Martinez

    It would be unfair to say Martinez completely lacked leadership on Saturday, but he was definitely not the “T-Magic” many have grown to appreciate. Coming off a big win at Penn State, Martinez managed to make his life more difficult with a showing reminiscent of several breakdowns from last year.

    His inconsistency is worrisome, but it’s not his biggest concern. If anything should raise an eyebrow, it is Martinez's attitude following the game. When asked in the post-game press conference how he felt Nebraska’s first year in the Big Ten was going, Martinez simply said, “Going all right. So far, I guess.”

    Say what you will about his passing mechanics and decision-making, but if Martinez continues the season with a lackadaisical attitude, it will transfer to the field. He was more than likely upset over the loss. However, a starting quarterback of a championship-caliber team never lets a loss faze him. These are the things Martinez needs to begin learning now.

    4. Poor Clock Management

    By the start of the game on Saturday, the “Big House” was without power. There was no play clock on one end of the field. Both quarterbacks were required to watch the referees count down the seconds. When it tripped up Robinson, it seemed inevitable that this system would do the same to Martinez. Thankfully, it didn’t. However, that was the least of a Nebraska fan’s worries.

    The offense simply appeared slow on Saturday. Clock management seemed to be of little concern as Michigan pulled further and further away. That may have been one of the biggest disappointments, as it seemed the team began to give up. By game’s end, fans couldn’t even blame the refs for the countdown issues as the power had been on for some time.

    5. A Team Meltdown after Penn State

    The win over Penn State was an emotional one. While Nebraska no longer controlled their destiny in the Big Ten following the loss to Northwestern, a win over Michigan would have kept the Cornhuskers in the running. Based on how Nebraska handled their emotions after the Michigan State win, the lopsided loss does not seem as surprising.

    The team that took the field against the Nittany Lions was not the same one in Ann Arbor last Saturday. A team that has continuously showed they are capable of playing in the big leagues has let their emotions tackle them instead of the opposition. Blame the lack of focus on whatever you wish, but it’s something that needs to be addressed.

    It wasn’t the game Husker fans had hoped for. However, there is still the game against Iowa on Friday and a bowl game to look forward to. Football season isn’t over yet, whether some fans wish it were or not.

    At this time, the young men on the field need the fans’ support more now than ever. It might not be easy, but it’s imperative. A Big Ten Championship is not in the cards this year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything left worth playing for. Fans need to continue watching and cheering. This is their team too.

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: michigan, denard robinson, tim beck, lavonte david, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, brandon kinnie

  7. 2011 Nov 20

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Michigan


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Holy regression, Batman! T-Magic morphed back into Taylor Martinez as doubt clearly flooded his decision-making processes.

    - Rex Burkhead only ran the ball 10 times and no one should be upset. That Superman’s legs actually work at this point in the season is a miracle.

    - Aside from Brandon Kinnie’s waltz into the end zone, all that can really be said is potential doesn’t make catches.

    - This offensive line’s banged up something awful and it’s starting to show. Michigan has a solid front four, but there was severe confusion and limited mobility among the big uglies.

    - Kenny Bell’s second half-opening fumble perfectly illustrated the Huskers’ day with one play.

    - Will Compton is continuing to develop as a solid Big Ten MIKE linebacker.

    - Lavonte David is an NFL linebacker. His draft stock is rising every week.

    - Terrence Moore runs the option with a pitch to Eric Martin following a tipped interception? Someone wanted to make SportsCenter in a bad way.

    - Brett Maher is apparently Rex Burkhead’s cousin from Krypton’s nearby solar system. Take a beating, walk it off, boom a punt across the length of the field.

    - There seemed to be so much confidence going into this game before Brady Hoke remembered that Denard Robinson is, in fact, very fast.

    - What is it with teams from Michigan faking injuries against Nebraska? Is the Big Ten really so slow that they can’t keep up?

    - Perhaps the most entertaining part of the game (for Husker fans, anyway):

    - Bowl Prediction of the Week: Gator Bowl vs. Florida

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    Tags: taylor martinez, rex burkhead, brandon kinnie, kenny bell, will compton, lavonte david, terrence moore, eric martin, brett maher, brady hoke, denard robinson

  8. 2011 Nov 12

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Top Five Things to Watch For Against Penn State


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Erin Sorensen

    It’s hard to believe that the scandal at Penn State broke only one week ago today. With the firing of longtime head coach Joe Paterno, Penn State’s football program has been in a state of severe disarray.

    Discussions of forfeiting today's game cropped up. As game day grew closer, it was apparent that the show must go on. Nebraska walks into a situation this morning that no team has experienced before. What will the Cornhuskers need to be prepared for?

    1. Pressure on Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden

    For the second week in a row, Nebraska faces a dual quarterback rotation featuring junior Matt McGloin and sophomore Rob Bolden.

