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  1. 2012 Mar 14

    NEBRASKA SPRING FOOTBALL: The Offensive Line Shell Game


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Chris Labenz

    With many of Nebraska’s key starters from the 2011 season moving on, the Huskers must start laying a foundation that’ll carry through spring, summer and fall.

    Who’ll make the cut following the Spring Game and be in position to start the season as top dogs?

    Likely Post-Spring No. 1s

    Offensive Tackle:

    Jeremiah Sirles, Jr., Tyler Moore, So.

    Sirles and Moore both enter the 2012 season with starting experience. Last season, Sirles was the primary backup to Yoshi Hardrick at the left tackle spot, while Moore was in a constant battle with Marcel Jones for the starting right tackle position.

    Moore showed flashes of his raw ability, but the coaches had him on a short leash. This was emphasized when he was yanked following a false start penalty on Nebraska’s first offensive play against Wisconsin.

    In 2012, both of these big men will be called on to shore up the tackle spots on an offensive line that has been inconsistent under Barney Cotton.

    Assistant offensive line coach John Garrison has added strong teaching ability to the unit, and has stated that both Sirles and Moore can play either tackle spot if necessary. Look for Sirles to start out on the left side while Moore anchors the right.

    Offensive Guard:

    Spencer Long, Jr., Seung Hoon Choi, Sr.

    Long's may not be a household name, but both players and coaches have stated that the junior guard is the Huskers' best all-around offensive lineman. At this point, he appears to be in the driver’s seat to start at left guard.

    Choi had fans buzzing about his fiery play following his start against Michigan State in place of Andrew Rodriguez. While he performed well, the Husker walk-on was inconsistent during the rest of the season.

    This left many wondering if his starts were an attempt on the part of the coaches to drag some passion out of A-Rod. The Aurora, Nebraska native is acknowledged across the staff as having amazing potential, but for some reason, he lacks the desire to tap into it.

    Whatever the reason, he will have to be even more motivated this spring to unseat Choi. In a classic battle of motivation versus apathy, Choi will go into fall camp No. 1 on the depth chart at right guard.


    Cole Pensick, Jr.

    Pelini and company find themselves in a tough spot this year with the departure of Mike Caputo. While never a superstar, he possessed strong leadership and was relied on heavily by the other linemen for proper calls.

    Despite being aware of Caputo’s obvious graduation, Pelini didn't address the center position through recruiting. Apparently, he decided that someone who could anchor the offensive line was already on the roster.

    Due to lack of depth in the middle, Cole Pensick will get a strong look for the starting role as he’s the only player on the roster with any in-game experience, subbing in for Caputo on rare occasions.

    Pensick may not be the most heralded member of Nebraska’s offensive line, but he will have to elevate his play immediately for the unit to improve.

    Should the spring, summer and fall be beneficial in all aspects including strength and conditioning, look for this to be Nebraska's starting two-deep against Southern Miss:

    First String –

    LT: Tyler Moore, So.
    LG: Spencer Long, Jr.
    C: Ryne Reeves, RFr.
    RG: Ryan Klachko, RFr.
    RT: Zach Sterup, RFr.

    Second String –

    LT: Jeremiah Sirles, Jr.
    LG: Andrew Rodriguez, Jr.
    C: Cole Pensick, Jr.
    RG: Seung Hoon Choi, Sr.
    RT: Jake Cotton, So.

    Nebraska didn’t recruit athletes like Reeves, Sterup and Klachko to sit on the bench. If the trio of highly-regarded redshirt freshmen can pick up Tim Beck’s system and develop with the strength and conditioning crew, there’s no reason that they can’t push for serious playing time this fall.

    What this projected first group lacks overall experience, they make up for in elite athletic ability. Behind this tremendous bunch, Beck’s high-speed system could thrive at getting to the second level of a defense to free up holes for Rex Burkhead and Aaron Green.

    In addition, Moore and Sterup have the sort of size, arm length and quickness that give defensive ends fits. They’d provide more than adequate protection for Taylor Martinez on obvious passing downs, an area where the Huskers have severely struggled over the past few seasons.

    Reviewing the projected second string, you’ll notice names with some experience that can play efficiently enough to justify heavy rotation.

    This leads to fresh legs in the fourth quarter, a trait that was common under offensive lines of the Osborne era. This second unit would give with the first teamers consistent challenging battles during practice, increasing competition and forcing starters to be game-ready seven days a week.

    It's not to say that Pensick, Choi and Sirles won't earn solid minutes, or that Rodriguez won’t finally have the light bulb turn on this spring. Instead, it’s a sign that Nebraska has managed to recruit some very talented linemen under Bo Pelini.

    Any further excuses cannot continue to justify their poor play during the season. It’s time for Nebraska’s offensive line to truly earn back the “Pipeline” nickname, and there are players on the roster who have the ability to make that happen.

