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  1. 2011 Jul 29

    Husker Heartbeat 7/29: A NU Era Begins, Pelini Peppered with Questions and Cody Green's New Home


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Nebraska's set to begin a new era in the Big Ten

    - A confident Husker contingent shows up for Big Ten Media Days

    - Pelini peppered with eligibility questions in Chicago

    - Wisconsin's Bielema "warns" fans not to sell tickets to Nebraska fans for the Huskers' first Big Ten conference game

    - Former Nebraska QB Cody Green transfers to Tulsa

    - Nebraska-Wyoming tickets aren't easy to find

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
    Like us on Facebook: Official Husker Locker Page

    Tags: cody green, bo pelini

  2. 2011 Jul 08

    Husker Heartbeat 7/8: Starling Heading to Lincoln Undecided, The Horror of Academic Scandal and Cody Green a USC Trojan?


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Starling still mulling his decision between Nebraska and Kansas City

    - The "horror" of academic scandals

    - Cody Green considering Southern California as a transfer destination

    - Nebraska's seven best offensive players

    - A statistical look at rivalry and the Nebraska Cornhuskers

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
    Like us on Facebook: Official Husker Locker Page

    Tags: bubba starling, cody green

  3. 2011 Jun 16

    Husker Locker Podcast 6/16: All Fans All The Time


    By HuskerLocker

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    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

    On the docket:

    A podcast featuring ONLY questions asked by you, the Husker Locker fan base.

    - Why Cody Green is bolting
    - Serious QB competition discussion
    - Martinez for Heisman?
    - Nebraska's New Pitching Coach

    Have a topic or question that you'd like to hear discussed? Send us an e-mail or a message to any of us on Twitter.

    Follow the roundtable on Twitter:

    Brandon: @HuskerLocker
    Brian: @btbowling
    Brett: @BigRedinTejas
    Erin: @helloerinmarie

    Like us on Facebook: The Official Husker Locker Facebook Page

    Tags: cody green, taylor martinez, baseball, podcast, podcasts

  4. 2011 Jun 15

    Husker Heartbeat 6/15: Former Husker Recovering, Pelini & Martinez and the Tunnel Walk


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Former Husker Tony Veland wounded in shooting

    - Point/Counterpoint: Pelini & Martinez

    - There are swings and misses for quarterbacks, too

    - Which tradition is better: Ohio State's "Dotting The 'I'" or Nebraska's Tunnel Walk horseshoe smack?

    - Jimmy Boy's Big Ten Picks: Where does Nebraska rank?

    - Huskers offer a 2012 transfer to watch

    - Nebraska softball finishes No. 21

    - Husker trainer to be honored

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
    Like us on Facebook: Official Husker Locker Page

    Tags: tony veland, bo pelini, taylor martinez, cody green, bubba starling, ohio state, softball

  5. 2011 Jun 14

    Husker Heartbeat 6/14: Big Ten Network is Guaranteed, Heat Turned up on T-Magic and NU's Backs


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Great Plains Communications guarantees BTN

    - Cody Green's exit turns up the heat on T-Magic

    - Nebraska's running backs are graded

    - Washington vs. Nebraska ranked as one of the best OOC games of 2011

    - Pundits continue painting Big Red as Big Ten favorite

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: big ten, big 10, cody green, taylor martinez

  6. 2011 Jun 13

    Husker Heartbeat 6/13: Bubba's Choice, the Big Ten Marriage and Cody Green's New Home


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Nebarska/Big Ten marriage: An anniversary to remember

    - Choosing baseball or football not so easy for dual-sport athletes like Starling

    - His chances at stardom? 50-50

    - Another look at Nebraska's 2011 season including their big win and big loss

    - A&M and K-State among Cody Green's potential new homes

    - Denard Robinson looking forward to the Blackshirts' challenge

    - Former Husker Crouch wants to take Nighthawks to the top

    - Nebraska baseball gets a taskmaster in Erstad

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
    Like us on Facebook: Official Husker Locker Page

    Tags: big ten, big 10, bubba starling, eric crouch, denard robinson, cody green, darin erstad

  7. 2011 Jun 02

    Husker Heartbeat 6/2: Schedules, Strength and a Baseball Update


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Nebraska's close to filling future schedules

    - A Nebraska strength coach comes home

    - Sources: Three have interviewed for the vacant baseball job

    - Questions about Green and Pelini mark a busy week for Nebraska

    - Taylor Edwards is named an NFCA All-American

    Tags: nebraska baseball, cody green, bo pelini, taylor edwards

  8. 2011 Jun 01

    Husker Locker Podcast 6/1: Buckeyes at the Gates


    By HuskerLocker

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    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

    Have a topic or question that you'd like to hear discussed? Send us an e-mail.[/url

