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  1. 2012 Mar 15

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Mucho Hooch-O - Lavonte David's NFL Future


    By HuskerLocker

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    The sixteenth edition of Mucho Hooch-O, Husker Locker's own Greg "Hooch" Mehochko breaks down whether or not Lavonte David is a legitimate NFL Draft first round candidate.

    Topics on the docket:

    - Breaking down the numbers
    - Scout quote
    - Linebacker or safety?
    - Teams that might be interested in David

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    Tags: lavonte david, nfl draft

  2. 2012 Mar 13

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


    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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    Tags: spring football, taylor martinez, terry joseph, lavonte david

  3. 2012 Mar 13

    Husker Heartbeat (3/13/12): Turner's Every Down, Carnes in Football School and No. 18 Cal Splits Series with Huskers


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Jamal Turner's now on the field every down instead of third down

    - Brion Carnes is determined to do everything he can to push Martinez including pouring effort into NU's Football School

    - Dennard and David are two names now showing up in NFL Draft first round predictions

    - Could Ohio's John Groce be the next men's Nebrasketball coach?

    - Nebraska takes down No. 18 Cal and splits the crucial series 2-2

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    Tags: jamal turner, brion carnes, alfonzo dennard, lavonte david, john groce, basketball, baseball

  4. 2012 Mar 09

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


    By HuskerLocker

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

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

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

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

    - Mel Kiper:Lavonte David is a first round pick

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

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

  5. 2012 Mar 07

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Spring Practice Opening Press Conference Notes


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Erin Sorensen

    - Bo Pelini announced that he will be opening up Pro Day and first day of practice to media.

    - Pelini is anxious to start spring football, saying, “I like the potential of what we have coming back on defense.”

    - He also added, “I like the leadership, I like the potential.”

    - When asked about Taylor Martinez: “We watch a lot of film and watch all the things from last year. Last year, he was putting in a new offense.

    There were a lot of new things for him to learn. You put a quarterback in the type of system we run, he had a lot of things on his plate and had to learn what to do. Now it’s refining that.”

    - The status of Jamal Turner was brought up. Pelini said he knows they can move Turner to quarterback if needed to take a few snaps, but that he feels good about the quarterback position as it stands right now.

    - Pelini believes Brion Carnes will have an important spring. He also believes he will bring a lot of competition to the table. “He’s going to be fun to watch.”

    - He would not comment on defensive backs coach Terry Joseph, but did offer up one thing: “He’s about as perfect a fit as you can have.”

    - When it comes to replacing Lavonte David, David Santos and Alonzo Whaley will get the first shot.

    - On Rex Burkhead: “He’s his toughest critic. I think he’s anxious.”

    - Pelini believes the team is ready for spring football: “I like the attitude. I think our guys are hungry. I think they understand that this spring practice is important.”

    - “You have to be ready to live it, and that’s a challenge to do it day in and day out,” Pelini said.

    - On his coaching style: “Every coach is different. Everybody has a different personality. I’m different than JP, I’m different than Tim (Beck). You have to coach within your personality. You have to play to your strengths and continue to work on your weaknesses.”

    “I don’t want to surround myself with a bunch of people who are going to tell me I’m right all the time, because I’m not right all the time,” Pelini said about his staff.

    - Pelini confirmed that Khiry Cooper is no longer with the team and that the decision was Cooper’s. He is set to graduate in May. Pelini also made it clear that the door is open if he ever wants to come back.

    - Jake Cotton, Chase Rome, and Todd Peat, Jr. will most likely miss all of spring practice.

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    Tags: spring practice, bo pelini, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, jamal turner, brion carnes, terry joseph, lavonte david, david santos, alonzo whaley, john papuchis, tim beck, khiry cooper, jake cotton, chase rome, todd peat

  6. 2012 Mar 06

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


    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

  7. 2012 Mar 04

    NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: Knee-Jerk Reactions (3/04/2012)


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Couldn’t have been more impressed with how Pelini handled the Corey Raymond situation. Can anyone else see how that conversation went?

    Pelini: “Well Corey, that’s a shame. Best of luck to you.”

    *reaches for the phone*

    Pelini: “…Terry, what’s up? Yeah hey, Raymond’s headed to LSU. Right, so how’s the Dooley situation treating you? Yeah, how’d you like to coach defensive backs here?...Okay, I’ll send you the paperwork.”

    Smooth as a silk sheet

    - Nebraska’s seniors had the opportunity to play in a men's basketball program so drenched in apathy that the thought of them just not caring against Minnesota seems plausible.

