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  1. 2012 Mar 21

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Audible Audibles Feat. CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli

    2,629 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Husker Locker's Brandon Cavanaugh sits down with some of the best and brightest minds in college football as new guests come in left and right to be part of Audible Audibles.

    This week, fellow FWAA member, recruitnik and CBS Sports' own Tom Fornelli pulls up a chair.

    Topics include:

    - Does Nebraska need to be more physical or faster to rule the Big Ten roost?
    - What position of need do the Huskers need to focus on most during the 2013 cycle?
    - Can Terry Joseph have a large impact as just one person in SEC country?
    - Do uniforms make a shred of difference in the recruiting game?

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    Tags: spring football, recruiting, terry joseph, uniforms

  2. 2012 Mar 19

    Husker Heartbeat (3/19/2012): Spring Storylines, Under-Appreciated Huskers and No Big Red Brooms

    3,145 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - There are plenty of hot spring practice storylines after the first few practices

    - Highlighting some of the most under-appreciated Huskers in program history

    - Big Red brooms have to be put back in the closet as Nebraska drops their final game against Louisiana Tech 6-5

    - Lady Huskers get bounced from the NCAA tournament early on behalf of Kansas

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    Tags: spring football, baseball, women, s basketball

  3. 2012 Mar 13

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Audible Audibles Feat. Ty Hildebrandt - Co-Host of ESPN Grantland Network's Solid Verbal

    1,225 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Husker Locker's Brandon Cavanaugh sits down with some of the best and brightest minds in college football as a part of Audible Audibles.

    This week, co-host of ESPN's Grantland Network podcast The Solid Verbal, Ty Hildebrandt returns from Austin, Texas just in time to talk Big Red football.

    Topics include:

    - What Nebraska needs to take care of during spring football
    - Ways to use Taylor Martinez in Nebraska's 2012 offense
    - Can the Huskers do better than third behind Ohio State and Michigan now and in the future?
    - Replacing Jared Crick, Lavonte David and Alfonzo Dennard
    - Terry Joseph's impact at Nebraska as a coach and recruiter
    - Lavonte David in the NFL Draft

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    Follow Ty on Twitter: @tyhildenbrandt
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    Tags: spring football, taylor martinez, terry joseph, lavonte david

  4. 2012 Mar 10

    NEBRASKA SPRING FOOTBALL: Five Make or Break Players

    2,503 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Chris Labenz

    With the departures of key starters such as Lavonte David, Alfonzo Dennard, Jared Crick, Austin Cassidy, Marcel Jones and Yoshi Hardrick, Nebraska’s football team looks very different this spring.

    The absence of these veterans forces other Huskers to step up to keep the team goal of winning the Big Ten Championship in tact.

    As Bo Pelini continues executing the “process”, the following five players are on the verge of falling so far behind their peers, they won't be able to catch up.

    Guard Andrew Rodriguez - “A-Rod” came to Nebraska with high praise from recruiting services and scouts who touted the big man from Aurora, Nebraska as future All-Conference lineman.

    However, there was also rumor among the locals that Rodriguez lacked the necessary work ethic and passion to become of one college football’s elite.

    His play has mirrored these claims, being dominant at times, and sluggish at others. Given his incredible natural talent, there was no reason for the one-time New Yorker to get beat out midseason by former walk-on Seung Hoon Choi, no offense to the plucky South Korean.

    While coaches have stated that Rodriguez was suffering from lingering injuries, he didn’t seem to have the fire necessary keep a full-time starting gig.

    It’s time for this enigmatic player to make a decision between being great or fading into the background. If he chooses the latter, Nebraska has ample depth at the guard position to fill his absence with other highly-talented players chomping at the bit for playing time.

    Tight end Kyler Reed – No. 25 has had one of the most frustrating careers to follow. Flash back to the Oklahoma State and Missouri games of two years ago, and you see a tight end that can fly past safeties for long touchdowns and constantly create mismatches.

    Reed was non-existent last season, battling injuries and toughness issues only magnified by Ron Brown’s move to running backs coach.

    While part of the blame must be placed on Taylor Martinez for failing to find an often open Reed, there was no reason for the preseason star to experience such a dramatic drop-off in play.

    He faces his senior season, and it’s crucial to Nebraska’s success that he finds a way to play at a high level for the entire season. If not, expect the Husker offense to continue to be boxed in by safeties playing near the line of scrimmage. There's no fear of being burned deep by Ben Cotton.

    MIKE linebacker Will Compton – Lavonte David is not a player that can be replaced with one guy. No. 4’s ability to make plays across the field was the biggest reason the Husker defense had a fighting chance at stopping the better teams faced during the past two seasons.

    Nobody on the roster possesses his combination of speed, agility, sure tackling, and instincts. However, if the Blackshirts are to survive without the future NFL linebacker, Compton must step up his game this season and become the player many thought he could be when he signed his letter of intent.

    He has expressed desire to become the vocal leader of the Blackshirts, but fans have to wonder whether No. 51’s bite will match his bark.

    Against Michigan State, the Missouri native showed flashes of his why he was rated a four-star prospect, stopping running backs in their tracks and chasing the opposition down at every turn. While this performance was impressive, it still appeared to be the exception instead of the rule for Comtpon.

    In 2012, the senior linebacker must perform like he did against the Spartans every week if the Blackshirts are to regain the form that has become expected of a Bo Pelini-coached defense.

    If Compton can’t handle the load, expect young guns David Santos and Trevor Roach to garner serious playing time while all Husker fans simultaneously shake their heads and mutter, “David would’ve made that play.”

    Safety P.J. Smith – No. 13 is another Husker whose playing time has risen and fallen like the temperature of so many Nebraska seasons. With Austin Cassidy's graduation, there is a wide open spot next to Daimion Stafford at the back-end of the defense.

    While Pelini and company have accumulated above average depth at the position, nobody seems to stand out as a clear favorite this spring.

    Due to Smith’s knowledge and experience, along with the demands Pelini places on his safeties, it’s fair to guess that he could have a leg up on players like Corey Cooper. Cooper is one of many secondary members full of potential, but very green.

    Additionally, Courtney Osborne will be anxious to get back on the field after mysteriously disappearing in 2011. Smith has played well when given the chance, showing a great knack for finding the football, but injuries and a lack of top-shelf athletic ability have kept him from permanently needing an extra hanger in his locker for the a black practice jersey.

    If Smith can’t take his play to the next level this spring, don’t be surprised if new secondary coach Terry Joseph decides to roll the dice and go with the inexperienced, more athletic Cooper as his other starting safety.

    Quarterback Taylor Martinez – Martinez’s weaknesses in the passing game have been well-documented over the past two seasons. Heading into spring ball, T-Magic still has the keys to the Husker offense. One that was often very good, but maddeningly inconsistent.

    Opposing defenses were able to force Tim Beck to call plays that the dual-threat quarterback was clearly not comfortable executing, while containing opportunities for Martinez’s trademark long runs.

    If No. 3 can’t find a way to consistency complete more 10-plus yard passes downfield, Nebraska’s offense will again struggle to put up enough points to win games against the likes of Michigan and Ohio State.

