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  1. 2012 Mar 28

    Husker Heartbeat (3/28/12): Lite Martinez Film Session, D-Linemen at Center and Past Recruiting Classes Today

    1,508 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Sit back with Tim Beck and BTN's Gerry DiNardo as they go over Taylor Martinez's footwork progression with a short film session

    - What did the Huskers do during their spring break?

    - Former defensive linemen can make the best centers, or so Nebraska hopes

    - Safety Daimion Stafford gives the Nebraska secondary opportunities for hit after hit

    - 20/20 Hindsight: Power ranking the last five recruiting classes

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    Tags: taylor martinez, daimion stafford

  2. 2012 Mar 22

    Husker Heartbeat (3/22/12): Safety Smith's Playing Time, Pelini Too Optimistic?, and Remaining Candidates for Roundball

    762 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Safety PJ Smith has bigger things to worry about than playing time

    - Should Pelini and the Cornhuskers tone down their expectations for 2012?

    - Reviewing Big Red beasts: Daimion Stafford

    - A good number of candidates remain in Nebraska's sights for a new men's basketball coach

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    Tags: pj smith, bo pelini, daimion stafford, basketball search

  3. 2012 Feb 18

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

    1,076 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    This week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. 2012 Jan 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: 10 Huskers to Watch in 2012

    3,225 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Guest Columnist Sean Berger

    10. Defensive Line Youngins: Chase Rome and Jason Ankrah

    Young blood on the defensive line. With all of their playing time this year, much was asked of these guys. The early injury to Jared Crick becomes a blessing in disguise for the short-term future of our beloved Blackshirts.

    9. Quarterback Taylor Martinez

    An obvious selection, the entire fan base expects improvement No. 1 signal-caller. We need to see him improve his focus on protecting the ball when running this pistol-option-hybrid thing that Tim Beck and Shawn Watson developed. This year he improved in checking down on routes. We couldn't have asked him to spread the ball around more. (Thank you, Joe Ganz?)

    He involved nearly every tight end and wide receiver on the depth chart. Throwing the ball away when necessary seems natural for this guy. He may get outplayed at quarterback in his final two seasons if he can't develop new passing mechanics, though. His current mechanics combined with his lack of arm strength for the deep ball are not a long term solution. They're a liability in the games that matter most.

    8. Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Kenny Bell

    Personal intuition tells me that Enunwa will plateau into a "nice" Kenny Cheatham, but we've only begun to see Bell's potential, of which the only ceiling becomes his 6’1” frame. Enunwa prove me wrong! Nonetheless, Nebraska finally has playmakers at wide receiver. Improving hands seem to be the priority, but these guys have speed, too.

    7. Offensive linemen Seung Hoon Choi, Jeremiah Sirles and Andrew Rodriguez

    Here's the beef that has to continue to get stronger. These are the underclassmen with playing time under their belts. For the read-option-pistol thinger to continue to evolve, these guys need to give Martinez the running room and the extra seconds of decision time for Beck to utilize his best athletes: Rex Burkhead, Taylor Martinez, Ameer Abdullah and Jamal Turner.

    6. Running back Ameer Abdullah

    All of his athletic capabilities — strength, agility and speed — points to this guy being a consistent No. 2 running back for 2012. He's an exciting player with game-changing capabilities on special teams.

    5. Linebacker Will Compton

    This guy becomes the anchor of the defense. During his last two games, he seemed to be more aggressive off the ball. He's a playmaker in his best moments. I think he'll be a strong leader for the defense because he's just as committed as the next guy to the team's desire to write chapters of championship legacy.

    4. Wide receiver Jamal Turner

    In my opinion, I think Tim Beck will give him a strong look at quarterback during the offseason this offseason. We saw flashes of his athleticism this season. He has the speed of a dangerous dual-threat quarterback. Does he have an arm that can unseat Taylor Martinez? Beck is just crazy enough to involve three quarterbacks (Burkhead, Martinez and Turner) if the need arises.

    3. Defensive lineman Cameron Meredith

    I have to believe he'll get some Mel Kiper talk following his senior year at Nebraska. Everyone loves the curly locks, right? They resemble the raw gutsy leader that he is on the field and off.