    Much like Andrew Rodriguez, the entire unit has plenty of potential. It’s up to the coaching staff to ensure that this translates to results on the field, perhaps stealing some thunder away from Big Ten brother Wisconsin’s vaunted big men in the process.

    Follow Chris on Twitter: @chris_labenz
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    Tags: jeremiah sirles, tyler moore, spencer long, seung hoon choi, cole pensick, ryne reeves, ryan klachko, zach sterup, andrew rodriguez, jake cotton

  2. 2012 Feb 18

    NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: The Husker Locker Crew's Weekend Thoughts (2/18/2012)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Every week, the Husker Locker staff sits down and is presented a number of questions addressing various aspects of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports.

    This week:

    What Husker football player do you feel has to improve the most this offseason?

    Brian: It’s not so much a player, as an entire group - the offensive line. Guys like Tyler Moore, Spencer Long and Ryan Klatchko need to step up and not only give people like Andrew Rodriguez and Seung Hoon Choi competition for starting roles, but also build depth that the line seemed to lack as 2011 progressed.

    Chris: It’s hard to gauge “improvement” for new guys that will be filling voids this season since we don’t have a lot of evidence of how good they can be in order to make such a conclusion (Zaire Anderson obviously has to play well to fill in for Lavonte David, Mohammed Seisay needs to lock-down one of the corner spots, etc.).

    Looking at players who logged significant time last season, it’s safe to say that Taylor Martinez must take a large step forward in order for Nebraska to have a chance at a Big Ten crown. He was an enigma last year, playing extremely well at some points (Ohio State, Northwestern) and looking completely lost at others (Wisconsin and Michigan ).

    T-Magic is a redshirt junior now with plenty of experience under his belt. Can he overcome his poor decision-making, cut down on turnovers, break the big runs he had in his freshman campaign and improve his completion percentage on longer throws? If so, Nebraska’s offense can be deadly with the skill at running back, tight end and wide receiver, especially with the addition of Jordan Westerkamp.

    On defense, Cameron Meredith needs to improve significantly for Bo’s front four to work properly. Meredith played very well during his sophomore season, but regressed significantly last year. He looked slow and winded by the third quarter of most games which may be due to the staff’s emphasis on bulking up for the rigors of Big Ten play. Whatever the reason, No. 34 needs to be a leader on the defensive line.

    Greg: As far as individual improvement, I'd like to see Chase Rome. He has a ton of potential and he needs to display marked improvement next year.

    Brandon: Ryan Klachko as I feel he’s the next big thing at center, even as a redshirt freshman. At 6’4” 285, he has plenty of time to pack on 5-10 pounds of muscle while keeping his speed.

    I don’t see PJ Mangieri, Cole Pensick or Nick Ash as permanent solutions in the middle of the offensive line. Klachko’s got the physicality, the smarts and the desire to be a great interior lineman for Nebraska. I’m not going to say he’ll be a Rimington Award winner, but he has that level of potential.

    Who comprises your starting 2012 defensive backfield (CB and S)?

    Brian: Mohammad Seisay isn’t coming here to sit on the pine, folks. He’s starting from the first snap of the season on. The other three? Good question.

    PJ Smith should be out there, however the word is that he didn’t quite know what he was doing last year which makes it tough to project him seeing much time. Daimion Stafford has to be considered a lock for a safety.

    To start the season, a combination of Ciante Evans and Andrew Green will be out there. Snaps and experience will dictate who takes the spots by the time Arkansas State comes around.

    Chris: There are so many variables heading into the spring and summer that it's hard to nail down anything definitive. Braylon Heard has been moved to cornerback and brings plenty of athleticism. Mohammed Seisay was one of the most coveted JUCO players last year and should be able to make an impact right away.

    Stanley Jean-Baptiste showed flashes of brilliance when he was healthy. Additionally, Charles Jackson is rumored to have become eligible to enroll at Nebraska after the highly-coveted corner was unable to qualify last season. At safety, only Daimion Stafford played significant minutes last year.

    With all of that in mind, the starters come the first kickoff will likely be Andrew Green and Mohammed Seisay at cornerback with Daimion Stafford and P.J. Smith at safety.

    By the time conference play rolls around, look for a starting group of Heard and Seisay at the cornerback spots with Stafford and Corey Cooper at safety.

    Greg: Seisay and Green at cornerback, Stafford and Heard (who knows?) at safety.

    Brandon: I’ll stick Mohammed Seisay and Andrew Green at cornerback with PJ Smith and Courtney Osborne at safety for now. Green’s spot is up for grabs until the first kickoff and it may not be solidified even then.

    Stanley Jean-Baptiste has an awesome frame for a cornerback and Braylon Heard’s move is intriguing. Everyone and their brother wanted him as a defensive back, including Ohio State. Green did improve as 2011 went along, so he’s getting the spot opposite arguable the roster’s best defensive back.