    Follow the roundtable on Twitter:

    Brandon: [url=http://www.twitter.com/@HuskerLocker]@HuskerLocker

    Brian: @btbbowling
    Erin: @helloerinmarie

    Like us on Facebook: The Official Husker Locker Facebook Page

    Tags: cody green, ohio state, bo pelini, podcast, podcasts

  9. 2011 Jun 01

    Husker Heartbeat 6/1: Cody Green, Bo Knows and All-Big Ten Teams


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Cody Green: Leaving is a hard thing to do

    - Bo likely can't escape OSU rumor mill

    - NU chancellor Harvey Perlman to co-chair a bowl task force

    - A look at Phil Steele's All-Big Ten teams

    - Wayward tweets can make coaches cringe

    Tags: bo pelini, cody green, harvey perlman, phil steele

  10. 2011 May 30

    Husker Hearbeat 5/30: Brion Carnes, Braylon Heard and Darin Erstad's Take on NU Baseball


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - With Green leaving, Carnes' spotlight grows

    - The fresh-faced running backs need to step up

    - Top Five Cornhusker seniors for 2011

    - Erstad: NU baseball will wind up in great hands

    - Injury to delay P Ehlers' summer start

    - 18 Huskers qualify for track championships

    Tags: brion carnes, cody green, darin erstad, logan ehlers

  11. 2011 May 29

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Cody Green's Departure Speaks Volumes


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    This past week hasn’t been a kind one for Nebraska’s quarterback depth. As ESPN’s Joe Schad tweeted on Saturday, Cody Green is seeking his release from the Cornhuskers’ program and is looking to go elsewhere. Kody Spano announced his retirement from competition earlier in the week via Twitter. While Green’s departure doesn’t help Nebraska in terms of bodies at the position, could it be a telltale sign of what’s happening amongst the signal-callers?

    Taylor Martinez will get every opportunity to hang onto the starting role this fall, but he’s going to have to fend off competition from several potential usurpers. Brion Carnes’ name has been on everyone’s lips following his impressive performance last spring. Ron Kellogg also performed well and highly-touted recruit Bubba Starling will be in Lincoln come the second session of summer classes.

    Assuming Starling remained on campus following the 2011 MLB Draft, Green would’ve been competing against four other very capable albeit young quarterbacks for playing time. Due to Green’s size, some fans speculated on a potential move to tight end early in his career when he struggled. He seems determined to remain a quarterback, however. His request for a release indicates that the chances of him getting much playing time in Tim Beck’s new offense were slim.

    Where will Cody go? It’s probable that Green finds himself back in his home state of Texas as playing in the Big 12 afforded him the luxury of being close to family at least a couple of times per year. With the move to the Big Ten, obviously those options were cut significantly. If Green is looking to play right away, a drop to the FCS would be ideal.

    Texas State and UT-San Antonio are two interesting options due to the schools joining the WAC following Boise State’s departure. If Green wanted the opportunity to sit out a year to hone his craft, a transfer to North Texas or Rice would be right up his alley.

    Regardless of where he goes, Nebraska is now faced with the task of not only working with a very young batch of quarterbacks, but the necessity to snag at least one in the current recruiting cycle just went through the roof. Offers have been extended to four currently eligible prospects including two very highly-recruited ones: Petal, Mississippi’s Anthony Alford and Hueytown, Alabama’s Jameis Winston.

    Should Bubba stay in Lincoln then this situation becomes more managable. If the season began today, Martinez and Carnes would likely split time with the first string. Kellogg and Starling would probably split time with the second unit.

    Bottom line: Nebraska’s quarterback situation isn't great, but the problem can be tackled. While no team wants to go into the season with unproven guys under center in a brand new offense, the Cornhuskers’ non-conference schedule is light and much of the Big Ten is either rebuilding or in shambles (See: Ohio State, The or Iowa). Talent may also be able to help mask some inexperience. Luck has always been part of the equation when it comes to success in college football. Big Red quarterbacks may want to grab a large handful out of the old horseshoe on their way out of the tunnel this fall.

    Tags: cody green

  12. 2011 Apr 16

    SPRING GAME: Still Under Wraps


    By HuskerLocker

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    In the CIA, DEA, FBI, NATO, UN and even the PTA, secrecy has its comforting virtues. A purpose.

    But it didn't do Nebraska's football team many favors in Saturday's Red/White Spring Game. Especially NU's top two quarterbacks, Taylor Martinez and Cody Green, who sputtered in an bland-as-a-plain-bagel offense specifically designed to limit them so Big Ten opponents next fall couldn't ferret out any clues of coordinator Tim Beck's top-secret attack.

