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  1. 2012 Mar 07

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Spring Practice Position Primer


    By HuskerLocker

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    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

  2. 2012 Jan 03

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - South Carolina


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - If Tim Beck figures out how to replicate a gameplan like the first quarter against South Carolina, cut him a check for whatever he asks.

    - If Tim Beck continues to be as predictable as the outcome of a Harlem Globetrotters game to any decent defensive coordinator, tear the check up.

    - Taylor Martinez made progress in 2011. Here’s hoping a legitimate quarterback competition takes place in the offseason to push him to do so even more.

    - Really wanted to make a joke about a Burkhead touchdown being brought to you by Norelco.

    - Tim Marlowe drops a pass and Brett Maher misses a 35-yard field goal. The Mayans were right.

    - While the officiating crew made some severe errors, they did not cost Nebraska this game. The Cornhuskers' worst enemy was themselves.

    - That said, it’s not surprising that Pelini nearly had a Texas A&M 2010-style meltdown. Glad he didn’t for a number of reasons.

    - Alfonzo Dennard deserved to walk into the sunset with his team, not after being on the winning end of a 10-9 decision against Alshon Jeffery

    - There are those who chastise others for being frustrated or even irate with Bo Pelini for losing three or four game per season. It’s not the losses anymore, but rather how embarrassing they’ve become.

    - 29 days until National Signing Day. This’ll be interesting.

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    Tags: tim beck, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, tim marlowe, brett maher, bo pelini, alfonzo dennard

  3. 2011 Nov 21

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Most Valuable Huskers vs. Michigan


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By James Stevenson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. 2011 Nov 18

    Husker Heartbeat 11/18: Moore Gutting Out Family Loss, Compton Relishing Role and Nebrasketball Faces Rough Stretch


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Defensive tackle Terrence Moore is playing with the passing of his father in the back of his mind

    - Linebacker Will Compton is making the job of being a Big Ten linebacker look easily

    - Wide receiver Tim Marlowe continues to take advantage of opportunities as they come

    - Doc Sadler's bunch is going to find out what they're made of over the next several games

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    Tags: terrence moore, will compton, tim marlowe, doc sadler

  5. 2011 Nov 09

    Husker Heartbeat 11/09: Marlowe Returns to PSU, The DL Contingency Plan and Suh Voted Dirtiest Player


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Wide receiver Tim Marlowe is returning to Penn State as a Husker

    - Flipping through the contingency plan to shore up the defensive line

    - Defensive tackle Chase Rome is back on the practice field

    - Former Husker Ndamukong Suh was voted the dirtiest player in the NFL by his peers

    - NU volleyball's Lauren Cook faces felony charges stemming from her automobile wreck

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    Tags: tim marlowe, chase rome, ndamukong suh, lauren cook

  6. 2011 Nov 07

    Husker Heartbeat 11/07: Blackshirt Talent Infusion, Marlowe's Meaningless Touchdown and Helu's Redskin Record


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - The Husker defense needs a talent infusion

    - Wide receiver Tim Marlowe's first touchdown catch wasn't worth the end result to him

    - Junior Ray Gallegos and senior Andre Almeida will both be sitting out Nebraska's exhibition game against Doane College.

    - The Lady Huskers dominated UNK in their exhibition game

    - Former Husker Roy Helu, Jr. sets a Redskins record for most receptions in a game

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    Tags: tim marlowe, ray gallegos, andre almeida, roy helu

  7. 2011 Mar 30

    Commentary: Martinez Moving Forward


    By HuskerLocker

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    You know those two guys Waiting for Godot? They just might meet him before Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez morphs into a prince of the press. It's little like expecting head coach Bo Pelini to suddenly become a sartorial genius.

    But Martinez finally stepped out on the media ledge Monday and handled himself well as reporters and camera dudes peppered him with questions from all sides. It's a start, if not the finished product. He'll get better at letting folks finish their questions. And he'll learn more about just how irritating we can be when we frame the “leadership” question four different ways seeking an intended – though repeatedly denied – result.

    Yeah, it should have happened before now. The four-month silence is less on Martinez than it is on Pelini for chewing out the kid during the Texas A&M game – which rightly prompted speculation of a rift between them, even though there really wasn't one – then failing to bring his starting quarterback along with him to the podium after losses in the Big 12 Championship and the Holiday Bowl.

    Kids don't know what they don't know, and Martinez sure didn't. In his temper, Pelini put the kid in a bad spot. In his loyalty, Bo then allowed him to stay in it. A tough lesson learned from a season where little went as planned in November and December.