    At safety, Smith’s not as cerebral as Austin Cassidy was, but he’s a far better athlete and will make more plays resulting in offensive possession, good field position or points. Osborne gets the nod over Daimion Stafford right now simply due to his time in the system.

    Stafford struggled in coverage at times in 2011, but he has an entire offseason to work on his deficiencies. I’d imagine we’ll likely see a mixture of Osborne, Smith and Stafford during the 2012 non-conference schedule.

    Considering the difficulties Connie Yori's team has been facing, how do you see the Lady Huskers' regular season ending?

    Brian: Hopefully this team isn’t hitting a wall. However, after the triple overtime thriller in West Lafayette, it seems that this team has slammed head first into one. Wisconsin comes into Devaney on Sunday. Let's hope the kinks get worked out. If not, keep them away from Doc, at least.

    Chris: In ESPN’s latest projections, Nebraska is listed as a potential No. 6 seed in the women’s NCAA tournament. Three losses in a row spells trouble for the Huskers' chances of making the dance, though.

    The committee likes to take teams that are on a hot streak come tournament time, and while the Huskers have some decent wins to hang their hat on, they’ve struggled at times against top competition.

    Three games remain to finish the year. The Huskers need to win two of these games to feel good about their chances.

    Greg: They'll bounce back and finish strong, complete with a decent showing in the Big Ten tournament.

    Brandon: I wasn't anticipating a three-loss skid out of Yori’s team this year, even in Big Ten play. Must be something in the Gatorade down in Lincoln. Regardless, this team can finish the season strong.

    They’re set up for a potential 2-1 or 3-0 end to the regular season with games against Wisconsin and Ohio State at home with Michigan State on the road bringing them to either 21 or 22 wins.

    Any initial thoughts as Nebraska baseball's season gets underway?

    Brian: All the talk has been wonderful, but eventually you have to walk the walk. Let's see how this team is sitting after their trip to Corpus Christi next weekend.

    Chris: Very excited to start the Erstad era and see how this team stacks up in out of conference play. I’m going out on a limb and saying Nebraska wins the Big Ten in Erstad’s first year through a combination of solid pitching, defense, and small ball.

    Erstad appears to be making all the right moves and saying the right things. However, he has no prior Division 1 coaching experience, so it will be vital for him to rely on his top assistants, and great hires, Will Bolt and Ted Silva.

    As the team takes the mold of its coach, expect a hard-nosed group who plays smart baseball and accomplishes the little things very well which means plenty of wins in the long run.

    Greg: I'm disappointed in the loss to Gonzaga. If this team is going to be successful, they will have to close out games. It'll come together. Baseball is great that way. Go Big Red!

    Brandon: Last night’s loss to the Zags stunk as you always like to see a new coach get his first win right off the bat, pardon the pun, but I think a 2-1 series win would sit with just fine with Erstad. Gonzaga’s no scrub club and it’s going to be beneficial for the Huskers to play a squad of this caliber coming out of the gate as they head down the road.

    Regardless of the loss, I’m excited to see what this team can do. One loss isn’t going to damper that enthusiasm.

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

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    Tags: ryan klachko, tyler moore, spencer long, taylor martinez, chase rome, mohammed seisay, andrew green, daimion stafford, baseball, basketball

  3. 2012 Jan 12

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Playing The Redshirt Game


    By HuskerLocker

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    By James Stevenson

    An important part of roster management in college football is utilizing redshirts correctly. High school players, especially those that join major BCS programs, are usually not physically ready to play at that level. Even those that are physically gifted must adjust to new college systems and increased speed of the game.

    An initial redshirt year costs a team a scholarship, but allows a player time to mature and potentially contribute significantly in the future. There is a fine balance to the use of redshirts as with only 85 scholarships available, keeping every player on the roster for five years would only allow 17 players to be signed during each recruiting cycle (assuming no one leaves).

    The Nebraska philosophy appears to be that if a player can make a year-long impact, that player sees the field. Nebraska’s success with freshman wide receiver Kenny Bell, who led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns is one example.

    On the surface, it appears the current coaching staff’s philosophy on playing true freshmen is similar to Callahan’s in that players who can quickly learn the system have the best shot of playing early. Countless young wide receivers and running backs under the Callahan and Watson offenses struggled to find playing time their first season, such as Marlon Lucky who struggled to learn pass protection assignments.

    Under Pelini, young defensive talent usually doesn’t immediately grasp his system. Given the sheer lack of depth at linebacker, it surprised some observers that true freshman David Santos didn’t see the field at all in 2011.

    Perhaps worse than leaving a potential contributor on the bench for the year is wasting a potential four-year contributor’s first season by not redshirting them. The most notable example of this in recent years was Niles Paul, who caught one pass and returned two kickoffs during 2007.

    Having Paul in 2011 would’ve been a boost to a young receiving corps, but that season was traded for minimal action in Callahan’s final year. Conversely, redshirting players that will never contribute leaves them on the roster, and counts against scholarship limits for five years instead of four handicapping recruiting efforts.