    2. Running back Rex Burkhead

    The best running back in the categories of muscle and heart, Rex Burkhead didn't miss a beat for a Nebraska running attack that experienced the loss of third-round NFL draft selection Roy Helu, Jr. Every carry by Burkhead featured No. 22 inching out tough-as-nails yards after contract and reminding every Husker fan why Lincoln is the Pittsburgh of the Midwest in the process.

    1. Safety Daimion Stafford

    A hard-hitting safety, Stafford had some great moments in coverage this year. With all of the problems in the secondary this year - the change in coaching, a transition of philosophies, the loss of Prince Amukamara, Dejon Gomes and Ricky Thenarse - there were almost too many holes to for the Blackshirts to fill in pass coverage.

    Nebraska will need two solid corners to compliment Stafford but there's no overlooking the fact that he was an answer amidst all of the questions. Stafford will be the heart of the defensive backfield in 2012.

    Follow Sean on Twitter: @bergrbergr
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    Tags: chase rome, jason ankrah, taylor martinez, quincy enunwa, kenny bell, seung hoon choi, heremiah sirles, andrew rodriguez, ameer abdullah, will compton, jamal turner, cameron meredith, rex burkhead, daimion stafford

  5. 2011 Nov 21

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Most Valuable Huskers vs. Michigan

    1,594 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By James Stevenson

    Offensive MVP: Film not found. Nebraska junior quarterback Taylor Martinez completed nine passes out of 23 and was sacked three times. The Huskers’ star running back Rex Burkhead gained only 36 yards on 10 carries (how did he only have 10 carries?!). The offense lost two fumbles. If we were forced to give an MVP out, we’d give it to the sweet triple read option play. You know the one.

    The play where Martinez read the defensive end, handed off to Burkhead who then read the corner and pitched to Freshman I-back Ameer Abdullah who waltzed in for a touchdown. Did you get the feeling that ESPN color analyst Urban Meyer will be running that play against Nebraska next season as the head coach of Ohio State?

    Defensive MVP: If there was a silver lining to last Saturday’s game, it was the amazing play of senior linebacker Lavonte David. It was a career day for David, finishing with an eye-popping 17 tackles (14 solo). While spying Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, he combined with safety Daimion Stafford for a sack, and had 2.5 tackles for a loss.

    Special Teams MVP: The unit that directly led to Nebraska’s implosion doesn’t deserve an award this week. We would’ve considered junior kicker/punter Brett Maher had he not bobbled the snap on what eventually was a blocked punt. He was money otherwise, hitting a 51-yard field goal, and averaging 46 yards on six punts.

    Michigan MVP: Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson completed 11 of 18 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 23 times for another 83 yards and two more touchdowns. He single-handedly outscored the Huskers, and constantly broke the Blackshirts’ backs with well-timed runs and passes.

    Texas A&M Redux: Just over one year ago, Nebraska took an infamous trip to College Station. Conspiracy theorists in the crowd will recall quite a few questionable calls in that game. The curse of Novembers' past followed the Huskers to Ann Arbor. Early in the game, Michigan completed a 46-yard pass to wide receiver Roy Roundtree after he pushed off of All-American cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.

    Later, wide receiver Tim Marlowe was tackled on third down before a pass arrived, but no flag was thrown. When Nebraska was trying to make a late comeback, the referees flagged Nebraska’s special teams for roughing the kicker, even though he’d barely been touched by the Cornhusker rush. The referees certainly didn’t cost Nebraska the game, but they tilted the odds in Michigan’s favor even more.

    Stubhub Award: Internet-service providers certainly saw an uptick in Husker fans heading to online ticket broker Stubhub.com during the second half of the game. Instead of buying tickets to the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis, the Husker Faithful were listing their tickets on Stubhub, hoping to gobble up some Turkey Day spending money. If you’re a Michigan State fan planning your trip, you should check the hotels in Indianapolis. A number of rooms likely became available as of last Saturday.

    Nebraska Loves the Option So Much: …that it tries to run it on defense too. When defensive tackle Terrence Moore intercepted an attempted screen pass by Denard Robinson, he returned it 10 yards before attempting to pitch it out to a nearby teammate. He was ultimately ruled down before the pitch, but it was one of the Cornhuskers’ best option plays of the day.

    The Corn Bowl?: The Huskers have a short week ahead. They play the Iowa Hawkeyes bright and early in Lincoln on Black Friday at 11:00 AM. It’ll be the final home game for the Nebraska seniors, as they play for an ugly wooden trophy with a bowl of corn on the top (fans certainly didn't vote for that base).