    On Monday, of his own accord, without any particular prodding or expectation from the press, Martinez began to carve out his own niche. Maybe that's how it had to be.

    Fans will jump to their usual conclusions about him, projecting emotions onto flat, relatively terse answers. Somewhere inside him, most certainly, is a place where he doesn't compartmentalize, where he doesn't wall off his on-field tasks from the typical feelings of a college student. I'm just not sure you'll see it. I'm pretty sure you don't have to, either.

    I'd wager – as I have since the beginning of the kid's incredible runs in early 2010 – that it's hard to conclude much about a sniper beyond his ability to shoot. And that's who, from the casual glance, Martinez most resembles: The singular, focused man in the tower, in tune to the rhythms of his craft and not a whole lot else.

    “He's not into doing off-the-field stuff,” said defensive end Eric Martin, referring to nightlife escapades and the like. “He's a true athlete. He eats right, he drinks his protein, he does everything right. He just looks toward football.”

    Martinez lost his bearings after a severe ankle sprain that he said he re-injured “five or six times” last season. And he said he stayed quiet last year in deference to senior Zac Lee. Didn't want to step on the toes of a guy who took roughly ten snaps through the first five games of the year and talked to the media fewer times than I can count on one hand.

    Martinez's answer was odd, but believable. The offensive chemistry last year appears, in the rear view mirror, to have been volatile. Too many cooks in the kitchen. The problem inched toward Cosgrovian proportions.

    “We're 'one' this year,” wide receiver Tim Marlowe said. “I don't know that there were divisions last year. But I don't know that there was really great leadership.”

    College teams don't need an on-field general. That's the head coach, and Bo's all of that. They need staff sergeants, vocal guys who have been in the field and want to help the next guy through it. A CO doesn't throw his stars around or walk with hands clasped behind his back in a Napoleonic waltz. He loves on guys. He barks at them. He jokes. He's in their you-know-what, but he knows how to get them out of some, too.

    Cody Green's that type – but he didn't quarterback the team in 2010 and he's not my frontrunner to do it in 2011. Brandon Kinnie's that type – he'll speak for the offense next even more than he did before. Ben Cotton is. Rex Burkhead's reputation precedes him. He doesn't have an off switch in practice – even when he makes mistakes, which is the tough-guy pretenders fall off and pout – and his teammates pick up on that.

    Nebraska is built at practice in the Hawks Championship Center. That's the workroom. Fall Saturdays – that's the showroom. The high-wire act without the net. Where magnified behavior should reflect what's been happening every day in the lab.

    When Martinez got hurt, he naturally looked down.

    “Everything went downhill,” he said. “...It was tough on me. I couldn't really run or do what I wanted to do.”

    He didn't manage the adversity well but, again, he was a freshman quarterbacking a team full of seniors. It's on the coach to instill and teach that toughness in the meeting rooms and on the practice fields. The good generals prefer to pick a quarterback who comes arrives on campus with few parts missing. The great generals can win conference championships with anyone. Guys like Saban and Beamer and Meyer and Osborne and even rebuked Senator Tressel.

    Practice is Pelini's private domain, so we can't see just how Martinez carries himself in that setting. But teammates say they're seeing his confidence grow and that changes his comfort as a leader. A sniper's mood is as he does, as sharp as his target can be seen. He's no longer behind the Shawn Watson learning curve, trying to decipher a confusing map. The lightning-quick reads he made in high school – Martinez was unusually canny at quickly selecting open targets at Corona (Calif.) Centennial – seem to be back on the table.

    If Tim Beck can boil his offense down to instinct – a reflexive execution borne out of a sure, thorough handling of the terrain – Martinez could again thrive in his element. But only if Pelini keeps prodding and developing his reluctant sniper into a staff sergeant.

    It'll make meeting the press that much easier.

    Tags: spring football 2011, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, brandon kinnie, tim marlowe

  8. 2011 Mar 09

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 36


    By HuskerLocker

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    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. 36 Wide receiver Tim Marlowe

    Now a junior, this diminutive wide receiver will have his best shot at major playing time under new position coach Rich Fisher. Marlowe played sparingly at wide receiver until NU started using the Wildcat formation; he served as Rex Burkhead's “sweep back.” As a kickoff returner, Marlowe didn't build on the promise he showed as a freshman in 2009, but he may be given another look this spring if better candidates don't emerge. We're thinking some will.