    - On the flip side, Connie Yori’s crew went to Indianapolis and has back-handed all challengers. Purdue best bring their A game.

    - West Virginia brought Nebraska baseball fans back down to Earth after a 4-0 run, but in these losses that are defined in a single moment, the Cornhuskers’ aggression never stops. That wins series.

    - Lavonte David continues to impress. A 233 pound linebacker with his instincts runs a 4.56 40-yard dash and you think GMs aren’t moving him up the board? No, he is not a safety.

    - It’s unlikely that Crick stays in the first round, but the Patriots may throw him a lifeline if he impresses at NU’s Pro Day.

    - Everyone in unison: How is Tommie Frazier not in the College Football Hall of Fame?

    - Exhibit A against the new NCAA kickoff rules:

    The defense rests.

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    Tags: terry joseph, doc sadler, connie yori, basketball, baseball, ameer abdullah, lavonte david, jared crick

  8. 2012 Mar 03

    NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: Weekend Panel (3/03/12)


    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's your opinion on the hire of Terry Joseph?

    Brian: Great hire by Bo. Knows the system from being a graduate assistant at LSU with Pelini, knows how to recruit the South after stealing a few kids from Nebraska over the last couple of years, and knows what this system is all about. If Bo lets him do his thing, who knows what can happen next year?

    Chris: I’m thrilled with the hire for multiple reasons. First, Joseph has strong ties to the South on the recruiting trail, which will be needed given Corey Raymond’s departure. Second, the hiring of Joseph is a strong signal to me that Bo Pelini is maturing as a head coach. Given his past hires, it was realistic to think he would simply reshuffle the staff. Instead, Pelini went out and took an SEC school’s coach who could very well be an upgrade over the man he’s replacing.

    James: Fantastic hire. We are lucky that someone Bo knew/worked with and that he trusted has evolved into a good recruiter and position coach. We’re also lucky said coach was on a sinking ship like Tennessee, and worked with the position of need. Still, this is one of Bo's best assistant hires since he's been at Nebraska, regardless of the circumstances leading to it.

    Brandon: This hire says a lot to me about where Bo feels he’s at right now. He could’ve easily given the position to a graduate assistant like Vince Marrow or an intern and shuffled the current staff around, but he actually went outside the program. Given, Joseph’s a former graduate assistant that worked under Pelini (See also: Ekeler, Papuchis and Raymond), but Bo’s shown he works best with guys he can trust.

    It just so happens that a guy he can trust has been acknowledged as one of the best young recruiters in the game with strong Louisiana connections. Joseph might not have the resume Raymond did, but with how he gets after things as a coachd and on the recruiting trail, he won’t need it.

    If Doc Sadler is let go, when do you feel it'll happen...or will it?

    Brian: If? There is no “if” to this question. No. 5 faces No. 12 second on Thursday afternoon’s Big Ten tournament schedule. When Nebraska loses this game and makes it back to Lincoln, he should be gone by noon on Friday, and not a nanosecond later.

    The program needs that turnaround immediately after the season is over. Hopefully Mark Boehm follows suit and is dismissed at the same time. Nine years with no NCAA tourney bids and a sub-.500 record in conference should cause the axe to fall.

    Chris: Doc has to go. Nebraska’s finally ending one of the worst regular seasons in team history and lost at home to Iowa on senior night. Unfortunately, this comes on the tail end of a stretch of poor play throughout Sadler’s tenure.

    The team never seemed to improve under Doc, and recruiting continued to struggle with each passing season. The only way he’s is still the coach next year is if the athletic director can’t stomach the $3.5 million buyout that the firing would trigger.

    James: I think it'll happen within a few days of the end of the regular season. Tom likes to let his coach finish the season, and then evaluate on the whole. He'll give Doc that benefit.

    Brandon: First, Doc can’t possibly stick around after this season, can he? Would Tom Osborne really allow that? If he does, I can’t say I agree with the idea that he’s trying to get the men’s basketball program in order. Connie Yori’s squad been ranked and has busted through to the middle of the Big Ten tournament. The product Sadler puts on the court is just rank.

    A school doesn’t invest the amount of resources Nebraska did in new facilities and getting the use of an arena for a failed coach to get one more year. If he does, someone needs to have a chat with the man at the top. Osborne’s a nice guy, but he’s also a businessman in his current role. The only red he can tolerate when it comes to roundball is in the stands.

    Following the NFL Combine, do you feel that any Huskers are first round locks?