    The sad thing is that the trophy will only be seen by the Innocents Society and is better than the game’s other stakes with the winner claiming third place in the Big Ten Legends division. A loss would likely banish the Huskers to the Insight Bowl (held at another House of Husker Horror: Sun Devil Stadium). Talk about a step back from 2009 and 2010.

    Follow James on Twitter: @jamesstevenson
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    Tags: taylor martinez, rex burkhead, terrence moore, ameer abdullah, lavonte david, daimion stafford, brett maher, alfonzo dennard, denard robinson, roy roundtree, tim marlowe

  6. 2011 Nov 12

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Penn State Game Day Thoughts

    4,120 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    This week:

    Do you think Tim Beck will open the playbook up more against Penn State?

    Brian: I could tell say yes and, “Man, we could be looking for Jamal Turner's breakout day, and Aaron Green and Ameer and Braylon and yeah!”

    However, every time that it seems inevitable for this to happen, this offense goes into a shell and plays more conservative than necessary. Again, I could say that it will happen, but until I see it, I won't believe it.

    Erin: I really hope so. The game plan against Northwestern was very disappointing. Whatever Tim Beck does, his playbook needs to resemble what he used against Washington and Michigan State. No stubbornness today, either.

    James:
    No. I think Bo and Tim will end up keeping the gameplan conservative. Penn State doesn't have elite talent, and Nebraska should be able to defend them similarly to how they defended Michigan State.

    This will starve the Nittany Lions of points, and Nebraska will look for opportunities to strike. The biggest thing Bo doesn't want the offense to do is make a mistake that will give the Penn State free points.

    As the game progresses, you'll see the playbook open up as Beck understands the scheme, and as Nebraska tries to take control in the second half. This will be Michigan State Part Deux.

    Ryan: No, I think the play-calling will stay conservative. With what is sure to be a rowdy, deafening crowd, the Huskers will keep it mostly the ground and call a pass play here and there to mix it up. I imagine a grind-it-out game in which the Huskers bleed the clock and the Nittany Lions in the process.

    Brandon: I doubt it. That’s unfortunate, too, because while Penn State hasn’t played the most difficult schedule, they are stopping teams from putting up points.

    While the Nittany Lions have the No. 3 scoring defense is likely a by-product of their softer schedule, it’s still a big indicator of what they can do against a team that’s not firing on all cylinders.

    Perhaps what’s most concerning is that if Nebraska doesn’t utilize more formations that have proven effective in the past, specifically the Diamond, I don’t think they win this game.

    PSU limits their opposition to less than 112 yards per game on the ground and 170 through the air. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve picked off 14 passes this season and are ranked No. 3 in pass efficiency defense.

    Beck needs to keep with the short/intermediate passing game with Taylor and spread out Penn State’s defenders or it’s going to likely be a long day.

    We saw the defense take a conservative approach, risking Northwestern’s wide receivers getting space against the Blackshirt defensive backs which obviously worked. How do you feel the defense should shift for Penn State’s attack?

    Brian: Penn State can run very well which is helpful as the defensive line, as mangled up as it seems to be, is much more serviceable than a secondary that has been torched time and time again. Even if the Lincoln Journal Star tells me that they have been solid.

    Ciante Evans and Lance Thorell could be better. Let's hope they play out of their minds, because to beat Penn State, you have to dare Matt McGloin and Robert Bolden to throw on you.

    Erin: Today's defense will be Bo's again. It will be similar to what we saw against Michigan State, you can count on that. The defense doesn't need to shift, as much as the coaching does.

    There is talent on that side of the ball and we've seen it. With proper guidance, they should be able to contain Penn State.

    James: Nebraska will play it's typical cover 2 scheme. They will stay conservative, block the deep routes, and not allow the receivers to beat them.

    You'll see more of the four-standing-defensive-linemen look that we used against Michigan State, and you'll also see the offensive line attacking the quarterback.

    Expect David/Compton to be the run support guys. Nebraska should be able to keep Penn State from executing long drives for scores.

    Ryan: The defense needs to tighten up in the middle as Northwestern gashed Nebraska between the tackles and Penn State will attempt the same thing.

    A strong middle presence with eight or nine guys in the box is the appropriate shift as Penn State does not do well through the air and will rely on Silas Redd to pound the rock.

    Brandon: Penn State’s offense isn’t anything to write home about, but it can be effective against a defense in disarray.

