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  1. 2012 Mar 29

    Husker Heartbeat (3/29/12): Amukamara Addresses College, a Center's Final Chance and Lost Rivalries

    1,007 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Former Husker Prince Amukamara is kicking off Collegebound Nebraska, a tuition-assistance program

    - Justin Jackson's switch to centeris his final chance to remain a Husker

    - Now eligible to play, transfer Mike Marrow is making a push for playing time at fullback

    - Defensive coordinator John Papuchis is pleased with what he's seen this spring

    - Johnston: Losing a rivalry a meaningless issue one year removed

    Official Twitter Feed: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: prince amukamara, justin jackson, mike marrow, john papuchis

  2. 2012 Feb 03

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

    1,535 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    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

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: prince amukamara, super bowl, bo pelini, basketball, jared crick, zaire anderson, lavonte david

  3. 2011 Oct 29

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Michigan State Gameday Thoughts

    1,605 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    This week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Follow the panel on Twitter:

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

  4. 2011 Oct 20

    Husker Heartbeat 10/20: New 2012 Addition, Amukamara Returns and Examining the Offensive Line

    4,483 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - JUCO linebacker Zaire Anderson has verbally committed to Nebraska

    - Prince Amukamara returns to give words of encouragement and lend support to a struggling secondary

    - Taking a peek at the roadblocks between Nebraska and the Big Ten Championship game

    - The offensive line's improvement has been key for Nebraska's success in 2011

    - The No. 4 Nebraska volleyballers sweep the Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Tags: zaire anderson, prince amukamara, volleyball

  5. 2011 Oct 05

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Pelini Needs to Put Cornhuskers Back in Black

    9,317 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    Since Bo Pelini arrived at Nebraska, he’s taken a different approach to the tradition of handing out the dark practice jerseys affectionately known as the “Blackshirts.” For decades, these garments have been worn by the starting 11 on the defensive side of the ball, but under Pelini’s watch, even the best of the bunch have to earn the right to wear them. This year, that strategy needs to be tweaked.

    Using Pelini’s current method, it’s easy to see why no Cornhusker defender has worn black in practice yet. A unit that gives up 351 yards and over 27 points per game doesn’t strike fear into the heart of any opposing offense. While the head coach’s strategy has been effective and admired by many up to this point, the current handling of the Blackshirts’ presentation is doing more harm than good.

    Every Nebraska defender knows what those jerseys represent. In years past, players admitted having held back tears of pride and joy upon seeing them hang in their locker. At this point, given the struggles that the Cornhuskers have faced five games into the season, players under the watchful eyes of the Pelini brothers and their assistants have to be wondering if any defender will dress in black this year.

    This might not be at the forefront of their minds, but to suggest that ownership of the coveted Blackshirts isn’t at least on a subconscious level is absurd. Coming off a disappointing start to Nebraska’s Big Ten conference debut and a return to fall camp levels of preparation, the black jerseys need to make an appearance before the Cornhuskers take the field on Saturday to face Ohio State.

    While some players may feel undeserving, the original reasoning behind the tradition is simple - if you started Nebraska’s first game at a defensive position, you wore black in practice. If you couldn’t hold onto your starting spot due to poor performance or another player stepping up, then you would have to work even harder to regain what you’d lost. The offense that Pelini’s team employs in 2011 employs a throwback style. It’s time to go back to the Blackshirts’ traditional method of distribution.

    It’s easy for fans to point to the secondary’s struggles and claim that they certainly don’t deserve to wear the renowned attire of defenses past. However, with the loss of players like Eric Hagg, DeJon Gomes and Prince Amukamara, expecting the 2011 secondary to not skip a beat is simply unreasonable. If Pelini is going to start from scratch and open competition for all starting roles, taking a page from his predecessors may be the morale boost his currently-maligned defensive unit needs to regain lost confidence.

    Nebraska’s head coach has made it quite clear that no one player is bigger than the team. Not Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead, Jared Crick, Lavonte David or even Alfonzo Dennard. By the same token, no coach on Nebraska’s staff is bigger than what has been a Cornhusker tradition since 1964.

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    Tags: blackshirts, bo pelini, taylor martinez, red burkhead, jared crick, lavonte david, alfonzo dennard, eric hagg, dejon gomes, prince amukamara

  6. 2011 Oct 01

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Five Things to Watch For Against Wisconsin

    2,285 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Erin Sorensen

    It’s finally here – Big Ten play. Nebraska faces Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium tonight on ABC during primetime and both teams are ready to prove they deserve to be ranked as they are. Who will prevail? With both teams equally matched, the game’s outcome will come down to more than just pure talent. Fans have a lot to look for tonight, but there are five key factors that will ultimately determine Nebraska’s fate:

    1.) A Dominant Defense

    It became very clear at the beginning of the season just how much of an impact was made by last year’s defensive seniors. Whether it was leadership or talent, holes left by those who graduated are clearer than ever. That does not mean Nebraska did not return an exceptional group of talented players, but more so that it was a group of men who have yet to gel.

    It has been a rough start to the season defensively, which has shown that without Alfonzo Dennard, the secondary is weak. Filling the shoes of Prince Amukamara has been a challenge and one only made more difficult by an injury that kept Dennard from playing in Nebraska’s first three games. Now that he is back and has a week’s live experience under his belt, will the defense begin to find their swagger once again?

