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  1. 2012 Apr 04

    How Bo Pelini can Break the Four-Loss Curse


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Chris Labenz

    There’s no question that Bo Pelini has had a positive influence on Nebraska football since taking over prior to the 2008 season.

    Since his hiring, Pelini has led the Huskers to four nine-win seasons, making Nebraska one of only seven teams to win at least nine games during that period.

    Digging further into Pelini’s record, you'll find that Nebraska has also lost four games each year, usually falling against ranked opponents.

    2011: 9-4 (5-3 Big 10) 1-3 vs. Top 25 (Best win: No. 11 Michigan State)
    2010: 10-4 (6-3 Big 12) 2-2 vs. Top 25 (Best win @ No. 13 Oklahoma St.)
    2009: 10-4 (6-3 Big 12) 0-3 vs. Top 25 (Best win @ Missouri)
    2008: 9-4 (5-3 Big 12) 0-4 vs. Top 25 (Best win: Clemson)

    How does Nebraska break this “Four Loss Curse” in 2012? There’s no simple response to this question, and it’s likely caused the Husker head coach to put in some late hours trying to solve the riddle.

    Despite the many reasons for Nebraska’s struggles, all discussed ad nauseum in newspapers and on message boards, let’s examine some specific components of Pelini’s team that must be fixed in order for the Big Red to overcome potential roadblocks set.

    While obvious, it’s critical that Taylor Martinez make strides in the passing game for the Husker offense to put up points against quality opponents.

    In the four games Nebraska played against AP Top 25 teams last year, the Huskers were only able to put up 17.8 points per game, 12 below their season average.

    A big reason for this meager output was that Martinez struggled mightily when throwing the ball against ranked teams, averaging a pedestrian 123 yards passing per game.

    This was partially due to Tim Beck allowing (and trusting) T-Mart to throw the ball only 18 times per game, of which No. 3 completed only half on average. In those same games, the then-sophomore signal-caller threw just three touchdowns to six interceptions.

    Since these teams were able to force Beck’s offense to be so one-dimensional, the Nebraska rushing attack struggled to consistently move the ball against eight-man fronts that could play with reckless abandon knowing there was such a limited threat through the air.

    It’s clear Pelini and Beck want the offense’s main course to be the rushing attack, but success demands a more balanced passing game as a side dish.

    If this can't happen, Big Red opponents will continue to feast on the Husker offense, constantly asking head chef Tim Beck for more helpings of Rex Burkhead draw plays and Martinez read-options smothered in three and outs and field goals.

    In that same vein, wide receivers coach Ross Fisher has a lot of work to do this summer in terms of developing the current group of Husker pass-catchers.

    While a good portion of of the blame for Nebraska’s passing woes falls on the shoulders of Martinez, he didn’t always get the best assistance from his receivers in 2011.

    Catching Martinez-thrown balls half the time produced a mind-numbing three touchdown catches. The leading receiver was Kenny Bell, who was good for 35 yards per game.

    These numbers have to improve noticeably in 2012 if Beck’s group is to average more than 18 points against their best competition.

    While Martinez doesn’t throw the prettiest or most catchable ball, Husker receivers have to help him out by eliminating the high number of frustrating drops and hauling in those throws even when they are catchable, but not on target.

    While improving the passing game will be a tremendous challenge, Beck and Fisher won’t be lacking the talent to do so. Along with Bell, Nebraska has assembled perhaps its most talented group of receivers in team history.

    Sophomore Jamal Turner has elite athletic ability and we should see his route running and pass-catching technique develop in only his second year as a full-time wideout.

    Quincy Enunwa is a wrecking ball out wide when he’s asked to run block, and has enough speed and size to be a solid weapon over the middle, giving Martinez a safety valve when things get hectic around or in the pocket.

    Tim Marlowe was reliable in 2011, if not spectacular at times. While it’s unlikely they'll make a huge impact in 2012, redshirt freshman Taariq Allen and incoming freshman Jordan Westerkamp have the skills to be All-Big Ten receivers once they have a total understanding of Beck’s system.

    I expect the first group to be on a short leash this year. If the drops and errors pile up, don’t be shocked if Bo tells Beck to throw Allen and Westerkamp into the fire.

    On the other side of the ball, Pelini must remold his Blackshirts if he wants to achieve the sort of success he became accustomed to while he was the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma and LSU.

    Nebraska allowed a disastrous 173 rushing yards per game (3.8 yards per carry) against Top 25 opposition last year.

    In these same games, the Huskers gave up 11 rushing touchdowns, five more than the Big Red offense produced.

    Opposing quarterbacks had a field day through the air against the Blackshirts in these four games throwing for 188 yards per game and averaging a shocking 9 yards per attempt.

    Nebraska’s secondary, one year removed from being considered the best in the nation, gave up six touchdowns and only grabbed two interceptions against these teams.

    While Bo Pelini is considered by many to be one of the brightest defensive minds in football, the former All-Conference safety was unable to brainstorm ways to stop opponents on a week-to-week basis.

    Carl Pelini’s departure is potentially good news for Pelini’s stress level and for Nebraska’s defense as a good friend of the head man taking his brother’s spot in John Papuchis.

    The two go back several years to when Bo was making the calls in Baton Rouge, and there is definitely a level of trust between the two fiery coaches which will aid Pelini in handing off the reigns.

    New secondary coach Terry Joseph will have to learn Pelini’s famed pattern-matching scheme on the fly as he works to rebuild the confidence of a back seven who looked confused and out of place all too often in 2011.