    Should his struggles continue, the great unknown remains about whether Beck and Pelini will finally give another quarterback a chance to lead the first team offense against live ammunition.

    Expect fans to become restless if the staff isn't willing to make a change in the face of even more disappointing offensive performances, especially with Carnes and incoming signal-caller Tommy Armstrong itching for the chance to make people forget about Martinez.

    Can these five embrace the challenge of becoming the vital cogs to the Big Red’s success? If not, there are players below them on the depth chart happy to take their place.

    Follow Chris on Twitter: @chris_labenz
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    Tags: spring football, andrew rodriguez, kyler reed, will compton, pj smith, taylor martinez

  5. 2012 Mar 06

    Husker Heartbeat (3/06/12): David at No. 6, Blackshirts Bruise Combine and Early OL Look

    1,909 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Lavonte David checks in at No. 6 on the B1G's top 25 players in 2011

    - The NFL Combinefelt the sting of 2011's Blackshirt elite

    - An early look at Nebraska's big men up front reporting for spring practice

    - Want to take in a Husker baseball game? You've got plenty of opportunities to do so in the next 17 days

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    Tags: lavonte david, blackshirts, basketball, spring football

  6. 2012 Feb 19

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Mucho Hooch-O - Tip of the Cap Edition

    2,759 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - A recruiting roundup
    - 2012 football outlook
    - Nebrasketball's shortcomings
    - The Husker grappler's first Big Ten season

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    Follow Greg a.k.a. Hooch on Twitter: @thehooch36
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    Tags: recruiting, football, basketball, wrestling

  7. 2011 Dec 23

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Titans Clash in Cornhusker Staff's Annual Snow Bowl

    2,440 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Erin Sorensen

    On a cold evening this past Monday, the Nebraska Equipment Managers and Football Video Students met for a battle of the ages – A flag football game that would later be named the “Snow Bowl.” Football Video Coordinator and head coach of the video team Mike Nobler said that the game was “a long time coming.” Playing two 20-minute halves on an 80-yard field, the time had come for the unsung heroes of Nebraska football to meet.

    (Click for story soundtrack:)




    The equipment managers are no strangers to flag football matchups with fellow students in the athletic department. Just before Thanksgiving, the Equipment Managers beat the Athletic Trainers 35-14 in their annual “Turkey Bowl.” Shortly before the 6 PM kickoff, those involved tweeted assumptions that the score of the Snow Bowl would be similar to that of its Thanksgiving cousin. The spread was set at 13.5 in the equipment managers’ favor.



    During the game’s first drive, the video students went a quick three and out. After an impressive punt, the Equipment Managers quickly took the ball into the red zone. The Video Students made a big stand, stopping the Managers on the one-yard line. It was apparent the game would be much closer than anticipated.

    The starting quarterback for the Students was Brandon Baratta, a dynamic player out of Omaha South High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Struggling to get the ball in the end zone, the Managers took control with a 39-yard pass, followed by a short 1-yard pass for a touchdown by starting quarterback Paul Belz, the head student Equipment Manager.

    At 7-0, the video students were looking for a momentum swing and came up lucky as Brett Jamrog of the Managers’ squad dropped a crucial pass. The drop preceded two major penalties before a punt that gave the Video Students excellent field position. They would later complete a game-tying pass, knotting the score at 7-7.

    In a race to halftime, Equipment completed a long pass, only to have their quarterback sacked on the following play. Video got the ball back as Baratta threw a long touchdown pass to Andrew “Drew” Jensen. The score was 13-7 with 27.5 seconds to go in the half. Equipment answered with the blink of an eye thanks to a great catch by Tanner Dunbar, followed by a touchdown catch by Jordan Moody to make the score 14-13 at halftime.

    Equipment got the ball to start the second half, only to have Video make a big sack and force a three and out. It seemed like the second half would be a defensive battle. The ball went back and forth many times until Equipment finally took a stand with multiple big drives and a touchdown toss to turn the score 20-13 in their favor.

    Dan Rudolph stepped in at quarterback for Video and took advantage of red zone field position, eventually tying the game back up at 20-20. The deadlock wouldn’t last long as Equipment would take advantage of a lateral which saw the score extend to 27-20.

    With 1:24 left in the second half, Video switched to a no huddle offense. With the clock running, they found themselves in a long fourth down situation with about ten yards needed to extend the drive. After failing to convert on the final down, Equipment took to the victory formation and won the game by a 27-20 tally.

    It was a hard-fought game and both sides were calling for a rematch sooner rather than later. Coach Nobler was pleased with the performance and both teams shook hands to finish the match.

    Check back next week for exclusive video and photos of the contest.

    Follow the NU equipment managers on Twitter: @nuequipment
    Follow the NU video students on Twitter: @NEB_FB_VIDEO
    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: football, nebraska equipment, nebraska video

  8. 2011 Oct 16

    Coaches Rate Nebraska Number Eleven

    924 views

    By DrNaumann

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    Nebraska was voted #11 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Nebraska has a chance to advance into the top ten by winning against Minnesota, Michigan State (13), Michigan (17) and Penn State (22). Nebraska was helped by Washington (24), who Nebraska defeated earlier in the year, moving into the Top 25. The 5-1 Huskers were defeated by (4) Wisconsin.

    USA Today Poll

    1 Oklahoma
    2 LSU
    3 Alabama
    4 Wisconsin
    5 Stanford
    6 Oklahoma State
    7 Boise State
    8 Clemson
    8 Oregon
    10 Arkansas
    11 Nebraska
    12 South Carolina
    13 Michigan State
    14 West Virginia
    14 Virginia Tech
    16 Kansas State
    17 Michigan
    18 Texas A&M
    19 Georgia Tech
    20 Houston
    21 Illinois
    22 Penn State
    23 Auburn
    24 Washington
    25 Arizona State

    Tags: usa today football poll, nebraska cornhuskers, minnesota

  9. 2011 Sep 22

    Q&A with ESPN College Football Live's (and Huge Husker Fan) Lyndsay Lee

    4,813 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Husker Locker was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to chat with Production Assistant and Social Media Manager for ESPN College Football Live Lyndsay Lee about her experiences. Here is what she had to say about her time in Connecticut:

    What got you into the world of sports journalism?

    Like any other kid growing up in the 90s, I woke up every day and had breakfast watching SportsCenter. I grew up with two older brothers who wouldn’t allow me to be “girly,” and the only thing to do was watch live sporting events in my hometown.

    To keep myself busy, I played almost any sport I could try out for, including hockey before there were any leagues for girls. Sports were my life. On top of that, journalism is in my blood. Both of my grandparents on my mother’s side were pioneering journalists in photo and print journalism. Put the two together, and viola: my initial passion for the sports television world.

    How did you come upon your current job?

    Drinking at Dillinger’s Bar in downtown Lincoln on a Wednesday...seriously.

    I worked nearly full-time at the Husker Sports Network while at school and I met Sean Callahan there who was a regular guest on Sports Nightly as well as a sideline reporter for us during the football games. Luckily, I was one of the many that appreciated and frequently indulged in weekday drinking and ran into Sean when he was showing his friend and current ESPN Feature producer the town.