    Brian: Alfonzo is pretty close to a first rounder. Hopefully Lavonte jumped higher on some boards for the first round. Dallas wouldn’t be hurt taking Fonzie. Lord knows replacing Terrance Newman would be slick to stick to Kansas State.

    Chris: There aren’t any first round “locks” this year as was the case with Suh and Prince, but Nebraska has some first round talent available.

    Alfonzo Dennard and Lavonte David have the stats and pedigree to garner first round attention, but it comes down to how concerned teams are with the speed of Dennard and the size of David. Additionally, Jared Crick appeared to be headed for the first round after his junior year, but injuries have likely dropped him into the second or third.

    James: No. I think David and Dennard are second round picks. Maybe David somehow slides up, but I think early second is the best we'll see this year.

    Brandon: Before 2011 began, Crick and Dennard were easily first rounders. Now, Dennard looks to be lucky to get snagged in the first and aside from the Patriots, I don’t know who’d stop Crick from slipping into the second. The only Husker to raise his stock in Indianapolis was Lavonte David. He shows up at 233 pounds, runs a 4.56 40-yard dash, raises eyebrows and walks out the door.

    Crick and Dennard could find their way back into the first round, but it’s going to take a monumental effort at Nebraska’s Pro Day next week.

    How big is Charles Jackson potentially making it to Lincoln?

    Brian: It would be big, considering that he could probably start on the opposite of Mohammed Seisay against Arkansas State. That being said, the “Hey! Look! He’s qualified!” horn has been sounded…for quite some time…by his family. When there is an official release by North Stadium about Jackson, we’ll cross that bridge.

    Chris: One word: Huge. Jackson was arguably the best corner who participated in the 2011 Army All-American game. Plus he possesses elite strength and coverage ability for the position. If he can pick up the defense, there is no reason he can’t push for starting minutes this season. He’s head and shoulders above anyone else on the roster athletically, except perhaps Mohammed Seisay.

    James: Gigantic. Athletically he could start. Can he learn the zone-match defense quickly enough? Can he get enough reps in summer/fall ball? He's a huge bolster to the defensive back roster. Again, another case of sometimes being lucky (in this case, with Jackson qualifying) working out for you.

    Brandon: Huge and we’re talking “almost making up for Andrus Peat not being a Cornhusker” huge. If there’s one area that Nebraska can’t get enough help at, it’s cornerback. If Jackson does show up and with Braylon Heard making the switch, suddenly the Huskers have two guys to add fierce competition in deciding who starts opposite Mohammed Seisay.

    Going back to the first question, Joseph’s likely going to make this transition for Heard smoother than Raymond would’ve and if Jackson has some mental issues, so be it. Not to knock Raymond too hard, but Joseph’s that good of a hire. Plus, Nebraska’s not his fourth job in a little over 365 days.

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

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    Tags: terry joseph, charles jackson, doc sadler, basketball, nfl draft, jared crick, alfonzo dennard, lavonte david

  9. 2012 Mar 02

    Husker Heartbeat 3/2: David in the Second, DBs for New Coach and Bo Says the Funniest Things


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Lavonte David's NFL Combine performance may net him major bucks via a second round selection

    - Nebraska's secondary has plenty of talent waiting for their new coach

    - Defensive end Cameron Meredith sees a world of possibilities on and off the field

    - Bo Pelini's most comical lines on record

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    Tags: lavonte david, bo pelini, cam meredith

  10. 2012 Feb 29

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Huskers' NFL Combine Winners and Losers


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Chris Labenz

    It’s difficult to gauge how well a player performed overall at the NFL Combine based purely on raw numbers. You can't see hip movement, starts, stops, and other seemingly small physical cues that end up being significant in a team's eventual draft day decisions.

    This data is often used to confirm original perceptions about a player due to game film or causes some tinkering with that player’s position on draft boards.

    However, if a player performs poorly, this can easily drop him down a team’s board significantly, even if his game film and college numbers are staggering.

    Players have also moved up several rounds in the NFL Draft because of eye-popping performances in Indianapolis.

    For example, Darius Heyward-Bey (current Oakland Raiders wide receiver) and Chris Johnson (current Tennessee Titans running back) were perceived by pundits to be second or third round picks, but due to incredibly fast 40-yard dash times, they were selected in the first round.