    Running back Silas Redd is averaging over 111 yards per game, so if Lavonte David and Daimion Stafford can’t help support the run defense, that’s going to be an area of major concern.

    Honestly, a better approach may be to sell out to stop Redd and focus on forcing PSU’s quarterbacks to make mistakes. Matt McGloin is no Dan Persa, only competing passes at a 55 percent clip.

    He can make throws if he isn’t facing pressure, and if the secondary can’t keep wide receiver Derick Moye under wraps, that spells trouble.

    The good news is that McGloin is about as mobile as Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins. If Baker Steinkuhler can mirror his performance from last week while Cameron Meredith and Eric Martin are released off the edge, Nebraska’s got a good chance to fluster PSU’s signal-callers.

    Do you feel that the Nittany Lions will be distracted by the massive scandal?

    Brian: Oh...maybe? They will be distracted, but at the same time they will be galvanized to play well for Paterno and themselves.

    The game can go one of two ways very early: Either Nebraska jumps on top of them and puts them into a submission move or Penn State gets the momentum and rides it for 3-plus hours as State College forgets about what has been and will be happening.

    Erin: Yes, I do. Everyone keeps making these comments about how they will be more fired up, which I could not disagree with more. I can only imagine how our team, let alone entire state, would be feeling if something like this happened to us.

    Penn State will be shaken. It's not a big shock. These are young men who are trying desperately to brave a major storm they had nothing to do with. You can't tell me for a second it won't affect them.

    James: They can't help but be distracted, but as we've seen earlier this season with Mike Stoops' termination at Arizona, sometimes the team can rally and "win one for the gipper."

    This is an 8-1 team, at home on senior day, wanting to win for their coach and move within a game of securing their berth in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game. I think Penn State comes to play, and wins in spite of the scandal.

    Ryan: Absolutely, but not in the way some think. They will band together and use an "us vs. the world" mentality in this game. I think the scandal may improve their performance on the field.

    Brandon: I can’t see how they won’t be. At the same time, it’s Senior Day and these guys love Joe Paterno. They want to go out and win one for him if nothing else. Whether this will affect them negatively or not is the big question mark.

    This scenario appears to be black and white. Either Penn State rallies behind the JoePa banner and overwhelms Nebraska or the Huskers get to McGloin/Bolden early, stuff Redd and the Nittany Lion balloon deflates.

    At this point, Rex Burkhead has to be hurting averaging around 25 carries per game over the past four games. Will this finally be the game where he can get some rest?

    Brian: Refer to the first question for what I think about this. We have ponies in the stable that are begging to be released, yet for some reason Tim Beck and Bo Pelini think that a Rex Burkhead at 60 to 75 percent at best is better then a 100 percent Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard, or Aaron Green.

    If we refuse to use these young guys, it’s a wasted season for at least Aaron and Braylon who could've used redshirts. Ameer has been used well on kick returns, but Aaron and Braylon seem lost in the shuffle.

    Erin: Sorry, but Rex's resting week was against Northwestern. We made a mistake playing him too much. He will be too valuable against Penn State and Michigan.

    Here's hoping he healed up over the last week because we'll need him. Can the three freshman rotate in too? Sure, they can. Rex will still carry the heaviest load.

    James: If it wasn't apparent last week, Bo and/or Beck don't trust the three-headed freshman I-Back monster. Burkhead was supposed to get rest last week, and he's the most "power" back of any of the I-Backs on the roster.

    I don't really expect to see him get much of a rest. It sure would be nice to see Aaron Green out there though. How will we know how good our new I-Backs are if we don't give them a chance to shine during actual game time?

    Ryan: Not at all. Rex goes for 25-30 as Nebraska knows they must rely on Ol' Dependable No. 22 in a tough road contest. Rex gets no rest at all.

    Brandon: I’d love to say yes, but with the insistence that we’ve seen to get Rex the ball, I don’t see it happening. If Burkhead keeps racking up as many carries as he has been, that's a horrible decision.

    He’s not just tired, he’s hurt and the more he grinds out, the more damaged he’s going to be and the less effective he’s going to be running down the stretch.

    There’s absolutely no reason Abdullah, Green and Heard shouldn’t be seeing significant time. Hopefully, I’ll be proven wrong and Rex gets an opportunity to give himself a rest while coaching the young guns from the sidelines. I’m not holding my breath, though.