    While third-stringer Brion Carnes steadied himself in the pocket and fired at will to relatively wide-open targets that included the electric Jamal Turner, Martinez and Green were seemingly stuck in the Shawn Watson era. Mini-slants to Brandon Kinnie. Tight end curl and flat routes run by Ben Cotton, J.T Kerr and the stupendously tall Robert Barry. These routes, and others, were slow to emerge. Same stuff from last year. None of the verve and energy Beck and his players have crowed about.

    Kyler Reed – arguably the Huskers' best receiving weapon – ran his usual seam routes with a shadow tailing his every move. Once, Martinez flung it into triple coverage just to give Reed a chance. The pass should have been intercepted. It wasn't a good decision or throw. It was, in short, a Martinez Moment from late 2010. But he's out there, in a glorified scrimmage, taking blind-side corner blitzes, and he's not allowed the slightest passing wrinkle? No quick throws? Not a shovel pass? Nothing that gets the defense moving?

    Basic is one thing. Beck's puny allowance of plays bordered on crippling against the top defensive players, who are generally better and more athletic than their offensive counterparts anyway.

    “It was a lot harder than I thought it'd be, having a small playlist and a couple formations,” Beck said. “It was a bit harder. There's situations where you wanted to do something and I just didn't want to do it. Didn't want to show what we were doing.”

    The Husker spent roughly half the game in the I-formation. The other half out of the Pistol, although it looked like a long Pistol. Tight ends all over the place, running what appeared to be variations of West Coast routes. NU never went empty with five wide receivers. Never had Turner and the equally-electric Kenny Bell on the field at the same time.

    Spread game? Only a bit. Bubble screens? Not many. Any semblance of the pressuring, attacking no-huddle tempo we're heard so much about? Of course not. Who knew the no-huddle was such a revolutionary thing? Half of college football runs it. Big Ten teams, too. There are only so many ways to run it.

    So why miss an opportunity to practice the no-huddle tempo in front of a big Memorial Stadium crowd? Why not work out those jitters and kinks now? Why wait for the live bullets against the Choo Choos next fall? Because that's a glorified scrimmage, too?

    Because that's Bo. He perceives an edge to be gained by keeping the whole thing a mystery. He's the veteran and the guy girding for a new league. His team. His rules.

    That disclaimer declared, here's what I saw: A haphazard three-hour practice with parameters that seemed to clash with each other.

    By the time Beck admittedly opened up the playbook just a little bit later in the game, Martinez and Green had already taken most of their snaps. The game is viewed as a laboratory, and yet Martinez spent most of the first half in “unique” situations, Beck said. Third-and-ten. Third-and-23. Third-and-16. Try working out of those situations with three-quarters of your playbook housed in Area 51.

    “Those aren't good for anybody,” Beck said.

    So why put Martinez in them? If the field-goal holder can literally “throw” the game for his team – and, in a rather inspired moment, Austin Cassidy cleverly did just that – can't your returning starting quarterback be spared the third-and-forever? The backside corner blow-up blitzes?

    Beck added, too, that with No. 1 and No. 2 units all jumbled up, timing might have been a little off.

    “It's a minute detail – but it's a still a detail,” he said. “That's why you play 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s and you have a depth chart. Guys try to work together as much as they can.”

    On Saturday, Pelini said, NU was “running people in and out.” It made for a lot of big offensive and defensive plays borne out of chaos - guys who never play together making mistakes. Walk-on running backs consistently busted contain, roaming free outside the hash marks. Carnes made some good throws – but he also enjoyed wide open targets. Carnes' best play was a 24-yard scramble. He stayed in the pocket, let the routes clear over the middle, then took off into a wide patch of green left open by some guy presumably missing his assignment.

    Martinez and Green rarely had such luxuries. They looked best on designed “waggle” rollouts – a staple of the Tom Osborne era – that changed their sight lines and protected them from the pass rush. When they stayed in the pocket, the pickings were slim.

    Their combined subpar performance – completing just 8-of-23 passes – creates room for a Carnes Conversation. But where can it go, really, if fans didn't even see Carnes run the meat of Nebraska's offense - a no-huddle tempo that demands precision? Where can it go when leaked practice reports from the Internet Illuminati often conflict or are generated through a predetermined prism of favoring one guy over another?

    Pelini seems to use the Spring Game as a reward, to some extent, for a hard, tough camp. Drafting teams, jumbling up rosters, it's fun. It creates a sense of competition and camaraderie. His players – especially some of the older guys – love it. Cassidy's gamesmanship in the fourth quarter is a memorable little footnote.

    But I can't help but think of a guy like Green, a hard-working, positive-minded kid who could have used Saturday as an opportunity to make a statement in the quarterback race. He seemed tentative, again, and out of rhythm, completing just 4 of 10 passes and losing a fumble. Afterward, he talked about running to the sideline after one drive and suggesting a variety of plays he could run to get the defense off-balance.