    Sean introduced us, we talked sports, life and such and by the end of the night he had given me his card and told me to give him my resume. About two months later, I came upon an email from ESPN Human Resources IN MY JUNK EMAIL (thanks Hotmail.com) that said they wanted to interview me.

    I interviewed in February of my senior year of college and got the job about three weeks later. If you were around the School of Journalism at that time, I was the girl bawling my eyes out and screaming in the lobby.

    What’s an average day like for you or does such a thing exist?

    Well, I have an outline of what an “average day” is, but since College Football Live is a daily college football news show things obviously change with the news. We meet in the morning and go over all the news that has happened since the last show, the big matchups of the weekend and what and who we want to talk about.

    From there we figure out how we want to present the news. That may include working one-on-one with analysts on breakdown tapes or cutting a sound full montage of upcoming games, great players or just generic video that you see rolling over an analyst’s comments.

    All of this comes under a daily deadline of 3:30 PM ET. It ends up getting pretty busy and stressful, but it’s definitely exciting. I tend to do more of the “high-end” treatments because I have been on the show for over three years, so I’ll do a lot of segment producing with analysts, opening teases, etc.



    It’s apparent that you’re a big Husker fan. Does everyone else at the show have such a hardcore devotion to a school?

    Oh man, we’re all die-hards here. I’m just probably the most biased. I usually bring up one Husker-related item in the meeting every day. The production crew is currently comprised of an Oklahoma fan, two Notre Dame fans (one of which is a former player), a Connecticut fan (they exist), a Georgia fan and me! That’s the great thing about working with a niche sport. It’s niche out here on the East Coast, at least. Everyone involved lives for this stuff.

    How did you become a Husker fan?

    My oldest brother Tony started the trend of us Lee kids going from North Dakota to Nebraska. He started in 1995 (not a bad year to become a Husker), my other brother Chris started in 1999, and then I started in 2004 (a HORRIBLE year to become an official Husker).

    I always cheered on the Huskers as I was growing up, but didn’t really turn into the fire-breathing, rabid fan until walking into Memorial Stadium my freshman year in college. Covering the Huskers quickly became my job throughout college, so it was difficult not to become overly involved.

    What’s the most memorable experience that you’ve ever had working for ESPN?

    Wow, there are SO many to choose from, it’s hard to choose just one. Probably the coolest moment for me is when I was able to produce the College Football Live Top 20 Roundtables. I had the opportunity to produce segments with our best analysts in Kirk Herbstreit, Jesse Palmer, Craig James, Robert Smith and Urban Meyer.

    I spent three hours producing those, and then proceeded to have lunch with the analysts. These guys are all really cool, but Urban was new to the team and I hadn’t met him yet. We were all sitting at lunch talking college football and Urban actually introduced himself to me. It was surreal that I had the opportunity to talk college football with some one of the best minds in the game and they thought my opinion was valid.

    It was kind of an out-of-body experience. I felt blessed because I not only accomplished something for my career but also that I got to have this incredibly awesome moment with some of the best people in college football.



    Do you have any plans to usurp Erin Andrews?

    HA! No way! I plan staying far away from that side of the camera. I have a passion for the production side of things, plus Erin is way too great at her job for me to take over.

    Have you worn any mascot heads during your tenure?

    Never worn any, but have run around with plenty of them. Life on the ESPN campus is sometimes exactly what it looks like on commercials. I’ll walk into the café at work and the Stanford Tree will be walking through and just hanging out. It’s pretty awesome. I also find a way to rock the Nebraska helmet as much as possible while I’m here.

    Who is your favorite ESPN personality and why?

    Honestly, 99.9% of the ESPN talent is wonderful and is great to work with and for. That’s not the company line, I swear. Some of my favorites include Scott Van Pelt (loves college football and always brings up Nebraska with me), Dari Nowkhah (nicest guy ever and used to work in Lincoln so we talk Huskers/Sooners a lot), Kevin Negandhi (super cool and easy to work with).

    Trevor Matich (He’s so dedicated to his job and has an incredibly unique view of the game), Kirk Herbstreit (insanely good at his job and is willing to do just about anything for your show, really nice guy), Trey Wingo (He’s hilarious and he’ll never give up on his Baylor Bears which I can respect), Erin Andrews (So fun and great at what she does, as a fellow woman in the field, it’s great to see her do so well. She’s a great representative for us).

    My overall favorite is Barry Melrose. The guy is awesome, smokes cigars at work, talks college hockey with me and speaks his mind. His knowledge of the game is insane and what we leave on the cutting room floor with him is incredible. Plus, his mullet is unbelievable.



    Many Husker fans feel that ESPN doesn’t give Nebraska a fair shake. Your thoughts on this?

    Trust me, It’s a myth. There’s so much going on here, we don’t have time to pick teams we want to hate. I think a lot of people re-live the ever popular “Kirk Herbstreit Greatest College Football Team of All-Time freakout” and say, “Here’s evidence!” In reality, these analysts cover the scope of college football. They don’t have time to look at every team and break down every matchup, but I will tell you this: they know more about more teams than you could possibly imagine.

    They may seem like they don’t mention Nebraska much, but really, Nebraska hasn’t been “relevant” again until recently. Sure it’s a top 10 traditional program, but NU also has to prove itself as a winner for us at ESPN to start talking about the program as a contender all the time again. I believe in the last few years, NU has been talked about much more, but of course they still have work to do.

    There was a time when all ESPN talked about was NU being the premier program (I’ve seen the tape). We, as a fan base, have to be patient knowing that the media can’t cover every team on every show. Trust me, I bring up Nebraska often and try to work the Huskers in as much as humanly possible, but the only thing that will make Nebraska come up more often is winning. I promise ESPN does not have a bylaw that says, “You as an employee must hate Nebraska football.”

    Any advice for the aspiring young sports journalists out there?

    Work and work often. Education is nice, but in this field it’s really nothing without having a clip reel or experience to back it up. The more you work in the field outside of school, the more people you get to know that could possibly help you advance. Despite what it looks like or sounds like, this field is HARD. It requires you to work holidays, nights, weekends and being away from your family. If you want a “regular” job and life, this is not for you.

    I have had so many amazing experiences being in this field, but I have also missed out on a lot of life events that were also important to me because I was working. I have chosen to dedicate myself to this field because my passion outweighs my pain right now. This sounds harsh, but it’s reality. Once the gloss of ESPN wears off, it’s a job that requires a lot of time and little room for error.

    At the end of the day, I know I have an incredible opportunity lying with me here at ESPN. I’m getting to do things that people only dream of doing. When people ask me what I do for a living, I simply say, “I basically watch and talk college football for a living, it doesn’t suck.” That’s the truth. I’m blessed beyond words and look forward to where ever God takes me in this crazy journey in sports television.

    Be sure to catch the fruits of Lyndsay's labors Monday through Friday on ESPN College Football Live at 3:30 PM ET.