    Jared Crick looks to lead the line after a week on the sidelines due to a head injury, with Cameron Meredith at his side. Leadership is going to be vital tonight. Both Crick and Meredith are primed to step up in this sense. The defense can no longer be passive now that Big Ten conference games have officially begun. Without it, Nebraska will lack its dominance and struggle to stop an explosive Wisconsin offense.

    2.) Effective Decision-Making by Taylor Martinez

    The 2011 season has been good to quarterback Taylor Martinez so far. While his throwing mechanics are often called unconventional, Martinez has proved that he is much more than just a running threat. Against Wyoming, he only had 37 rushing yards, while the rest of his team carried the rest of the load. For Martinez, the biggest growth from last season is his ability to make decisions quicker and not feel rushed to make things happen on his own.

    It is key to Nebraska’s success that Martinez continues this trend against Wisconsin. Madison hosts an intense environment that is known to rattle visiting teams. This could affect Martinez’s ability to make decisions, especially when unable to communicate accordingly due to noise. How he handles these situations will be a true test of his talents as a quarterback.

    Will Nebraska fans see the Martinez of the past or one that takes a dramatic step forward in improvement? If Nebraska has anything to say about it, Wisconsin will have no idea what hit them thanks in no small part to their signal-caller.

    3.) Team Composure

    Head coach Bo Pelini has done an excellent job in the weeks leading up to Wisconsin to hammer home the mentality that the season is a “process.” For Pelini, Wisconsin is just another game. In fact, tonight’s contest is not even a benchmark win for his team, who all echoed the same, “Who cares?” during Monday’s press conference.

    While the team does understand the significance of the game, being both primetime on ABC and the focus of ESPN’s College GameDay, it is ultimately about being both Big Ten and National Champions, not the winner at Camp Randall tonight.

    If Nebraska can hold onto this mentality during the game, the Cornhuskers will be able to make much smarter decisions. With composure comes focus and better playmaking, not to mention the overall confidence to win. Wisconsin has been hyping this game non-stop for the last week, while Nebraska has been taking the higher road. Will it pay off? Nebraska fans will find out tonight.

    4.) A “Blackout”

    When Athletic Director Tom Osborne called for Nebraska fans to “Pack Your Black” for the Wisconsin game, some fans were up in arms. The Cornhuskers’ signature color is red and Memorial Stadium is known for its “Sea of Red.” How could wearing black be a good idea for Nebraska during their first conference road game?

    Cornhusker and Badger officials are both predicting nearly 30,000 Cornhusker fans arriving in Madison. Even more impressive, 67 individuals with Nebraska addresses purchased Wisconsin season tickets just to make it to this game. It’s no secret that Husker fans travel in droves and when they do, they want to be noticed.

    The biggest issue for Nebraska fans in regards to being part of the crowd at Wisconsin is that both teams look very similar. If Cornhusker fans wore red, it would be difficult to determine exactly who is cheering for which team. The “Blackout” solves that problem.

    5.) A Big Win

    The last time Nebraska was featured on ESPN’s College GameDay and had the primetime spot on ABC, the Cornhuskers played USC in 2007. That game produced shirts that said, “Beat the Booty out of SC” and “Restore the Order.” Nebraska players were not quiet about their intentions to win big.

    By the end of the game, the Cornhuskers ended up on the flip side of where they had intended. People called Nebraska “irrelevant” and “not what they used to be.” Since then, Bo Pelini’s Cornhuskers have seen many big games have fall just short of victory. It’s time to change that.

    Wins have all felt lackluster this season. With the defensive struggles, teams that should not have scored easily did and far more than fans had hoped. Tonight is a chance for Nebraska to not only secure a victory, but to bring a win home that feels like a true accomplishment.

    It’s been along time coming for Nebraska, and fans are ready to let go of that automatic feeling of a letdown when a big game rolls around. A win is always a win, but a triumph in Madison would be one worth calling “big.”

    Wisconsin is a 9.5-point favorite going into tonight’s game, a position Nebraska fans do not prefer. However, the underdog is exactly what Pelini and his crew like to be. Being the favorite is easy. Being the underdog provides the stuff of legends. This Cornhusker team is ready to cement their place in Nebraska history under the bright lights of Camp Randall Stadium.

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: bo pelini, taylor martinez, alfonzo dennard, prince amukamara, jared crick

  7. 2011 Sep 28

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Five Keys To Beating Wisconsin

    5,200 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brett Baker

    5. Forget the Hype: Yes, it's Nebraska’s first conference game as a member of the Big Ten. Yes, the game is going to be televised nationwide in primetime, and yes, ESPN College Gameday will be in Madison. None of that matters without the win to go with it. It all has to be tuned out.

    If last Monday's press conference is any indication then Bo Pelini is already well on his way to instilling this mindset. He’s making sure the team knows that this is just the next game on the schedule. Which of course it is and isn't.

    4. Take the Crowd Out: Husker Nation is going to represent in Madison but the Badger fans aren't just going to roll over and let the corn replace the cheese. That means that Camp Randall Stadium is going to be the loud, crazy and hostile environment that's it's known to be.

