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  1. 2012 Apr 05

    Husker Heartbeat (4/5/2012): Smith Heads Secondary, Fisher Back for a Sixth and Video from Practice


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - PJ Smith is putting in his time to ensure last year's secondary woes don't stick around for 2012

    - Will Compton is finding Bo Pelini's praise to be common these days

    - Sean Fisher may stick around for a sixth year due to medical reasons

    - A video breakdown of yesterday's football practice

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    Tags: pj smith, will compton, sean fisher

  2. 2012 Mar 10

    NEBRASKA SPRING FOOTBALL: Five Make or Break Players


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Chris Labenz

    With the departures of key starters such as Lavonte David, Alfonzo Dennard, Jared Crick, Austin Cassidy, Marcel Jones and Yoshi Hardrick, Nebraska’s football team looks very different this spring.

    The absence of these veterans forces other Huskers to step up to keep the team goal of winning the Big Ten Championship in tact.

    As Bo Pelini continues executing the “process”, the following five players are on the verge of falling so far behind their peers, they won't be able to catch up.

    Guard Andrew Rodriguez - “A-Rod” came to Nebraska with high praise from recruiting services and scouts who touted the big man from Aurora, Nebraska as future All-Conference lineman.

    However, there was also rumor among the locals that Rodriguez lacked the necessary work ethic and passion to become of one college football’s elite.

    His play has mirrored these claims, being dominant at times, and sluggish at others. Given his incredible natural talent, there was no reason for the one-time New Yorker to get beat out midseason by former walk-on Seung Hoon Choi, no offense to the plucky South Korean.

    While coaches have stated that Rodriguez was suffering from lingering injuries, he didn’t seem to have the fire necessary keep a full-time starting gig.

    It’s time for this enigmatic player to make a decision between being great or fading into the background. If he chooses the latter, Nebraska has ample depth at the guard position to fill his absence with other highly-talented players chomping at the bit for playing time.

    Tight end Kyler Reed – No. 25 has had one of the most frustrating careers to follow. Flash back to the Oklahoma State and Missouri games of two years ago, and you see a tight end that can fly past safeties for long touchdowns and constantly create mismatches.

    Reed was non-existent last season, battling injuries and toughness issues only magnified by Ron Brown’s move to running backs coach.

    While part of the blame must be placed on Taylor Martinez for failing to find an often open Reed, there was no reason for the preseason star to experience such a dramatic drop-off in play.

    He faces his senior season, and it’s crucial to Nebraska’s success that he finds a way to play at a high level for the entire season. If not, expect the Husker offense to continue to be boxed in by safeties playing near the line of scrimmage. There's no fear of being burned deep by Ben Cotton.

    MIKE linebacker Will Compton – Lavonte David is not a player that can be replaced with one guy. No. 4’s ability to make plays across the field was the biggest reason the Husker defense had a fighting chance at stopping the better teams faced during the past two seasons.

    Nobody on the roster possesses his combination of speed, agility, sure tackling, and instincts. However, if the Blackshirts are to survive without the future NFL linebacker, Compton must step up his game this season and become the player many thought he could be when he signed his letter of intent.

    He has expressed desire to become the vocal leader of the Blackshirts, but fans have to wonder whether No. 51’s bite will match his bark.

    Against Michigan State, the Missouri native showed flashes of his why he was rated a four-star prospect, stopping running backs in their tracks and chasing the opposition down at every turn. While this performance was impressive, it still appeared to be the exception instead of the rule for Comtpon.

    In 2012, the senior linebacker must perform like he did against the Spartans every week if the Blackshirts are to regain the form that has become expected of a Bo Pelini-coached defense.

    If Compton can’t handle the load, expect young guns David Santos and Trevor Roach to garner serious playing time while all Husker fans simultaneously shake their heads and mutter, “David would’ve made that play.”

    Safety P.J. Smith – No. 13 is another Husker whose playing time has risen and fallen like the temperature of so many Nebraska seasons. With Austin Cassidy's graduation, there is a wide open spot next to Daimion Stafford at the back-end of the defense.

    While Pelini and company have accumulated above average depth at the position, nobody seems to stand out as a clear favorite this spring.