    Follow Lyndsay on Twitter: @L__Lee
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    Tags: lyndsay lee, espn, college football live

  10. 2011 Sep 07

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week Two

    2,351 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    What a great week to start off the season!. Before we move on to week two, let’s review last week’s winners and losers.

    Winners:

    Boise State – The Broncos went to Atlanta and throttled the Georgia Bulldogs. For a team that isn’t supposed to be able to hang with the worst of the SEC because of the conference’s supposed superiority, their performance was pretty impressive.

    LSU – Their performance against Oregon wasn’t fantastic, but they took advantage of several Oregon errors and managed the game well enough to make the final score look like a blowout.

    BYU – Starting the season in unfriendly confines for the second time in three years and winning a slugfest speaks volumes about the Cougs.

    Baylor- Robert Griffin III is the real deal.

    Losers:

    Auburn – The Tigers needed an onside kick and what appeared to be favorable clock operation to beat a team from the WAC? Really? Aim for the Independence Bowl, Auburn, because it’s the best you can hope for. A special round of applause goes to Tiger fans who decided to rush to the gates.

    Congratulations on leaving your team lying in the lurch before clapping and celebrating a win on your way out. Apparently the national championship shirts are getting difficult to wear from swelling heads.

    Notre Dame – The weather delays were a sign. You’re doing it wrong.

    Georgia and Ole Miss – A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? -



    Here are your week two dandies. All times listed are in CST.

    Arizona at No. 9 Oklahoma State (7 PM Thursday, ESPN)

    The fantastic duo of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon take on the Wildcats in a Thursday night tilt in Stillwater. Arizona comes into town following a beat down of Northern Arizona while Okie State took care of business against Louisiana-Lafayette. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles returns for what seems to be a ninth season, and has a talented receiver to go to in Juron Criner.

    The Wildcats did shut out Northern Arizona while Oklahoma State had some issues stopping the Raging Cajuns and Weeden did throw a pick-six. However, Weeden also threw for 388 yards. Blackmon helped pick up 144 of those. OSU sophomore Joseph Randle ran for 129 yards at 5-plus yards per carry, too.

    Boone Pickens Stadium has provided solid home field advantage for Mike Gundy, and with the knowledge that a Mike Stoops team doesn’t play well on the road, look for the Cowboys to roll to a win.

    No. 21 Missouri at Arizona State – (9:30 PM Friday, ESPN)

    Gary Pinkel takes his Tigers back to the site of the 2010 Insight Bowl debacle as Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson and linebacker Vontaze Burfict welcome them into the desert heat. Mizzou didn’t impress anyone last week with a lackluster win over Miami of Ohio. Quarterback James Franklin didn’t look remotely as poised as his predecessors Blaine Gabbert and Chase Daniel did.

    For the Sun Devils, quarterback Brock Osweiler did well against UC-Davis until a cramp sidelined him in the third quarter. This game will depend on Franklin’s ability to improve. Defeating a MAC team at home is one thing. Going against defenders like Burfict on the road is a completely different task. Arizona State wins barely because they can run the ball better. If it’s up to Osweiler to save the day, expect struggles by both teams.

    No. 3 Alabama at No. 23 Penn State – (2:30 PM Saturday, Regional)

    Alabama played very well last week versus Kent State. Sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron will more than likely getting the starting nod again. While Nick Saban’s offense was merely efficient, the defense is back to their ball-hawking selves. Penn State didn’t get a proper test from the Indiana State Sycamores as Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin split time at quarterback.

    Joe Paterno has a difficult decision with those two. Bolden is a great talent, but McGloin seems to be the more efficient choice. Regardless, Alabama won’t be scared of Beaver Stadium. The game may be close early, but the mental toughness that Saban instills will be a huge benefit. The Crimson Tide pulls away at the end.

    No. 16 Mississippi State at Auburn – (11:21 AM Saturday, SEC Network (JP)/ESPN3.com)

    Hopefully Gene Chizik realizes that the Bulldogs are legitimate and are far from a WAC team. Dan Mullen brings his boys into Jordan Hare Stadium hoping to get a jump on the SEC West race. Mullen has quarterback Chris Reif and running back Vick Ballard, two seniors with live game time against SEC opposition.

    If freshman wide receiver Jameon Lewis can replicate the numbers he did against Memphis, Mississippi State could be dangerous. Auburn, on the other hand, played down to their competition and looked lost on both sides of the ball. Unless the Tigers improved dramatically in the span of six days, expect the Bulldogs to do well and stake their claim as legitimate SEC competition.

    BYU at No. 24 Texas – (6 PM Saturday, ESPN2)

    The final preview takes us to Austin where the Mighty Mormons invade to take on the Longhorns. Bronco Mendenhall takes super sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps into a second-straight brutal environment. On paper, the Cougars and Longhorns appear to be equals. Texas didn’t look great early on against Rice, but looked far more polished in the second half.

    The locals were not impressed and know that BYU is a very dangerous team to test quarterback Garrett Gilbert and wide receiver Mike Davis against. With running back Malcolm Brown toting the rock, the Longhorns are talented, but young on offense. Jake Heaps is very raw but incredibly talented, and will likely outperform Gilbert. Don’t be shocked if BYU wins, possibly by more than a score.

    Coaches on the Hot Seat:

    Houston Nutt, Mississippi: Well done, coach. You apparently didn’t take another home opener seriously, and BYU made you look silly. The pick-six thrown on 3rd and 23 cemented that. Your game against Southern Illinois is a must win.

    Mark Richt, Georgia: Fans across the nation knew you might be in trouble against Boise, but Aaron Murray should give you hope. That said, starting the season 0-2 by losing to South Carolina would be near-fatal.

    Rick Neuheisel, UCLA: San Jose State is a welcome sight at the Rose Bowl. You’d better beat them so that people might forget how good you made Case Keenum look last week.

    Mike Riley, Oregon State: Sacramento State? You lost a lot, but come on, man. Wisconsin is going to destroy you this week.

    Mike Locksley, New Mexico: The good news is that you kept Colorado State to 14 points. The bad news is that you could only muster 10. Bobby Petrino can easily hang 70 on your nose.

    Bonus Conference Official – Dan Beebe, Big 12 Commissioner: It’s not your fault that Texas A&M, Nebraska, and Colorado left you or that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State want new partners. Repeat that while staring into the mirror and it just might be believable.

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    Tags: college football, boise state, lsu, georgia, ole miss, auburn, notre dame, brandon weeden, justin blackmon, nick foles, joseph randle, mike gundy, mike stoops, gary pinkel, missouri, arizona state, brock osweiler, james franklin, chase daniel, blaine gabbert, vontaze burfict, miami of ohio, alabama, penn state, aj mccarron, nick saban, rob bolden, matt mcgloin, indiana state, joe paterno, gene chizik, mississippi state, texas, byu, houston nutt, mark richt, rick neuheisel, mike locksley, dan beebe, big 12

  11. 2011 Aug 31

    COLLEGE FOOTBALL: A Look Around the Nation - Week One

    1,770 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    The 2011 college football season is finally upon us. The first week brings some great storylines with it. High aspirations of teams such as Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida State and Stanford will give way to inevitable separation of wheat from chaff. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at some notable games this week. All times listed are in CST.