    Let’s examine which former Huskers may have moved up draft boards, cemented their projected draft position or potentially hurt their position due to their presentations at the NFL Combine:

    Moved up the Board:

    Lavonte David –

    Height: 6’1”
    Weight: 233 lbs.
    40-Yard Dash: 4.65 seconds (No. 7 fastest among LB)
    Bench Press: 19 reps at 225 lbs. (No. 20 best among LB)
    Vertical Leap: 36.5 inches (No. 8 among LB)
    Broad Jump: 9’11” (No. 11 among LB)

    Pre-Combine Round Projection: 2-3
    Post-Combine Round Projection: Late 1-2

    Summary: David weighed in approximately 13 pounds heavier than the weight his senior season's playing weight. When initial NFL Draft projections were made, experts were concerned about David’s size and ability to handle linemen at the pro level.

    Despite adding the extra weight, David showcased elite athleticism for a linebacker by running an impressive 40-yard dash (4.65) and hitting 36.5 inches in the vertical leap.

    Teams should be less worried about No. 4’s size if he can continue to successfully add beneficial weight while maintaining his trademark speed and quickness.

    Alfonzo Dennard –

    Height: 5’10”
    Weight: 204 lbs.
    40-Yard Dash: 4.55 seconds (No. 15 fastest CB)
    Bench Press: Did not participate
    Vertical Jump: 37 inches (No. 4 among CB)
    Broad Jump: 10’11” (No. 10 among CB)

    Pre-Combine Round Projection: Early 2-3
    Post-Combine Round Projection: Late 1-2

    Summary: Dennard measured in much larger than experts expected. At his current size, the former Husker should have no problem measuring up to NFL wide receivers, a concern that several teams have.

    He wasn’t expected to be among the fastest cornerbacks in Indianapolis, yet posted a 4.55 second 40-yard dash. For comparison, former first round pick and current Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden ran a 4.6 time at the 2010 NFL Combine.

    Dennard also showed off his elite hops with a 37-inch vertical leap. This will surely be an asset when covering tall wide receivers. Add these numbers to what teams see on No. 15’s film, and he looks to be one of the first corners drafted.

    Cemented Their Position:

    Jared Crick –

    Height: 6’4”
    Weight: 279 lbs.
    40-Yard Dash: 4.99 seconds (No. 29 among DL)
    Vertical Leap: 31 inches (No. 29 among DL)
    Broad Jump: 8’8”
    3-Cone Drill: 7.47 seconds (No. 5 among DL)
    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.40 seconds (No. 17 among DL)

    Pre-Combine Round Projection: 3-4
    Post-Combine Round Projection: 3-4

    Summary: Crick’s draft projection remained uncertain heading into the combine due to his injury-plagued 2011 season.

    Pundits had the former Husker being selected anywhere between the late first round to the fifth, but many came to an agreement of Crick likely falling to the third or fourth round.

    This projection still appears accurate. No. 94 weighed in at 279 pounds, which is light for a 4-3 defensive tackle, but more than ample to be a 3-4 defensive end.

    He didn’t post an impressive 40-yard dash time, but showcased his elite quickness in the three-cone drill, which is much more telling in regards to the success of NFL defensive linemen.

    If the Nebraska native has a great showing at the Cornhuskers’ Pro Day, he may be able to rocket back into the second round due to his All-American level of play prior to 2011.

    Hurt their Stock:

    Marcel Jones –

    Height: 6’6”
    Weight: 320 lbs.
    40-Yard Dash: 5.67 seconds (No. 2 slowest among OL)
    Bench Press: 13 reps at 225 lbs. (Last among OL)
    Vertical Jump: 27.5 inches (No. 22 among OL)
    Broad Jump: 7’11”
    3-Cone Drill: 8.03 seconds (No. 7 slowest among OL)
    20-Yard Shuttle: 5.12 seconds (Last among OL)

    Pre-Combine Round Projection: 5-6
    Post-Combine Round Projection: 7-Undrafted

    Summary: Jones struggled throughout the event, finishing near the bottom of all drills. While offensive linemen are difficult to grade based purely on raw numbers, Jones’ lack of explosion and strength will only add to the fear teams have about his ability to stay healthy and pass block over the course of an entire season.

    He does have great size which works in his favor, but he must have a fantastic performance at Nebraska’s Pro Day to cement himself as a draft pick rather than an undrafted free agent.

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    Tags: marcel jones, lavonte david, jared crick, alfonzo dennard

  11. 2012 Feb 27

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: How Bo Pelini Can Forge Lavonte David’s Replacement


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    Off to pursue a career in the NFL, Lavonte David leaves tremendously large shoes to fill. A sense of worry among Husker fans regarding David’s departure mirrors the concern of when Ndamukong Suh left to join the elite.

    It's the chilling realization that an All-American can’t simply be replaced, but that a staff can only try to break down what made him great and do their best to replicate it. Copying David’s abilities will require no less than seamless teamwork.