    If this new-look coaching staff can get back to basics and teach the Huskers to play fast, smart, and mistake free (all characteristics of Pelini’s best defenses), then Nebraska should get the stops it needs to win close games in 2012 and break the Four-Loss Curse.

    Follow Chris on Twitter: @chris_labenz
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    Tags: bo pelini, tim beck, taylor martinez, quincy enunwa, jamal turner, taariq allen, jordan westerkamp, kenny bell, rex burkhead, carl pelini, terry joseph, john papuchis

  2. 2012 Mar 07

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Spring Practice Position Primer


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    Quarterback: Without Tommy Armstrong in camp, Martinez has no threat to his starting spot. He’s showed tremendous athletic potential last spring.

    If Carnes continues to improve athletically, and the mental aspect of the game can be reinforced, while the gap between he and Martinez isn’t likely to shrink that much, a legitimate backup candidate could be crowned.

    Running back: Ameer Abdullah and Aaron Green start on equal footing heading into Saturday and could very well end up where they started following April’s spring game.

    Thanks to Abdullah’s edge in experience during actual FBS play, one has to think he has a leg up on Green. His fumbling problems may level the playing field, however.

    Wide receiver: Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa, Tim Marlowe and Jamal Turner will all have the opportunity to solidify their starting roles.

    With the departure of Khiry Cooper, look for Taariq Allen, who followed wide receivers coach Rich Fisher from Weston, Massachusetts, to vie for the fifth spot. KC Hyland and Tyler Evans are two other talents with an opportunity to shine.

    Tight End: Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed aren’t going anywhere, but David Sutton and Eddie Ridder have the opportunity to showcase their potential.

    Offensive Line: Departed center Mike Caputo’s replacement could come from a number of candidates including Cole Pensick, Nick Ash and Ryan Klachko. Pensick and Ash may have seniority, but Klachko sticks out as the prospect with a higher ceiling.

    Brandon Thompson, Andrew Rodriguez, Mike Moudy and Ryne Reeves look to be the favorites to hold down the guard spots. Rodriguez’s attitude has reportedly been lackadaisical, but Moudy and Reeves have the tenacity to step up should he slack off.

    Sirles and Qvale will start out spring at the tackle spots with Tyler Moore giving them all they can handle in an attempt to take one of their spots. Zach Sterup is a likely backup candidate with Givens Price needing a strong spring to assert himself as a legitimate threat for playing time.

    Defensive Line: Cameron Meredith, Jason Ankrah, Eric Martin and Joseph Cater have the end positions on lockdown barring injury. Donovan Vestal and Walker Ashburn need huge springs to hold off the incoming Avery Moss and Greg McMullen come the fall.

    The interior’s been decimated by injury with Chase Rome and Todd Peat, Jr. now out for the entirety of spring ball. Once Kevin Williams and Thad Randle return from injury, they’ll be plugged in next to Baker Steinkuhler in an attempt to hone their abilities, and find a suitable replacement for Rome’s spring absence.

    Having a deeper interior for rotation’s sake won’t hurt heading into Big Ten play. Jay Guy and newly-placed Tobi Okuyemi will have the opportunity to show that their work ethic has improved.

    Linebackers: Will Compton has the MIKE slot on lockdown while Sean Fisher will spend most of his time trying to cement the BUCK slot by the end of spring. Max Pirman could find himself trying to work into rotation behind him.

    Pelini mentioned to look for David Santos and Alonzo Whaley to work at the WILL position to begin the essentially-impossible task of taking over for Lavonte David. Don’t be surprised to see Santos win that battle by mid-April.

    Defensive back: Mohammed Seisay will be one of the most-watched players on the entire team this spring. Not only will he be wearing the departed David’s No. 4, but he looks to lock down the title of Nebraska’s elite cornerback.

    Andrew Green, Cinate Evans, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and recently-switched Braylon Heard will likely get the opportunity to lock down the opposite end.

    Safety: Daimion Stafford, Courtney Osborne and P.J. Smith are the likely candidates to lock down starting role. Osborne’s recent concussion issues may cause Pelini and company to take things slow with him.

    Kicker/Punter: Brett Maher is light years ahead of Mauro Bondi, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Boca Raton native can narrow the gap in the slightest.

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    Tags: spring practice, taylor martinez, brion carnes, ameer abdullah, aaron green, kenny bell, quincy enunwa, tim marlowe, jamal turner, taariq allen, ben cotton, kyler reed, cole pensick, nick ash, ryan klachko, brandon thompson, andrew rodriguez, mike moudy, ryne reeves, cameron meredith, eric martin, chase rome, todd peat, baker steinkuhler, will compton, david santos, mohammed seisay, brett maher

  3. 2012 Jan 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: 10 Huskers to Watch in 2012


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Guest Columnist Sean Berger

    10. Defensive Line Youngins: Chase Rome and Jason Ankrah

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

    9. Quarterback Taylor Martinez

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

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

    8. Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Kenny Bell

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

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

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

    6. Running back Ameer Abdullah

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

    5. Linebacker Will Compton

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

    4. Wide receiver Jamal Turner

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

    3. Defensive lineman Cameron Meredith

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

    2. Running back Rex Burkhead

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

    1. Safety Daimion Stafford

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

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

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

  4. 2011 Dec 29

    Husker Heartbeat 12/29: Beck Back in His Element, Enunwa Pushing People Around and Recruiting Up in the Air


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - A former Central Florida Knight, Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck is right at home in Orlando

    - Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa finds himself more than happy getting physical with opposing cornerbacks

    - Football recruiting coordination duties have yet to be officially assigned

    - The Big Ten and Pac-12 will be seeing each other far more often outside of the Rose Bowl soon