    UNLV at #11 Wisconsin (7 PM Thursday, ESPN)

    The Russell Wilson Show finally takes center stage with a nationally-televised debut at Camp Randall. Wilson, a transfer from NC State, has a one-year deal with Wisconsin, bringing a fairly accurate arm and quick feet to the Badgers offense. On the UNLV sideline, second year coach Bobby Hauck has a very young Rebels team that simply won’t be ready for prime time in Madison.

    The interest of this game lies in how Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema gets Wilson involved in an offense that revolves heavily around ball control. Don’t expect to see fireworks from the Badgers. Pay close attention to how Wilson is used, though. This will give Husker fans a potential peek at how their October meeting with Wisky might play out.

    #14 TCU at Baylor (7 PM Friday, ESPN)

    This game should, and probably will be, much closer than it would’ve been last year. While Gary Patterson brings his fabled defense led by senior linebacker Tank Carder into Waco, gone is All-Everything quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. The reins of the Horned Frogs’ offense have been handed to sophomore Casey Pachall, a very athletic player in his own right.

    Pachall has been fighting shoulder issues coming into this game, and there are whispers that he’s not completely healed. Baylor has Robert Griffin III under center yet again. While Griffin still has senior wide receiver Kendall Wright to go to, Baylor lost its leading rusher from 2010 in running back Jay Finley.

    Defensively, Baylor was atrocious last year giving up almost 31 points per game. This contest will be a great measuring stick for Griffin as a stout TCU defense will be very difficult to score against. If this game was in Fort Worth or at a neutral site, there’s no way Baylor would stand a chance.

    However, with the game in Waco and a very rare sellout crowd expected, the Bears’ chances improve. A Baylor win with a solid performance by Griffin would solidify his claim as a legitimate Heisman candidate.

    Appalachian State at #13 Virginia Tech (11:30 AM Saturday, Gameplan/ESPN3.com)

    Not to put the Michigan jinx on Frank Beamer, but the Hokies start off the season with a new quarterback and a large chip on their shoulder thanks to a blowout loss to Stanford in last January’s Orange Bowl. Sophomore Logan Thomas has stepped in at quarterback replacing a talented but often-criticized Tyrod Taylor.

    The Hokies have four returning starters on their offensive line, and reports indicate that junior running back David Wilson will help to ease the loss of Ryan Williams. The defense’s front seven is now healthy, something that plagued defensive coordinator Bud Foster last year. The Mountaineers, led by Jerry Moore, will be their typical scrappy selves, especially in both teams’ first game of the season. Look for the Hokies to do well regardless.

    Minnesota at #25 USC (2:30 PM Saturday, ABC regional/ESPN3.com)

    The second year of the Lane Kiffin/Matt Barkley experiment begins at the Coliseum starting with a tilt against the Minnesota Golden Gophers and new head coach Jerry Kill. Last year, Kiffin and the Trojans seemed to have severe issues giving all games equal focus. Hopefully Barkley will have matured as he will be constantly evaluated heavily by NFL scouts.

    The Gophers, on the other hand, are beginning the Kill regime by playing in one of the nation’s more intimidating environments. Quarterback Marquis Grey, a converted wide receiver, will get his first start in front of about 92,000 fans on a likely hot day in Los Angeles. Minnesota should score occasionally as the Trojan defense isn’t going to be great, but Southern Cal should roll.

    If the Gophers get blown out of the water, it will be interesting to see how Kill is treated by the media and fans over the next few weeks.

    #3 Oregon vs. #4 LSU @ Cowboys Stadium (7 PM Saturday, ABC national)

    The most intriguing game of the day takes place in Arlington, Texas where a high-octane Oregon offense will go up against the craziness that is Les Miles and the LSU Tigers. LSU won’t have speedster wide receiver Russell Shepard, and once-expected starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson’s status with the team is in limbo.

    Quarterback Jarrett Lee will take over an offense that was being guided by former offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe before his recent battle with cancer was made public and he stepped down. Lee has matured under some intense pressure during his time at Baton Rouge, but doesn’t have the trust of the Tiger faithful quite yet.

    Oregon returns an offense based on keeping their opponents tired by running plays at a very quick pace. The duo of quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James led the nation in points per game last year and look to do the same this season. The more points scored in this game, the more likely it will be to Oregon’s benefit.

    LSU knows the tempo of the offense that Chip Kelly runs, but there is a difference between practicing it and actually attempting to defend the real thing. The Tigers can win this game if they are more physical than Oregon. As we all know, Les Miles has a horse shoe attached to his body, but all the luck in the world can’t help you when key players keep getting arrested. Oregon wins, but it’ll be close.

    #5 Boise State vs. #19 Georgia @ The Georgia Dome (7 PM Saturday, ESPN)

    The final game on our slate is the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic featuring Kellen Moore and Bronco Nation going deep into Dixie to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia head coach Mark Richt appears to be preparing for a make-or-break season in Athens. With his underachieving teams and the rise of Georgia Tech, Richt needs a win against Boise to start off a season that can bring the Bulldogs back to the Georgia Dome for the SEC title game.

    Sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray returns to lead the Bulldogs after a solid freshman season that saw him throw 24 touchdowns versus nine interceptions with a 61 percent completion rate. The problems for the Bulldogs start on the defensive side of the ball. Allowing 22 points a game isn’t a killer in most conferences, but we’re talking about the SEC.

    When you face the nation’s best quarterback in Kellen Moore, you’d better be able to score. Boise State’s record will continue to be questioned even as they move to the Mountain West Conference in an attempt to raise their credibility, albeit slightly. Critics seem to forget that Moore and Boise won a slugfest in Washington DC last year taking down eventual ACC champion Virginia Tech.

    What others forget is that not only was the offense impressive (No. 2 in the FBS), but the defense was stellar, too (No. 2 in scoring defense). The biggest factor for Georgia is that there is no A.J. Green for Murray to throw to. The Broncos don’t scare easily, and Kellen Moore will show the nation why he should be the front runner for the Heisman Trophy.

    Of course, along with great teams, there are the struggling ones. Let’s examine some of the coaches on the hottest seats in the country.

    Paul Wulff, Washington State (first game, vs. Idaho State) - The Cougars could actually begin the season 3-0. However, a loss to ISU will cause vultures to immediately begin circling in Pullman.

    Mike Locksley, New Mexico (first game vs. Colorado State) – Locksley seems lucky to still have a job and amazingly has a new contract. In theory, he’s in a win-win position as losing to CSU won’t hurt much and a win can only be seen as immediate progress.

    Greg Schiano, Rutgers (first game vs. North Carolina Central) – Schiano, who has gotten a raw deal in Jersey as of late, would be lauded anywhere else. Unfortunately, losing as often recently hasn’t helped his stock. 2011 could be better for him especially with a doormat to begin the year.

    Turner Gill, Kansas (first game vs. McNeese State) – How far have you fallen, Jayhawk Football? Hopefully, the beginning of a good season starts here, but that’s far from a guarantee.