    Follow the panel on Twitter:

    Brandon: @eightlaces
    Brian: @btbowling
    Erin: @helloerinmarie
    James: @jamesstevenson
    Ryan: @digitalryan

    Follow Husker Locker on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: penn state, aaron green, ameer abdullah, braylon heard, tim beck, bo pelini, matt mcgloin, robert bolden, rex burkhead, ciante evans, lance thorell, lavonte david, will compton, daimion stafford, dan persa, kirk cousins, cam meredith, eric martin

  7. 2011 Nov 03

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Mucho Hooch-O - No, THIS Is Sparta!

    1,382 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    The tenth edition of Mucho Hooch-O, an audio blog by Husker Locker's own Greg "Hooch" Mehochko, features a regular cornucopia of content.

    Hooch welcomes Husker Locker colleague Brian Towle to the show. They discuss the Michigan State game in-depth including the offense led by Rex Burkhead, how the defense line got their groove back, and Blackshirts including Will Compton and Daimion Stafford. A very succulent choice makes the Snack/Food of the Week.

    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.



    Follow Greg a.k.a. Hooch on Twitter: @thehooch36
    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: michigan state, rex burkhead, will compton, daimion stafford

  8. 2011 Oct 30

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Michigan State

    9,574 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Yep. Rex Burkhead really is from the planet Krypton.

    - Seriously, what Rex did against Sparty was a testament to his hard work, dedication and refusal to say “I quit.” Go Team Jack.

    - Where do you start with the secondary? When you hold one of the best wide receivers in Michigan State history to no catches, you’ve had a good day.

    - Taylor Martinez wasn’t all-everything, but he didn’t need to be. He did only what was necessary and that’s enough.

    - The defense seen yesterday, those were the Blackshirts.

    - Love the standing linemen front. Apparently this was taken from the Pittsburgh Steelers and was also used by the New England Patriots. One big stat that stands out because of the line’s work: four sacks.

    - It’s about time Eric Martin started tallying up sacks.

    - Each member of the Sea of Red should pat themselves on the back. There was a ton of noise at appropriate times and the Huskers clearly fed off of it.

    - Going to suggest that with this game having the implications it did that Bo had a little more to do with the defensive game plan this week.

    - It’s not an easy road to hoe, but the Nebraska team that showed up to play yesterday can beat any team remaining on the schedule, and yes that means Wisconsin should they meet up again.

    - Okay, which one of you is this?:



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    Tags: taylor martinez, rex burkhead, alfonzo dennard, lance thorell, daimion stafford, bo pelini, eric martin, will compton, michigan state

  9. 2011 Oct 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: For the Cornhuskers, Buckeyes Have Become Cardinals

    2,831 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    The stage had been set. The Nebraska Cornhuskers were under the brightest of spotlights, including headlining ESPN College GameDay, and being featured in the primetime ABC game. What followed was absolute humiliation of Nebraska on every level, live and in high-definition.

    While Southern Cal walked into Lincoln and pummeled the Cornhuskers, Wisconsin had the privilege of doing so in friendly confines. Nebraska and Ohio State haven’t met since 1956, but the significance of this week’s game is eerily similar to one four years ago against the Ball State Cardinals.

    For those who have seared the Callahan Era from their brain for completely understandable reasons, allow a brief refresher. An upstart Ball State squad came into Lincoln following the Huskers’ drubbing by the Trojans in 2007 and hope was high among the Nebraska faithful for an immediate rebound.

    The results were less than encouraging. Nate Davis, Ball State’s upstart sophomore quarterback, torched the Nebraska secondary to the tune of 422 yards. The Cornhuskers would deny the upset bid thanks to a Bo Ruud pick-six and Maurice Purify touchdown catch. Nebraska had their own “free agent” in former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller who performed well, throwing for 438 yards and three touchdowns.

    Following the heroics that saved the Huskers further embarrassment, Nebraska would drop six of its next seven games. The head coach was promptly removed following a shootout during the final contest of the season, and the rest is history. Bo Pelini finds himself in a position not unlike that 2007 squad, except the pieces to this season’s puzzle are scattered a bit differently.

    In 2007, Keller was far from perfect, but he did manage 2,422 yards passing and 14 touchdowns. He also set Cornhusker records for passing accuracy and single-game yardage. In 2011, Nebraska has sophomore Taylor Martinez delivering more passes that result in eventual scores for the opposition thanks to a 5-4 interception-to-touchdown ratio.