    The defense needs to get Wisconsin off the field on third down. Too many times already this year they have let the opposing team off the hook on third down, and that can't happen Saturday night. Keep the Badgers’ offense on the sideline for extended runs and sap the energy out of their fans.

    3. Get in Russell Wilson's Face: The Wisconsin football department generously lists the Badgers quarterback at 5'11". It’s a firm guess that's about an inch and a half taller than the NC State transfer signal caller actually is. That said, he's still pretty dang good.

    The Nebraska defenders would do well to get in his passing lanes early and often while keeping their hands up, going full bore, and closing his field of view. That's no magic potion for victory, but it's a start.

    2. The Defensive Backs' Best Game to Date: The secondary has to grow up and fast. The great thing about Nebraska's defense over the past few seasons was the ability of so many to do so much. Unfortunately, Prince Amukamara, DeJon Gomes and Eric Hagg have all moved on taking their abilities and corporate knowledge with them.

    If there was going to be a game where the Pelini brothers needed "it" to click for Green, Evans, Blatchford, Thorell and company, this is that game. The physical ability and mental preparation that has brought the Blackshirts back to prominence in years prior needs to emerge. It's time to put it all together and slow down what has been a very impressive offensive unit.

    1. Ground and Pound: The one area where Wisconsin can probably be exploited is along their defensive line. After toiling at more than seven thousand feet about sea level last weekend, Madison's modest 832 feet above sea level should be a breeze for the Huskers’ offensive line.

    In an ideal scenario, the offense enters the original "three yards and a cloud of dust" conference with that mindset. Four yards per snap wouldn’t be too shabby, either. Nebraska should lean on Wisconsin’s defensive front for three quarters and not let up. Wear the Badgers down and take advantage of them when the situation presents itself.

    What this game is going to boil down to is playing mistake-free football and imposing will. The question is, are the Huskers able to do that?

    Follow Brett on Twitter: @BigRedinTejas
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    Tags: russell wilson, prince amukamara, dejon gomes, eric hagg, andrew green, ciante evans, justin blatchford, lance thorell

  8. 2011 Sep 19

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Speedy California Cornerback/Running Back Hoping to Hear From Huskers

    9,971 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    It’s no secret that Nebraska needs cornerbacks to fill the depth chart come 2012. 16 have already been offered during a year in which the Cornhuskers have to be picky about handing out scholarships. Jeffrey Coprich, Jr. of Valencia, California may earn one such offer before the 2011 recruiting cycle concludes.

    Coprich, a 5’9” 185-pound running back/cornerback for the West Ranch Wildcats transferred from Golden Valley High in Santa Clarita, California and has been on a tear ever since. He didn’t always have an eye for football, though. “One day, I was going to practice with my little cousin and got recruited by a coach there,’” recalled Coprich. He confessed that basketball was his original passion but, “I always liked playing street football.”

    He faced tragedy at an early age when both he and his sister were involved in a severe car accident. A three-year-old at the time, Coprich was able to survive. His seven-year-old sister, Essence Coprich and two year old cousin were not as fortunate.

    Despite his loss, he uses her memory to help guide him. He continues her legacy by annually fundraising to get books donated to a library named after her located in Watts, California. “I’ve been through so much, it’s made me stronger as a person and a player,” he said.

    Coprich began his career in pads as a member of the Mona Park Hurricanes than later moved on and begin playing for the Expo Panthers of rapper Snoop Dogg’s “Snoop Youth Football League.” He currently only holds offers from Army, Montana and Cal-Poly, but the recruiting season is far from over and the looks from other schools will likely intensify thanks to trips taken over this past summer.



    Coprich attended camp at the University of Alabama and took an unofficial visit to Auburn. “I checked out (Auburn’s) campus too and really liked their facilities.” He travelled to Seattle to attend a Nike NFTC camp at the University of Washington where he garnered All-Camp Team honors.

    Coprich eventually found himself at UCLA for an Elite Camp held by B2G Sports which brought in a horde of the country’s top talent. He took the opportunity to visit the campus and see how the Bruins’ program functions.

    Finally, he played on former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johsnon’s 7-on-7 team before joining Team B2G’s as a cornerback and nickel back with wide receiver Gabriel Marks and all-purpose back Robert Lewis, both SMU commits.
    Currently, Coprich is hearing the most from Army, Washington, UCLA, San Diego State and Cal-Poly, but after recently passing on information to Nebraska, he’s hoping to hear from the Cornhuskers soon.

    “I know coach Pelini has a great philosophy. It’s all about the process. Prince Amukamara he came out to one of our B2G/Adidas events. He coached me up and taught me that you always need to be alert, stay strong in the head and be a leader on the field.” He was also quick to comment on his admiration of Nebraska’s current crop of linebackers and cornerbacks.



    When discussing what he hopes to accomplish during his senior season in high school, Coprich made it clear that he takes academics as seriously as his work on the field as he’s aiming to bump his GPA up to a 3.8 (currently 3.5). His 1352 SAT score solidifies his intentions towards academic excellence.

    On the field, He’s setting his goals high. “I want to lead my team to a league championship. That’d be the first time my school would win it, so that’s my number one goal. My personal goal is to shoot for 2,000 yards and 20 TDs rushing.”