    In 2010, he was responsible for a single-season record 152 tackles (84 solo), 15 tackles for loss, six sacks, 10 pass breakups and seven quarterback hurries. The next most prolific linebacker was Eric Martin with 26 tackles (11 solo). 12 players posted better numbers than Martin, who now earns his scholarship as a defensive end.

    Last season, David tallied 133 tackles (65 solo), 13 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, two pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

    Nebraska’s new Big Ten opposition tried to keep No. 4 out of the picture as best it could, and was occasionally successful. However, he made plays when it mattered most such as his potentially season-saving strip of Ohio State’s Braxton Miller that fueled Nebraska’s biggest comeback in school history.

    Will Compton, Nebraska’s returning veteran MIKE linebacker, placed second in defensive numbers with 82 tackles (39 solo), seven tackles for loss, an assisted sack, three quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery.

    While Compton’s runner-up status to David may seem reassuring, keep in mind how often Big Ten offenses were able to penetrate the front four and get to the defense’s second level last season.

    Compton also didn’t have the “creative license” of David as his job was to clamp down and contain the middle of the field. He also presented a fraction of the danger that No. 4 did in coverage.

    Construction of a corps that could help soften the blow of David’s loss begins at the BUCK position. Candidates for this position include seniors Sean Fisher, Graham Stoddard and Alonzo Whaley.

    The BUCK, or strongside linebacker, was eventually put on milk cartons for a good portion of the 2011 season as the Huskers shifted back into familiar Nickel or Peso packages.

    This allowed for two of Nebraska’s best defensive players to be on the field while minimizing a potential linebacker liability due to inexperience caused by lack of playing time and running a traditional 4-3 set.

    Husker fans will find a familiar face at MIKE in Compton. After rebounding from injury in 2011, he ended the season with performances worthy of his recruiting hype.

    Trevor Roach was serviceable playing the role of backup, but incoming recruit Michael Rose will likely get every opportunity to unseat him. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose work his way into rotation thanks to the severe lack at depth across all three linebacker spots.

    The WILL, or weakside linebacker, is arguably one of the most important positions in Bo Pelini’s schemes. These athletes are asked to do the most while subbing in at other positions, and occasionally being used in unique ways.

    The cornerstone of rebuilding David’s impact will be set here. Look for JUCO transfer Zaire Anderson to lock down the starting spot between now and next season’s first kickoff.

    Behind him, redshirt freshman David Santos should provide an excellent backup thanks to his combination of speed and acceleration. Incoming recruit Jared Afalava should get a chance to show what he can do, but it’s likely that he’ll spend a redshirt year on the scout team learning the ropes and adjusting to the speed of FBS football.

    These names mean nothing without one essential component – chemistry.

    While an unenviable task, linebackers coach Ross Els might consider teaching his charges to think as a unit, perhaps by learning assignments of all three spots.

    Holding down the fort at MIKE won’t mean much if the two outside linebackers are confused if Wisconsin’s Montee Ball comes crashing through the front four with a head of steam.

    There’s ample talent among the linebacker corps, but much of it's young and depth is paper-thin. Coach Els will have a few more gray hairs on his head every week as he works to cobble together a unit that can resemble Lavonte David in both efficiency and athleticism.

    An entire unit must be used in an attempt to cover the departure of Nebraska’s premiere defensive playmaker which seems like an advantage at first.

    Unlike Jared Crick’s increased responsibilities when stepping out of Ndamukong Suh’s shadow, David’s abilities allowed him to break assignment and make plays.

    Even when in sync, there’s legitimate concern about whether or not Nebraska’s linebackers will be able to do this in 2012 or if they should even attempt to.

    The Huskers’ staff can no more “replace” Lavonte David than they could Suh. However, if they can work in harmony, their first trip through a Big Ten conference slate without David could ultimately aid in developing the next great Husker linebacker thanks to baptism by fire.

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    Tags: lavonte david

  12. 2012 Feb 25

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Questions the Four NFL Combine Huskers Must Answer (feat. Michael Felder)


    By HuskerLocker

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    Jared Crick, Lavonte David, Alfonzo Dennard and Marcel Jones are all looking to impress at the NFL Combine. Brandon Cavanaugh invites former UNC Safety/cerebral mastermind of In The Bleachers Michael Felder to help answer three big questions about each Big Red representative's Combine appearance.