    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

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, tim marlowe

  9. 2011 Jan 13

    YEAR IN REVIEW: WR Report Card


    By HuskerLocker

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    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

  10. 2010 Nov 08

    Bo: Lee, Martinez and Dennard Should Be Ready for KU


    By HuskerLocker

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    Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said Monday he expects quarterbacks Taylor Martinez and Zac Lee and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard to practice this week in hopes of being ready for Saturday's Kansas game.

    “We're a lot healthier than we were this time a week ago,” Pelini said during the Big 12 Coaches Teleconference. “I expect them all to play.”

    Martinez, who suited up for the Iowa State game but only played a down – as a decoy – because of an ankle sprain, will start, “if he's healthy,” Pelini said.

    “You don't know what's going to happen in a week of practice but I expect him to be out there today and we're moving on,” Pelini said. “We feel real good about where he is right now.”

    Lee bruised his throwing hand after hitting it on a teammate's helmet. Dennard suffered a concussion in the Missouri game and sat out for a week recovering from its effects.

    Aside from wide receiver Tim Marlowe, who is questionable after hurting his hip in the Iowa State game, “there's nothing right now on the injury list that's real pressing.”

    That apparently includes quarterback Cody Green, who briefly exited the ISU game after taking a hard hit. Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said afterward that Green had the wind knocked out of him.

    Pelini applauded Green's play and talked briefly about the development of the highly-touted prospect who entered college a semester early to learn NU's offense, but doesn't seem entirely comfortable yet.

    “I wouldn't say there's any guy on our football team that's a finished product yet,” Pelini said. “Things take time.”

    See also: How NU Stuffed ISU's 2-Point Conversion

    Tags: ku game, taylor martinez, zac lee, tim marlowe, alfonzo dennard

  11. 2010 Sep 28

    Non-Conference Report Card - WR/TE


    By HuskerLocker

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    Here's a group of players who have been up or down depending on how many touches they've been getting. Who grades out the highest? Find out with a 30-day free trial to Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: report card, niles paul, brandon kinnie, khiry cooper, tim marlowe, will henry, curenski gilleylen, ben cotton, kyler reed

  12. 2010 Sep 07

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: No More Vanilla


    By HuskerLocker

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    As Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson put the finishing touches on his Western Kentucky gameplan Friday night, he pulled aside Tim Marlowe for a word.

    Jet sweep, Watson told the rarely-used sophomore wide receiver. It’s on the play sheet. Might use it. Be ready.

    “I was waiting all game on the sideline for it,” Marlowe said.

    Midway through the third quarter, there was Marlowe sprinting toward quarterback Taylor Martinez, taking his first career carry, and zipping around the left end for a 13-yard gain.

    “Almost took it all the way,” Marlowe said. “Got tripped up a little.”

    Options? Oh, Nebraska has them in 2010.

    “We’re user-friendly, man,” Watson said.

    NU racked up 536 yards vs. WKU - averaging nearly a first down on each snap - its highest total since the 2008 Kansas State game. Martinez set a rushing record for NU freshman quarterbacks with 127 yards. Sophomore running back Rex Burkhead touched the ball 7 times for 104 yards. Senior wide receiver Niles Paul had 6 touches for 100 yards.

    Efficiency, thy name is Nebraska.

    Of course, Huskerville being the town of worrywarts that it is, concerns naturally gravitated toward senior running back Roy Helu - who only carried the ball five times - and senior receiver Mike McNeill who didn’t catch a pass. Where were their turns at the wheel?

    On Tuesday, McNeill leaned back in his chair Tuesday, smiled a bit and thanked Big Red Nation for its sympathy cards.

    “I’ve faced this question several times,” McNeill said. “There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t let it get to me. I just gotta keep playing. The touches will come when they come.”

    As if spoken by Watson himself.

    The OC held court at the Tuesday presser this week instead of the muggy heat of the Hawks Center, and unpacked his “box” on how the new version of Nebraska’s offense works. It’s about targets, weapons and creativity.

    Watson took a minute to explain with the Huskers’ plan to use Paul.

    “We target him all over the lot,” he said. “You’re not going to see him ever line up in one specific position. He’ll be all over place. He’ll handle it in the passing game, he’ll handle it in the run game.”

    Paul, of course, will often be in his customary Z position that’s ideal for deep balls and the post route he ran for a 33-yard touchdown from Cody Green. He’ll line up in the slot sometimes. Or he’ll flip to the wide “field” side while Brandon Kinnie hugs the boundary.