    Penn State has made a living off of starting Bolden first with McGloin coming in later. However, Husker fans should be looking for the upperclassman to start against Nebraska today. Why the switch-up?

    The Nittany Lions' best decision-maker when passing is McGloin. While running is not his strong suit, he can pick apart a team’s secondary. With Nebraska’s defensive backs struggling, this presents an opportunity for the Nittany Lions to get ahead early. Don’t expect to see Bolden on the sidelines too much, though.

    With Nebraska’s inability to stop the run against Northwestern, Penn State likely will have an opportunity to run through some big holes. The front seven Blackshirts are going to have to play lights-out to guarantee Bolden goes nowhere.

    Husker fans should expect to see a much tougher defense against Penn State, though. If the defense plays to the level that they did against Michigan State, Nebraska fans should know this: That was Bo Pelini’s defense, not Carl’s.

    Depending on today’s plays, it will be quickly apparent who was in charge the last week. For the sake of this game, the Nebraska faithful better hope it’s Bo.

    2. The Ability to Adjust

    Offensive coordinator Tim Beck is a stubborn man. He’s said as much. When a play isn’t working, Beck has a tendency to call the play again hoping for a different result.

    In some cases, he works with a limited playbook as he did against Northwestern. By the end of the first half, I-Back Rex Burkhead had far more carries than he should have, yet the offense kept running similar plays.

    Beck needs to be able to adjust against Penn State. If running the ball isn’t working, it’s time to let Martinez throw quick passes to Brandon Kinnie. If the fast strikes stop working, go back to the ground game.

    The ability to adjust will be a key factor yet again. It’s been a rollercoaster ride with Beck so far. It is time he starts to level things out.

    3. Taylor Martinez’s Game Management

    Martinez played one of the best games of his career against Northwestern, if not the absolute best. Unfortunately, a poor defensive showing and a loss overshadowed it.

    The positive is that he silenced many critics one pass after another. Proving he could keep a level head, Martinez made a campaign for a comeback. Had the defense held up their end of the deal, the sophomore quarterback could have pulled it off, too.

    Against Penn State, Martinez needs to mirror his game management skills from the Northwestern game. Staying stable and keeping a level head against a defense that will be gunning for him yet again is vital.

    He needs to be a leader once more and is poised to be just that. If he can block out the pressure of this game, Martinez can build on his successes against Northwestern.

    4. The Use of Young Running Backs

    Hopefully Rex Burkhead got a lot of rest over the last week, because he will be carrying a big load over the next two away games.

    With both Penn State and Michigan to face, Burkhead’s strength, speed, and leadership will all be tested. However, it is not crucial to run him ragged. Beck should take advantage of his three young running backs at times.

    All three are capable of making big plays and a few extra rotations will not kill the offense. In fact, a little extra resting time for Burkhead might give him the ability to produce bigger numbers.

    While Superman will never say he’s tired, Beck needs to understand he can’t run his workhorse to death. Nebraska has the depth. Using it would not be a bad idea.

    5. Team Composure

    It has been nothing short of an interesting week for Nebraska. As Penn State’s world crumbled, Husker players and coaches have tried to tune everything out.

    While Pelini was quick to say his team was not going to focus on the issues at State College at all, it would be ludicrous to believe the team has absolutely no idea what they’re walking into. It is clear from their Twitter statuses alone that they know.

    Security is heightened and Tom Osborne has asked fans not to wear red. The environment will be surreal, to say the least. This is a time for Nebraska to stand together as a team like no other. When kickoff comes, we will watch as a group of young men attempt to battle intense media frenzy by playing football.

    The outcome of this game will be a telling one as Nebraska needs to win to keeps its chances at a Big Ten Championship alive. A loss would practically guarantee that a trip to Indianapolis will not happen.

    The Huskers need to find it within themselves to win a game in front of many who are not necessarily watching for the right reasons.

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: penn state, joe paterno, matt mcgloin, robert bolden, tim beck, bo pelini, carl pelini, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, ameer abdullah, aaron green, braylon heard, brandon kinnie, tom osborne

  9. 2011 Nov 10

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Jordan Westerkamp Update


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Find out what Nebraska's stud receiver commit has been up to.

    Tags: jordan westerkamp, brandon kinnie

  10. 2011 Nov 06

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Northwestern


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Can’t quite put my finger on it, but something was off yesterday. The Huskers looked a few steps slower than they did against Sparty.

    - It’s a shame that Taylor Martinez’s best game of the year (and one of his career) had to end in a loss. His play is encouraging for the remainder of the season, however.

    - Jamal Turner’s absence is inexcusable. While Coach Fisher clearly has his methods, it’s hard not to question getting a playmaker of Turner’s caliber on the field.

    - Was very happy to see Brandon Kinnie in sync with his quarterback.