    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

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    Tags: marcel jones, lavonte david, jared crick, alfonzo dennard

  13. 2012 Feb 23

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Buy or Sell - Husker NFL Draft Stock Update


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Chris Labenz

    Under Bo Pelini’s tutelage, 13 Huskers have been selected in the annual NFL draft. In 2009, Cody Glenn (5th Round), Matt Slauson (6th Round), and Lydon Murtha (7th round) were taken.

    2010’s class saw Ndamukong Suh (1st Round), Phillip Dillard (4th Round) and Larry Asante (5th Round) fly off the board. The 2011 edition included Prince Amukamara (1st Round) highlighting a group of seven Huskers that were drafted between the first and seventh rounds.

    With the 2012 NFL Draft on the horizon, let’s examine where some of last season’s Huskers may end up.

    Alfonzo Dennard, CB–

    The Scoop

    Coming into the 2011 season, experts had Dennard as a first round lock because of his tremendous performances in 2010 as No. 15 often took on the opponent’s best receiver. Would you have thrown at Prince Amukamara on the other side?

    The Husker corner battled injuries early in 2011 and did not perform well in his most recent showcases. He was torched by South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey in the Capital One Bowl before the two scuffled which lead to ejections, and was essentially a non-factor in the Senior Bowl festivities.

    Due to Dennard’s height (generously listed at 5’10", but likely closer to 5’8”), NFL scouts are concerned about his ability to cover bigger receivers, even with his tremendous leaping ability.

    He also looked slow compared to Jeffrey who is by no means a speed demon at wide receiver. Despite these concerns, Dennard possesses great physicality and confidence which are vitally important traits for NFL defensive backs.

    NFL Draft Projection

    Most mock drafts have Dennard falling to the second round, and Tampa Bay appears to have serious interest in him because of Aqib Talib’s off-the-field issues. The Jaguars may grab the Husker standout two picks later if he’s available.

    If Dennard can run a 40-yard dash in the 4.45 range along with showcasing his elite vertical jump and quickness at the NFL Combine and Nebraska’s Pro Day, he may be able to slide back into the late first round as a San Francisco 49er.

    Lavonte David, LB/SS –

    The Scoop

    David was the most important player on Nebraska’s team last season, and single-handedly kept the Blackshirts from being embarrassed on several occasions. Without No. 4, Nebraska loses to Ohio State and potentially enters a downward spiral including six or seven losses.

    He was a force across the field during his two seasons as a Husker, displaying an ability to both make plays from sideline to sideline and cover tight ends or running backs 20-plus yards downfield.

    Scouts are impressed with David’s sure-tackling ability, quickness to the ball and speed, but his most valuable skill may be his instincts. Over the All-American’s career, it often appeared he knew what the offense was going to do before the ball was snapped.

    The knock on David is his size. Can he take on the week-to-week rigors of the NFL at only 220 pounds? Most scouts believe so and if not, they feel David could play the strong safety position because of his pure athletic ability.

    NFL Draft Projection

    If David were 20 pounds heavier, he’d be a lock for the first round. However, most projections have him falling into the third or fourth round of the draft, with the Titans and Eagles expressing the most interest. He’ll be a great value pick for whoever grabs him.

    Jared Crick, DT/DE –

    The Scoop

    Crick entered last season as one of the top defensive tackles in college football, with most experts projecting him as a first round selection in 2012. Even without Ndamukong Suh by his side, Crick put up impressive statistics during his junior season and was named an All-Big 12 player.However, No. 94 battled various nagging injuries during the 2011 campaign and was unable to live up to his preseason All-American status.

    Before his injuries, the Husker star was still a solid performer, but because of constant double teams, he struggled to penetrate the backfield and looked gassed by the second half of games. Despite this, scouts believe Crick can return to form and be a contributor as either a 4-3 defensive tackle or as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.

    He has the size and is quick enough to handle the role of a pass-rushing defensive tackle, but teams who employ a 3-4 would love to have Crick’s athleticism on the outside, where he can maintain the edge, but still get to the quarterback.

    NFL Draft Projection

    Experts are all over the board on where Crick will get drafted. Some have him listed in the second round while others think he’ll fall to the fifth or sixth. If he’s able to put up solid strength and agility numbers at the NFL Combine and Nebraska’s Pro Day, he’ll likely stay in the top three rounds as NFL teams place a premium on versatile defensive linemen.

    The Patriots and Ravens appeared to have strong interest before last season and as both teams need help on the defensive line, the former anchor of Nebraska’s defense could be of great value to them.

    Other Huskers Likely to be Drafted –

    Marcel Jones, OT – Jones had a solid career at NU, but was bit by the injury bug throughout which led to inconsistent play. However, he has the size (6’6", 315) to play at the next level and a team may grab the Arizona native in the sixth round.