    Watson will create plays where Paul is the only target. Or the primary target. Or the secondary target if the safety bites on a hook route, as a Missouri Tiger did in the 2009 game. There’s tunnel screens and bubble screens, sweeps and reverses. And the get-up-and-go-get--it fly pattern that Paul perfected toward the last half of last season.

    In other words, Paul is David in the old Biblical tales. Never quite in the same spot doing quite the same thing, the better to confuse and frustrate the guys who want to chase him down.

    “Because then a defense can’t say ‘They just do this.’ Or ‘this guy just does this,’” Watson said.

    Another key piece: Swiss Army Rex. The sophomore Burkhead, whom Watson said can excel in all three phases of a running back’s game: Running, catching and blocking. On his first grab Saturday night, a 28-yarder, Burkhead zipped into a 20-yard swath of turf left vacated by the Hilltoppers linebackers. Martinez won’t have an easier pass all year.

    But if defenses take away Burkhead on that route, the linebacker probably leaves open McNeill to work the seam. Or Kinnie on a dig route. Or Martinez to scramble.

    You see? Whack-a-mole. If an offense can get six different moving weapons, requiring the defense to account for all of them, you reduce the game to playmakers. Pick-up ball.

    “We’re stretching our wings on it always,” Watson said.

    New year, new tune? Sure. It can crumble if the offensive line falters or gets beset with injuries. Like it did in 2009, when Nebraska’s offense turned into the pigskin equivalent of cream-of-wheat.

    For now -

    “We don’t believe in vanilla,” Watson said. “Vanilla’s bad.”

    See also: No Panic from Bo on D - And Here's Why

    Tags: football, shawn watson, taylor martinez, tim marlowe, mike mcneill, niles paul, rex burkhead

  13. 2010 Sep 06

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Practice Report 9/6


    By HuskerLocker

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    Nebraska’s football team didn’t take off Labor Day, but head coach Bo Pelini did shorten the practice for the Huskers. And he loved the results.

    “Good crisp practice today,” Pelini said after a 90-minute workout inside the Hawks Center. “We made some progress.”

    Where? In correcting some of the communication errors from Saturday’s 49-10 win over Western Kentucky. Linebackers LaVonte David and Alonzo Whaley were responsible for most of the calls in the game their first as starters.

    “I saw a big improvement in that today,” Pelini said.

    On with the report:

    Particulars: Nebraska practiced in shoulder pads and shorts for 90 minutes inside the Hawks Center, beginning some gameplan installation for the Idaho game while working out some of the communication kinks from Saturday’s WKU game.

    “You gotta make a jump,” Pelini said. “You get a lot of those first-game jitters out.”

    What’s New: Sophomore defensive end Cameron Meredith, who hurt his shoulder Saturday, didn’t practice and is day-to-day. Junior right tackle Marcel Jones did practice after missing Saturday’s game. Defensive tackle Chase Rome didn’t practice Monday and have missed several days with an elbow injury. Chances of him burning his redshirt are looking less likely.

    Coach Quote: “He understands the offense. He makes good decisions. He’s pretty accurate. He’s a really nice player.” - Head coach Bo Pelini on Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle

    Player Quote: This is kind of my thing and I really kind of focus most of my attention on kickoff return. It‘s great to really focus on that and try to make some big plays.” - Sophomore wide receiver Tim Marlowe, who had two returns for 69 yards Saturday.


    ***More on Marlowe: The Youngstown native also got his first career carry in Saturday’s game, a 13-yard gain on a jet sweep around left end.

    “Coach (Shawn) Watson let me know the night before we might run it and I was waiting all game on the sideline and finally got it. It worked out good. Almost took it all the way. Got tripped up a little.

    Marlowe said he’s always been quick -the returns and the sweep proved that - but he’s improved his straight-line breakaway speed considerably since coming to NU.

    ***Freshman cornerback Ciante Evans seemed an unlikely candidate to burn his redshirt given the depth and expertise in Nebraska’s secondary. But he is, as of now, Nebraska’s No. 3 cornerback. Whenever Prince Amukamara or Alfonzo Dennard need a break, Evans is the first guy in.

    And Evans said secondary coach Marvin Sanders is giving him a crash course in how to excel at the position.

    “Coach Sanders, he’s hard on me,” Evans said. “He doesn’t really care how young I am. He wants me to compete just like the rest of the guys compete.”