    - Wishing Kenny Bell would’ve snagged those drops. Not only for the sake Martinez and his team, but it would’ve made his performance even bigger. Regardless, when Taylor sees the 'fro, he has to throw.

    - If Nebraska could keep Bell back with Abdullah on kick returns, that’d be just grand.

    - When Lavonte David is missing tackles in the backfield, that’s a bad omen.

    - While Lance Thorell’s interception against Michigan State was huge, getting scorched like a marshmallow pre-Smore is, too.

    - While Nebraska may not have the overall talent of Alabama, the Crimson Tide would’ve killed for Brett Maher last night.

    - Have to think the Capital One, Outback and Gator Bowls are all smiling on the inside. Their reps keep showing up to Husker games.

    - Controversial thought alert: Taking away the Blackshirts following this loss would be an absolutely horrible decision.

    After nearly a day to reflect, what are your reactions about yesterday's game? Chime in on the new forums: Husker Locker Forums

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    Tags: taylor martinez, jamal turner, brandon kinnie, kenny bell, ameer abdullah, lavonte david, lance thorell, brett maher, capital one bowl, outback bowl, gator bowl, blackshirts

  11. 2011 Nov 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Legend of Rex Burkhead Continues to Grow


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Erin Sorensen

    During one of the crucial moments during last weekend's game versus Michigan State, Rex Burkhead motioned to the sidelines to be taken out. The junior I-Back from Plano, Texas was tired, and his legs were beginning to cramp.

    He had carried most of the workload for the Nebraska offense against the Spartans and he needed to catch his breath, but he stayed in. Following his 31st carry of the game, he was on the ground and the crowd was deathly silent.

    Bo Pelini walked out to check on his workhorse, but immediately turned around. Burkhead was going to get up. He would only need two plays to rest before returning to the game.

    He would then catch a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taylor Martinez on his first play back on the FieldTurf. After 35 carries, it was time to rest, and Burkhead watched the last few minutes from the sidelines.

    The bruising I-Back's statistics speak for themselves: 882 rushing yards, 5.3 yards per carry, 12 rushing touchdowns; nine receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns. The Cornhuskers are 9-0 when Burkhead has rushed for at least 100 yards in his career.

    There is a lot more to the soft-spoken Texan than just numbers, though. It is his heart, leadership and determination. It is the things that can’t be quantified or caught on tape.

    One of the biggest examples of this is Burkhead’s relationship with Jack Hoffman, a six-year-old from Atkinson, Nebraska that is battling brain cancer.

    When the two met several weeks ago, he befriended the little boy and began to wear a “Team Jack” bracelet on his wrist in honor of his little buddy. Burkhead believes Jack’s illness “is motivation for [the team] to strive that extra mile.”

    Through their time as friends, Burkhead has brought national media attention to Jack’s story, something the family believes would not have been possible if not for No. 22. Jack has just enjoyed getting to know “Superman.” It’s an inspiring friendship that is a testament to Burkhead as both a person and a leader.

    The junior’s teammates also have an immense amount of respect for him. In fact, redshirt wide receiver Kenny Bell started a #FactsAboutRex hashtag on Twitter. Over the last few days, Bell has tweeted out interesting “facts” about Burkhead, inviting fans to do the same.

    Senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie also has a deep admiration for Burkhead. When asked to comment on the powerful running back, Kinnie said he was a great teammate.

    When asked what his teammate's greatest trait was, the senior wide receiver responded, “His name. He’s a perfect human being. Rex can do everything. He can literally do it all.”

    The incredible part is the respect Burkhead has for his teammates. When speaking of Kinnie, he has said, “There is no one else like him.” As for Bell, Rex believes “[Bell] has a huge impact.” It is the mutual respect between both Burkhead and his teammates that adds to his likability with fans.

    A grassroots effort to get Burkhead noticed in the Heisman race has now cropped up. The people behind the @Rex4Heisman twitter account have gained nearly 500 followers in two days, reaching out to fans, former and current players, and members of the media for support.

    While Burkhead will need big performances against Penn State and Michigan to beef up his resume and highlight-reel, a trip to New York City is not out of the question.

    Many believe if he does not receive the attention this year, he will in 2012. “He’ll be up for the Heisman next year if he stays healthy and keeps doing what he’s doing,” said former Nebraska 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier.

    Beyond the Heisman talk, Burkhead has positioned himself as arguably the most beloved Cornhusker football player since the late Brook Berringer.

    This is fitting as he's has been named to the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team in both 2010 and 2011. Whatever “it” is, the I-Back has it and people are beginning to take notice now more than ever.

    For Burkhead, it’s just business as usual. As he walked off the field following a 24-3 win against Michigan State last Saturday (during which he scored all three touchdowns), he admitted his legs were a little sore. While head coach Bo Pelini would love to get him more rest, Burkhead is clear on what he loves to do, “I love being out there.”