    Perhaps what’s most concerning about the 2011 squad is that prior to the season, this defense appeared loaded. With Jared Crick, Lavonte David and Alfonzo Dennard all returning, fans likely anticipated black practice jerseys being handed out by now. Five games into the season, the Cornhusker defense is giving up 377 yards per game.

    To be fair, Nebraska didn’t have those three talented athletes all healthy and on the field at the same time until reaching Madison. Unfortunately, even their presence didn’t affect a vastly superior team across the board nearly enough. The loss to Wisconsin is behind Nebraska and now comes a very crucial game for the Cornhuskers.

    Neither Ohio State’s Joe Bauserman nor Braxton Miller is going to be confused for Nate Davis circa 2007. In addition, three very talented players in running back Daniel “Boom” Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and offensive lineman Marcus Hall had their suspensions extended as of yesterday. While Las Vegas’ coffers were promptly filled following this news, Ohio State’s cupboard isn’t entirely bare.

    The good news for Nebraska is that this game presents an opportunity for a massive shift in morale and direction for the entire 2011 season. Pelini and company have the necessary talent to bounce back on both sides of the football, but changes are necessary for Pelini’s “process” to begin an upward trend. If the Cornhuskers are going to have a successful inaugural season as a member of the Big Ten, it’s time to erase the drawing board and start from scratch.

    While there’s little doubt Taylor Martinez will start against the Buckeyes this week, the call to relieve him in favor of another option, be it Brion Carnes or Rex Burkhead, needs to be made. Burkhead has proven to be a rock at running back. This is one position where Cornhusker fans know they have a reliable leader and talented corps.



    Jamal Turner is being sinfully underutilized. There’s no reason that he should be held back any longer. It doesn’t matter if he’s used as a wide receiver, quarterback or even running back. Turner needs to be on the field, as all playmakers should be. Nebraska’s offensive line is quite reliable overall. The work of John Garrison and Brendan Stai is clearly meshing well with what Barney Cotton already had in place.

    On defense, the Cornhuskers may want to consider moving the versatile Jared Crick to the outside opposite Cam Meredith and plug the middle using Steinkuhler, Moore, Randle and Rome. Unfortunately, Sean Fisher doesn’t look like he’ll ever regain his old speed which necessitates one of three things: Move Daimion Stafford to linebacker, a Peso-style hybrid, or burn David Santos’ redshirt.

    Despite only having one game under his belt, Alfonzo Dennard wasn’t attacked much by Wisconsin. The same can’t be said for the rest of the secondary. Where is Antonio Bell or Josh Mitchell? At this point, is giving P.J. Smith or Courtney Osborne truly not worth a shot? Yes, the defensive backfield is still a work in progress, but as it stands, it’s hard to comprehend why the coaches wouldn’t start mixing up personnel until they find a group that clicks.

    If these changes are made and an absolute commitment is made by Tim Beck to stick to an effective game plan (See: First quarter vs. Wisconsin), Nebraska will very likely avoid a record mirroring 2007’s. However, if there is little to no shakeup, Taylor Martinez remains under center, and square pegs keep being slammed against round holes, the Buckeyes are good enough to beat the Cornhusker team seen last Saturday in Camp Randall Stadium.

    A 41-40 win over Ball State in 2007 was an ominous sign of things to come. If Nebraska’s first Big Ten home game is a loss, the difficult challenges that Nebraska faces this week may be welcomed in comparison come this Sunday.

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    Tags: ball state, taylor martinez, tim beck, bo pelini, jared crick, alfonzo dennard, lavonte david, david santos, daimion stafford, baker steinkuhler, terrence moore, thad randle, chase rome, jamal turner, john garrison, brendan stai

  10. 2011 Oct 02

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Wisconsin

    13,496 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Before the season began, I predicted that Brion Carnes would take over as Nebraska’s quarterback by halftime of the Wisconsin game. Not only was I wrong, but if Carnes isn’t a frequent contributor next week, expect Martinez to remain under center barring injury for better or worse.

    - Rex Burkhead deserved two more yards.

    - If you're Tim Beck and you decide to throw down at least two scores in the second half, why not make your primary receiver Jamal Turner? Out of all Nebraska receivers, he’s the most dynamic and that’s saying something.