    Houston Nutt, Mississippi (first game vs. BYU) – The quarterback-killer that is Houston Nutt will face a team that is far better than the Jacksonville State team that Ole Miss lost to in last year’s opener in BYU. In true Reverend Nutt style, if they do lose, expect a 25-minute tangent on how that 36th player he wanted to sign two years ago couldn’t make it to camp.

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    Tags: college football, unlv, wisconsin, tcu, baylor, appalachian state, virginia tech, minnesota, southern california, oregon, lsu, boise state, georgia

  12. 2011 Aug 23

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: An Illustrated Look at The Big Red Gearing Up For the Big Ten

    5,836 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Well over 100 Nebraska Cornhusker football players have been waiting for this time of the year. As anxious as fans are to fill Memorial Stadium and Big Ten cathedrals around the conference, the players’ excitement level is building at an exponential rate.

    In less than two weeks, the Huskers kick off the 2011 season against UT-Chattanooga, but to play well, you have to be properly outfitted. Let’s have a look at what players can look forward to as game day approaches:

    First thing’s first: You need the proper helmet to protect your noggin, so we start with a basic shell:



    Now that your helmet’s picked out and fitted, it’s time to snap on the appropriate facemask:



    We’ve got to make sure that you’ll get some proper cleats:



    The initial jerseys complete with this year’s commemorative Big Red patch game in a while ago, so a few guys tried them on to enjoy that brand new jersey feel:



    A clear picture of the patch commemorating Nebraska’s first year in the Big Ten:



    There’s the gloves that Nebraska’s got on hand for a special occasion:



    …but only 11 players get to wear these ones:



    After pads are fitted, you’ll look quite similar to Mr. Hardrick here:



    We can’t guarantee the death stare, though.

    Finally, you’ll want to keep in constant communication with your coaches and can access confidential information via your IPad that was generously donated by Husker alum Ndamukong Suh:



    Finally, not only are you ready to go, but everyone else is, too:



    That about does it. A week from Saturday, it’ll be time to tap this on your way out onto the field:



    Best of luck and Go Big Red!

    Many of these awesome shots were provided by the Nebraska equipment guys’ Twitter account. Follow them @NUEquipment

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    Tags: new husker uniforms, nebraska football equipment, nebraska big ten patch, nebraska jersey, nebraska gloves, horseshoe

  13. 2011 Jul 25

    Time Warner Cable Moving Big Ten Network to Standard Service Tier for Nebraska Customers

    4,218 views

    By DrNaumann

    Blog post image

    All Husker regular season football games will be available on Time Warner Cable

    LINCOLN, NEB. and CHICAGO - (July 25, 2011) –Time Warner Cable and BTN announced today that the network will be available on the company’s standard service tier for customers in Nebraska beginning Aug. 23. Every Husker regular season football game will be available live on Time Warner Cable during the team’s inaugural season in the Big Ten Conference.

    “We know how important Husker football is to our great customers in Lincoln and throughout the state,” Scott Miller, Time Warner Cable's area vice president of operations for the Kansas City/Lincoln division, said. “This move will allow us to keep providing our customers with the best Nebraska football content in the area.”

    In addition to Husker football games, fans will also be able to watch many other Nebraska sporting events, including men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, baseball, Olympic sports and more.

    Starting Aug. 23, BTN will be available on channel 24. BTN is currently available to digital customers on channel 333 and in HD on channel 1333, and will remain on those channels going forward. In addition to the primary network feed, two extra football game channels will also be available. BTN Extra 1 will air on 1334 and BTN Extra 2 will air on 1335. These channels are primarily used during football season when games air simultaneously to ensure all conference games are available to customers in their entirety.

    “This is great for Husker fans, now that they’re a part of the Big Ten Conference, to see games on Time Warner Cable’s standard service tier,” BTN President Mark Silverman said. “Time Warner Cable has a huge presence in Nebraska, and we’re excited to be making this move.”

    “We’re pleased that Time Warner Cable has moved the Big Ten Network to their standard service tier,” Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said. “Our athletic department has had a strong relationship with Time Warner Cable for a long time, and we’re pleased that they will continue to carry our athletic events and provide Husker and Big Ten content to our fans throughout Nebraska.”

    About Time Warner Cable
    Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is among the largest providers of video, high-speed data and phone services in the United States, connecting more than 14 million customers to entertainment, information and each other. Time Warner Cable Business Class offers data, video and phone services to businesses of all sizes, cell tower backhaul services to wireless carriers, and through its NaviSite subsidiary, enterprise-class hosting, managed application, messaging and cloud services. Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at www.timewarnercable.com, www.twcbc.com, www.navisite.com, and www.twcmedia.com.

    About BTN: A joint venture between the Big Ten Conference and Fox Networks, BTN is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering one of the premier collegiate conferences in the country. With more than 800 events, all in HD, the 24/7 network is the ultimate destination for Big Ten fans and alumni across the country, allowing them to see their favorite teams, regardless of where they live. Events include football, men’s and women’s basketball games; dozens of Big Ten Championship events; studio shows; coaches’ shows; and classic games. The network televises and streams more Olympic sporting events and women’s sports than has ever been aired on any other network. Original programming highlights activities and accomplishments of some of the nation’s finest universities. The groundbreaking Student U initiative provides real-world experience for students interested in careers in sports television. The network is available to more than 80 million homes across the United States and Canada, and currently has agreements with more than 300 affiliates, including AT&T U-Verse, Atlantic Broadband, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Rogers Cable (Canada), Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct (Canada), Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS. For updated information on BTN, go to www.BTN.com.

    Tags: big ten on twc, nebraska football

  14. 2011 Jul 13

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: The Big Board 7/13

    5,500 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    Time spent on the Big Board is in italics

    1.) OT Andrus Peat (Tempe, AZ): Peat’s narrowing down his list and a visit to Texas during the weekend of July 22 looms. He’s recently been to both Notre Dame and Michigan. While both schools seemed to have made strong impressions, Texas could be a far more challenging foe in the race for Andrus’ commitment. – 8 weeks

    2.) QB Devin Fuller (Old Tappan, NJ): Fuller will be tripping to Nebraska come the end of the month. As mentioned before, that will likely define the result of his recruitment involving the Huskers. Tim Beck and Ross Els are both working their tails off to show Devin how he can be a valuable asset in Nebraska’s new offense. If Taylor Martinez excels in 2011, Fuller may give the Cornhuskers a very serious look. – 8 weeks

    3.) QB Tommy Armstrong (Cibolo, Texas): Armstrong continues to be heavily recruited by the Cornhuskers. With Beck as his key contact, if both he and Fuller commit, that could result in Devin playing a more versatile role a la Jamal Turner. As it stands, Nebraska looks to be sitting pretty with Armstrong. - 4 weeks

    4.) WR/ATH Ghierry Vanderkuyp (Hialeah, FL): A few things caused Ghierry to shoot up the Big Board. First, while he may not have an impressive offer list just yet, he would make an excellent defensive back at 6’2” 180 pounds. Second, Corey Raymond is shoving his way into SEC territory to get after this kid. Third, he wants to get to Lincoln to check things out ASAP. – 2 weeks