    The fans, coaches, teammates, and Jack Hoffman love having him out there, too.

    Support ‘Team Jack’ on Facebook: Team Jack

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    Tags: rex burkhead, kenny bell, brandon kinnie

  12. 2011 Nov 01

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Press Conference Notes (Post-Michigan State)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    - On Sunday, Nebraska junior setter Lauren Cook was arrested for driving with a suspended license and fleeing from an accident just before noon. John Cook began the press conference by releasing a statement on the issue, as well as confirming his daughter is still on the team.

    - “Days like this, I wish my kid was a sorority girl. It wouldn’t be that big of an issue then,” Cook said.

    - Cook briefly discussed whether Lauren would play this weekend or not: “We’re working through with how we are going to resolve that. We have procedures in place.”

    - Bo Pelini started the press conference by saying this weekend’s game versus Northwestern will be a nice test for the team, “(Northwestern) has a well though out offense…they do some things that are fairly unique.”

    - For those who believe Pelini had a hand in the defense's performance this past weekend, the head coach said: “I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it takes to play a good defense.”

    - Pelini also talked about the process of attaining individual team goals saying, “You hope that each week you get a little bit better.”

    - Pelini fielded several questions about the Blackshirts, which were handed out Saturday after the game: “I think it’s a great tradition and it’s something we have embraced.”

    - “I don’t really care what people outside think,” Pelini said about the past traditions on Blackshirts. “When you feel the time is right, you go for it.”

    - When asked about his starting quarterback, Pelini said, “I think Taylor has come a long way.”

    - Pelini also praised Martinez’s game management saying, “He’s got that deep voice, like a 70-year-old man when he’s out there.”

    - Pelini finished the press conference by talking about Rex Burkhead and his much needed rest: “He’s actually feeling pretty good today, but we’ll limit him, especially early in the week.”

    - Brandon Kinnie talked about Martinez and his leadership: “It’s been great. It’s been good seeing him grow.”

    - “The tempo is finally coming around,” Kinnie said about the offense.

    - Kinnie said the team has come a long way and the losing to the Badgers brought them together. He also noted it inspired the team to work harder: “After the loss to Wisconsin, we knew we had to win out to get to the Big Ten Championship.”

    - Rex Burkhead admitted he is sore today. When asked where he is the most sore, he said, “Definitely legs, that’s where you get hit a lot during the games.”

    - “I love being out there. I love playing and competing with the guys,” Burkhead said about his team and playing with them.

    - While Pelini spoke about not completely overhauling his mechanics, Martinez said, "I think I have one of the quickest releases in the nation - a lot of coaches have told me that."

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    Tags: lauren cook, john cook, bo pelini, northwestern, brandon kinnie, taylor martinez, rex burkhead

  13. 2011 Oct 29

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Michigan State Gameday Thoughts


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The Husker Locker staff will be presented a number of questions addressing various aspects of each week's game all season long.

    This week:

    If Nebraska wins today’s game, who will be the MVP and why?

    Brian: The Defense. They are being called upon to do something that they haven’t done this year: shut down the pass. SJB and Fonzie need big games, but the supporting cast needs to be just as big. Offensively, the ‘skers can score. I don’t know if they will score enough, but they can put points up.

    Erin: This is a tough question because it really could go any direction. It could go to Taylor Martinez for leading the team and making sure he didn't hold on to the ball most of the game.

    However, if Martinez is passing the ball off, it's likely going to Rex Burkhead, so it could be argued for him to have MVP, especially with a couple of touchdowns. At the same time, we can't forget the defense and Lavonte David could really bring that group together. He would be deserving then.

    So I'll sum it up: If Nebraska wins today's game, one of three people will be MVP - Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead, or Lavonte David.

    Greg: When Nebraska wins, there will be an MVP on both sides of the ball. On defense, it will be Dennard. The Spartans will have to throw the ball since their rushing game is anemic. This will be the game where Fonzie puts his stamp on his senior year.

    On offense, it will a player who earns MVP because of his leadership and character. Respect MSU's front seven, maybe even eight at times, and know that the Huskers will likely be put in a position to throw the ball more than usual. Look for a big game from Brandon Kinnie.

    James: Taylor Martinez. In order for Nebraska to win, T-Magic is going to have to play smart, manage the game, and complete high-percentage throws (swings, screens etc) in order to keep the chains moving. If Taylor can keep the chains moving and get Nebraska enough points to win against a salty defense, he will have done his job.

    This will come down to him making good decisions, throwing well, attracting attention from MSU's defenders (and freeing up threats like Jamal Turner and Rex Burkhead), while also hitting some long balls to Kenny Bell and Kyler Reed.