    “No, no, no,” Green said he was told. “'Let's just go out there and just play.'”

    With a sliver of the playbook and the pressure to perform in front of 67,000, with a quarterback competition apparently still in full bloom - well, you try it.

    Tags: spring game 2011, spring football 2011, tim beck, brion carnes, cody green, taylor martinez

  13. 2011 Apr 16

    SPRING GAME: Red Wins Shootout


    By HuskerLocker

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    Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini promised “vanilla” for Saturday's Red/White Spring Game. And for a scoreless first quarter, it was a big dish of it.

    Freshmen Jamal Turner and Brion Carnes spiced it up.

    Near halftime, as the White Team trailed 14-3, quarterback Carnes zipped a pass to wide receiver Turner, who leaped between two defenders, caught the pass and landed in stride. He wiggled out of a tackle and scored a 49-yard touchdown, somersaulting over the goal line. Big Ten officials flown in for the game flagged the true freshman for his exuberance. As a walk-on badly missed the extra point, Pelini grabbed Turner for a sideline chat.

    Lecture aside, the play – and the celebration – seemed to loosen up both teams. What had been a slipshod display of penalties and plodding power runs turned into a sloppy-but-fun shootout. The Red won, 32-29, in front of 66,784 sun-soaked fans at Memorial Stadium. Though shackled by Pelini's vow to reveal as little as possible – even less than that, preferably - both offenses still combined for 713 total yards.

    “It was a good game to watch,” said Pelini, while acknowledging the sluggish first quarter was controlled by the defenses. “Hopefully the fans enjoyed it. The players enjoyed it.”

    Perhaps too much, as the game was essentially decided via “sabotage,” Pelini joked, when the White team's attempt to take a 32-29 lead with a fourth-quarter field goal was foiled by the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing.

    Senior safety Austin Cassidy - officially playing for the Red but working both sides as the holder on kicks – took the snap, stood up and threw the ball aimlessly into the end zone. Assessed a five-yard penalty, Cassidy then slow-played his next hold so that kicker Brett Maher would miss his 34-yard attempt wide to the right.

    “I call foul on that one,” said Pelini, smiling.

    Maher then made a 39-yarder as time expired for the Red's victory. If cornerback Alfonzo Dennard's pregame claims hold true, the White now owes the Red a fancy dinner.

    And Nebraska fans have a summer to simmer and speculate over NU's quarterback competition, a race further muddied by Saturday's game.

    Starters Taylor Martinez and Cody Green combined to complete just 8-of-23 passes. Each had a turnover; Martinez threw an interception and Green lost a fumble inside the opponent's five-yard line. Neither led a touchdown drive. Both were handcuffed by Pelini's decision to run a fraction – if that – of the offense that coordinator Tim Beck installed last month. NU didn't even attempt to use its no-huddle pace, believed to be a staple of the 2011 attack.

    “It was hard,” Beck said. “A lot harder than I thought it would be...there were situations where you wanted to do something and I didn't want to show what we were doing.”

    Beck said he was even more conservative early in the game over concerns of how much offense he thought he could reveal. As the game wore on, his play calling had a little more variety, although almost all plays were run out of basic I and Pistol formations.

    Green said he returned to the sideline after one drive, suggesting routes NU could run to offset Nebraska's top defenses, which gummed up most of Beck's initial passing plays.

    “No, no, no,” Green said he was told. “'Let's just go out there and just play.' It's hard to get a rhythm.”

    Carnes, working primarily against No. 3 and No. 4 defenders, was a big beneficiary. Afforded a clean pocket and big throwing lanes, he completed 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for 40 yards, including a 24-yard scramble that was the longest run for either team all day.

    “You see signs that he's going to be a good football player in time,” Pelini said. “I think he's had a pretty good spring.”

    Turner caught four of those passes for 93 yards. Showing off the moves and acceleration that made him one of the most ballyhooed recruits in the 2011 class, Turner also impressed the crowd with a punt return of 59 yards and a kick return of 54 yards.

    Because he's yet to play in an official game, Turner couldn't talk the media.

    Coaches and teammates did it for him.

    Pelini: “Jamal Turner has a lot of ability. He's going to be a good player for us. He brings a really good element.”

    Beck: “He makes big plays. You saw that. He can take a short pass and make it into a big play. And that causes a lot of problems.”

    Running back Rex Burkhead: “He is just scratching the surface. We got a little preview of him and he is a playmaker. You can line him up anywhere.”

    Burkhead himself finished with 11 carries and 91 yards – the primary standout among the starting offensive units. He had a touchdown run nullified by a holding penalty. Referees flagged both teams a combined 19 times in all, including three sideline warnings on the Red team, which struggled to heed defensive coordinator Carl Pelini's request to edge away from the playing field.