    Pelini fell into this trap in 2008 as nearly the entire freshman class was redshirted. While this certainly helped build needed depth and Nebraska achieved a respectable 9-4 record, the Huskers are left with players who have contributed little to nothing in Lester Ward, Collins Okafor, Micah Kreikemeier, and Khiry Cooper for an additional season, tying up scholarships the 2012 recruiting class desperately needs.

    2011 offered some significant head-scratchers. True freshman wide receiver Jamal Turner excited Husker fans in the spring game. Despite limited action, he still finished the season sixth on Nebraska's reception chart with 15.

    Similarly, Nebraska played true freshman offensive lineman Tyler Moore early in the year, but his time lessened during conference play including showing up literally once against Wisconsin. After causing a false start penalty, he was yanked.

    Nebraska certainly seemed committed to playing the freshmen receivers and lineman early in the year, only to put them on the shelf. It’s hard to know if these were disciplinary actions, the result of other players having better work ethics or simply fitting in the system better. However, with Turner having arguably the best combination of speed and moves of any offensive skill player, his absence was puzzling. Is a redshirt worth 17 touches over the course of a season?

    The Huskers also dealt with a good problem to have last season what with three stud true freshmen running backs. Two came straight from high school in prep stars Ameer Abdullah and Aaron Green. The third, Braylon Heard, had taken a year between high school and college to become academically qualified.

    Nebraska lacked any sort of backup behind Rex Burkhead, so it’s understandable that the coaching staff would try to find an eventual replacement or someone to spell Burkhead. There’s something to be said for having running backs test the waters during an actual FBS game and seeing who reacts best, too.

    However, when you have a logjam at a position with three players, all of whom are used to having the ball all the time, it makes sense to redshirt one of those players. Nebraska instead played all three with Heard and Green totaling 49 carries. At one point, Heard disappeared with a mysterious injury. It looked like he may have been headed for a medical redshirt, but he returned to play late in the season.

    As it stands, the Huskers will have three true sophomore running backs behind Rex Burkhead next season aside from any signings. It doesn’t seem that all three, along with wide receivers Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner, and incoming prep star Jordan Westerkamp can have enough touches spread between them to keep everyone happy.

    While the coaching staff’s strategy on redshirts is hard to decipher, there is one pitfall they've avoided: taking a redshirt off of players late in the season. A player who dodges a redshirt year and gets snaps in games while competing to be first string all season is much better than a practice squad player who is forced into action due to injuries. That player than loses an entire year of eligibility.

    Nebraska’s lack of depth at linebacker could’ve been temptation for the staff to play Santos as the year progressed, but they rightfully resisted the urge. That’s something the previous regime couldn’t say.

    Going forward, with a small recruiting class and obvious holes on the depth chart, it will be interesting to see who Pelini and his staff redshirt in 2012. Unfortunately, it’s an inexact science, where only hindsight allows fans to wish that stud players had an extra year of eligibility remaining.

    Follow James on Twitter: @jamesstevenson
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    Tags: kenny bell, jamal turner, niles paul, david santos, lester ward, collins okafor, micah kreikemeier, khiry cooper, tyler moore, rex burkhead, jordan westerkamp

  4. 2011 Dec 12

    Husker Heartbeat 12/12: Major Money in Play for DC, Bell and Moore Named to All-Freshman Team and Helu Hits One Hundred (Again)


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Nebraska might shell out a large chunk of change for their new defensive coordinator

    - The Huskers are headed to Orlando, but it's all business to them

    - Kenny Bell and Tyler Moore make BTN.com's Big Ten All-Freshman team

    - Women's Nebrasketball sets a record with two teammates scoring 30+ in the same game last Saturday

    - Roy Helu cranks out another 100-yard game as one of the Washington Redskins' lone bright spots this season

    - We're giving away a flat screen TV and other great prizes when you sign up for FREE on the Husker Locker Forums

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    Tags: kenny bell, tyler moore, roy helu

  5. 2011 Nov 07

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Evolution of The Nebraska Way


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

    Fans toss the term around like crumpled pieces of paper that eventually find their way to the bottom of a wastebasket. A constant reminder that how things are done at the University of Nebraska are carried out differently or are unique to our state and school.

    Included are: How to treat players, the media, those who to cheer for and how to adhere to it. This is “The Nebraska Way.”

    Somewhere along the line, one very important aspect was lost: How to win using The Nebraska Way. Saturday’s 28-25 loss to a Northwestern team that had far inferior talent than the Big Red (at least on paper) was a glaring example of the issues this team has. The more maddening, almost incomprehensible, other issue is the acceptance of performances like this.

    Some Nebraska fans say that a national championship wasn’t a realistic goal with this team, which is fair. However, with the loss to Northwestern, we made sure that two years are still relevant to Cornhusker football history:

    1999: The last time Nebraska fans bought conference championship shirts. In San Antonio, the Huskers took care of the Texas Longhorns and earned a Fiesta Bowl appearance.