    Due to Smith’s knowledge and experience, along with the demands Pelini places on his safeties, it’s fair to guess that he could have a leg up on players like Corey Cooper. Cooper is one of many secondary members full of potential, but very green.

    Additionally, Courtney Osborne will be anxious to get back on the field after mysteriously disappearing in 2011. Smith has played well when given the chance, showing a great knack for finding the football, but injuries and a lack of top-shelf athletic ability have kept him from permanently needing an extra hanger in his locker for the a black practice jersey.

    If Smith can’t take his play to the next level this spring, don’t be surprised if new secondary coach Terry Joseph decides to roll the dice and go with the inexperienced, more athletic Cooper as his other starting safety.

    Quarterback Taylor Martinez – Martinez’s weaknesses in the passing game have been well-documented over the past two seasons. Heading into spring ball, T-Magic still has the keys to the Husker offense. One that was often very good, but maddeningly inconsistent.

    Opposing defenses were able to force Tim Beck to call plays that the dual-threat quarterback was clearly not comfortable executing, while containing opportunities for Martinez’s trademark long runs.

    If No. 3 can’t find a way to consistency complete more 10-plus yard passes downfield, Nebraska’s offense will again struggle to put up enough points to win games against the likes of Michigan and Ohio State.

    Should his struggles continue, the great unknown remains about whether Beck and Pelini will finally give another quarterback a chance to lead the first team offense against live ammunition.

    Expect fans to become restless if the staff isn't willing to make a change in the face of even more disappointing offensive performances, especially with Carnes and incoming signal-caller Tommy Armstrong itching for the chance to make people forget about Martinez.

    Can these five embrace the challenge of becoming the vital cogs to the Big Red’s success? If not, there are players below them on the depth chart happy to take their place.

    Follow Chris on Twitter: @chris_labenz
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    Tags: spring football, andrew rodriguez, kyler reed, will compton, pj smith, taylor martinez

  3. 2012 Mar 07

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Spring Practice Position Primer


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. 2012 Jan 04

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: 10 Huskers to Watch in 2012


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Guest Columnist Sean Berger

    10. Defensive Line Youngins: Chase Rome and Jason Ankrah

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

    9. Quarterback Taylor Martinez

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

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

    8. Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Kenny Bell

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

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

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

    6. Running back Ameer Abdullah

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

    5. Linebacker Will Compton

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

    4. Wide receiver Jamal Turner

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

    3. Defensive lineman Cameron Meredith

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

    2. Running back Rex Burkhead

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

    1. Safety Daimion Stafford

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

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

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

  5. 2011 Dec 19

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Eleven Blackshirts Was Enough


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Brett Baker

    One of the things that I love about college football is the history and traditions that make each program special. Among my favorites are Ohio State's Buckeye helmet decals, Michigan's winged helmets and Texas A&M’s "12th Man.”

    However, the Blackshirts are at the top. I love explaining the history and the meaning to opposing fans and what it represents, or at least what it used to represent. It used to represent excellence and exclusivity. For years, only the starting eleven were granted the honor. Those days appear to be gone.

    Under Pelini’s reign there have been some changes to the tradition that haven't set well with many fans, most noticeably the number of Blackshirts that are handed out when they eventually are. This year, the number was anywhere from 16 to 20. Nobody really knows for sure.

    I understand the argument that the defense is more specialized now than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. There may be 15 guys that start regularly depending on the game's opening package. I comprehend it, but when it comes to handing out Blackshirts, I don't buy it.

    With that in mind let’s have a look at a true Blackshirt team where only the Huskers’ top eleven defenders will get the coveted garment.

    In alphabetical order:

    Defensive end Jason Ankrah - Playing opposite Cam Meredith, it has to be tough to draw attention, but Ankrah has more than held up his end (pardon the pun).

    Linebacker Will Compton - As the 2011 season wore on, the better Compton played. After recovering from an early ankle injury, he was as stout and dependable as anyone on the defensive unit.

    Defensive lineman Jared Crick - Knocked out with a season-ending injury against Ohio State, this future NFL first-rounder maintained a presence on the sidelines and remained an emotional leader.

    Linebacker Lavonte David - If it made any sense, I'd give him two or three Blackshirts. His effort was so high that it seemed like that many Davids needed to be on the field to equal his productivity.