    He’s well on his way, rushing for 400 yards and six touchdowns through three games this season. Coprich possesses incredible speed, but he’s not one to avoid contact as a running back. At cornerback, his physicality continues to show and he professes his love of scrapping with wide receivers.

    An extremely talented athlete, his information is being passed around the offices of several college football powerhouses. It’s hard to imagine that some won’t be giving Coprich looks in the near future. In the meantime, his focus is on the season and bringing a title home to West Ranch before hitting the recruiting trail hard.

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    Tags: jeffrey coprich, prince amukamara

  9. 2011 Aug 05

    Husker Heartbeat 8/5: NU in Top 15, Amukamara Inks Deal and Bugeaters on Film

    3,262 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Nebraska starts out at [url=http://www.cornnation.com/2011/8/4/2344141/2011-college-football-coaches-ranking-nebraska-starts-11th ]No. 11[/url] in the Coaches' Poll

    - Former Husker Prince Amukamara is the last NFL first round draft pick to sign

    - The Big Ten will begin a nine-game conference schedule in 2017

    - A look back: The ten best games in Nebraska football history

    - An Omaha filmmaker is producing a documentary about Husker football's early years

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: prince amukamara

  10. 2011 Jul 02

    The OFFICIAL Husker Locker Podcast 7/2: B1G Red Fans United

    4,734 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.



    On the docket:

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

    - How will Nebraska fare in 2011? We run down the entire schedule
    - Will the offensive line live up to expectations?
    - Who will play opposite Courtney Osborne at safety?
    - Prince's replacement
    - Will the pistol remain an offensive staple?
    - Rex returns in the Wildcat and brings others with him
    - Big 12 reminiscing
    - Favorite current Big Ten moments

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

    Follow the roundtable on Twitter:

    Brandon: @HuskerLocker
    Brian: @btbowling
    Brett: @BigRedinTejas
    Erin: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: schedule, barney cotton, offensive line, courtney osborne, prince amukamara, pistol, rex burkhead, big 12, big ten, big 10, podcast, podcasts

  11. 2011 Jun 20

    Husker Heartbeat 6/20: Two Huskers Reunited, Alvarez Talks Big Red and Measuring Up to Prince

    2,440 views

    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Q&A with former Husker and current Wisky AD Alvarez

    - Husker gig is a reunion for Cotton and Els

    - Nebraska is after one of the best linebackers in the country: Can they snag his commitment?

    - Could Iowa be Nebraska's instant rival?

    - Some fans are pining for a series between the Huskers and an SEC heavy hitter

    - Terrelle Pryor is trying to measure up to Prince Amukamara's stature

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

    Tags: barry alvarez, barney cotton, ross els, terrelle pryor, prince amukamara, adam ah ching

  12. 2011 Mar 29

    Husker Heartbeat 3/29: Big Ten, T-Mart, Prince and More Kiffin

    1,429 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    *On his first trip to Lincoln, ESPN's Adam Rittenberg raves about Nebraska's facilities.

    *As Taylor Martinez meets the press, more details about the Husker offense emerge from Monday's practice.

    *BRN likes the pickup of Mike Marrow. Also: Nice analysis on Big Ten running games.

    *More coverage of Prince Amukamara, who quickly becoming one of the more interesting stories of the NFL Draft.

    Here's an interesting passage:

    When Amukamara was 18, he went to the University of Nebraska. A state champion in track and basketball and the Arizona player of the year in football, he expected to play running back for the Cornhuskers. After all, he had rushed for 2,106 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior.

    But something got lost in translation between when he committed and when he arrived in Lincoln, Neb., the following summer. He was moved to cornerback. He stuck it out through his freshman year, playing on special teams and a little bit on defense, and planned to transfer after that.

    But the old coach, Bill Callahan, was fired, and the new one, Bo Pelini, met with Amukamara one-on-one after arriving. Pelini told him there are many 6-1, 205-pound running backs in the NFL and that they don't last long. But a 6-1, 205-pound cornerback with Amukamara's skills could play a long time in the NFL and make a lot of money.

    At first, Amukamara thought he was just being told what he wanted to hear. Then he started making plays in practice, lots of plays. Today, Amukamara wouldn't switch back if he could. Running backs endure too much pain.

    "I'd rather be on the other side, giving it," he said.


    Bo didn't just save Ndamukong Suh from transferring, did he? And notice closely how Bo's NFL experience - of which he had plenty - factored in to how he framed his conversation with Prince.

    *Lane Kiffin, movie star.

    *Former Nebraska recruiting target Tyler Wilson is ready to take over at Arkansas.

    *UNO gets a new logo.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, spring football 2011, taylor martinez, prince amukamara, more kiffin, big red network

  13. 2011 Mar 02

    Podcast 3/2: Prince Blazes at Combine

    1,870 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

    Tags: podcasts, nfl combine, mens hoops, prince amukamara, womens hoops, baseball, dejon gomes, eric hagg

  14. 2011 Mar 01

    Husker Heartbeat 3/1: Mixed NFL Combine Results

    9,963 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    *A minor calf injury keeps Pierre Allen out of the NFL Combine while Ricky Henry and Keith Williams struggle as well.