    Turnovers remained a problem, too - four in all. The costliest of them was running back Austin Jones' fumble, which turned into a 28-yard touchdown return for Antonio Bell that gave the Red a 21-12 lead early in the third quarter.

    The White scored the next 17 points, all on drives led by Carnes, who threw a 39-yard touchdown to a wide-open walk-on, Jacob Davis, for the 29-21 lead just 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Red tied the game with 8:35 left when freshman walk-on Zach Taylor ran it in from 11 yards out. Carnes answered, driving the White into field goal range before Cassidy's deliberate bumble.

    The White had another shot to win, but running back Yusef Wade fumbled the ball away at his own 39. The Red's Bronson Marsh recovered. Then quarterback Ron Kellogg III – who threw for 124 yards – moved the Red team into field goal range with a 14-yard pass to tight end J.T. Kerr. Maher nailed the game-winning kick. Except the botch, Maher made all four of his field goal attempts.

    In the first half, the Red had grabbed a 14-3 lead on two Tyler Legate fullback traps straight out of the Frank Solich era before Carnes and Turner answered with their 49-yard hook-up.

    Pelini declared the game – and spring camp as a whole – a success afterward. He expressed confidence, too, in the secret offense Beck's been developing behind closed doors. The one NU fans barely saw Saturday.

    “I think we're going to be very good offensively,” Pelini. “I think we're going to be a pretty balanced football team.”

    Tags: 2011 spring football, 2011 spring game, ron kellogg, brion carnes, jamal turner, cody green, tim beck, rex burkhead

  14. 2011 Apr 14

    Husker Heartbeat 4/14: Is It Cody's Time?


    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.

    *Since Taylor Martinez is expected to be limited for the Red/White Spring Game, the contest could turn into an interesting battle between Brion Carnes and Cody Green.

    *Prince Amukamara said he owes his success to Bo Pelini. Now - where will he land in the NFL Draft.

    *Joe Paterno talks college football, Husker football and "Tommy" Osborne.

    *More new guys profiles: Ross Els and Corey Raymond

    *Memorial Stadium gets bigger. Is it better?

    Tags: husker heartbeat, cody green

  15. 2011 Apr 14

    SPRING GAME: 5 Things to Watch


    By HuskerLocker

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    Glorified scrimmage? You bet. An opportunity for little-used walk-ons to get their 15 seconds of of fame in a relatively-full Memorial Stadium? That, too.

    It won't be flashy. It won't be revealing schematically. But that doesn't mean Nebraska's Red/White Spring Game is bereft of stories. Coaches absolutely want to accomplish something in the three hours they're prowling around Tom Osborne Field looking for players to praise and critique.

    Five things to watch for as Huskers put on their spring show and prepare for their inaugural Big Ten season:

    Trench skirmishes: Defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and defensive line coach John Papuchis haven't sweated too much the absence of end Cameron Meredith and tackle Jared Crick for spring camp. Why? They like the talent and depth behind those two. Along with returning starter Baker Steinkuhler, Thad Randle's made a move to the No. 1s this spring. Eric Martin, by all reports, is wreaking havoc as an undersized defensive end. Chase Rome and Jay Guy have flashed some potential to play next year at tackle. Terrence Moore is working his way back into shape after he suffered an injury in the Holiday Bowl, but he'd start at many Big Ten programs. True freshman Kevin Williams missed a week of spring camp with a foot injury, but he returned Wednesday. Could he get a play or two Saturday?

    The offensive line, meanwhile, is in transition. Position coaches Barney Cotton and John Garrison emphasized physicality and effort with a young, unproven bunch whose forebearers were manhandled at the end of 2010. Starting tackle Jeremiah Sirles missed spring, too – but his loss is felt more acutely than Meredith and Crick's absence. Young pups Tyler Moore (a true freshman) and Jake Cotton (redshirt freshman) made strong moves this spring up the depth chart.

    So what happens when factions of these units match up against each other? The defensive line should have the edge. But watch guards Andrew Rodriguez and Brent Qvale closely. They're supposed to be the starters next year. Can they hold their own against guys like Randle, Moore and Steinkuhler? Also: Can the young pups – or Marcel Jones and Yoshi Hardrick – block Martin?

    Tempo: Nebraska won't reveal many of its offensive wrinkles – or, as wide receiver Brandon Kinnie called it, “hoo ha” - that it installed over the last week. No stunner. But there's a good chance you'll see the Huskers' new no-huddle tempo. It's been around long enough in college football not to be considered secret or revolutionary. NU wouldn't want to waste the opportunity, either, to see how its quarterbacks handle play calls and game management in front of a large crowd.