    - Husker fans are showing why bowls covet their presence by pumping money into the Orlando economy

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    Tags: tim beck, quincy enunwa, big ten, pac 12

  5. 2011 Dec 08

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Capital One Bowl Comparison - Receivers


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    Nebraska’s Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa and Brandon Kinnie vs. South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery, Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington

    - Receiving

    Bell: 29 catches for 408 yards (14.1 YPC) and two touchdowns
    Enunwa: 21 catches for 293 yards (14.0 YPC) and two touchdowns
    Kinnie: 22 catches for 257 yards (11.7 YPC) and one touchdown

    Jeffery: 45 catches for 614 yards (13.6) and seven touchdowns
    Sanders: 26 catches for 338 yards (13.0 YPC) and two touchdowns
    Ellington: 17 catches for 211 yards (12.4 YPC) and one touchdown

    - All-Purpose Yards

    Bell: 646 (53.8 YPG)
    Enunwa: 293 (24.4 YPG)
    Kinnie: 257 (21.4 YPG)

    Jeffery: 614 (51.2 YPG)
    Sanders: 476 (39.7 YPG)
    Ellington: 707 (58.9 YPG)

    - Best Receiving Game:

    Bell: Vs. Northwestern – 5 catches for 58 yards and one touchdown
    Enunwa: Vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga – 4 catches for 58 yards and one touchdown
    Kinnie: Vs. Michigan - 1 catch for 54 yards and one touchdown

    Jeffery: Vs. Kentucky – 6 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns
    Sanders: Vs. The Citadel – 4 catches for 49 yards and one touchdown
    Ellington: Vs. Clemson – 3 catches for 71 yards and one touchdown

    - Worst Receiving Game:

    Bell: Vs. Michigan – 1 catch for 8 yards
    Enunwa: Vs. Minnesota – 1 catch for 7 yards
    Kinnie: Vs. Tennessee Chattanooga – 2 catches for 7 yards

    Jeffery: Vs. Tennessee – 3 catches for 17 yards
    Sanders: Vs. Navy – 1 catch for 3 yards
    Ellington: Vs. Navy – 1 catch for 7 yards

    - Size

    Bell: 6’1” 180 pounds
    Enunwa: 6’2” 210 pounds
    Kinnie: 6’3” 225 pounds

    Jeffery: 6’4” 229 pounds
    Sanders: 5’7” 175 pounds
    Ellington: 5’9” 197 pounds

    Follow Brandon on Twitter: @eightlaces
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    Tags: kenny bell, quincy enunwa, brandon kinnie, alshon jeffery, ace sanders, bruce ellington

  6. 2011 Nov 30

    Husker Heartbeat 11/30: Hardrick Happy Hoisting Hardware, What's Next for NU and Suh Sits Two Games


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - Nebraska's win over Iowa meant the world to Yoshi Hardrick as did getting his mitts on the Heroes Game trophy

    - Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa has shaken his initial jitters and is starting to make significant contributions as his confidence soars

    - After a roller coaster season, what's next for Bo Pelini's Cornhuskers?

    - Three Husker volleyball players were named first-team All-Big Ten

    - Ndamukong Suh will miss two games without pay for his actions this past Thanksgiving

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    Tags: yoshi hardrick, quincy enunwa, bo pelini, volleyball, ndamukong suh

  7. 2011 Oct 23

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Minnesota


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - It was awfully nice of the local Minneapolis junior college team to provide Nebraska fans with a lovely afternoon in TCF Stadium.

    - Taylor Martinez’s throwing motion is going to cost Nebraska another game or two this year.

    - Kenny Bell is another in a long line of amazingly fast skill players on the Cornhuskers' offense. Enunwa, Turner and Bell are a dangerous trio.

    - Speaking of those three, a case of The Dropsies can be contagious and stick around all season long. Coach Fisher has his work cut out for him before Sparty visits.

    - Rex Burkhead obviously paid attention in physics class. How else could he have turned himself into a human battering ram?

    - Yoshi seems to be gaining confidence with every game.

    - 27 first downs (20 on the ground) and only five penalties will get you a lot of wins. A third down conversion rate under 50 percent against the Gopher defense is somewhat concerning, though.

    - Nebraska fans might be seeing something special as Chase Rome finishes out the season. He’s not Jared Crick, but he’ll carve out a niche all his own.

    - The lack of playing time that Brion Carnes is seeing is going to come back to bite Nebraska one way or another.

    - Stanley Jean-Baptiste looked solid in his first start and Lance Thorell had an excellent game. With that said, the final judgment of SJB will be reserved until approximately 2:30 P.M. next week.

    - Finally,

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    Tags: taylor martinez, kenny bell, quincy enunwa, jamal turner, rich fisher, rex burkhead, yoshi hardrick, chase rome, stanley jeanbaptiste, lance thorell

  8. 2011 Oct 11

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Five Things We Saw Against Ohio State


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Erin Sorensen

    Saturday night's game was definitely one to remember. As the rain came down by the bucketful, Nebraska came back to make school history, beating Ohio State 34-27. There were a number of things worth noting, but what were the most important that fans saw this week?

    1.) Smarter Play Calling

    Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck did exactly what he needed to do in the second half of Saturday night’s matchup against the Buckeyes. The play calling was near-perfect and ultimately turned a 20-6 deficit around into a 34-27 Husker win. For Beck, it was the perfect rebound from Nebraska’s loss at Wisconsin.