    Evans, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Arlington, Texas, added that Dennard, a 5-10 junior has taken the freshman under his wing. Evans “gets homesick from time to time” but Dennard has helped ease the transition.

    “Soon as I stepped in the summer,” Evans said. “Alfonzo was really under the radar when I came in because I didn’t really know, but as soon as you see him on the field, he’s an athlete. He can play.”

    ***Pelini said OC Shawn Watson returned to the press box Saturday to call plays and will likely stay there. Watson descended from the perch for awhile last year to assist quarterbacks Cody Green and Zac Lee.

    “I put Shawn where he wants to be,” Pelini said.

    ***Bo reiterated his distaste for the early kickoff, even if it gives he and his coaching staff the chance to “kick back” afterward.

    “I just don’t like it,” Pelini said. “I grew up playing at night. That was just a personal preference.”

    The night games - he coached plenty at LSU - are tough on coaching staffs because there’s so little downtime after games before getting back to work.

    Next Practice: Tuesday. Full pads.

    Tags: football, practice report, bo pelini, shawn watson, ciante evans, tim marlowe

  14. 2010 Aug 10

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 49


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Our 50 Huskers to Know series returns for the fall, as we count down the key players on Nebraska’s 2010 team. Check back throughout fall camp for the countdown, and scroll to the bottom for links to the whole list.

    No. 49 Tim Marlowe, KR, 5-10, 175, So.

    We expect Marlowe, the speedy Youngstown Cardinal Mooney product to again return kickoffs alongside Niles Paul in 2010. If kickers attempt to avoid Paul on kickoffs, Marlowe - who’s good at making one move and accelerating quickly - will be asked to make opponents pay. A 23-to-25-yard return average is good.

    Marlowe appears to be down the depth chart at slot wide receiver, but he’s been in the offense for two spring camps now and played well on scout team. Injuries could create some opportunities.

    See all of the Huskers! No. 50

    Tags: 50 huskers to know fall 2010, tim marlowe

  15. 2010 Apr 26

    SPRING IN REVIEW: Special Teams


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Following the 2010 spring camp, Nebraska now looks back at the progress made by each position group - and what progress is yet to come.

    Position: Special teams

    Spring Summary: The primary intrigue would appear to be whether Adi Kunalic will take his red shirt in 2010, or use his final season of eligibility as Nebraska’s kickoff specialist. That issue may be decided over the summer. Alex Henery will be the kicker and punter again; in the punting game, Henery has to worry about being consistent over being spectacular. Expect Niles Paul or perhaps Rex Burkhead to be the punt returner. Both are dangerous.

    Big Mover: Tim Marlowe isn’t “moving” up, per se, but, based on his work in the Spring Game, he’s the kickoff returner along with Paul. Fine with us. Marlowe’s OK in the role.

    More to Prove: Kunalic missed two 52-yarders in the Spring Game that might have helped his case as the 2011 kicker. No issues on the distance, though.

    Wild Card: The same as the top freshman to add.

    Freshmen to Add: Running back Braylon Heard, whom we suspect will get a long look at kickoff returner. NU typically uses a couple freshmen on the coverage or return units; in 2008, it was Alfonzo Dennard, while in 2009, it was Eric Martin.

    Injuries: Justin Blatchford is off the coverage teams because of a torn-up knee.

    How to Spend Summer Vacation: Figuring out which freshmen can contribute and staying healthy.

    Spring Reviews on Linebacker Defensive Line, Quarterback, Offensive LineRunning Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End

    Tags: springtime with bo 2010, spring in review, adi kunalic, alex henery, niles paul, tim marlowe, rex burkhead

  16. 2010 Apr 20

    SPRING IN REVIEW: Wide Receiver


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Following the 2010 spring camp, Nebraska now looks back at the progress made by each position group - and what progress is yet to come.

    Position: Wide Receiver

    Spring Summary: It’s Niles Paul’s world - the rest of the Nebraska receivers are just trying to catch up. But it’s important that Paul has a running mate for 2010 - and that appears to be junior Brandon Kinnie. Kinnie has the frame and the hands, but he needs to better develop top-end speed and separation skills. NU welcomed tight end Mike McNeill to the “adjuster” role; he still has to get used to “all the running” wide receivers do, but he could be a useful asset on third down. Khiry Cooper is busy playing baseball this spring, while guys like Curenski Gilleylen, Will Henry, Tim Marlowe and Antonio Bell continue to fight for playing time. Because this group appears more humble than last year’s version, we expect it to be better.