    Jemarcus Hardrick, OL – “Yoshi” was a solid contributor for Nebraska over the last two seasons and showed the ability to dominate in run support. While Hardrick played a majority of his snaps for the Cornhuskers at the left tackle spot, his lack of elite quickness against edge rushers means he likely projects at either right tackle or guard in the NFL.

    He possesses good size (6’7", 320) and above-average athletic ability, but it will be crucial for No. 50 to trim down for the Nebraska’s Pro Day, as fatigue appeared to set in at times during the 2011 season.

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    Tags: alfonzo dennard, lavonte david, jared crick, marcel jones, yoshi hardrick

  14. 2012 Feb 22

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Husker NFL Combine Capsules


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Over the next week, 300-plus of college football’s elite will be poked, prodded, timed, tested, measured and run ragged. Welcome to the NFL…well, almost. Four Huskers will be visiting Indianapolis for the annual event, each with their own individual storylines as they go their separate ways for now.

    (Listed in order of appearance)

    Marcel Jones, Offensive Tackle
    NFL.com Height/Weight: 6’6” 327 pounds
    Schedule: Arrives February 22, Departs February 25

    Summary: Jones has battled pain throughout his collegiate career and has continued to rebound. Despite his injury-littered past, Jones is looked upon highly by front offices as a guy who could lock down a right tackle spot. He’ll need a year or two of polish, but he may go higher than many Husker fans expect and surprise once he gets to the League.

    Projected Round: 3-5

    Jared Crick, Defensive Tackle
    NFL.com Height/Weight: 6’4” 286 pounds
    Schedule: Arrives February 24, Departs February 27

    Summary: Crick returned for his senior year hoping to raise his draft stock and cement the Husker defensive line. Unfortunately, a pectoral muscle injury cut his season short.

    There’s also some concern about the knee injury he recovered from last spring and his ability to shed double teams without the help of Ndamukong Suh following his departure in 2009. Regardless, he’s looked at as a versatile lineman and teams with a 3-4 scheme appear to be very interested.

    Projected Round: 1-2

    Lavonte David, Linebacker
    NFL.com Height/Weight: 6’1” 225 pounds
    Schedule: Arrives February 24, Departs February 27

    Summary: No one questions David’s work ethic, but many question his size and ability to compete at the NFL level with larger athletes. His zone coverage ability was on display in the Senior Bowl, and he did rather well for a guy who was let off the leash repeatedly in Bo Pelini’s scheme.

    There’s been some speculation about moving him to safety. He’ll be a special teams warrior out of the gate and will be a value pick.

    Projected Round: 3-5

    Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback
    NFL.com Height/Weight: 5’9” 209 pounds
    Schedule: Arrives February 27, Departs February 28

    Summary: Dennard brings a number of questions with him to Indianapolis following a subpar showing during Senior Bowl week and the Alshon Jeffrey altercation is still fresh in people’s minds.

    Regardless, he’s still a higher-end prospect and could very well end up back in the first round with a solid effort. If he can display his athleticism and football IQ, he’ll likely be right back in the first 32 taken. Dallas, Detroit and Cincinnati sound like the most likely destinations.

    Projected Round: 1-2

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    Tags: marcel jones, lavonte david, jared crick, alfonzo dennard

  15. 2012 Feb 08

    Husker Heartbeat 2/8: T.O. on Sadler, Meets with Former Husker Strickland and Future NFL Huskers


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - Osborne on Sadler's future:"We'll see how it plays out."

    - Osborne meets with former Nebraska roundballer Strickland to discuss helping the hoops squad

    - The Washington Redskins should take a good, long look at Alfonzo Dennard

    - Lavonte David looks like a solid value pick for the Vikings

    Note: Husker Locker will be hosting a live chat tomorrow, Thursday, February 9 at 7 PM CST. Set your reminders and please join us for fan-centric Husker chat!

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    Tags: tom osborne, doc sadler, basketball, lavonte david, alfonzo dennard

  16. 2012 Feb 03

    Husker Heartbeat 2/3: Bo on Amukamara, Zaire Anderson to Play Soon and Crick an NFL Lab Rat


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - Pelini makes his thoughts known on Prince Amukamara and Super Bowl XLVI

    - Don't expect to wait to see JUCO linebacker recruit Zaire Anderson on the field

    - The Senior Bowl did nothing to hurt Lavonte David's draft stock

    - Connie Yori's Squad tops No. 15 Purdue in triple overtime thriller

    - Former Husker Jared Crick is the NFL's latest lab rat

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    Tags: prince amukamara, super bowl, bo pelini, basketball, jared crick, zaire anderson, lavonte david

  17. 2012 Jan 29

    NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: Knee-Jerk Reactions (1/29)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Without any blitzing, the Senior Bowl was pretty tame overall and didn’t display David much. He did look good on special teams and it looks like he’s been fine-tuning his coverage skills, though as he played a lot of zone covered throughout the game.