    So what to watch? First, see how the offensive line is handling the speed of the game. They have to be in terrific shape for a no-huddle to be truly effective. Second, watch for which quarterback best embodies the “quick, but not in a hurry” manner that you need to run the no-huddle effectively. The worst thing a quarterback can do is waste a down because he rushed his pre-snap setup and reads. Third, look at the passes thrown out of this tempo. While they'll be vanilla in design, fans should still get a decent flavor for how a rhythm-based passing game relies on timing and placement of throws.

    Playmakers: Reporters and fans have heard nothing but praise for receivers Jamal Turner, Kenny Bell and Stanley Jean-Baptiste and their playmaking skills. Last year, NU lacked a “something out of nothing” threat at wide receiver, a guy who could turn a two-yard swing pass into a 25-yard gain. Outside of a few big plays to tight end Kyler Reed, Nebraska also lacked a consistent deep threat.

    Senior Brandon Kinnie is a solid anchor on the field side, a tough-minded, possession receiver who should be the go-to guy near the goal line. But when defenses roll a two-man “bracket” coverage his way, or force his routes back toward traffic – as Oklahoma did in the Big 12 Championship – somebody on the other side has to make the defense pay. And Niles Paul isn't over there anymore. A big play or two out of the above trio would be a confidence boost heading into the summer.

    Carnes vs. Green: With quarterback Taylor Martinez getting limited action in the Spring Game because of lingering ankle and toe injuries – those need to heal up over the summer, as reports out of practice suggested Martinez still wasn't quite “right” - and Kody Spano out too, Saturday boils down to an intriguing battle between junior Cody Green and redshirt freshman Brion Carnes. Last Saturday, Carnes had his best scrimmage yet, while Green has turned some heads in camp with improved passing mechanics. How do they perform with a crowd watching?

    Green had a perfunctory-at-best Spring Game last year, as his attempt to snatch the job from Zac Lee passed by the boards. What about this year? As much as coaches want to play down the Spring Game, Green can make a statement with a strong performance.

    Carnes has the tools – he just needs the polish. Watch his passing motion for efficiency and enjoy his playmaking abilities outside of the pocket. Odds are he does one thing Saturday that neither Green or Martinez don't do well: Throw on the run.

    Hustle and Flow: More than ever in the Bo Pelini era, Nebraska's defense will need its linebackers to do many of things linebackers traditionally do. Fit the interior the run. Man up against a lead blocker or a pulling guard. Take a smart drop on a tight end bolting up the seam and make a play downfield. Although the Huskers have generally hung their hat on an elite front four and even more dominant secondary, Bo and Carl's defense is actually designed to free up the linebackers – that is, LaVonte David, Sean Fisher and Will Compton – to make most of the plays.

    While all three probably won't play together Saturday, watch for their chemistry when two of them are out there. How do they communicate? How do they flow to the ball on running plays? Big Ten teams like Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio State force defenses to stay really sound in how they fill gaps and cover all bases. When there's a “break” in the fit, power running teams have a field day on it.

    Nebraska's defense is considerably ahead of the offense. In playmakers. In grasp of scheme. Probably in confidence, too. But watch for those little things anyway. How do Compton and David take on blocks? Does Fisher get low enough when he sweeps around the strong side and tries to force a play back to the middle?

    Tags: spring football 2011, spring game 2011, sean fisher, will compton, lavonte david, kenny bell, jamal turner, stanley jeanbaptiste, cody green, brion carnes, brandon kinnie, andrew rodriguez, carl pelini, john papuchis, brent qvale, thad randle, eric martin

  16. 2011 Apr 11

    Podcast 4/11: Carnes and Cody


    By HuskerLocker

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    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

    Tags: podcasts, cody green, brion carnes, baseball, softball

  17. 2011 Apr 09

    SPRING FOOTBALL: Practice Report 4/9


    By HuskerLocker

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    Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini wasn't scheduled to talk after his team's Friday practice. That's probably a good thing; NU struggled enough with mistakes that it “took a step back.”

    I don't know whether they knew we were scrimmaging today or not,” Pelini said Saturday, “but I did not like yesterday's practice...hopefully they'll learn from it.”

    Execution improved during Saturday's 150-play scrimmage, said Pelini, who pulled out a small, folded piece of white paper to report that the Huskers had only two false starts and one “ball on the ground” during the two-hour workout.

    “That's not bad,” Pelini said of the penalties. “Most of it is with the young guys. It shows me the emphasis is working and there's progress, but one's too many as far I'm concerned.”

    Nebraska, completing its 11th practice, limited the reps of quarterback Taylor Martinez during Saturday's scrimmage; the sophomore “tweaked his toe a little bit” in a recent workout.

    “It gave us a chance to get a lot of the other quarterbacks reps and spread them out with the first team,” Pelini said.