    Brandon: This goes one of two ways. Both Burkhead and Martinez are going to earn Co-MVP honors or whoever successfully operates trickeration will obviously be given the nod. Rex and Taylor are who defenses are going to key in on and take the chance of letting talented, but young players burn them knowing that they’ll likely make mistakes.

    Honestly, I can’t say what or even if Tim Beck will pull any rabbits out of his hat, but this game means too much for anything less than the kitchen sink to be thrown at Michigan State.

    If Nebraska loses today’s game, how should the Cornhuskers regroup/handle the rest of the season?

    Brian: They need to keep going with the season, but realize that it’s now an audition for who wants to start for 2012. Two games back in the division with the tiebreaker out of hand is almost impossible to overcome (especially with MSU’s schedule).

    Even though there are bowl implications, there’s nothing the Huskers can do but try to win out and hope. When it comes to the point that Nebraska is eliminated from division title hopes, then you start to find out what you have/need for 2012. No time like the present to figure that out.

    Erin: I will just say these words over and over to myself while praying to the Gods of football that Michigan State loses to Iowa: "We just have to take each game one at a time. It doesn't matter if we lose this game. Michigan State might lose to someone else. This doesn't have to be a key game for us." - Taylor Martinez

    As for the team, they need to do what we do every week after a game, win or lose: Practice, get better, and win. Yes, Michigan State could lose to someone else. If we happen to lose to them, it's not time to give up. It's time to work harder and be ready.

    Greg: Can't get discouraged. Play every game like they're playing for the Big Ten championship. The chips might fall into place where they still might.

    James: As I outlined in my piece on Wednesday, the season, in terms of winning the Legends Division and reaching the conference championship game, will effectively be over.

    Nebraska should look to get the youth as many reps as possible. We should still try to win the games, of course, but it would effectively be a chance for Nebraska to start building for 2012, and maybe even more importantly for 2013. Maybe the coaches could even hit the road recruiting a bit more during the week to try and shore up some of the deficiencies.

    Brandon: The most beneficial thing would be to give Brion Carnes a 50/50 split in both practice and game situations. Taylor’s the starter and that’s fine, but if he struggles against Nebraska’s remaining opponents, Carnes should be given an equal opportunity to shine. If he beats out Martinez for the starting spot, well, that’s the game of football. If you can’t get the job done, the guy behind you will.

    Starting a youth movement would seem to be the next logical step, but so many starters are already young that it’s basically already happened. 75 percent of the running back depth chart is composed of true freshmen. Nebraska’s got Jamal Turner, Kenny Bell and Quincy Enunwa stepping up at receiver. I’d definitely focus on getting Tyler Moore extensive minutes.

    With Crick done and Randle likely out for at least a while, you’re going to see guys like Chase Rome and Jay Guy get more time. It’d be silly to burn linebacker Davis Santos’ redshirt at this point which is something I feel should’ve happened earlier in the year. The secondary’s as green as it can get. Simply put: Work towards 2012.

    If you could add one player from last year’s defensive back seven, who would it be and why?

    Brian: Dejon Gomes. The corners are good, but he was the difference maker in the secondary. Blitzing, coverage, knowledge, etc. You’re seeing it now with him playing in the NFL. Matt O’Hanlon is a close second. He had the physical game and always seemed avoid getting stuck in a bad spot.

    Erin: Prince Amukamara. He had an island and people didn't like to be on it. The secondary misses and needs him.

    Greg: He wasn't a first round draft pick by chance. PRINCE PRINCE PRINCE!

    James: Eric Hagg - in the "Peso" role, he was a gigantic asset. Hagg could cover tight ends, receivers, slot men, running backs, you name it. He also was killer in run defense.

    You'd have to think that if Nebraska still had him, the defense would be a good step stronger than where they are right now, from both the personnel and schematic viewpoints. That said, it'd be hard not to want Prince Amukamara back as well, Nebraska's second cornerback is a guy who played wide-receiver five weeks ago.

    Brandon: The sexy pick is Amukamara, but I’d honestly take Eric Hagg. Amukamara’s a first rounder and would solidify the spot opposite Dennard, but Hagg’s versatility in the defensive backfield would allow him to be moved around and expecting an instant impact wouldn’t be far-fetched.

    How do you feel about Nebraska’s chances going into this game?

    Brian: I would feel a lot better if we had all hands on deck. No Crick or Randle worry me up front on defense to make sure the run game for MSU is non-existent. Nebraska may have to blitz in this game, which is something that Bo doesn't like to do much of.

    Offensively, it’s the same story: Put yourself in good situations and try to find match ups to exploit. Get the ball to the playmakers and help Taylor realize he doesn’t have to do it all.

    Erin: I feel good. I think Sparty is overrated. Everyone is acting like they beat Wisconsin in this huge beat-down when they won in a last minute pass play. I'm happy for Michigan State, but come on, they're not suddenly LSU. Nebraska has just as good of a chance at beating them as they did a month ago. One game for Sparty doesn't change anything.