    2002: The last time Husker fans paid for tickets to a BCS bowl game. Even though that team was arguably undeserving of appearing in the national championship game, Nebraska was in the national spotlight.

    The Nebraska Way includes excellence in player recruitment and development. Where has this gone? Ask yourself that as you see Ciante Evans whiff on defending a slant route resulting in an 81-yard touchdown scamper by the visiting team.

    Ask this again as Lance Thorell is torched time after time, and wonder why players such as Corey Cooper, Courtney Osborne, or Stanley Jean-Baptiste sit on the sidelines. Using your depth to maximize your attack on offense, this is The Nebraska Way.

    Where has this commitment gone? It seems a fair question to ponder as Ameer Abdullah, Jamal Turner, Braylon Heard and Aaron Green sit on the sideline as an obviously hurting Rex Burkhead gets bulldozed into a line that provided no daylight. Why is Tyler Moore not logging minutes as Yoshi Hardrick plays on a busted wheel?

    The Nebraska Way also includes taking every game seriously and to strategize accordingly. To be out-schemed, out-coached, and embarrassed on your home turf by a team that quite honestly had no business being on the same field with Nebraska is simply appalling.

    Don’t discredit Northwestern entirely, though. Pat Fitzgerald realized that Nebraska was to be had, kept his foot on the gas pedal and did what Mike Krzyzewski‘s Duke basketball teams are famous for: Running plays that work until the other team proves they can stop them.

    There were bright spots for Nebraska, of course. Taylor Martinez’s passing was a pleasant surprise, as was the play of defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler. However, there are no truly great performances in losses.

    That’s a shame, because the quarterback that several call a liability (author included) was an asset last Saturday, and his performance will be nothing but a random statistic as time rolls on.

    There should be rage over this loss. The defeat in Madison brought screaming, berating, and other rants to sports talk radio, message boards, and social media outlets. However, the tepid, melancholy response to this past weekend’s results is wide-spread.

    This, my friends and enemies, is the scariest thing of all. A sign that after years of expecting conference titles, bowl games played in January and double-digit win totals every season, the Nebraska Cornhusker fan base has come to a point where we’re alright with it.

    Much like we’re alright with a Blackshirt “tradition” that has gone from 11 black practice jerseys hanging in lockers two weeks before the season opener to 20 being handed out come Halloween.

    There was much talk about a Big Ten title in July and early August. That has changed to hoping the Capital One Bowl still is interested in a team that may get one more loss in the next three weeks. However, the feel good crowd will point out that if 2011 ends with nine wins, that result was good enough for Tom Osborne.

    Tom Osborne would have made this 2011 squad realize that there cannot be a single game taken lightly. Even against a team with their sights set on the Pinstripe or TicketCity Bowl. Coach Osborne would have also taken ownership of what happened in front of 85,000-plus first and foremost.

    Then there’s the matter of several students demanding better or even more seating from Osborne that couldn’t make a 2:30 PM kickoff or be bothered to stay around with ten minutes to go as their team needed them.

    How will the Take Back Game Day movement address that little matter? Can’t be beat? Won’t be beat? Do they know if their team was beat in the first place?

    Finally, Osborne would have realized the issues with this team over the last two years. The inability to stop dual-threat quarterbacks, an offensive line and play calling that can easily be liabilities, and the steadfast refusal to start playmakers who, while young, still give Nebraska the best chance of winning.

    There’s no reason to hold anything back in November. Teams that win constantly put the best 11 out on the field. Does anyone think the 1995 national championship season happens if Ahman Green is held back at all?

    Imagine that happening now and you see the frustration some have with Turner, Ameer, Braylon and SJB among others riding the pine.

    Welcome to the new Nebraska Way where losing games that should be afterthoughts are tolerable. Where handing out 20 Blackshirts eight games into a season, three or four losses, and a late December bowl game is considered a successful campaign. Where wins are a team effort, but losses are under-addressed, excuses are made and promptly accepted.

    For the foreseeable future, get used to your surroundings, Husker fans. Take in the atmosphere, and accept it for better or worse.