    Defensive back Alfonzo Dennard - Out from under the sizable shadow that was cast by Prince Amukamara, Dennard was a force to be reckoned with after bouncing back from early injury.

    Defensive back Andrew Green - With Dennard out for the first three games of the season, a large amount of pressure fell on Green's shoulders. He struggled early on, but eventually got his feet under him and became a valuable member of the secondary.

    Kicking specialist Brett Maher - Breaking with tradition for this one. Alex Henery should have been a Blackshirt for his last three seasons and so should Maher for his first. He was an absolute weapon punting the ball.

    Defensive end Cameron Meredith - By any measure his motor and intensity were an integral part of this year’s defensive unit. His non-stop energy could always be counted on for a memorable play or two.

    Defensive lineman Terrance Moore - Thrust into the starting lineup due to Crick’s injury, Moore held his own and then some.

    Defensive back Daimion Stafford - With a booming hit in the season's opening game, Stafford announced to the world that he was a big hitter who was ready for the prime time.

    Defensive lineman Baker Steinkuhler - As stout as they come. The Steinkuhler name has meant a lot to Nebraska football and the junior defender has only begun to add to the family's legacy.

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    Tags: blackshirts, jason ankrah, will compton, jared crick, lavonte david, alfonzo dennard, andrew green, brett maher, cameron meredith, terrence moore, damian stafford

  6. 2011 Dec 13

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Top Husker Tweets of the Week (12/13)


    By HuskerLocker

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    By Erin Sorensen

    Every week we'll be tapping into the heart of social media, Twitter, to find the best Husker tweets of the past week. This week's highlights:

    @SharpeGreg (Greg Sharpe): Excited to see all the Husker fans in Orlando to ring in the new year with a Husker victory! #huskers

    @jestyr7 (Christopher Peters): The Pinnacle Bank Arena was originally going to be called the Rex Burkhead arena. But that was too much swag for one place. #FactsAboutRex

    @Kspeeeed25 (Kyler Reed): Thanks to all my bros on the team spreading #ATB I dont personally know him, he is from KC and I was contacted to help via twitter.

    @BoPelini (Bo Pelini): Just interviewed M. Nobler for the D-Coordinator position... Very impressive to say the least!

    @AFRO_THUNDER80 (Kenny Bell): The roads are so much better today..... someone must have asked #Rex to plow. #1800-TheManCanDoAnything

    @JrodVCrick (Jared Crick): Congrats to Coach Carl for getting the FAU job! I wouldn't be in this position without him. Those FAU cats are very lucky to have him

    @PJ_Mangieri (P.J. Mangieri): If I can change one persons life for the better while I'm here then it's all worth it

    @NUequipment (Nebraska Equipment Crew): Excited for a good morning bowl practice #GBR. @CapitalOneBowl

    @FonzieDennard15 (Alfonzo Dennard): CONGRATS TO COACH SANDERS FOR GOING WITH COACH CARL BEHIND Y'ALL 100% #believedat

    @Joebro9 (Joe Broekemeier): Love it @D_Gomes24 and Roy blasting off today!

    @acass8 (Austin Cassidy): The Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow are the best drama on TV.

    @BRASKA_4 (Lavonte David): Some ppl ask me if I make it to da top would I forget about them? I ask them same ppl, if I never make it to da top will you forget about me

    @BKinnie84 (Brandon Kinnie): They say your senior year flies bye! Smh! So true!

    @_willcompton (Will Compton): Damn proud to b getting my degree!! College wouldn't b a success w out it!! #ClassRing #HuskerGrad #Business pic.twitter.com/H7fQ2GAp

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    Tags: kyler reed, bo pelini, jared crick, pj mangieri, alfonzo dennard, austin cassidy, lavonte david, brandon kinnie, will compton

  7. 2011 Dec 05

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: The Huskers’ Party of Five


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brett Baker

    Back in August, most Nebraska fans thought come December they'd be making plans for a trip to the Rose Bowl at worst. Obviously, that did not come to pass.

    After two blowout losses and a complete gag against the “other NU”, the Huskers were left with the pageantry of the Capital One Bowl. It's kind of like getting socks for Christmas. Useful sure, but not quite the mega-haul you dream of.