    While he still had quarterback Taylor Martinez put the ball in the air, this was far less frequent. The heavy use of Rex Burkhead that Nebraska fans had seen against Wyoming and Washington returned. The run game wore out Ohio State’s defense, and Beck proved that his offense can truly be something special. Whether fans choose to believe in Beck and his team or not at this point, last Saturday was a testament to the strengths of the first-year offensive coordinator. What happened was more than just adjustments, it was a statement.

    2.) A Dominant Defense

    The first half of Saturday’s game was a rough one for the Nebraska defense. While some of the fan criticisms were a little harsh (“This is the worst defense in twenty years!”), it was difficult to deny that the defense still looked a little off. While it was not the worst defense in twenty years, it was a change from the past few under Pelini’s watch. Ultimately, the defense’s effectiveness (or lack thereof) has come down to leadership, and Nebraska was truly missing it. Then the unexpected happened.

    During the first four games of the season, senior linebacker Lavonte David jumped around and yelled at his team. He did everything he could to get the defense fired up. It never seemed to work until Saturday night. When David told the defense not to give up, it was an order. It was not too long after his speech that he stripped the ball from Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and changed the game for good. David’s presence was exactly what the Nebraska defense needed. Combined with Stanley Jean-Baptise’s debut as a cornerback and his eventual interception, the defense wasn’t perfect, but it found its swagger.

    3.) Confidence From Taylor Martinez

    When Martinez threw an interception in the first half, it appeared as if the sophomore quarterback was throwing in the towel. The crowd was booing and the stage was set for the biggest meltdown of the young quarterback’s career. That’s when Martinez made a career-changing decision.

    After halftime, he came out swinging. In the remaining 30 minutes of play, he executed a near-perfect game of football. While his throws were still oddly-delivered, he got the job done. In fact, two Nebraksa’s four second half touchdowns were passing touchdowns. For a quarterback that had received so much negative attention, Martinez chose to rise about it. This game was going to be “make or break” for him only if he determined that it would be. If fans take nothing else away from Saturday night, let it be this – Don’t ever count Taylor Martinez out.

    4.) No Turnovers

    Saturday night’s game was one for the ages. Nebraska completed the largest comeback in school history, and turned the ball over far less than usual. A problem that has plagued the Nebraska offense, the Huskers made a huge improvement in this area last Saturday.

    While Martinez still had one interception, fumbles were not an issue. Players were much more careful with how they handled the ball, meaning Nebraska didn’t lose valuable drives to mistakes. It was a big game all around for the Cornhuskers, but the lack of gift-wrapping scores for Ohio State should be applauded.

    5.) Recovery from Wisconsin

    By the end of the first half, Memorial Stadium sat in stunned silence thanks to the 20-6 score. The game began to look eerily like what was seen against Wisconsin. The air was thick with anger and disappointment. Boos were not uncommon. It was a dreary start to the game as rain eventually began to pour.

    With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Nebraska decided that it had taken enough punishment and was going to dish some out. Martinez, along with Burkhead, the entire offensive line, and the blocking power of wide receivers Brandon Kinnie, Kenny Bell, and Quincy Enunwa, made the decision to win. It was an impressive comeback, one that all in attendance and who watched on television will remember. In the end, it was the just the revitalization that the fans, but more importantly the team, needed.

    Nebraska heads into a bye week with a big win under their belt and Minnesota on the horizon. Fans should be feeling pretty good about their team. If nothing else, the Cornhuskers showed that they have a lot of heart. That alone should bring reassurance for fans going forward.

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    Tags: taylor martinez, tim beck, rex burkhead, bo pelini, lavonte david, braxtor miller, stanley jeanbaptiste, brandon kinnie, kenny bell, quincy enunwa

  9. 2011 Oct 10

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Buckeye Win Doesn't Have Bo's Signature On It


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brian Towle

    So many things went right and wrong last Saturday night in Lincoln. Enough that it makes you wonder how the tale of 2011 Nebraska football is going to finish both on and off the field.

    The first half was essentially the moment this team had their backs against the wall. Tim Beck was calling the game that fans had begged for all week. More Rex Burkhead, controlled passes by Taylor Martinez, all of that. The defense was supposed to suffocate and stop the Ohio State offense, a goal that was never really accomplished. The booing of the arm-punt by Martinez that Bo Pelini waived off, the dejected looks on each and every player and coach’s face, it told the story of the entire prior week-plus.

    The second half was one of the most memorable that anyone will likely see. From Lavonte David’s strip to “Rex and the O-Line's Greatest Hits" being belted out among the raindrops to a formation that saw Burkhead, Ameer Abdullah, and Aaron Green on the field at the same time. As an aside, as you look at Quincy Enunwa’s touchdown catch in the third quarter, watch for Aaron Green down the field. You could have fit the new addition to Memorial Stadium between him and the two Buckeyes on Enunwa.

    Adding to the good and yet baffling moments was one wide receiver-turned-cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste. If you had him in the pool as the best-looking cornerback opposite Dennard come the end of the game, you’re likely eating well for a while.

    A disclaimer: I’m not a guy to crush the good vibes, because a happy bunch is a good one to hang around. However, when you start flinging around statements like “Bo Pelini’s signature win”, I am going to have to ask you to put the fruit punch down, because it wasn’t.

    Come from behind wins are good, but they don’t necessarily make for signature wins. A game in which you beat a 3-2 football team lacking a number of key players thanks to NCAA suspension doesn’t equate to a coach’s defining moment. Was it a great win? Absolutely.

    Those of you that disagree, please consider the following: What do you consider Frank Solich’s signature victory? Most would likely say 2001 Oklahoma, of course. Not many people will come back with 2002 Texas A&M as an answer. The story of that game against the Aggies was the same as this past Saturday’s: Nebraska played a good, but not great team close while performing horribly in the first half and fantastically in the second.