    Big Mover: Gilleylen, who worked hard this spring to get back in the of the good graces of position coach Ted Gilmore. He has the straight-line speed and build to be a solid slot receiver; Gilleylen needs to hold on to the ball more, and run more effectively after the catch. Too often, Gilleylen dropped the ball because he was too worried about where he was about to run.

    More to Prove: Antonio Bell. Needs to get bigger, stronger, and more aggressive in getting open. Bell has too much speed to sit the bench.

    Wild Card: Cooper, whose athletic skills are off the charts, but split between two sports. Cooper could be a terrific slot receiver if he solely devoted his time to football.

    Freshmen to Add: Quincy Enunwa, the big-bodied sleeper that some within the program expect to compete for playing time right away, and Kenny Bell, an injury-prone speedster who’s a long-strider and needs to gain to play significant snaps at NU.

    Injuries: Nothing serious.

    How to Spend Summer Vacation: Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry. Finding a role for McNeill beyond simply a new position. And separating from defensive backs at the line of scrimmage. Paul can do it consistently. The rest of the Huskers cannot.

    Spring Reviews on Quarterback, Offensive LineRunning Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End

    Tags: spring game 2010, niles paul, brandon kinnie, khiry cooper, mike mcneill, will henry, curenski gilleylen, tim marlowe, antonio bell, kenny bell, recruiting

  17. 2010 Apr 07

    SPRING FB: At WR, The Long Journey Continues


    By HuskerLocker

    It was the gut check of Curenski Gilleylen’s career.

    The Nebraska receiver, then a sophomore, had just been demoted from starter to scout after a 9-7 loss to Iowa State. He tried to take his medicine, man up, roll with it.

    But then he stood on the sidelines of NU’s 20-10 win at Baylor, waiting to enter the game for one play. Any play.

    “It was one of the first times I had a lot of family there,” said Gilleylen, a native of nearby Leander, Texas. One hour from Waco.

    But wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore never sent him in. Not once. Imagine how that would burn.

    “I realized then, this is for real,” Gilleylen said.

    Said Gilmore: “I think (Curenski) miscalculated how long it would take.”

    And no wide receiver could have hoped to predict what happened to the Cornhuskers’ offense after that. The power sets. The fullback. Four tight ends, lined up like dock workers, mashing into extra defensive linemen. Three yards and a mist of the rubber stuff in FieldTurf.

    Other than Niles Paul, do you think any of NU’s wide receivers signed up for that? Standing on the sidelines, watching trench warfare between the hash marks?

    “Did I have counseling sessions at times?” Gilmore said. “Sure. Absolutely. But we have to understand at times we have to surrender the ‘I for the We.’”

    Brandon Kinnie, an athletic junior college transfer, watched all of it transpire, watched friends Gilleylen and Menelik Holt get demoted, thus opening a door for him. Time to step through it.

    It cracked open once before in the Missouri game, when Gilmore benched his starters to begin the third quarter and welcomed Kinnie and Antonio Bell to a driving rainstorm, without their gloves, which Gilmore had snatched from his pupils at halftime.

    Then Zac Lee fluttered a pass toward Kinnie’s feet. A slider in the dirt, low and outside, no gloves, hard rain, soaked ball, smashed up against the sideline.

    Like you’d catch that.

    So Kinnie was taken out. Later, Paul rescued the Huskers with the first great catches of his career.

    When Holt got demoted - never to really return - and Chris Brooks got hurt right after that vs. Texas Tech, Kinnie seized his second opportunity.

    “I was like ‘anything can happen,’” Kinnie said. “I just kept telling myself: You have to make plays.”

    He made a few - two of the seven receptions in the Oklahoma game, two more in the Big 12 Championship game. The Sooners and Longhorns blanketed Paul. Kinnie was Plan B. And he finally figured out blocking by the Kansas State game.

    “That took the whole year,” Kinnie said.

    But Kinnie, a talkative, motivated competitor, was more driven by what he didn’t do. Didn’t catch a touchdown. Didn’t get his foot down on two key plays vs. Texas, one on third down, when Lee dialed up Kinnie - not Paul - on an end zone fade route.

    “If I have had that ball, we score a touchdown,” Kinnie said. “We would have won that game, we would have been Big 12 champs.”

    Gilleylen felt the same way about his near-miss vs. Iowa State. He ran a post, Lee stuck the ball a little high and wide. Gilleylen only got two fingers on it, tipping the ball to a Cyclone defender. Pick. Eighth turnover of nine for the day.