    5.) DT Vincent Valentine (Edwardsville, Illinois): The effort put behind Vince's recruitment is a perfect example of what John Papuchis is bringing to the table. JP's been proving his worth as Nebraska’s new recruiting coordinator and as a coach who can hit the recruiting scene hard. Expect Vince to narrow down his list to a few schools by the end of the month. – 8 weeks

    6.) S Jordan Diggs (Cape Coral, FL): Another big-time prospect that Papuchis is after and he’s going to have to work a little magic to secure Diggs' commitment. Fortunately, Diggs is a big fan of what Bo and Carl have been doing in Lincoln and other Nebraska recruits have been trying to get in his ear. If Nebraska puts the full-court press on Diggs, he could come off of the Big Board by the end of the summer as a Husker commit. – 2 weeks

    7.) CB Brandon Beaver (Compton, CA): Beaver’s recruitment comes down to the Pac-12 and Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are giving their all to land a fantastic prospect at an area of need by sending both Carl Pelini and Corey Raymond after Beaver. Interestingly, Beaver has interest in both Washington and Nebraska. Might he kill two birds with one stone by coming to Lincoln on September 17? – 2 weeks

    8.) TE Orlando David (Hollywood, FL): It appears that Nebraska’s interest in David may have sparked a Big Ten recruiting battle. Wisconsin officially offered the Floridian tight end and it appears that the interest is mutual. David’s place on the Big Board could be brief between how hard the Cornhuskers and Badgers pursue him over the next week or so. – 2 weeks

    *NEW* 9.) DE Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, NC): With Nebraska’s recent success, the Cornhuskers appear to be going for broke when it comes to quality athletes to plug into areas of need. While Greg McMullen is still entertaining offers, Bullard is an athlete that would be a fantastic bookend to the Ohio native as he’s considered one of the best defensive end prospects in the country.

    10.) DE Taiwan Johnson (Manvel, TX): Johnson’s camp has been quiet, but he’s due for a visit to Lincoln to check things out and get a better feel for Lincoln and all it can offer. With the staff’s feelings in regards to Bullard, scholarship numbers may not be his best friend when trying to get on the Big Red Express. – 2 weeks

    Dropped out: WR Kenny Lawler

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    Tags: recruiting, nebraska football recruiting

  15. 2011 Jun 09

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: 10 Players Who Will Make or Break New Cornhusker Offense – No. 9

    10,513 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Basic elements of Tim Beck’s new offense were unveiled in April to the Cornhuskers’ adoring public. What Beck’s plans are past page one is anyone’s guess. One thing that isn’t difficult to predict is the talent with which he will try to get the Big Red Machine rolling. If these ten pieces of the puzzle don’t fall into place, the wheels may fall off of Beck’s invention.

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    No. 9: The No. 2 Running Back

    Three backs are in the running to aid Rex Burkhead in establishing Nebraska’s rushing attack this season. Each bring individual running styles. How the depth chart shakes out is going to be one of the most intriguing position battles to follow this fall. While the third and fourth player listed will likely be a factor as well, Burkhead is going to need to rest and when he does, this individual needs to play at a high level immediately.

    Braylon Heard, Aaron Green and Ameer Abdullah have the talent necessary to have a great year, but their inexperience also points to inevitable mistakes. The good news is that the abundance of ability that they have can mask some rookie errors. Things like ball security, adjusting to the speed of the college game and following/trusting blocks are concepts that many freshman struggle with initially.

    All three were able to make plays on their own in high school. This isn’t to suggest that if things break down in the backfield that they’ll be unable to adjust and will automatically be dropped for a loss. Despite how it seems, Burkhead can’t carry the entire offense all season long. Regardless of who wins the position battle, it will be up to this newbie to spell him, cause defensive coordinators account for him and make a dent in Big Ten defenses immediately.

    No. 10

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    Tags: football

  16. 2011 May 18

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: California Tight End Doing His Research on Cornhuskers

    8,914 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    If you’re not familiar with Jalen-Cope Fitzpatrick’s name, you soon will be. The 6’4.5” 238-pound prospect out of Rocklin, California is commanding some big-time offers including many schools from the Pac-12. While being looked at by some schools at defensive end and having the frame to be built into an offensive lineman, Cope-Fitzpatrick is considered one of the best tight end prospects in the country by several recruiting services.

    “It’s pretty amazing just thinking about it,” he said when the topic of rankings came up. “Just thinking about where I was in eighth grade and where I am now. Growing up watching college players and thinking ‘that’s going to be me.’”

    While he appreciates the attention from services such as Rivals and Scout, their praise isn’t going to cause him to let up at all. “I use rankings for motivation. I like to always aim high and keep high expectations. I expect a lot of myself. Being the best is a goal of mine whether it’s in my own eyes or the scouts’. I take some of it to heart, but you can’t really base everything on (ratings).”

    Cope-Fitzpatrick gives much of the credit for his success to camps such as the Instinct Training camps that B2GSports offers. Ron Allen, co-founder of Beyond 2000 Enterprises, Inc better known as “B2G” or “beyond two grand” has been impressed with the commitment and talent he’s seen from the young prospect.

    “Jalen is one of those guys who has excellent tight end skills. The kid has some pretty soft hands that you notice right away when he slides in at tight end. Now he can move and execute tight end routes with some of the best in the nation,” Allen said.

    Allen sees 30 percent of camp talent start as true freshmen and saw plenty of former participants fly off of this year’s NFL draft board such as Akeem Ayers (Tennessee), Rahim Moore (Denver) and Richard Sherman (Seattle). He sees plenty of potential and drive in the young Golden State prospect.

    “He would come down every weekend with his grandparents to train with the elite talent in California. He’s doing it for the right reasons. He’s not going on a national tour to bring attention to himself. He’s in it to get a skills advantage.”

    Allen also commented on how Jalen has found himself growing into a leadership role which was something that the young man is used to by nature. “I’ve always been a leader growing up, whether it was at school or at home with my little brothers playing on the playground just because of my size,” Cope-Fitzpatrick remarked. “On the football field, I used to be really timid because I didn’t know what I was doing, so it was difficult to accept that leadership role at first.”

    Once he does get onto the field, he presents a unique weapon for any offense and while humble, Cope-Fitzpatrick is confident in his ability to excel. “I understand my versatility. I feel like I can play in the slot, in the wing or in a three-point stance. I can play one on one where if I line up wide and I’ve got my size I can take on a cornerback. I’ve got my physical traits so if I line up inside and it’s a big linebacker against me, I feel that I can out run them.”

    He’s taken several unofficial visits to Pac-12 schools around the area such as California, Southern Cal and UCLA. Ideally, he wants to use all of his official visits to get a true lay of the land. “That’s the plan, but you never know what’s going to happen. I’m not sure where I’ll be visiting just yet because I’m still taking it all in. Around early July, I’m going to cut things down to five to seven schools.”