    - You have to feel bad for Tyler Moore. A true freshman jumps once during his first game in a place like Camp Randall and now it feels like putting his face on a milk carton isn’t the worst idea.

    - Sean Fisher doesn’t appear to have the speed he had pre-injury. At this point, it’s hard to think that it’ll return. That’s not good for a thin linebacker corps.

    - Keeping Daimion Stafford at safety is a waste of both his time and the coaching staff’s.

    - According to Erin Andrews, Bo accused the secondary of quitting on him during the first half. Whether this was a motivational tactic or legitimate claim seems up in the air.

    - How ‘bout that Brett Maher kid?

    - The head coach most sick over Nebraska’s loss to Wisconsin: North Carolina State’s Tom O’Brien

    - Wisconsin gashed this Nebraska team. Ohio State will either be salve to begin the healing or salt for the wounds.

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    Tags: taylor martinez, brion carnes, rex burkhead, jamal turner, tyler moore, sean fisher, daimion stafford, brett maher, tom obrien, erin andrews

  11. 2011 Sep 30

    Husker Heartbeat 9/30: Stafford's New Position, Suh's Shout Out and NU-UW About More Than Football

    4,427 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    Stafford finds himself fitting snugly in at the nickel position

    - Ndamukong Suh gives Husker Nation a pre-Wisconsin shout out

    - Fans should be patient with Martinez' option aptitude

    - Know Thy Enemy: Wisconsin

    - Nebraska-Wisconsin's one of the hottest tickets around

    - The bout between the Badgers and Cornhuskers will be about more than football

    - Can Nebraska's Big Three hoist up the Husker's defense?

    - Husker volleyballers face their first Big Ten road tests

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    Tags: daimion stafford, taylor martinez, ndamukong suh

  12. 2011 Sep 27

    Husker Heartbeat 9/27: OL is Badger Ready, Cooper is Displeased and Level-Headed Huskers

    6,127 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Nebraska's offensive line is ready to take on the Badgers' size and strength

    - Corey Cooper's as displeased with his performance in Laramie as many fans are

    - Q&A with true freshman running back Braylon Heard

    - The Huskers try to stay level-headed despite the hype of the upcoming weekend

    - Nebraska's defense should be at full strength versus Wisconsin

    - Football instincts help Corey Cooper and Daimion Stafford learn the Pelini brothers' schemes quickly

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    Tags: corey cooper, braylon heard, daimion stafford

  13. 2011 Sep 20

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

    4,933 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    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.

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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

  14. 2011 Sep 18

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions – Washington

    4,674 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

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

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

    - That Rex guy’s pretty good, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  15. 2011 Sep 12

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Winning Covered Up a Game That Still Stinks

    5,261 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

  16. 2011 Sep 11

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Fresno State

    5,771 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - For those of you making Tim Beck/Shawn Watson comparisons, knock it off. Watson would’ve had Martinez throwing slant routes across the middle and handing the ball off to Burkhead in the second half as Nebraska either won by a point or lost.

    - Martinez clearly had his software from OSU 2010 reloaded at halftime, though.

    - Ameer Abdullah: So fast that he can cramp up at the opponent's 45 yard line and still can't be caught.

    - 41 tackles by Will Compton, Lavonte David and Daimion Stafford sounds impressive. Not so much when noted that none caused Fresno State to lose yardage.

    - Anxiously waiting for someone to argue why Jamal Turner, Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa and Kyler Reed shouldn’t be Nebraska’s main receivers. Kinnie’s close, but he’s battling his quarterback’s mechanics.

    - Guessing no Heard or Green was because of shift in offensive philosophy in the second half.

    - Derek Carr is much more talented than his brother and was good prep for Dan Persa/Northwestern.

    - Fresno gained almost five yards per rush. Forget Wisky for a moment and remember Washington’s Chris Polk.

    - Brett Maher nailed a 57-yarder in warm-ups. Was somewhat disappointed he didn’t kick that 62-yarder. Also wondering if Alex Henery wasn’t.

    - Burkhead leaping over a goal line pile only lends more credence to his "Superman" nickname. That and his Kryptonian birth certificate.

    - A 33-percent third down conversion rate doesn’t speak well about the entire offensive staff.

    - On the next episode of Ghost Hunters: Courtney Osborne and P.J. Smith.

    - Daimion Stafford's going to be absolutely beastly once he hits midseason form.