    “That’s a ball you want to come down with,” Gilleylen said. “And that pretty much sealed the game. That’s one I wish I could have had back.”

    How much would the receivers, as a group, take back from 2009? Enough of it.

    The mastery of small details - ball security, route running, hand placement - that defined Nate Swift and Todd Peterson in their senior seasons eluded the 2009 bunch. Instead - frustration. Ego. Inconsistency. Immaturity.

    “I got comfortable a little bit,” Gilleylen admitted. “I can’t get complacent. I always have to strive to get better.”

    It’s still a journey. For all of them, really, even Paul, although Gilmore sets him apart for now.

    “He’s had one mistake all camp,” Gilmore said. “He’s really matured.”

    Kinnie, who knows his coach too well, rattles off a list of details he trying to master. Gilmore, while praising the junior for his competitive zeal, just as quickly mentions: “We’ve got to clean up his routes.”

    Beyond that, Kinnie guns for Paul. It’s friendly, but hardcore. Somebody has to push No. 24.

    “Every little thing you could think of, we competed at it,” Kinnie said.

    Gilleylen started spring camp, Gilmore said, “on fire.” Gilleylen has that gear, you see. Straight-line speed, size, strength. He flashed all of it at the beginning of last year, when he made many of the best plays in the Florida Atlantic game, including the one he was proudest of, a block to spring Holt for a touchdown.

    But then Gilleylen “took a step back” in the last two spring practices, Gilmore said.

    “He’s got to play hard, he’s got to play explosive every single time,” Gilmore said. “We’re still working on that. We’re not where we need to be.”

    Gilleylen’s battling with senior “adjuster” Mike McNeill for the slot job while Paul holds down one outside receiver job and Kinnie seeks to secure the other. Sophomore Khiry Cooper rejoins the fray in the fall. Tim Marlowe’s in there. Sophomore Antonio Bell is “on the come,” Gilmore said, but he needs to catch more balls this summer, build up his confidence. More work in the weight room, too.

    “You see it on the field,” Gilmore said. “He’s getting knocked around a little bit.”

    A challenger has emerged at the edge of the frame, too, in senior walk-on Joe Broekemeier. Doesn’t know what he doesn’t know yet. But he has ball skills. And a summer to catch up.

    “This fall could be interesting,” Gilmore said of Broekemeier, but he could have been talking about the entire corps.

    Kinnie uses a different phrase: “Big-time.” He’ll answer a question that way, or use it as a description. Oh, big-time, big-time.

    Interesting. Big-time. The distance between the two.

    Tags: springtime with bo 2010, ted gilmore, brandon kinnie, curenski gilleylen, antonio bell, niles paul, joe broekemeier, tim marlowe, khiry cooper

  18. 2010 Feb 24

    50 Huskers to Know: No. 43


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    WR/KR Tim Marlowe, 5-10, 175, So.

    Marlowe is going to be a good kick returner at Nebraska, and we have a hunch he’ll blossom in 2010, as teams choose to try to kick away from Niles Paul. Marlowe had a habit of occasionally running into the back of his blockers during the 2009 season, but that stemmed from inexperience as much as anything - and the same problem befell Paul in 2008. We think Marlowe will solidify his role as kick returner and back up Paul at punt returner with Rex Burkhead.

    As a receiver, he played well on the scout team, and will get an extended look at the slot job this spring. Marlowe’s hands appear to be good enough; he has to improve his blocking and perimeter route-running. Almost a token recruit in the 2008 recruiting class out of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, Marlowe seems to have found a niche.

    Want All 50 Huskers? Join Husker Locker for free!

    Tags: 50 huskers to know 2010, tim marlowe

  19. 2010 Jan 07

    50 Huskers in Review: Nos. 40-36


    By HuskerLocker

    In the summer and fall, Husker Locker created its “50 Huskers to Know” list for the 2009 season. We now review our list by examining production, injuries and depth chart position.

    We’ll present these in five-player increments. Here we go!

    No. 40 Tim Marlowe - Muted impact at wide receiver, where he didn’t catch a pass. As a kick returner, he served beside Niles Paul for the last half of the season and mostly held his own; like Paul in his first year, Marlowe was occasionally too impatient for blocks to set up. He’ll have to work hard to make it on the field as a receiver. He’s a top guy on the return units, however.