    Nebraska assistant offensive line and tight ends coach John Garrison recently stopped in to see Cope-Fitzpatrick and Jalen has learned plenty from the former Cornhusker center. “Tradition is the biggest thing that comes to mind about Nebraska. The fan base is huge. I heard they have really good facilities and saw some pictures. I’d like to try to get on campus and continue talking with coaches. They’re definitely a school that interests me,” he said.

    Jalen heard plenty about the Cornhuskers before Garrison came calling. One of Whitney’s assistant coaches, Paul Hanks was born in Hemingford, Nebraska. “He’s a huge Husker fan.”

    Like any other prospect, Cope-Fitzpatrick does have a list of necessities for a locale where he’ll be spending a good chunk of his life.

    “Academics are big. I want to try to get into pre-med, so that’s something that’s high on my list. Location is second thing. I want to be near a big city and see how close the airport is. It’s important to know if my family can fly in and take a taxi or if it’s going to take a couple of hours to get to my games. Tradition’s a factor for sure. I’d like to go to a school that has big-time football where everyone on campus is into it.”

    There’s plenty of time between now and February when he’ll sign his national letter of intent, but Cope-Fitzpatrick is taking his recruitment very seriously. Any potential suitors would do well to take notice that they’d best do their homework on him before he visits, because he’ll certainly have done his.

    Tags: college football recruiting, nebraska recruiting, nebraska football, huskers football, huskers, jalencope fitzpatrick

  17. 2011 May 16

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: The Big Board 5/16

    10,772 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    1.) OT Andrus Peat (Tempe, Arizona): Brother of current Cornhusker Todd Peat, Jr. who joined Nebraska with the most recent recruiting class. Andrus is considered one of the best offensive tackles in the country and could legitimately challenge for immediate playing time.

    2.) QB Devin Fuller (Old Tappan, New Jersey): Even if Bubba Starling does make it to Lincoln and stays, Nebraska badly needs a quarterback in this class. Fuller would be a fantastic addition to the class on the level of Starling or running back Aaron Green from last cycle. With 25-plus offers, it won’t be easy to get Fuller into the fold, but Tim Beck has worked his magic before.

    3.) QB Anthony Alford (Petal, Mississippi): If Fuller doesn’t commit, Alford is a solid plan B. A dual-threat quarterback, he has offers from the likes of Tennessee, LSU and Alabama in addition to the Cornhuskers’. He’s considered not only one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation, but in the top 150 overall recruits by several services.

    4.) DE Troy Hinds (Kaysville, Utah): The Cornhuskers need to replenish the razor-thin defensive end spots and Hinds would be a big step in the right direction. Currently measured at 6’4” and 225 pounds, he has the build that lends itself well to Bo Pelini’s pass rushing schemes.

    5.) DT Vincent Valentine (Edwardsville, Illinois): The hole that Jared Crick’s departure leaves isn’t going to be an easy one to fill, but having a defensive tackle like Valentine to develop would ease the pain. He has a slightly larger build than former LSU Pelini pupil Glenn Dorsey, bearing an additional two inches in height and 25 more pounds. This would allow him to develop into a a true force against Big Ten offenses. A number of SEC schools are interested in his services, but John Papuchis and John Garrison are on the case.

    6.) TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (Rocklin, California): Nebraska needs to continue filling its tight end depth chart with more athletic types in the mold of Kyler Reed. The Cornhuskers are going to have to raid Pac-12 territory to bring Cope-Fitzpatrick to Lincoln, but there is definite interest both ways.

    7.) ILB Donavin Newsom (St. Louis, Missouri): The Cornhuskers find themselves dipping into Big 12 territory for this dynamic linebacker out of St. Louis, Missouri. Many Big Ten schools have offered Newsom including Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Michigan State is also expressing interest. With a positive showing from interior linebackers like Will Compton in Nebraska’s first year of Big Ten play, the Cornhuskers would make a strong case for providing Newsome with a bright future under Peini.

    8.) OG Evan Boehm (Lee's Summit, Missouri): This one’s a no-brainer. Boehm’s within Nebraska’s key Midwestern radius and despite a significant number of offers with some from powers such as Oklahoma and Auburn, the Cornhuskers may be close to adding Boehm to their ranks. Offensive line coach Barney Cotton has proved to be quite valuable in recruiting linemen thus far. He and Carl Pelini hope to continue that trend.

    9.) TE Terrell Mitchell (Fort Scott, Kansas (Fort Scott CC): Another candidate for immediate playing time at tight end comes from a very familiar locale. Fort Scott Community College provides another opportunity for a solid JUCO prospect in Mitchell who has offers from both Nebraska and Oklahoma. At this point, those two schools appear to be tied for his commitment. He has four years of eligibility remaining.

    10.) C Ty Darlington (Apopka, Florida): Considering his size, Mike Caputo has done amazing things at center since he’s taken over for Jacob Hickman. After he departs following this season, Nebraska’s in big trouble unless they can find a natural for the position. Getting Darlington to Lincoln is going to be easier said than done. The Cornhuskers are one of 30 offers for the coveted offensive lineman and he hasn’t tipped his hand on just where he might end up.

    Tags: nebraska football, nebraska football recruiting, college football recruiting, andrus peat, devin fuller, anthony alford, troy hinds, vincent valentine, jalen copefitzpatrick, donavin newsom, evan boehm, terrell mitchell, ty darlington

  18. 2011 Apr 16

    SPRING GAME: Still Under Wraps

    827 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    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

  19. 2011 Apr 16

    SPRING GAME: Red Wins Shootout

    2,144 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    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

  20. 2011 Apr 14

    SPRING GAME: Walk-On Watch

    3,985 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Six walk-ons – aside from starting kicker Brett Maher and long-snapper P.J. Mangieri – who could make a little noise in Saturday's Red/White Spring Game

    Quarterback Ron Kellogg III: He's still a sophomore, and reports about his play in practice has almost always been positive. Kellogg's a pretty good passer. He won't wow anybody with his speed, but he's better than the average walk-on QB in his sophomore year.

    Tight end Jake Long: No. 3 guy at the position and the probably the No. 2 man when Kyler Reed spilts out wide. He plays smart and has some soft hands, as evidenced by his catch last year in the Colorado game.

    Linebacker Mathew May: Poised to start before the 2009 season began, injuries have kept May from realizing his full potential. He's healthy enough now to be the Huskers' fourth linebacker and a consistent force on special teams. Very athletic guy who can also blitz on occasion.

    Running back Zach Taylor: This redshirt freshman Lincoln Southeast product enjoyed some productive moments this spring. At 6-foot-1, 210 pound, Taylor isn't fancy, but he gets behind his pads and runs hard. Nebraska's struggled to find somebody who could consistently do that.

    Defensive end Kevin Thomsen: The senior from Elkhorn notched a sack in last year's Missouri game; he's a hybrid end/linebacker who can be used in a couple different packages. He's probably not an every-down end, but he's strong at the point of contact and doesn't get fooled easily.

    Defensive back Lance Thorell: One-time starter at dime corner could again vie for time this fall if one of the young pups don't step into the role. Thorell knows the defense as well as any Husker on the team, and he's an asset on special teams, as well.

    Tags: spring football 2011, spring game 2011

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