    If you want to get technical, this is a very familiar situation for Nebraska. Last year the Huskers faced a Missouri team that had come of a huge 36-27 win over No. 1 Oklahoma. The Tigers walked into Memorial Stadium with their heads held high, only to have Roy Helu Jr. going completely crazy, helping rake up a 24-0 score by the end of the first half.

    The game ended 31-17 and the Huskers walked away with the win. Different conference, different team, but the scenario is awfully similar.

    Greg: I'm a healthy blend of confident and cautiously optimistic. Win this game and Nebraska's probably back in the top ten. Lose this game and they're out of the top 15. My confidence levels are in the 80 percent range. GO BIG RED!

    James: I honestly don't know what to think. Nebraska is certainly capable of winning this game if they show up, and show up for four quarters (instead of the typical two we seem to be getting from this bunch). I also don't know what Michigan State team will appear on Tom Osborne Field, they aren't great on the road, and they may be out of juice after the last three weeks.

    If the Michigan State team from last week shows up, and Nebraska from the second half of Wisconsin/first half of Ohio State is on the field, we'll get blown out. I think the answer will be somewhere in the middle, and as such, I expect a close game. Right now, I'm expecting a Spartan win, though.

    Brandon: Nebraska can beat Michigan State, but they absolutely cannot afford another Ohio State scenario. If this turns into a battle of struggling offenses, I’d prefer that over a shootout as Cousins is a far more refined passer. Nebraska would have to lean on Burkhead as Taylor’s a coin flip when it comes to completions unless he checks down to No. 22.

    MSU loves to blitz and if I was scheming against Martinez, I’d try to rattle his cage all day long until he proved to me he could exploit the gaps in coverage. This is where Rex comes in. If he can battle against Wisconsin, he can do so against the Spartans. Beck has a lot of tools at his disposal, but it’s going to come down to crisp execution, and I cannot emphasize this enough, winning the turnover battle.

    Will Nebraska win? Honestly, everything I’ve seen thus far causes me to say no, but knowing what the Cornhuskers are capable of tells me that they can win.

    Follow the panel on Twitter:

    Brandon: @HuskerLocker
    Brian: @btbowling
    Erin: @helloerinmarie
    Greg: @thehooch36
    James: @jamesstevenson
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    Tags: taylor martinez, rex burkhead, brandon kinnie, kenny bell, kyler reed, bo pelini, prince amukamara, dejon gomes, eric hagg, brion carnes

  14. 2011 Oct 26

    Husker Heartbeat 10/26: No-Huddle Trouble, Guy's Greatest Football Moment and Vote for Crick


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - Nebraska's no-huddle system is making Big Ten teams breathe harder as games goes along

    - Safety Bronson Marsh, a former Millard South High School quarterback, is playing the role of Kirk Cousins in practice this week

    - Senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie looks to claim a starting spot yet again

    - Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jay Guy had the greatest moment of his football career last Saturday versus the Gophers

    - Vote Jared Crick for captain of the 2011 Allstate AFCA All-Works Team

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    Tags: bronson marsh, brandon kinnie, jay guy, jared crick

  15. 2011 Oct 24

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Press Conference Notes (Post-Minnesota)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    - Head coach Bo Pelini looked dialed in for the Monday press conference. When asked about his team’s momentum, he was quick to state, “What do you mean, momentum? I don’t buy into that.”

    - “Our guys do understand what’s at stake,” Pelini said about this Saturday’s matchup against Michigan State.

    - Pelini said that while Rex Burkhead is the main guy, it’s important to get others involved: “Sometimes it’s hard to get him to dial down in practice.”

    - “He’s kind of overlooked nationally. He’ll have a long career ahead of him,” Pelini said about Burkhead’s future.

    - Brandon Kinnie on the importance of this Saturday’s match-up with the Spartans: “All of them (the games) are (important). That’s the attitude we take.”

    - Kinnie on Michigan State as a team: “It’s a physical group.”

    - Kinnie was also asked about Burkhead, who said he is a great teammate. When asked what the greatest thing about Burkhead is, Kinnie said, “His name. He’s a perfect human being. Rex can do everything. He can literally do it all.”

    - When Burkhead sat down for the press conference, he was immediately asked if Kinnie is his favorite teammate: “Absolutely. There is no one else like him.”

    - “We’ve made some improvements but we have a lot of mistakes we need to fix,” Burkhead said about the Nebraska offense.

    - “Oh boy,” Burkhead said on the ‘Sexy Rexy’ t-shirts, “I don’t think I can comment on that.”

    - Burkhead on Kenny Bell: “He’s a huge impact.”

    - Burkhead finished that press conference by saying one final piece about Bell, “Best looking afro in the country.”