    Ohio State needed this win badly, but the Buckeyes also realize that this season may be shot. This isn’t fair to them at all, but at least the Buckeye fan base realizes what may come from a downward spiral. With a loss on October 8, Nebraska would have had mutiny on its hands. The rain wouldn’t have been the only thing that dampened Cornhuskers’ spirits as they left the stadium.

    Braxton Miller’s fumble and the ensuing Taylor Martinez touchdown was the keg being planted on the Ohio State sideline, and Miller’s injury was the fuse being lit. Fate was rather cruel to the Ohio State true freshman as he did a great job against the Nebraska defense.

    If you think he was a handful, picture Northwestern’s Dan Persa and Michigan’s Denard Robinson. There’s no need to do that yet as there is a Minnesota Golden Gophers team that Nebraska should blow out of the water standing just over the horizon. “Should” and “will” are two different things, however.

    Should fans consider everything grand and think this year will be fine now? Not at all. There are six more games on the regular season schedule, a fight for the conference title, and there are still issues to be addressed. Taylor, while consistent and efficient last Saturday, must still improve. Bo’s back and forth with the media, whichever side you’re on or if you even care, is still an issue. The secondary still needs players to step up.

    Thank goodness for the bye week as everyone needs a break and despite the uncertainty, hair-pulling and hand-wringing, things aren’t bad as they could’ve been if the largest comeback in Nebraska history hadn’t happened.

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    Tags: rex burkhead, taylor martinez, lavonte david, bo pelini, aaron green, ameer abdullah, quincy enunwa, stanley jeanbaptiste, frank solich, braxton miller, dan persa, denard robinson

  10. 2011 Oct 09

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Ohio State


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Bo Pelini busted out the masterfully-executed False Sense of Security Defense. It makes for a crowd-pleaser.

    - Ohio State almost had two players rush for over 100 yards…but Nebraska actually did and against the No. 20 rushing defense in the FBS, no less.

    - Let’s not crown Stanley Jean-Baptiste the second coming of Prince Amukamara just yet, but following his performance last night, Dennard’s opposite may have been determined.

    - Tim Beck gave fans what they called for all week in the first half. Apparently someone insulted his choice of game day beverage and he busted out perhaps the scariest formation he has.

    - Taylor Martinez did everything that was asked of him, and in the end that was more than enough.

    - Quincy Enunwa is going to be something special by the time he leaves.

    - There is perhaps no more frightening thing in Nebraska’s arsenal than a determined, very displeased Rex Burkhead

    - Apparently Nebraska grows great kickers next to its offensive linemen

    - Cornhusker fans got their money’s worth last night: First B1G win, first B1G win at home, first win in three tries vs. Ohio State and the largest comeback in Nebraska football history.

    - Joe Bauserman was Nebraska’s 12th man. The comeback was amazing, but it more than likely wouldn’t have happened in its entirety without Miller’s absence.

    - Ameer Abdullah is quickly becoming one of the Cornhuskers’ best kick returners in history if he isn’t already.

    - Lavonte David may have saved Nebraska’s entire season.

    - If he doesn’t have a blackshirt this week, nobody will this year.

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: bo pelini, lavonte david, tim beck, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, ameer abdullah, joe bauserman, braxton miller, quincy enunwa, stanley jeanbaptiste

  11. 2011 Sep 26

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Process Continues in Madison


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    The Big 10 schedule is finally here and there is massive unease with the arrival of Wisconsin week. Should there be? That depends on whom you ask. If you see the glass as half-full, you see the surprise of the offensive line’s progress, the playmakers at skill positions, and the fact that while Nebraska didn’t scorch the land of Laramie while beating Wyoming 38-14, the Huskers stuck to what Bo Pelini is content with on defense: Give up yards, not points.

    However, if you’re a glass half empty type, there are a lot of issues that you have with this team. “The secondary can’t stop anyone!” you might say. “Taylor can’t hit a pass!” is a likely complaint. “This team should have won 70-0 against all these teams we’ve played!” may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not far off from what's been shouted from many a rooftop (or message board).

    A recommendation: Take a moment to relax, both of you.

    There are going to be good days and bad days with this team. The issues fans thought Nebraska was going to deal with before the season began didn’t materialize, and the defensive staples that the Husker faithful thought would be apparent are now question marks.

    The offensive line has been a bright spot with Seung Hoon Choi and Yoshi Hardrick leading the way. The four well-known running backs and receivers like Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa and Jamal Turner have been even better than advertised. Conversely, the secondary has been confused and seemingly lacking playmakers until last Saturday.

    Penalties are reduced, but fumbles aren’t. The biggest question mark coming into the season was Brett Maher who has turned out to be surprising stable. Taylor Martinez still hasn’t provided a reason for faith in his throwing ability, but the play calling of offensive coordinator Tim Beck has put him in better situations. Fans should enjoy a 4-0 record right now.

    While some are doing this, if you hadn’t watched a game or knew the scores, this team would be 2-2 at best, and now, the trip to Madison to take on a seemingly unstoppable Wisconsin team is mere days away. The Badgers have run roughshod over their schedule with an ease that makes any Nebraska fan queasy. This is understandable.

    However, it’s always a safe bet that Bo has a trick or two up his sleeve. The maligned secondary, save for one long touchdown pass and another dropped one, didn’t really play that bad against the Cowboys last Saturday, even if it wasn’t a mirror image of the last two years. Russell Wilson, Montee Ball and James White will meet Jared Crick, Lavonte David and Alfonzo Dennard.