    Do you feel that The Nebraska Way has been watered down? Discuss it in the new and improved forums: Husker Locker Forums

    Follow Brian on Twitter: @btbowling
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    Tags: the nebraska way, bcs, ciante evans, lance thorell, corey cooper, courtney osborne, blackshirts, capital one bowl, tom osborne, ahman green, stanley jeanbaptiste, ameer abdullah, jamal turner, braylon heard, aaron green, rex burkhead, tyler moore, yoshi hardrick, northwestern, pat fitzgerald, taylor martinez, baker steinkuhler

  6. 2011 Oct 04

    Husker Heartbeat 10/4: Pelini's Posture, Burkhead's Attitude Adjustment and Connie Yori on the Mend


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - Pelini: The loss to Wisconsin didn't have anything to do with a lack of effort

    - Rex Burkhead's prescription for the Huskers' woes is an attitude adjustment

    - Shatel: Pelini has the correct postureto meet the press with

    - The Huskers' defense is adjusting to the Big Ten

    - Nebraska players know that this is no time to sulk with Ohio State on the horizon

    - Q&A with true freshman offensive tackle Tyler Moore

    - Tim Beck: We played hard, not smart

    - Doc Sadler gets a commitment from a 6'10" Bosnian forward

    - Women's basketball coach Connie Yori is recovering from multiple complications following a recent knee surgery

    - Former Husker Alex Gordon is up for the Hank Aaron Award

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: bo pelini, doc sadler, rex burkhead, tyler moore, tim beck, connie yori, alex gordon

  7. 2011 Oct 02

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Wisconsin


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Before the season began, I predicted that Brion Carnes would take over as Nebraska’s quarterback by halftime of the Wisconsin game. Not only was I wrong, but if Carnes isn’t a frequent contributor next week, expect Martinez to remain under center barring injury for better or worse.

    - Rex Burkhead deserved two more yards.

    - If you're Tim Beck and you decide to throw down at least two scores in the second half, why not make your primary receiver Jamal Turner? Out of all Nebraska receivers, he’s the most dynamic and that’s saying something.

    - You have to feel bad for Tyler Moore. A true freshman jumps once during his first game in a place like Camp Randall and now it feels like putting his face on a milk carton isn’t the worst idea.

    - Sean Fisher doesn’t appear to have the speed he had pre-injury. At this point, it’s hard to think that it’ll return. That’s not good for a thin linebacker corps.

    - Keeping Daimion Stafford at safety is a waste of both his time and the coaching staff’s.

    - According to Erin Andrews, Bo accused the secondary of quitting on him during the first half. Whether this was a motivational tactic or legitimate claim seems up in the air.

    - How ‘bout that Brett Maher kid?

    - The head coach most sick over Nebraska’s loss to Wisconsin: North Carolina State’s Tom O’Brien

    - Wisconsin gashed this Nebraska team. Ohio State will either be salve to begin the healing or salt for the wounds.

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    Tags: taylor martinez, brion carnes, rex burkhead, jamal turner, tyler moore, sean fisher, daimion stafford, brett maher, tom obrien, erin andrews

  8. 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

  9. 2011 Sep 08

    Husker Heartbeat 9/8: True Freshman Talks Tough, Redshirts Burned and The New Big Ten Murderer's Row


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - True freshman offensive lineman Tyler Moore has set some high standards

    - Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa won't be overlooked

    - No running back redshirts? Don't worry, be happy

    - Daimion Stafford is preparing to show the college football world that he's no one-hit wonder

    - Will the Huskers' weak non-conference schedule hurt them down the line?

    - Nebraska basketball will face sixteen postseason teams

    - A packed Coliseum is part of Nebraska volleyball tradition

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

    Tags: tyler moore, ameer abdullah, aaron green, braylon heard, basketball, volleyball

  10. 2011 Sep 05

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: What The Cornhuskers Showed Against UTC


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Erin Sorensen

    Last Thursday, we took a look at what Nebraska needed to show against the Mocs. Now that the game has come and gone, were fans surprised, disappointed or a combination of both? Regardless, there were five key areas that were put under the microscope.

    1.) The Offensive Line

    The line has been a hot topic for fans after Saturday’s game concluded. Concern weighed heavy on many minds, while a brave few offered the opinion that this is just a young team that needed time to gel. It’s true that the line is inexperienced with three unseasoned guys up front – true freshman Tyler Moore, walk-on sophomore Spencer Long and sophomore Andrew Rodriguez. Talent can help make up for lack of experience, but proper execution needs to happen soon.

    More often than not, the offensive line was caught off guard. It wasn’t unusual to find linemen on the ground with defenders rushing by them. Quarterback Taylor Martinez was often left scrambling to make a play when his protection failed. Memories of the 2010 season came flooding back to the Nebraska faithful and by day's end, it was clear that the line was one of the offense’s most glaring immediate weaknesses.

    However, this was Tim Beck’s first outing. With Barney Cotton in the booth and John Garrison on the sidelines, the coaching adjustment may have had some side effects. Attitude of the coaches and players show faith in the system and the resolve to make it work. This offensive line is raw and ultimately, fans need to give them time to find their groove.

    2.) Taylor Martinez

    He’s still growing. After a rough latter half of the 2010 season, many were unsure if Martinez could improve to a beneficial level. Many fans believed the young quarterback simply might not be able to lead his team. On Saturday, a new Martinez walked the sidelines. He often spoke with teammates and was far more vocal than last year.

    His presence on the field, while still shaky, showed some improvement. While Martinez appeared nervous and insecure in the first quarter, there were signs of a more matured athlete. He began to look at all of his receivers and while his passes weren’t stellar, there were drops on the receiving end. With practice and team support, Martinez can prepare himself for a strong season.