    No. 39 Dejon Gomes/Alfonzo Dennard - We obviously had these too low, but, then, it was hard to gauge the impact of what were then two backup cornerbacks. Gomes is a stud - athletic, opportunistic, a competitor and humble. Dennard has pro talent in every which way - hops, speed, aggression. Both are on NFL caliber players, and part of the best secondary in America in 2010.

    No. 38 Jason Ankrah/Andrew Green - If you had to pick two freshmen that Carl Pelini was most excited about heading into 2010, these two would be neck and neck with Eric Martin. Green, from all reports, is precisely the kind of man/zone corner Nebraska needs. Ankrah is a promising defensive end product with a prototypical frame.

    No. 37 Antonio Bell - In hindsight, he should have redshirted and taken a year to bulk up and learn how to block in Ted Gilmore’s system. Bell has plenty of receiving talent, but lacks confidence and physicality.

    No. 36 Colton Koehler - After playing quite a bit in the first two games, Koehler fell back to third string linebacker - behind Phillip Dillard and Will Compton - and played sparingly. Still - “Farm Dog” was a good team guy, and a player Husker fans will remember fondly.

    Tags: 50 huskers in review, colton koehler, antonio bell, jason ankrah, andrew green, dejon gomes, alfonzo dennard, tim marlowe

  20. 2009 Aug 25

    At WR, Nothing's Settled...Yet


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Nebraska wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore had wanted to find his six or seven top candidates for playing by the end of last week.

    On Tuesday, Gilmore said, he’s carrying the competition over to the end of this week. As of now, only one player – junior Niles Paul – has earned significant playing time, and another sophomore Marcus Mendoza, moved back to running back. That leaves roughly a dozen players for five spots.

    Well, maybe five more spots.

    “You knew what? I threw that number out, six, but if two of them are doing it, then two of them are going to play,” Gilmore said. “I’m looking for the best football players.

    And if NU needs four pass-catchers for a third down, who fills the role? Tight ends?

    “There you go,” Gilmore said. “We’re gonna put the best 11 players on the football field.”

    The receiving corps has until the end of this week to prevent Gilmore and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson from implementing any kind of plan out of the Norman Dale handbook.

    Said Watson: “They’re competing. We’ll find out who those guys are. We’ll give them to the end of the week to figure it out.”

    Here are the likeliest candidates for those roles:

    Senior Chris Brooks: Battled injuries, expectations and bouts of inconsistency to earn more playing time at the end of 2008. He was NU’s No. 5 receiver and occasionally lined up in the slot. He caught a touchdown pass vs. Kansas.

    Senior Menelik Holt: Has been slated to start by pundits and most fans since the start of spring football, but the coaching staff has handed the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder nothing thus far. Holt had 31 catches in 2008.

    Senior Wes Cammack: Specialist on kick coverage units in 2008, finishing with nine tackles. He caught a touchdown in the spring game and just went on scholarship last week.

    Junior Will Henry: A 6-5, slender outside receiver who had strong practice sessions in late 2008 and during the spring. Gilmore said last week Henry’s had a fair camp, but hadn’t made any standout plays.

    Junior Adam Watson: Shawn Watson’s son. Converted walk-on safety.

    Sophomore Curenski Gilleylen: With speed to burn and a good frame, he could be a front-runner at slot, but he’s struggled catching the ball at times.

    Sophomore Brandon Kinnie: Looks the part at 6-3, 220 pounds, but is “sinking” in terms of learning the playbook.

    “He hasn’t really shown what he can do,” Gilmore said. “And you can see it in his play. His hesitation…once he gets it, we’ve got something good there.”

    Redshirt freshman Khiry Cooper: The two-sport kid who missed all of spring camp playing baseball.

    Redshirt freshman Steven Osborne: Tall, lanky guy whose brother, Courtney, plays defensive back. Gilmore has alternately praised and been tough on Osborne during fall camp.

    Redshirt freshman Tim Marlowe: Small, speedy slot guy whom Gilmore has praised a couple times in camp.

    True freshman Antonio Bell: Nicknamed “Lil Frantz” because he has a frame and speed like former NU receiver Frantz Hardy, Bell has shown good receiving skills. Now it’s a matter of blocking and getting separation at the line of scrimmage. Same obstacles Hardy had, although Hardy enjoyed a solid career, and caught 54 passes for 971 yards and seven touchdowns during his career.

    Join Husker Locker today - it's free!

    Tags: ted gilmore, shawn watson, niles paul, menelik holt, brandon kinnie, antonio bell, tim marlowe, khiry cooper, steven osborne, wes cammack, adam watson

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