    Is anyone in Wisconsin’s defensive back seven as fast as Ameer Abdullah or Jamal Turner? These teams appear to be more evenly matched than even the biggest Negative Nancy can imagine. However, even if Nebraska loses in Madison, there’s no reason to believe that this game won’t happen in downtown Indianapolis in December.

    Enjoy the ride, and realize that no matter what, every week is part of a process. Yes, even this one.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: bo pelini, lavonte david, jared crick, alfonzo dennard, montee ball, russell wilson, jason white, taylor martinez, corey cooper, seung hoon choi, yoshi hardrick, kenny bell, quincy enunwa, jamal turner, tim beck, ameer abdullah

  12. 2011 Sep 20

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


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    This pesky offense. This upsetting defense.

    Somewhere in the midst of a 51-38 victory, the Nebraska football team showed the ability to not only weather a storm, but to put their foot down and play a quarter of football that can separate themselves from any team in the nation. However, they also showed that there is not only room for improvement on both sides of the ball, but also a need to cultivate the maturity to close out a football game.

    The offense was beyond outstading for most of the day. Taylor Martinez, Braylon Heard, Aaron Green, Kenny Bell, there were athletes making plays that needed to be made. Quincy Enunwa made some big blocks, and the much maligned offensive line had their best game of the season by far. Even without a Brandon Kinnie and Jamal Turner, playmakers were everywhere.

    The defense is Nebraska’s current liability. 274 yards of passing and a greater amount of yardage per play (6.2 vs. 6.1 for Nebraska) kept Washington in the game. Huskies head coach Steve Sarkasian had his team ready for a knockout punch early and often. The Nebraska defense's back seven were reeling for most of the game.

    There will be days where the offense bails out the defense (Stillwater last year, anyone?), but for two games in a row, there hasn’t been a knockout punch delivered by this team. After being on top 44-17 with a little more than 10 minutes left in the game, both sides of the ball went into a protective shell.

    Even Bo Pelini admitted that the calls on defense were a little lax in the post game presser. Pelini let the front four go after the quarterback, which is fine since Sarkasian and quarterback Keith Price were in four-wide sets. However, with the kind of day that Andrew Green and others in the secondary were having, that turned out to be a bad call.

    This secondary is young, but at the same time, they shouldn’t be having the same issues game after game. Giving the benefit of the doubt thanks to Alfonzo Dennard’s absence is like putting a small bandage on a huge wound. When Dennard returns, he can’t cover the whole field.

    Ciante Evans and Andrew Green have to be playmakers. Daimion Stafford, P.J. Smith, Austin Cassidy, all have room for improvement. It’s not time to call out secondary coach Corey Raymond, but when Fonzie returns, there will be no more excuses for this bad play.

    Nebraska did come away with a somewhat convincing win over a BCS school that should do some damage in the Pac-12 conference (it may be the Pac-16 by the time you read this). Wisconsin looked alright against a team they should have throttled, as did Michigan. Ohio State and Michigan State? Not so much.

    However, there is a game in Lariamie under a starry Wyoming night sky against a Cowboy squad that will fill the house and have fans ready. They've been ready for a long time, too. This is the ultimate trap game for Nebraska; between a revenge game and the Big Ten opener against a potential new arch-rival.

    It’s been said before that this team isn’t good enough to hit auto-pilot yet. The 2011 season has to truly be addressed on a week-by-week basis. Before Nebraska can win in Madison, or against the team from Columbus, there’s a tilt against a Mountain West team that won’t be scared of the Big Red at all.

    Get better, take care of Wyoming, and then worry about Russell Wilson.

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: taylor martinez, braylon heard, aaron green, kenny bell, brandon kinnie, jamal turner, quincy enunwa, bo pelini, andrew green, keith price, steve sarkisian, ciante evans, daimion stafford, pj smith, austin cassidy, corey raymond, alfonzo dennard

  13. 2011 Sep 12

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Winning Covered Up a Game That Still Stinks


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  14. 2011 Sep 11

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Fresno State


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  15. 2011 Sep 08

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Five Things to Watch For Versus Fresno State


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Erin Sorensen

    After last week's game, Nebraska fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths – one that reminded them of the 2010 season. It wasn’t just the fans that felt uneasy about the win. "We won, but it just felt like it wasn't a great win," senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie said.

    The Nebraska Cornhuskers now turn their attention to Fresno State. This is the first time that the two programs will meet, but it won’t be the last as they play again in 2014 and 2016. While Nebraska and Fresno State will have plenty to look out for as the season progresses, the Cornhuskers have a few crucial areas to keep a sharp eye on.

    1.) Offensive Line

    The offensive line is young – that’s been determined. True freshman Tyler Moore, walk-on sophomore Spencer Long and sophomore Andrew Rodriguez have been put in roles that demand experience one way or another. With only one game under their belts, UTC provided an opportunity to learn. While most would not wish to call the Mocs a “glorified practice,” it very well may have been for the young talent.

    Fresno State will be another challenge for the young line that is working to gel quickly. Maturing as a team takes time, but when Wisconsin and Ohio State are peeking over the horizon, the Huskers are going to have to find a way to grow up fast. The job is to protect and create holes to run through. Without that protection, plays become rushed and the offense falls apart.

    What will Husker fans be looking for from the offensive line on Saturday? Simple – growth.

    2.) Receivers

    While sophomore Quincy Enunwa downplayed his connection with quarterback Taylor Martinez, it’s hard to ignore the bond that was there. Enunwa caught four passes for 58 yards, leading the receivers in yardage. Even Jamal Turner had a strong first showing, catching a 19-yard pass.