    3.) Fumbles and Penalties

    After being ranked No. 119 last year in penalties earned, Nebraska fans were looking for immediate improvement. By game’s end, the Cornhuskers had three penalties – one being a false start. This alone was a dramatic upgrade in performance. While the game may have been cleaner in terms of penalties, fumbles were still an issue.

    Nebraska fumbled four times while recovering two. This was bad enough against an FCS opponent. Teams like Wisconsin and Ohio State will take full advantage of poor ball-handling. Bo Pelini equated a lot of mistakes to first game jitters, but it’s necessary for the Cornhuskers to address this problem repeatedly during practice this week. With the offensive line already struggling, coughing up the football will only make a bad situation worse.

    4.) Kicking Specialists

    Big Red fans can finally breathe easy. There’s life after Alex Henery and Adi Kunalic. Brett Maher proved that not only is he a fine replacement, but that he truly deserves the job. The atmosphere in Memorial Stadium before Maher’s first field goal was one of deep concern. The mood was quickly lifted when Maher hit all four field goal attempts, including ones from 48 and 50 yards. He also averaged 52 yards on four punts.

    What made Maher’s debut even more impressive was the wind he contended with. His first field goal was kicked into the breeze and cleared the crossbar easily 50 yards out. While his stats were impressive, it’s concerning that the Huskers required so many field goals against an FCS squad. However, it’s comforting to know that if necessity calls, Maher can handle it.

    While it may be too early to call him the next Alex Henery, Maher made one thing very clear: He’s got a leg on him and will make Husker Nation very proud.

    5.) Memorial Stadium

    On a day that sure felt like fall had arrived, Memorial Stadium sat mostly quiet. Once the excitement of the Tunnel Walk had worn off, many fans were back in their seats, opting for silence over cheers. When fans would stand, they were scolded. “I can’t see through you,” was a popular phrase. At times, it felt like there wasn’t a game being played at all. Players’ overly-exaggerated motions riled up the crowd, but only momentarily.

    It would be easy to blame this on the fans themselves, but the reason for the silence was out of the crowds’ hands. Media breaks killed momentum that had the crowd standing and yelling. Ads on the Husker Vision screens drowned out crowd cheers. During one segment, the crowd even began to boo. While television timeouts are out of anyone’s control, marketing isn’t. This may be where lost momentum can be replaced – by using pauses in action more efficiently.

    A good place to start would during the upcoming game. It’s time for all fans, not just the student section, to take back game day. When the students start chanting, “Can’t be beat, won’t be beat!” before the fourth quarter, join in. Excitement in Memorial Stadium never hurt anyone, except maybe the opponents.

    The Mocs are in the rear-view mirror and it’s time to concentrate on the Bulldogs. Pelini believes that the team will continue to improve. It’s apparent that fans will hold him to that.

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

    Tags: utc, taylor martinez, andrew rodriguez, tyler moore, spencer long, tim beck, john garrison, barney cotton, bo pelini, brett maher

  11. 2011 Sep 02

    Husker Heartbeat 9/2: Pelini's Anxiety, Osborne Supports Reform and A Nebraska Legacy


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - Bo Pelini is anxious to play an actual game to properly evaluate his 2011 squad

    - Nebraska vows to give their full attention to the Mocs

    - Husker AD Osborne supports scholarship reform

    - Linebacker Alonzo Whaley gets a reality check

    - True freshman offensive lineman Tyler Moore is on the fast track to starting

    - Former Husker Mike Minter's talented son is in Nebraska's backyard

    - Thousands of NU freshmen can't get football tickets

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

    Tags: bo pelini, tom osborne, mike minter, tyler moore, alonzo whaley

  12. 2011 Aug 26

    Husker Heartbeat 8/26: Brion in Waiting, True Freshman OL Holds Top Spot and Doc's Dunking Fridge


    By HuskerLocker

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

    - QB Brion Carnes is waiting for his time to shine

    - True freshman Tyler Moore is tops at right tackle

    - JUCO DE Transfer Joseph Carter makes a hard push for playing time

    - The Big Red offense continues to make progress

    - Doc Sadler gets a commitment from a "a 6-foot-9 refrigerator who can dunk”

    - John Cook sees the benefit of the volleyball team's start on the road

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

    Tags: brion carnes, tyler moore, joseph carter, doc sadler, john cook

  13. 2011 Mar 02

    50 HUSKERS TO KNOW: No. 45


    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. 45 Offensive tackle Tyler Moore

    You won't find many kids who walk out of high school looking like the prototypical offensive tackle, but Moore – at 6-6, 295 – is that guy, a smart, polished prospect who enrolled early to get a jump on spring football and a shot at the two-deep at tackle. While Moore will obviously have to adjust to the speed and physicality of the college game, he didn't enroll early to guard a Taco Bell – so expect Husker coaches to give him every opportunity to make his move.