    Redshirt freshman Brion Carnes, junior Cody Green and Kody Spano all had their moments, Pelini said. Spano, a junior who could get back another season after missing two thus far with knee injuries, is finally back to “full speed action.”

    “Tremendous character,” Pelini said. “He's overcome a lot. He's out there fighting.”

    Running back Rex Burkhead did scrimmage and “looked great,” Pelini said, although he, too, limited his carries. Nebraska continues to search for quality backups behind the junior from Plano, Texas.

    But depth and minor injuries problems haven't stopped Huskers from learning their new offense, Pelini said.. On Friday, Martinez expressed confidence in the scheme and his chemistry with Burkhead and the first team of receivers. Pelini said Saturday that he sees Nebraska grasping the concepts of offensive coordinator Tim Beck's new attack - with an eye on fine-tuning its performance before the Red/White Spring Game.

    “Their overall understanding of the offense is good,” Pelini said. “The execution isn't always there yet. Some of the details aren't there yet. But the further we come fundamentally, the better off we're going to be. Because the knowledge is there...it's the technique and fundamental aspect that has to keep coming.”

    Notes: As in previous years, the Huskers will choose teams for the Red/White Spring Game with a player-led draft...a number of NU boosters were allowed to attend Saturday's scrimmage on the grass fields east of Hawks Championship Center. The number appeared to be more than 300...linebacker Alonzo Whaley, left guard Andrew Rodriguez walked off the field without pads, seemingly held out of the scrimmage along with Huskers who were dinged up earlier in camp...Nebraska returns to the practice field Monday afternoon...

    Tags: spring football 2011, practice report, kody spano, cody green, brion carnes

  18. 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

  19. 2011 Mar 27

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 9


    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. 9 Quarterback Cody Green

    NU's No. 2 signal caller for much of last season secured two important Big 12 wins over Iowa State and Colorado with steady leadership and clutch third-down passing. He wasn't so effective during a stint in the Texas A&M game or the first Washington contest, where his mistakes led to turnovers. Because Green hasn't been a spectacular playmaker in his first two seasons, he can't afford to make bad throws or cough up fumbles in a scrum. You never can, of course – but Green hasn't shown a real penchant, at least not yet, for making up for his errors with big chunks of yardage.

    A simplified offense may help unleash Green's talents, though. He can be a powerful runner and a decent passer when in rhythm. Shawn Watson's West Coast Offense seemed to make Green think too much and distrust his throws a little bit. He commands the huddle well, has the respect of his teammates and speaks for the offense when now-sophomore Taylor Martinez sometimes has not.

    Can he beat Martinez for the job? He'll really need to pass the ball well during spring; that's his one advantage over not just Martinez, but most of the Husker quarterbacks. If Green can settle his feet and throw over the top like he's supposed to, he can be a better-than-average college quarterback. And with Nebraska's defense, that might be enough for a league crown.

    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, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23, No. 22, No. 21, No. 20, No. 19, No. 18, No. 17, No. 16, No. 15, No. 14, No. 13, No. 12, No. 11, No. 10

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, cody green

  20. 2011 Mar 11

    SPRING FOOTBALL: Five Questions


    By HuskerLocker

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    The top questions and concerns for Nebraska football heading into spring camp are focused on a familiar spot: The offense. No shocker there – the Huskers wouldn't be shaking the Etch-A-Sketch clean if the spread-zone-read attack hadn't went kaput at all the wrong times in 2010.

    Bo and Carl Pelini's defense seems relatively set and confident, given they have potential All-American candidates at all three levels of the unit. Even losses in the secondary – Prince Amukamara, Dejon Gomes and Eric Hagg – can be reasonably covered by the quality depth created there by solid recruiting classes. More than anything, the relative stability of the defense allows the Pelini's to take a good, hard look at subtle adjustments – personnel packages, pass rushing schemes – that could help NU capture a Legends Division title in its first year.

    Five big questions for spring camp:

    Does Taylor Martinez break from the pack in the quarterback race, or can Cody Green and others keep the race interesting through fall?

    Offensive coordinator Tim Beck wasn't anointing Martinez as the defined starter during his presser Tuesday, but he said he sees greater confidence and better leadership from the sophomore, who clearly struggled with both toward the end of the 2010 season. And it's almost always a good sign when your new boss can crack a joke at the podium:

    “All them California guys are a little weird, right?” Beck joked of Martinez, a native of the Los Angeles area. “West Coast? I'll probably hear it from them now.”

    With Beck overhauling the entire offense, each quarterback is starting at the same learning level. But Martinez's skillset gives him a leg up in a spread attack over Green, who possesses leadership skills but lacks Martinez's speed and agility as a runner. Redshirt freshman Brion Carnes begins essentially where Martinez did one year ago, while true freshman Jamal Turner might get a long look at wide receiver, too. Junior Kody Spano is on the periphery of the conversation until we can see his knees are healthy enough to scramble around.