    This morning, Prince Amukamara ran a 4.37 in the 40 at the Combine while DeJon Gomes ran a 4.48 and Eric Hagg ran a 4.68.

    *Ahman Green will play in the CFL with Montreal.

    *Elmo - former Nebraska secondary coach Phil Elmassian - heads back to Purdue. Good for him. NU can roast his DBs now.

    *Denard Robinson makes Jeopardy!

    *And now a picture of Gene Chizik feeding bottled milk to a calf draped in a Cam Newton jersey.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, pierre allen, roy helu, prince amukamara, ricky henry, keith williams, eric hagg, dejon gomes

  15. 2011 Feb 28

    Husker Heartbeat 2/28: Spring FB Creeping Closer

    1,515 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    *Will Bo reconsider more than just his take on the Husker offense? That and more in the Husker Monday Takes.

    *LJS Sipple chats Mike Ekeler, the new Indiana defensive coordinator who concurs that Big Ten offenses are much different than Big 12 offenses.

    *As for Big Ten offenses, BRN takes a nifty look at how the 2010 NU offense and 2007 Kansas offense would have stacked up in the league rankings.

    *ESPN offers a Big Ten spring football primer. The Nebraska writeup:

    New vision on offense: Nebraska likely will have a championship-level defense in 2011, but will the offense bounce back from a poor finish to last season? Tim Beck is the man pegged to get things back on track. Coach Bo Pelini promoted Beck to offensive coordinator, and Beck will begin to implement his vision for the unit this spring. Nebraska figures to stick with the spread, but what version Beck wants to use remains to be seen.

    The quarterbacks: Taylor Martinez stiff-armed the transfer rumors, and in January said he looked forward "getting healthy and getting my strength and speed back." The big question: Will he also get his job back as Nebraska's starting quarterback? Martinez can help himself with a strong spring, but Cody Green also is in the mix and things could get very interesting if Bubba Starling decides to stick with football rather than pursue a pro baseball career.

    New faces on staff: In addition to promoting Beck, Pelini hired three new assistants: Corey Raymond (secondary), Ross Els (linebackers) and Rich Fisher (receivers). Raymond takes over a talented group that must replace three standout players, including cornerback Prince Amukamara. It'll be interesting to watch Fisher, who most recently coached in high school and also served as a golf teacher, as he transitions back to big-time football.


    *Prince Amukamara makes his case for being a top ten prospect at the NFL Combine.

    “Who's your best friend?” asked former Nebraska safety Eric Hagg, who snuck into the media area.

    Amukamara looked at his longtime pal, smiled and replied: “My best friend is Eric Hagg.”

    Playing practical jokes and having fun with teammates is usually Amukamara's trademark.

    “He's just naturally a funny person. That's what God gave him,” Hagg said. “Everybody thinks he's funny. He lights up the room.”

    Amukamara, while remaining very businesslike in many of his answers Sunday, slipped in a couple of witty remarks to the amused media contingent.

    Asked if he follows mock drafts or draft projections, Amukamara replied: “I'm not someone who Googles themselves.”

    He was later asked if he expects to have an immediate impact in the pros. “That is my plan,” he answered. “I'm definitely not trying to redshirt in the NFL.”


    It's good to see Prince - and Hagg, for that matter - haven't changed much.

    *Meanwhile, Roy Helu's huge day the Combine puts him the "riser" category according to Sports Illustrated.

    *Nebraska holds its first Junior Day for recruiting. Considering NU is looking at a class of 13-15 next year - unless some major defections occur - this was a small, intimate gathering of players.

    *Bo gives a pep talk to the NU men's tennis team - read that again - which helps the Huskers beat Wisconsin on the road.

    *Tom Shatel likes the sports city Omaha has become in late February.

    *After a rather crushing loss to Iowa State Saturday, Husker Hoops Central - where the Descartes and Foucaults of the NU hoops program go to discuss the state of the program - asked a very salient question: What do you expect from Nebraska's program? Some of the answers are excellent.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, big ten, bo pelini, tim beck, mens hoops, ljs sipple, tom shatel, prince amukamara, roy helu, eric hagg, recruiting

  16. 2011 Feb 24

    Husker Heartbeat 2/24:Beck's New O, Bo, and NFL Combine

    2,643 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    *One day after we suggested Tim Beck won't get much patience from Nebraska fans to install his offense and make it successful, the two country gentlemen of the NU media, Tom Shatel and Steve Sipple, plead for it.

    Both positions can be accurate. Husker faithful should be realistic about what Beck is about to try and pull off. Then again, we were realistic about plugging LaVonte David into NU's defense after injuries to Will Compton and Sean Fisher, and David broke the school record for tackles.

    The Big Ten will be a gulag. No question. But, thanks to the Ohio State 5, a coaching change at Michigan and a rap sheet from hell for Iowa, 2011 might be a little more manageable than 2012, when the Wolverines and Hawkeyes surge to the top of the Legends Division.

    Beyond that, there's this: NU didn't hire Bo Pelini for 8-4 seasons. And Bo didn't hire Beck to produce a 8-4 offense. Everyone's pretty clear on this.

    *BRN's Tom Cudd writes that he's heard Beck's rap before - from Shawn Watson.