    Although Moore projects to a left tackle job, that seems covered, for at least one more year, by Jeremiah Sirles. Depending on the health of starting right tackle Marcel Jones - and where coaches would prefer to play Yoshi Hardrick – Moore will have to find his place to fit in. Look for redshirt freshman Mike Moudy to work at tackle, too, from what we've heard.

    Moore is a keeper for years to come. The question now is whether he can make an immediate impact. Only a spring will tell.

    See all 50 Huskers! No. 50, No. 49, No. 48, No. 47, No. 46, No. 45

    Tags: 50 huskers to know spring 2011, tyler moore

  14. 2011 Mar 02



    By HuskerLocker

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    This prototypical tackle prospect is more polished than most guys coming out of high school. Could he make the two-deep in 2011? Check it out with a 30-day free trial of Husker Locker Pass!

    Tags: recruiting, recruiting profile, tyler moore

  15. 2011 Jan 11

    Husker Heartbeat 1/11: The Recruits Have Landed


    By HuskerLocker

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    *Jamal Turner, Tyler Moore and Kevin Williams enrolled as planned for the spring semester - even if UNL classes don't start until Wednesday.

    *Love from the polls! NU finishes 19th and 20th - well inside the top 25.

    *Should Nebraska indulge in a bunch of new uniforms? How about no? How about all of the national champs since 2002 have worn basically two uniforms during the year. And LSU often wears just one.

    *The Big Ten sits waiting for the Huskers.

    *Auburn beat Oregon on Monday night for the national title, but got in plenty of cheap shots in the process.

    *One of the best things about old Big Eight/Big 12 basketball was Iowa State's Johnny Orr. Nice story by Lee B.

    Tags: husker heartbeat, recruiting, jamal turner, tyler moore, kevin williams

  16. 2011 Jan 10

    Husker Heartbeat 1/10: More Bo, a Little Frost and a Slam of Stevie Pedey


    By HuskerLocker

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

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

    *Nebraska should be prepared to pay Bo Pelini to keep him, says LJS' Steve Sipple. Sure could come to that.

    Sipple writes:

    "It should be noted that Miles currently makes nearly $4 million per season, while Pelini makes $2.1 million. If LSU came calling for Bo, Nebraska probably would have to increase his salary for a third straight year. I'm guessing that makes a certain redhead at North Stadium cringe. But such are the economic forces in college football. You can't stop those forces; it would be like trying to stop hatred, a wise friend told me this weekend."

    We'd prefer that Bo's salary wasn't obliquely - purposely or not - tied to a tragedy in Arizona.

    Beyond that, it's pretty sobering, that "economic forces" take on intangible qualities like hate. I think that's what people who like to control "economic forces" would have us believe.

    *Scott Frost is learning the offensive ropes at Oregon, which plays for the national title Monday night. Would he land at Nebraska at some point? For nothing less than an offensive coordinator role. Which just could happen - if he's willing to go with a co-OC role for a year with Shawn Watson.

    *Tyler Moore, a 2011 recruit, fares best in the U.S. All-American Army game.

    *Athlon's early handicapping of the 2011 Big Ten races has Michigan State as the favorite in the Legends division and Ohio State in the Leaders division. We like those picks.

    *The heat is back on Steve Pederson.

    Some story, really. The kind that was never done here in Lincoln:

    Helsel is leading a campaign to persuade boosters to cut athletic donations unless Pederson is fired. "I've had issues with the athletic department for a while," Helsel said, and he is not alone.

    "He alienates people," Helsel said of Pederson. "He's abrasive. He's arrogant. He's all of that."

    In 2003, Gaetano was quoted as saying of Pederson's first term at Pitt: "Everything Steve did was right." Seven years later, he was asked if he would say the same thing.

    "I would guess a lot has changed," Gaetano said. "I'm guessing that 75 to 80 percent of the alumni are against him right now."

    In a visible profession that brings Pederson into contact with all kinds of people, style often counts. Ideally, there should be some meaning behind the smile, sincerity behind the words, some consideration of feelings. Some of the AD's detractors say he lacks those traits.

    "I don't think the guy knows how to relate to common folks, let's put it that way," said David Jancisin, a Merrill Lynch executive and former Pitt defensive tackle.

    Jancisin, who said he does not plan to renew 16 of his 20 club seats for football games, played with Wannstedt at Pitt in the early to mid-1970s. He said Wannstedt remains a friend and resents his firing. But Jancisin said that did not alter his impressions of Pederson.

    Said Gaetano: "(Pederson is) very good at greeting people. That 'Hello, how are you?' smile. But there's something that just doesn't come out with him. He doesn't give you a feeling of warmth. There's something he's not getting across to the alumni."


    Tags: husker heartbeat, bo pelini, scott frost, steve pederson, recruiting, tyler moore

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