    However, for the positives that were seen, it was far from a perfect performance for the receivers. Senior Brandon Kinnie only caught two balls for a total of seven yards. Many passes were often behind receivers and difficult to catch. At the same time, catchable passes were bobbled and dropped. It was a difficult combination that showed just how much work the receivers have to do.

    To become truly successful, the passing game will need to become a joint effort between Martinez and the receivers. The connection needs to be there with all wide outs, not just Enunwa. Martinez needs to start throwing the ball more efficiently. This combined with extra effort from the receivers should provide continued growth and plenty to cheer about for Nebraska fans.

    3.) Fumbles

    While penalty issues were clearly addressed, fumbles were still an issue for the Cornhuskers in the season opener. Fumbling four times, Nebraska only recovered two. Putting the pigskin on the ground for times in the first game of the season doesn’t speak highly of Nebraska’s ball-handling.

    Fumbling only puts added pressure on an offense that doesn’t need any more distractions. What will it take to keep the ball in the hands of the offense? It’s hard to say, but hopefully the issue can be resolved by Ron Brown sooner rather than later.

    4.) Brett Maher

    The season opener was a big success for kicker Brett Maher. Adjusting for the wind, Maher hit all four of his field goal attempts, clearing one by more than ten yards. Maher also averaged 52 yards on four punts. Coach Bo Pelini was quick to compliment Maher on his strong first outing.

    However, Fresno State is currently leading the nation in blocking kicks. Since 2002, the Bulldogs have blocked an impressive 59 kicks. Fresno State blocked two kicks in last week’s season opener against California alone. These numbers are important for Maher to take note of as he is aiming to create his own legacy at Nebraska.

    Husker fans should be looking for continued maturity with Maher. How he handles himself with the looming possibility of blocked kicks will be telling. Will he fall apart or keep nailing kicks? Saturday’s game will tell us all we need to know.

    5.) Leadership on Defense

    In 2009, Nebraska had a big leader on the field in Ndamukong Suh. Whenever the defense was on the field, Suh’s presence was made known. It was more than his talent that was brought to each play, but also the leadership that radiated from No. 93. Suh’s drive and passion for the team was contagious and it was clear that other players fed off of it.

    During the Post-Suh era in 2010, there was a clear lack of leadership on the defense. When leadership was needed, it appeared as if no one was truly willing to step up. While still very dominant, the defense lacked something in 2010 – a leader. After UTC, two players emerged as strong contenders as the leaders of the defense. Cameron Meredith and Daimion Stafford both showed strong talent and fire. Alongside Jared Crick, Meredith and Stafford have an opportunity to lead the defense to be even stronger.

    Saturday will be a game of firsts and growth. The Big Ten will soon be at Nebraska’s door and the Cornhuskers’ welcoming party won’t be too festive if their big problems don’t get solved quickly. What will Nebraska fans be watching for? A big win that actually feels like one.

    Follow Erin on Twitter: @helloerinmarie
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    Tags: utc, tyler moore, spencer long, andrew rodriguez, fresno state, quincy enunwa, taylor martinez, brandon kinnie, ron brown, brett maher

  16. 2011 Sep 05

    Press Conference Notes (9/05/11)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    - The press conference was to begin at 10:30, but did not get underway until nearly 11:15. Volleyball head coach Jon Cook spoke for just about five minutes. He shared that the Nebraska volleyball team is at 150 consecutive sellouts, which is the longest NCAA streak of any women’s sport.

    - Cameron Meredith talked about the defense’s identity and what he learned from former DT Ndamukong Suh: “Every play in practice, he’d go 100%.”

    - Bo Pelini was quick to say that he would not call Saturday’s game "sloppy".

    - Pelini mentioned that Will Compton is doing well, but is day-to-day. Notes that no structural damage was done to the foot that caused Compton to leave the game in the 1st quarter on Saturday.

    - On Fresno State, Pelini said: “History shows they give a lot of people problems.”

    - The Huskers mantra for the week? According to Pelini, “Get better each day. Focus on the process, make ourselves better. That’s all we can control.”

    - Brett Maher was met with a lot of questions about Alex Henery. While praising Henery’s stellar career, Maher made it clear, “I’m trying to be my own person and make my own footprints here.” He made sure to note that he was grateful to get the time to learn from Henery and Adi Kunalic.

    - In an interesting interview, WR Quincy Enunwa downplayed his connection with QB Taylor Martinez. Said he believed Martinez just saw him a few times and it worked out, didn’t believe there was any special connection.

    - Taylor Martinez appeared the most confident he has been in front of the media. He said that he, “feels the best he has since the Missouri game.”

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    Tags: jon cook, bo pelini, cameron meredith, will compton, quincy enunwa

  17. 2011 Mar 17

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 22


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 22 Linebacker Sean Fisher

    This junior out of Millard North has battled several different injuries since his arrival at NU in 2008. Fisher flashed glimpses of his considerable potential at times during the 2009 season – when he was a redshirt freshman – but a broken leg and torn ankle ligaments suffered in 2010 fall camp create a question of health. Has Fisher just been unlucky – or is he injury-prone? We'll see. Fisher said he's not quite 100 percent yet because of rehabbing the ankle.

    If healthy, Fisher could be one of the Nebraska's more versatile defenders. He's still 6-6, 235, after all, and playing linebacker. Folks who question Fisher's speed are mistaken; he's plenty fast, especially in lateral pursuit. He needs to take on blockers and ballcarriers with a lower center of gravity so he doesn't get knocked back. Ultimately, he could be a very interesting outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Of course, Nebraska doesn't run that.