    When will the offensive line get some depth?

    In both the Big 12 Championship game and Holiday Bowl, left guard Keith Williams, because of a severe ankle injury, was operating, at times, on one leg. And yet he didn't get a spot on the bench because there wasn't, apparently, any backup suitable enough for extended minutes in a big postseason game. NU essentially employed six offensive linemen for most of the Big 12 campaign, with tackle Yoshi Hardrick occasionally rotating with Jeremiah Sirles on the left side. But that was it. And that needs to change.

    Three starters - Williams, right guard Ricky Henry and right tackle D.J. Jones – graduated. Marcel Jones is apparently healthy enough from a nagging back injury to resume starting duties at right tackles, but the two guard spots – where Williams and Henry logged more than 90 percent of the reps in conference – are wide open. It'd be wrong to simply anoint those jobs to sophomores Andrew Rodriguez and Brent Qvale, but Barney Cotton's job would be easier if both took control of those spots in the spring. Center Mike Caputo needs a solid backup at center, too. At tackle, Sirles will miss the spring – there's that nagging injury problem again – while a slimmer, more experienced Hardrick gets a crack at the starting left tackle job for the next month. Barney's son, Jake, moved from the defensive line to tackle, too – and it probably wasn't so Jake could guard a Taco Bell. He'll get a look.

    After Brandon Kinnie and Kyler Reed, who catches passes on the perimeter?

    New position coach Rich Fisher has options. But few of them are proven. Curenski Gilleylen disappeared after a decent sophomore season in 2009. Tim Marlowe hasn't been much of a factor. Quincy Enunwa dropped the only key passes thrown his way last year. The speedy duo of Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Kenny Bell redshirted last year. Jamal Turner just showed up on campus. Khiry Cooper's playing baseball. Walk-on KC Hyland always get raves for his hands – but he doesn't get playing time. If one of those three young running backs enrolling in the fall show immediate promise, perhaps Rex Burkhead can occasionally move out wide. Fisher, with little experience coaching at the college level, has one of the most daunting tasks among his peers.

    Who joins LaVonte David at linebacker?

    Nebraska will play eight teams in 2011 that require the Huskers to employ at least two linebackers as the base personnel; Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio State might require three. Yes, the Big Ten has its share of spread offense and speedy players. But it's nothing compared to the Big 12, where teams flood their rosters with players from the spread-mad world of Texas high school football. Only one team in the Big Ten – Northwestern - employs what could be termed “basketball on grass,” and many of NU's new opponents can go big pretty quickly if the Huskers try to put four safeties on the field in a dime package.

    All that to say this: David, a senior, can't do it by himself. He'll need junior Will Compton and the oft-injured junior Sean Fisher – whom the coaches still seem to love – to make plays alongside the All-American candidate.

    Even if Bo and Carl Pelini find a suitable replacement for Eric Hagg by kickoff in 2011, it seems pretty unlikely that a player of Dejon Gomes' size could seriously match up against a tight end or a fullback in the Big Ten.

    Does NU stay the course with its four-man-collapse-the-pocket pass rush or attack off the edge more? And who does the attacking?

    Over three years, the Brothers Pelini created a specific, excellent scheme to slow down and frustrate the best Big 12 offenses: A match-zone read pass defense coupled with a pass rush that felt to quarterbacks like the walls closing in. Defensive ends Pierre Allen and Cameron Meredith set a hard edge and didn't let quarterbacks get outside the pocket while Jared Crick and Baker Steinkuhler provided the bulk of the pressure up the middle. NU unveiled it in earnest during the 2009 Virginia Tech game; until the Hokies' final, miraculous drive, the scheme worked beautifully that day. It did a real number on several more Big 12 QBs too.

    But Big Ten quarterbacks are more comfy in pockets. And the routes they're throwing aren't always of the four-yard-out variety. Do the Brothers Pelini keep their pass rush structure from last year, or endeavor to find somebody who can tear off the edge and take over a game by himself?

    In 2003, Bo Pelini used a linebacker, Demorrio Williams, to fill that role; could Eric Martin – the talented-but-inconsistent torpedo on special teams – be the guy after a switch from linebacker? Is it Josh Williams, who has the frame but none of the production yet to go along with it?

    See more spring football coverage!

    Tags: spring football 2011, taylor martinez, tim beck, lavonte david, sean fisher, will compton, brandon kinnie, kenny bell, brion carnes, cody green, stanley jean baptiste, curenski gilleylen, carl pelini, bo pelini, rich fisher, barney cotton, andrew rodriguez, brent qvale

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