    *LJS SIp does a double dip, analyzing interviews given from Bo and Beck in recent days. Mostly, Sip spends the first half of his column defending Bo's media freeze-out:

    Pelini hasn't made any of his four new full-time assistants available for media interviews. Yes, Pelini has a distaste for some media members. Plus, he didn't appreciate that news organizations reported his new hires well before they were announced formally. But maybe, just maybe, Pelini's media freeze is for a more practical reason.

    Maybe his assistants are just too busy to bother with interviews. After all, spring practice begins March 12. For the first time at NU, the heat is on Pelini. Plus, listening to Beck, it seems he's overhauling the offense. Starting from scratch. He has a foundation to lay, he said. Foundations don't happen overnight.

    Imagine all the learning that new receivers coach Rich Fisher has in front of him. As for the new defensive assistants, well, I'm sure they know Pelini can be just slightly demanding. Plus, Pelini, whether you like it or not, likes to tone down media/fan fervor in the offseason as much as humanly possible. He's always been that way. It's probably good for the health of all of us (not that we always do what's healthy).

    Bottom line, if Nebraska coaches have a "Do Not Disturb" sign on their office doors right now, I'd tend to understand.


    To sum up: Dad's busy. Leave him (and them) alone. It's good for you.

    We disagree with Sip here. We don't really sympathize with Bo's freeze-out. You know why? Because it's not our job to sympathize with it. That's the job of Bo's media relations folks. And Bo himself. Us? We'd like to hear from the guy - and his new crew. We'd just as soon they take time out of their busy day to hold an hour-long press conference instead of conducting 15-minutes-at-a-time interviews on "Sports Nightly" that nobody in the media knew was going down - at least in the case of Beck. Most of the fans didn't either.

    Just so you know: We're never going to argue for the restriction to our - and by proxy your - access to the program. We can respect Bo's position without pretending it's good for you - and us, akin to eating our vegetables.

    *The NFL Combine starts Thursday, with nine Huskers involved in the proceedings. You'll notice that Mike Mayock of the NFL Network believes that Prince's performance against Oklahoma State Justin Blackmon should be thrown out.

    *How does the new Big 12 (10) stack up against the Big Ten (12)? Corn Nation examines.

    *In its tough loss to Kansas State, Nebraska bricks its shot at the NCAA Tournament, Tom Shatel writes.

    *Lane Kiffin and recruiting violations? Nah.

    *The NCAA requires Oklahoma to give its players whole week off because assistant coaches had pestered certain players - against NCAA rules - about offseason, voluntary workouts. Jay Norvell was one of them.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, tim beck, bo pelini, ljs sipple, tom shatel, jay norvell, big ten, big 12, men hoops, prince amukamara

  17. 2011 Feb 15

    Husker Heartbeat 2/15: Prove It, Prince - And Spruce It Up, Husker Hoops

    3,078 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    ***Prince Amukamara has prototypical size and speed for NFL corner. In fact, he has dream size and speed. And yet, rather pointlessly, questions persist about his ability. In his diary for Pro Football Weekly, Prince answers some of them.

    A primary question for Prince is a so-so performance against Oklahoma State Justin Blackmon, the nation's best receiver in 2010. Blackmon has the body and speed of young, ego-less Terrell Owens; he's about as hard of a receiver to stop as any college guy in recent years because of it. But Prince gave up a 80-yard touchdown on a flea flicker - yes, a trick play - and that raises questions about his talent.

    Fortunately, Amukamara explains the play - finally. Take note of the coverage:

    Prince even takes some of the blame for it, but look at the coverage NU was supposed to be in for the play, try to tell me that 80-yard bomb wasn't DeJon Gomes fault. (Or Marvin Sanders' fault for inserting Gomes back there without having played the position much all year.)

    "We were in a Cover-4 scheme, and I was expecting safety help over the top initially. Now our safeties are taught to come up to support the run aggressively and on this play, it was a flea-flicker, so they were coming up hard. Blackmon ran a great route, completely catching me by surprise. He came off the line slow and then accelerated past me. I caught up to him, but he got out of my tackle. It was good planning and execution on their (Oklahoma State's) part and I just didn't make the play when I had the opportunity."

    Prince is being kind. On the play, Gomes was practically leaning toward the line of scrimmage - he offered zero help. And NU had an extra linebacker on the field (Compton) to account for the run. And then, to Blackmon's credit, he didn't adjust to the throw - which brought him back toward the middle of the field - until very late, and Prince was slightly out of position for the tackle.

    We continue to be amazed at how much scouts faulted Prince for this play when he nearly got himself back into it. How many corners, with their backs to the boundary, are supposed to defend a flea flicker post pattern with zero over the top help because the safety thinks 9 guys are needed to stop a running play?

    ***Lee B fires a big shot across the bow of Nebraska's basketball administration, lambasting the halftime show of Saturday's win over Oklahoma State - dancing elderly women named The Shim Shams - the poor public address announcing, the various marketing gaffes, the look of the Bob Devaney Sports Center, you name it. Lee writes:

    "Think this stuff would fly in football? Think Roburt Sallie's enrollment mess would have happened? Think trailing in facilities as long as Husker hoops has would be acceptable?

    Not a chance. Yet durable mediocrity too often passes for the norm around NU basketball.