    - Filed under “Kinda Funny”: Memorial Stadium erupting in cheers for Bo Pelini chewing a ref out.

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    Tags: tim beck, shawn watson, ameer abdullah, taylor martinez, will compton, lavonte david, daimion stafford, jamal turner, kenny bell, quincy enunwa, kyler reed, brandon kinnie, braylon heard, aaron green, derek carr, chris polk, brett maher, alex henery, rex burkhead, p, j, smith, courtey osborne, bo pelini

  17. 2011 Sep 09

    The OFFICIAL Husker Locker Podcast 9/9: Barking at the Bulldog Brigade

    1,877 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Subscribe to the podcast

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    On the docket:

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

    - Potential offensive worries moving forward
    - Which offensive style will eventually reign supreme
    - How does Nebraska cram Daimion Stafford onto the field?
    - Thoughts on coach Pelini stripping the redshirts of all three true freshman running backs
    - Can Nebraska afford to stop playing FCS teams?
    - Fresno State predictions

    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
    Greg: @thehooch36

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    Tags: daimion stafford, bo pelini, aaron green, ameer abdullah, braylon heard, fcs, fresno state, podcast, podcasts

  18. 2011 Sep 06

    Husker Heartbeat 9/6: Martinez's Learning Curve, Maher's Footprints and Will Shields' Son to NU

    3,670 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - The Huskers' old ways are still new to Martinez

    - Kicker/Punter Brett Maher is out to create his own footprints

    - Poor execution doesn't sit well with the offensive line

    - Daimion Stafford's big hit was no shock to Brandon Kinnie

    - Nebraska continues to prepare for Fresno State

    - Former Husker Will Shields' son will play basketball for Doc Sadler at Nebraska

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    Tags: taylor martinez, brett maher, will shields, fresno state, brandon kinnie, daimion stafford

  19. 2011 Sep 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - UTC

    5,623 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

    - Daimion Stafford is a bad man.

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

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

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    Tags: taylor martinez, tim beck, lavonte david, will compton, andrew green, ciante evans, daimion stafford, marcus mendoza

  20. 2011 Aug 02

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Predicting the Blackshirts – Peso

    4,645 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    A Bo Pelini-led defense is salty and vicious. Only a select few can call themselves starters and are rewarded by being part of a Nebraska tradition that spans over four decades. A simple black practice jersey denotes some of the nastiest young men in the country. We look into the crystal ball and see what's to come for the 2011 Blackshirt unit.

    Peso Back

    No position has received more attention during Bo Pelini’s tenure than the Peso back. A hybrid linebacker/defensive back position, the Peso has gone by other names, but it was very effective in limiting what Big 12 spread-based offenses could do. While the position’s necessity in the Big Ten decreases significantly, it will still be utilized against teams with aggressive passing games such as Michigan State and Northwestern.

    The two main candidates to replace Eric Hagg are junior college transfer Daimion Stafford and junior P.J. Smith. Smith works primarily in a safety role, but depending on how well he performs in fall camp, he could find work elsewhere on the field. He’ll have fierce competition from Stafford, however. Much like at strongside defensive end, a JUCO prospect wasn’t brought in to sit on the bench.

    Stafford accumulated 62 tackles as a safety for Chaffey Community College (35 solo) along with three tackles for loss, six pass breakups and five interceptions. He also served as a return specialist averaging almost 28 yards per kick return and over 15 yards per punt. At 6’0” 220 pounds, Stafford’s raw athleticism combined with his hard-hitting nature demand that he sees the field.

    Without enough time to familiarize himself with the defense for a starting safety position, his talents lend well to the Peso slot. Smith may have more time in the system, but Stafford beats him out as the superior athlete. It’ll take a tremendous effort in fall camp for him to claim the starting spot. Corey Cooper may get an opportunity, but he’s a dark horse candidate at best right now.

    When black jerseys are handed out, yet another JUCO will be wearing one and if he has a similar season to David’s first as a Cornhusker, Nebraska’s 2011 defense may be the best overall that Pelini's produced as a head coach.

    Projected Blackshirt: Daimion Stafford

    Other Predicted Starters:
    Strongside Defensive End, Strongside Defensive Tackle, Weakside Defensive Tackle, WILL Linebacker, MIKE Linebacker, BUCK Linebacker, Cornerback No. 1, Cornerback No. 2, Strong Safety, Free Safety

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    Tags: daimion stafford, pj smith, corey cooper

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