    - "If they (WR) would have held onto the ball, it would have been a good third quarter." - Taylor Martinez

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    Tags: bo pelini, brandon kinnie, rex burkhead, taylor martinez

  16. 2011 Oct 11

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Five Things We Saw Against Ohio State


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Erin Sorensen

    Saturday night's game was definitely one to remember. As the rain came down by the bucketful, Nebraska came back to make school history, beating Ohio State 34-27. There were a number of things worth noting, but what were the most important that fans saw this week?

    1.) Smarter Play Calling

    Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck did exactly what he needed to do in the second half of Saturday night’s matchup against the Buckeyes. The play calling was near-perfect and ultimately turned a 20-6 deficit around into a 34-27 Husker win. For Beck, it was the perfect rebound from Nebraska’s loss at Wisconsin.

    While he still had quarterback Taylor Martinez put the ball in the air, this was far less frequent. The heavy use of Rex Burkhead that Nebraska fans had seen against Wyoming and Washington returned. The run game wore out Ohio State’s defense, and Beck proved that his offense can truly be something special. Whether fans choose to believe in Beck and his team or not at this point, last Saturday was a testament to the strengths of the first-year offensive coordinator. What happened was more than just adjustments, it was a statement.

    2.) A Dominant Defense

    The first half of Saturday’s game was a rough one for the Nebraska defense. While some of the fan criticisms were a little harsh (“This is the worst defense in twenty years!”), it was difficult to deny that the defense still looked a little off. While it was not the worst defense in twenty years, it was a change from the past few under Pelini’s watch. Ultimately, the defense’s effectiveness (or lack thereof) has come down to leadership, and Nebraska was truly missing it. Then the unexpected happened.

    During the first four games of the season, senior linebacker Lavonte David jumped around and yelled at his team. He did everything he could to get the defense fired up. It never seemed to work until Saturday night. When David told the defense not to give up, it was an order. It was not too long after his speech that he stripped the ball from Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and changed the game for good. David’s presence was exactly what the Nebraska defense needed. Combined with Stanley Jean-Baptise’s debut as a cornerback and his eventual interception, the defense wasn’t perfect, but it found its swagger.

    3.) Confidence From Taylor Martinez

    When Martinez threw an interception in the first half, it appeared as if the sophomore quarterback was throwing in the towel. The crowd was booing and the stage was set for the biggest meltdown of the young quarterback’s career. That’s when Martinez made a career-changing decision.

    After halftime, he came out swinging. In the remaining 30 minutes of play, he executed a near-perfect game of football. While his throws were still oddly-delivered, he got the job done. In fact, two Nebraksa’s four second half touchdowns were passing touchdowns. For a quarterback that had received so much negative attention, Martinez chose to rise about it. This game was going to be “make or break” for him only if he determined that it would be. If fans take nothing else away from Saturday night, let it be this – Don’t ever count Taylor Martinez out.

    4.) No Turnovers

    Saturday night’s game was one for the ages. Nebraska completed the largest comeback in school history, and turned the ball over far less than usual. A problem that has plagued the Nebraska offense, the Huskers made a huge improvement in this area last Saturday.

    While Martinez still had one interception, fumbles were not an issue. Players were much more careful with how they handled the ball, meaning Nebraska didn’t lose valuable drives to mistakes. It was a big game all around for the Cornhuskers, but the lack of gift-wrapping scores for Ohio State should be applauded.

    5.) Recovery from Wisconsin

    By the end of the first half, Memorial Stadium sat in stunned silence thanks to the 20-6 score. The game began to look eerily like what was seen against Wisconsin. The air was thick with anger and disappointment. Boos were not uncommon. It was a dreary start to the game as rain eventually began to pour.

    With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Nebraska decided that it had taken enough punishment and was going to dish some out. Martinez, along with Burkhead, the entire offensive line, and the blocking power of wide receivers Brandon Kinnie, Kenny Bell, and Quincy Enunwa, made the decision to win. It was an impressive comeback, one that all in attendance and who watched on television will remember. In the end, it was the just the revitalization that the fans, but more importantly the team, needed.

    Nebraska heads into a bye week with a big win under their belt and Minnesota on the horizon. Fans should be feeling pretty good about their team. If nothing else, the Cornhuskers showed that they have a lot of heart. That alone should bring reassurance for fans going forward.