    - Fonzie’s string of bad luck should be snapped at the combine. If he puts up impressive numbers there, I expect late first/early second-round pick talk to start up again

    - This year’s class of walk-ons looks packed full of talent. Hard to not like Gretna’s Andy Janovich. A fullback that knows Olympic wrestling leverage is a valuable thing.

    - Grand Island quarterback Ryker Fyfe’s a steal and a half for the Huskers. He’s a guy that could find a home closer to the top of the depth chart.

    - Nebraska’s best chance at a Rutgers flip is Quanzell Lambert and he’s likely not even going to sign with anyone this Wednesday.

    - Devin Fuller to Arizona to be Pat White 2.0.

    - Abdullah, Green and Heard are fun to watch, but Imani Cross and Mike Marrow add a major bruising factor. Maryland I formation anyone?

    - Anyone else incredibly excited for Nebraska baseball to begin?

    - It’s unfortunate that Doc’s hundredth win was overshadowed by how poorly things have gone this season.

    - Can’t say there’ve been too many recent Signing Days where an entire class will be defined as a bust or not depending on the day’s outcome.

    - Wednesday’s gonna be fun.

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    Tags: senior bowl, lavonte david, alfonzo dennard, ryker fyfe, andy janovich, quanzell lambert, devin fuller, recruiting, basketball, baseball

  18. 2012 Jan 27

    Husker Heartbeat 1/27: Commit No. 14 is N, NU's Chances with Fuller and Spring Game Tickets


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Georgia RB Imani Cross makes commit No. 14 for Bo Pelini

    - Greg Schiano's departure to Rutgers could open the door just enough for Fuller to become a Husker

    - Dennard and David considered the cream of the Senior Bowl's North roster's defensive crop

    - Doc Sadler's crew bounces back, picking off Iowa on the road

    - Spring Game tickets go on sale next Wednesday at 8 A.M. CST

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    Tags: imani cross, devin fuller, lavonte david, alfonzo dennard, doc sadler, basketball, spring game

  19. 2012 Jan 26

    Husker Heartbeat 1/26: Dennard Out of Senior Bowl, Chargers Eyeing David and Burkhead Soon Needs Your Help


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - Alfonzo Dennard won't be playing in this weekend's Senior Bowl due to injury

    - The San Diego Chargers have their eye on Lavonte David

    - Nebraska head baseball coach Erstad isready to prove skeptics wrong

    - Rex Burkhead and Team Jack will soon need your help

    - Reviewed Big Ten plays were overturned 1/3 of the time

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    Tags: alfonzo dennard, lavonte david, rex burkhead, darin erstad, big ten

  20. 2012 Jan 22

    NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: Knee-Jerk Reactions (1/22)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - List of positives that can be taken away from the worst home loss in Nebraska basketball’s recorded history:

    - After what will be six years including a current 93-73 record, the best postseason run being to the NIT’s second round and being involved in the worst loss the program has seen in a century plus, how can Tom Osborne rationally keep Doc Sadler after this season?

    - In hindsight, that Indiana floor rush looks kinda silly now. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

    - Crick, Dennard, David and Jones should all do well at the NFL Combine. David could bump himself up to a late second round pick with an excellent showing. Jones could cement his status as a fifth or sixth-rounder.

    - When few people, if any, know a commit’s name 10 days out from Signing Day, you can safely say they’re a reach.

    - Nebraska needs Devian Shelton in this class, if only for legitimacy purposes.

    - John Papuchis gets a 50 percent bump? He’s a solid coach, but that seems steep.

    - Side note: Chancellor Harvey Perlman’s not a fan of the huge college football coach salaries these days.

    - Of all the people expected to bring Dunkin’ Donuts to Omaha and the surrounding areas, that two ex-Huskers are doing it isn’t so surprising. That Kris Brown and Zach Wiegert are doing it, that’s the weird part.

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    Tags: doc sadler, basketball, jared crick, alfonzo dennard, lavonte david, marcel jones, devian shelton, john papuchis, harvey perlman, kris brown, zach wiegert

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