    Ask any business person if details matter. Show enough incorrect slides at your presentation and mispronounce the client's name, you don't get the contract. And if you give the same presentation year after year — on the court and during timeouts — the lack of innovation defeats you."


    Solid stuff. And it helps to come from someone with Lee's platform.

    We'd add two more complaints:

    1. Paid parking makes it harder for Husker fans to get to the game on time, and it sends a lousy message: We want your patronage, but you'll have to pay more for it this time around.

    2. Doesn't the non-conference schedule need work? It's an awful combination of has-beens and never-weres. NU played seven home games against teams with a RPI above 280. The Huskers played five against teams with a RPI above 305. To paraphrase Ordell Robbie, that's fairly repugnant. It also leads the Big 12 in both categories (with Colorado and Iowa State closely behind.)

    Consider:

    2011: 7 opponents with RPI of 250 or above
    2010: 6
    2009: 3
    2008: 7
    2007: 2

    25 games total. 5 per year. All of these were home games.

    In Doc's 5 years, NU has played 2 total home non-conference games against teams with RPI ranked 40 or above. Creighton in 2006 and 2008.

    *Excluding* those games, 11 non-conference games (we think the math is right) have been played against RPI top 100 teams since Doc's arrival.

    3 of those games have been on what you'd call home NU courts.

    2006: Western Kentucky (96)
    2007: Oregon in Omaha (61)
    2007: Arizona State (91) (Big 12/Pac 10 Hardcourt)

    Maybe Doc scheduled those first two games. He was hired Aug. 6, 2006 and usually most of the non-conference agreements are in place by then, but we couldn't find an Internet trail on it. We'll

    Of those other 8 games, 7 were either exempt tournament games or Big 12/Pac 10 Hardcourt game. The exception: Saint Louis (87), last year.

    The three best teams that Doc has scheduled for home and home series are Oregon State, TCU and Saint Louis. Of those 7 games played, the teams were ranked above 120 just once.

    This is absolutely part of the discussion. It's hard to create excitement around a program when the opponent isn't very exciting. And too often in the Doc era, that's been the case.

    *Urban Meyer says one of the reasons he quit coaching college football was because he just couldn't handle the "outlaw coaches" and outlaw athletes anymore.

    "But at the end of the day the people that pay the worst price is the 19-year-old young man knows that it’s wrong but still deals with agents when he’s not supposed to, taking things from agents and getting recruited illegally. At the end of the day that’s going to affect that young man for the rest of his life because a precedent has been set in his mind that taking a shortcut is okay."

    Man, was Meyer lucky to have coached some great quarterbacks in his short head coaching stint.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, prince amukamara, mens hoops, urban meyer

  18. 2011 Jan 28

    YEAR IN REVIEW: CB Report Card

    616 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Samuel McKewon breaks down the cornerback play in 2010...and the highest grade just might surprise you. Check it out with a 30-day free trial of Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: year in review, report card, alfonzo dennard, prince amukamara, ciante evans, anthony west, anthony blue, lazarri middleton, dijon washington, charles jackson, jase dean, antonio bell

  19. 2011 Jan 10

    YEAR IN REVIEW: Defensive Report Card

    4,782 views

    By HuskerLocker

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    Here's our season report card for Nebraska's offense. Stay tuned for position-specific report cards, available via a 30-day free trial with Husker Locker Pass!

    Two key things to remember about the report card:

    *Grades take into account all players at a given position.

    *Greater weight was given to “big games” and the performances in them.

    Defensive Line: B

    Final combined stats: 20 sacks, 44 tackles for loss, 38 QB hurries, three forced fumbles

    NU's front four – Pierre Allen, Jared Crick, Baker Steinkuhler and Cameron Meredith – was still among the best in college football, and arguably the finest group in the Big 12. The quartet generated decent heat on the quarterback during certain points of the season. At other times, they disappeared, or needed help from Bo Pelini's blitzes Against the run, they missed Ndamukong Suh's ability to shuck offensive linemen and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. A solid year – but not 2009.

    Crick heated up toward the end of the season, having his best game in the Big 12 Championship vs. Oklahoma. But he struggled in the Holiday Bowl. He still needs to improve as a run stuffer. As a pass rusher, the Brothers Pelini need to cut him loose more often to make big plays, instead of insisting on collapsing the pocket methodically.

    Allen played hard all year, anchored against the run, and did a fine job of collapsing the pocket from his end position. He was perhaps Carl Pelini's favorite player on the line because he executed his job so well and played through one painful injury after another. Nevertheless, Allen wasn't an elite pass rusher off the edge. It's been awhile since NU had one.

    Steinkuhler shot out of a cannon to start the year, then wore down as the season progressed, becoming less and less effective. He'll be back and more seasoned in 2011. A DUI arrest in December shouldn't be an ongoing issue.

    Meredith became a versatile chess piece for the Brothers Pelini, playing some “spinner” outside linebacker in some rush formations. A better pass rusher than Allen, Meredith will more of an impact next season. His best days are still ahead of him.

    Terrence Moore spelled Steinkuhler more often in late 2010 and started for him in the Holiday Bowl. The light finally seems to have blinked on Moore, a very good interior pass rusher. Thad Randle played inside for Crick on occasion; he held his own, but buckled a bit against the run. Josh Williams and Jason Ankrah need to get better this offseason; one of them will likely have a starting job next season.