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: taylor martinez, tim beck, rex burkhead, bo pelini, lavonte david, braxtor miller, stanley jeanbaptiste, brandon kinnie, kenny bell, quincy enunwa

  17. 2011 Oct 03

    Husker Heartbeat 10/3: Martinez Under Wraps, Michigan Looms Large and the WR Corps' Thoughts


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Sipple: Limiting Taylor Martinez's passing would make sense

    - Freshman wide receiver Jamal Turner says that the flaws in execution cost Nebraska, not the game plan

    - Senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie says the team needs to unite following their disappointing loss

    - Wisconsin was a big game, but the Huskers' tilt with Michigan may have more on the line

    - The Blackshirts leave Madison red-faced

    - No. 7 Nebraska volleyballers defeat Michigan State in five sets

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    Tags: taylor martinez, jamal turner, brandon kinnie

  18. 2011 Sep 27

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Five Things We Saw Versus Wyoming


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Erin Sorensen

    Nebraska traveled to Laramie, Wyoming last Saturday to face the undefeated Cowboys for the first of a three game series to be played over several years. The Huskers had a lot to prove and fans were anxious to see just how the team would fare on the road.

    While some individual performances still gave cause for concern, the contest helped positively reinforce that this team is ready for Big Ten conference play. What did Nebraska fans end up seeing from the game?

    1.) A Win on the Road

    Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium sits at an impressive 7,220 feet above sea level. This alone left Nebraska players exhausted and ready to get back to “The Good Life” immediately after the game ended. Regardless of whether or not altitude had an effect on the players, Nebraska still won by a comfortable margin.

    While Camp Randall Stadium will be an entirely different environment, Wyoming’s venue proved to be a good testing ground. Nebraska fans saw a team that responded no differently to the surroundings of Laramie and its altitude than Lincoln's own Memorial Stadium.

    Fans can take heart knowing that when this team says Wisconsin is just another game on the schedule, they mean it. The win against Wyoming proved a solidified mentality that no game is more important than another.

    2.) Defensive Dominance

    Alfonzo Dennard made his return, leaving many fans relieved to see him play again. However, despite his season debut, the defense didn't seem complete as Jared Crick sat out due to an injury he sustained against Washington. It was a tough game for Dennard as he worked to find a rhythm, and it was even tougher for Crick to stand on the sideline.

    Injuries aside, the Nebraska defense once again showed weaknesses. The secondary struggled mightily as Austin Cassidy made poor judgments that ultimately led to touchdowns for Wyoming. While Dennard was getting back in the swing of things, the defense looked sluggish and tired.

    Corey Cooper was even seen vomiting at one point. Regardless of whether Cooper's stomach troubles were due to altitude or nerves, the Blackshirts are running out of time to correct the issues before Wisconsin and it is going to take a lot of leadership to make it possible.

    3.) Tim Beck’s Play Calling

    Many fans wondered whether or not Tim Beck would hold back on the offensive razzle dazzle against Wyoming. With Wisconsin just one week away, it would seem that Beck would want to keep a fair amount of tricks up his sleeve.

    Saturday’s game against Wyoming featured starting quarterback Taylor Martinez rushing for only 37 yards and one touchdown. Rex Burkhead continued to pound the ball, racking up 170 yards and two touchdowns. Nebraska fans saw an offense against Wyoming that was about sharing. It was less about Martinez taking control and more about simply doing what it takes to score.

    The Cornhuskers kept the ball on the ground during Saturday’s matchup, something that will not be as easy against Wisconsin. Martinez did not show off too much of his throwing arm, potentially letting fans see that Beck may have been holding back.

    4.) Brandon Kinnie and Jamal Turner

    Both Turner and Kinnie got in on the action last Saturday. Turner had two catches for 23 yards and Kinnie had three catches for 31 yards. Kinnie said afterwards that it was a good game for him to build confidence in, but head coach Bo Pelini was quick to state that he has shown more than enough already. Whatever the case, Kinnie found his mojo once again and Turner continued to progress.

    While the rest of the receiving corps was relatively quiet, Kenny Bell caught his first career touchdown on Saturday. Bell’s score once again showed the cohesiveness of Rich Fisher's unit. If the rest of the team can take anything from the receivers, it’s that strong leadership and teamwork overcome adversity. Both Turner and Kinnie are proof of that.

    5.) Red Out

    War Memorial Stadium’s official capacity is 29,086, but by the time the Cowboys were done bringing in additional bleachers, the stadium seated around 32,000 for Saturday night’s game.

    By kickoff, it was clear that Nebraska scarlet had filled Wyoming’s stands by nearly 40-45 percent. While the Big Ten still has no idea what is coming, Nebraska fans gave those watching glimpse of just how dedicated Husker fans are. It was a good trial run for those who will be “packing their black” for Madison.

    Saturday’s game was a good test for Nebraska. While Wyoming wasn’t the fiercest foe, the Cowboys provided a good challenge for Nebraska. Husker fans saw plenty of positives from Saturday’s game, but will the Cornhuskers be able to resolve the glaring issues by the time they enter Madison?

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: rex burkhead, brandon kinnie, jamal turner, kenny bell, taylor martinez, alfonzo dennard, corey cooper, jared crick, tim beck

  19. 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

  20. 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

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