    See all 50 Huskers! No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24, No. 23

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, quincy enunwa

  18. 2011 Mar 17

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 23


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The 50 Huskers to Know returns for the 2011 spring season! We count down the players you absolutely have to watch heading into spring football, culminating with No. 1 during NU's spring break.

    The spring list, remember, is about players who are currently in the program, with an emphasis on redshirt freshmen and sophomores who might not have played much yet; in the fall, you'll see a list with more projected starters and incoming contributing recruits.

    Not included on this list is wide receiver Khiry Cooper, who spends the spring with the Husker baseball team.

    No. 23 Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa

    Why did this kid burn his redshirt as a freshman? We're still trying to figure that out. Apparently, it was important for this California native to get a year of seasoning so he could prepare to start in 2011. Considering how rarely Enunwa played last year – and the fact that Tim Beck is changing the offense anyway – Ted Gilmore and Shawn Watson may have effectively created another Niles Paul situation. Paul should have been a senior this year – if Bill Callahan hadn't chosen to burn his redshirt in 2007 catching a few stop patterns. Enunwa will have the same dilemma.

    His measurables – 6-foot-2, 215 pounds – are pretty enviable. His hands – at least in the brief glimpses we got last year – aren't so much. Perhaps that changes in 2011. NU *should* throw the ball more. Enunwa could be the team's No. 2 target – or its No. 5 target. That's up to wide receivers coach Rich Fisher to figure it out.

    See all 50 Huskers! No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45, No. 44, No. 43, No. 42, No. 41, No. 40, No. 39, No. 38, No. 37, No. 36, No. 35, No. 34, No. 33, No. 32, No. 31, No. 30, No. 29, No. 28, No. 27, No. 26, No. 25, No. 24

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, quincy enunwa

  19. 2011 Jan 13

    YEAR IN REVIEW: WR Report Card


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Here's our report card for Nebraska's wide receivers and receiving tight ends, plus its position coach, Ted Gilmore and Ron Brown. Brandon Kinnie B+ Good year for NU's “No. 2” receiver, who...

    Tags: report card, year in review, brandon kinnie, niles paul, kyler reed, mike mcneill, khiry cooper, tim marlowe, quincy enunwa

  20. 2010 Aug 28

    Practice Report 8/28


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Nebraska’s football team is down to a week before its season opener vs. Western Kentucky, and head coach Bo Pelini has budged as much on a three-man quarterback race as a turkey dinner lost to the permafrost of your garage freezer.

    But -

    “We have our plan,” Pelini said Saturday in his comments to end NU’s three-week training camp. “You’ll just have to wait and see what it is.”

    Get out your tea leaves and roll the bones on those two sentences.

    Anyway, don’t expect a depth chart - “I don’t really see any need to do that,” Pelini said - or a conventional answer to NU’s quarterback question. The coach offered up the “ten guy” solution to reporters Saturday. It only takes five to make a overpriced cheeseburger, while ten wouldn’t leave much in the way of offensive linemen on the field.

    “I don’t have a crystal ball,” Pelini said.

    Until next Saturday…

    That hot-button issue aside, Pelini declared the 2010 camp a success. Physical. Full of development and growth. NU players confirmed throughout camp that the Huskers’ workouts were more intense than in years past.

    “Guys are sick of hitting each other,” Pelini said. “They’re ready to play some football.”

    That means Western Kentucky, which Pelini called an “unusual opener” because of a brand-new coaching staff. WKU hasn’t won a game in almost two years.

    “It’s not the most ideal situation, but that doesn’t affect our players very much,” he said.

    The coach praised senior defensive end Pierre Allen, poised for a breakout year after fighting through a nasty and nagging turf toe injury in 2009.

    “He’s had a big-time camp,” Pelini said. “He’s playing really well…healthier, bigger, faster, stronger than he has been. He played at a pretty high level last year. But I think he’s pretty focused on taking it to another level this year.”

    On with the report:

    Particulars: Nebraska conducted a situational walkthrough Saturday morning instead of a fully-padded practice.

    What’s New: NU begins preparation for Western Kentucky. Fall camp ends. What’s been settled? At some positions - not much. The battles for playing time continue.

    Coach Quote: “I don’t think you can ever let yourself become comfortable. You’ve got to be on edge. There are certain ways you have to prepare and do things to put a quality product out on the field. That’s where my focus is.” - Head coach Bo Pelini

    Coach Quote II: My expectations are a lot higher than anybody else out here. I don’t worry about that. - Pelini, on preseason rankings


    ***Much remains to be seen, but here appear to the true freshman most likely to play in 2010:

    Left guard Andrew Rodriguez: Working with the two-deep after a season-ending injury to Mike Smith and some nagging injuries to Brandon Thompson. Rodriguez is raw, coaches and teammates, but possessing a lot of natural ability and talent.

    Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa: In the mix at wideout; where, exactly, is unclear. Likely behind the top three of Niles Paul, Brandon Kinnie and Mike McNeill. Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said Enunwa is good at catching balls in traffic while Pelini called him “mature.”

    Defensive tackle Chase Rome: No surprise that the highly-touted freshman who enrolled early might see the field, even with the defensive tackle spot relatively well-stocked. He’s not exactly a lock to play because he necessarily have to. Carl Pelini said Rome needs to continue to “earn” that time.

    Other newcomers, juniors LaVonte David and Yoshi Hardrick, should play as well. Wide receiver Stanley Jean-Baptiste, a sophomore, appears slightly out of the mix for now.

    Next Practice: Monday. Game week. Finally.

    Tags: football, fall camp, practice, pierre allen, quincy enunwa, chase rome, andrew rodriguez

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