    Linebacker: A

    Final combined stats: 17 tackles for loss, six sacks, 10 pass breakups, 7 QB hurries

    Is there another grade to give Lavonte David, the man responsible for most of that stats, plus a school-record 152 tackles? The kid had four weeks to learn one of the most complex defenses in college football, surpassed Will Compton on the depth chart before Compton's injury, then had to play practically every snap, all year, against a bevy of no-huddle, speedy offense. And do it with a smile.

    David is some kid, really. He saved NU's bacon against the run, improved in his pass coverage, and was unquestionably the Huskers' best blitzer. Along with being our defensive MVP, he earns his position an A grade. He played arguably his finest games in two losses – Texas A&M and the Big 12 Championship – when he strafed and chased and hit all over the place. The odds-on favorite for the Butkus next year still has weight to gain and room to grow, too. Part Terrell Farley, part Barrett Ruud, David was a thrilling player to watch in 2010.

    After suffering a broken foot, Compton starting playing midway through the season, and while he's good – he's no David. Compton thinks when David reacts. If Compton can ever stay healthy and turn the corner on trusting his instincts, he'll be a key cog in the wheel next year, as playing in the Big Ten will require NU to use more than one linebacker.

    Alonzo Whaley played in goal-line situations as a run stopper. He needs another spring learning the defense. The physically and “want-to” is there, though.

    Eric Martin flew around for half the season before moving to defensive end. He has all the ability David has – plus size – but he often put himself in bad spots to make tackles. He's a bit like Rickey Thenarse in that way.

    Sean Fisher got hurt before the year. Where will he play in 2011? Hard to say.

    Secondary: A-

    Combined stats: 19 interceptions, 4 defensive TDs 36 pass breakups, four sacks, 7 tackles for loss

    We grade on a curve around here, but NU's stellar pass defense still gets an A- from us. Simply spectacular for most of the season against the pass, the Huskers' safeties struggled at times making tackles – Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, Part 2 – on the second level, which led to big plays. But that was more than offset by the slew of big plays from the country's most talented secondary.

    Prince Amukamara enjoyed a Darrelle Revis-type season, rebuffing almost every challenge that came his way except a few plays against Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon. He's the nation's best corner.

    Alfonzo Dennard – cocky, physical, competitive – is pretty darn close. Dennard was nails at the beginning of the year, like glue on receivers. He was outplaying Amukamara, in fact. He slowed down a bit during the middle of the season, suffered a concussion in the Missouri game, missed the Iowa State contest – and immediately came back with a big play in the Kansas game. He was our MVP for the Holiday Bowl, too.

    Eric Hagg was valuable in all kinds of ways – as a linebacker, as a safety, as a corner – and his absence next year will be sorely felt. His athleticism allowed him to matchup with all kinds of players.

    Our favorite player, Houdini Gomes, wore down a bit as the season closed, but he's still one of NU's best pure playmakers in recent memory. Smart in coverage, ahead of the game, tough for his size – Gomes has a place in the NFL.

    At safety, P.J. Smith and Rickey Thenarse played the first half of the season, while Courtney Osborne and Austin Cassidy essentially played the second half. NU sacrificed pass coverage for better tackling, and while that worked well in wins over Missouri and Colorado, it hurt in the Big 12 Championship. We'd like to see Smith back in the lineup to start 2011; his hook and benching seemed a little premature.

    Ciante Evans spelled Dennard for a game or two and filled in well. He reminds us of Ralph Brown. He'll be just fine next year.

    More Year In Review Features
    The Best in Pictures, Part 1, Highlights and Lowlights, Ten Best Defensive Plays, Ten Best Offensive Plays, Offensive Report Card

    Tags: year in review, prince amukamara, alfonzo dennard, eric hagg, dejon gomes, courtney osborne, pj smith, rickey thenarse, austin cassidy, ciante evans

  20. 2010 Dec 21

    Husker Heartbeat 12/21: Ek's Departure, Prince and Hagg and the $8 Million Miss

    8,380 views

    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Welcome to Husker Heartbeat - a sampling of links and quick wit to start your morning! Keep checking each morning, Monday-Friday, for new links! We look for the offbeat as well as the straightforward - so don’t just think of us as a typical link farm!

    A quick abbreviation key FYI: OWH=Omaha World-Herald, LJS=Lincoln Journal-Star, CN=Corn Nation, BRN=Big Red Network, HI=Huskers Illustrated, BRR=Big Red Report. If we need to add more - we will. Others, like ESPN, are self-explanatory.


    *Mike Ekeler learned a lot at Nebraska, but he decided to move to Indiana because it was time for a change, LJS Sipple writes.

    *Eric Hagg and Prince Amukamara loved competing with and against each other for four seasons at Nebraska.

    *Sorry girls, Jake Locker's taken.

    *After a long book plug for the OWH's Big Red Rivals, Tom Shatel settles in for some sports takes.

    *Football stands in the way of justice at Auburn. Well, of course it does.

    *Tennessee football players got the VIP treatment in Knoxville.

    *The $8 million miss.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, mike ekeler, steve sipple, tom shatel, eric hagg, prince amukamara, boise state

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