    Rather than coming to grips with the underwhelming feel of this 9-3 campaign, now is a good time to look at what, or in this case who, went right. With that in mind here are my top five most-improved Huskers from the season that was.

    5. Andrew Green - Cornerback

    Having watched this young man play his high school football at San Antonio's Madison High School, there was particular interest in watching his development. Early in the season, he was about as far from this list as a player could be.

    After taking his lumps against Fresno State and Washington before seeing his playing time reduced with the return of Alfonzo Dennard, the redshirt sophomore settled down and became a dependable member of a sometimes suspect secondary. He learned a lot from a healthy Dennard and began to play with the kind of confidence that a cornerback has to have to succeed.

    4. Spencer Long – Offensive Guard

    From walk-on who had never played a snap at Nebraska to second team All-Big Ten, Long has to be among one of the most pleasant surprises of the Huskers inaugural jaunt through their new conference.

    Without Long doing the heavy lifting up the middle or pulling to lead the way for Mr. Burkhead, Rex's numbers most likely wouldn't be as sexy without Long's blocking. The best part is he'll be in Lincoln for two more years and should only improve.

    3. Will Compton – MIKE Linebacker

    After getting a decent amount of playing time following a return from injury in 2010, Compton took full advantage of his increased role this season. Next to Lavonte David and Alfonzo Dennard, Compton was easily the Huskers’ most reliable defender. At the beginning of the season, the Blackshirts’ biggest problem was not being able to get teams off the field on third down.

    As the year went on this became less and less of an issue in large part due to Compton's play. He would consistently shed blockers and fill holes where ball carriers were trying to go. A solid wrap-up tackler, he'll be the leading force on next year’s defense.

    2. Brett Maher – Kicker/Punter

    To the casual fan, this was probably the first season that they’d heard Maher's name. After having played in 27 games in the past two years, he’s no stranger to the field. That said, when you're the holder for Alex Henery you're probably not going to get noticed if everything goes right, and with Henery it almost always did.

    When Maher trotted onto the turf as Nebraska’s starting kicker for the first time in September, Husker fans had no idea what to expect, in that sense the junior from Kearney wildly exceeded expectations.

    Going 19 for 22 on field goal attempts, a perfect 42 for 42 on PATs and averaging will 45 yards per punt will go a long way towards making you a fan favorite. Being named the Big Ten Kicker and Punter of The Year will only add to that.

    1. Taylor Martinez - Quarterback

    After the Wisconsin game, there were two directions for Martinez to go. Fortunately for Husker fans, T-Magic put that debacle behind him and played really good football from there out. Following a turbulent week of media criticism, Martinez responded by pioneering the biggest comeback in school history against Ohio State. It seems that something clicked for the talented sophomore during that game.

    Rather than trying to win every game on every play, he became the kind of decision-maker that could grind out wins with his head as well as his feet. Statistically, his cumulative numbers in 2011 were almost identical to his numbers in 2010.

    Rushing - 1,292 yards / 11 TDs
    Passing - 1,631 yards / 10 TDs / 7 INTs
    Total - 2,923 yards / 21 TDs / 7 INTs

    Rushing - 958 yards / 9 TDs
    Passing - 1973 yards / 12 TDs / 7 INTs
    Total - 2,931 yards / 21 TDs / 7 INTs

    Martinez tops this list for some of the things that he didn't do. He didn't take unnecessary punishment, stepped out of bounds after a good gain rather than going one on one with a defensive back and stayed positive with his receivers.

    It's not hyperbole to say that Martinez would have had much bigger passing numbers in the second half of the season if his receivers didn't drop a good number of his chucks. While his throwing style will never be fundamentally beautiful, it can be functional. His receivers have to step up for him to truly succeed.

    If there was one play that solidifies Martinez's top ranking on this list, it was the option pitch to Burkhead at Penn State. At the very last second, he channeled his inner Tommie Frazier and made the perfect pitch that allowed Rex to score what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. It was a thing of beauty that illustrated just how far he'd come.

    There they are, the five most-improved Huskers of 2011. The best part, they will all be back in scarlet and cream next season.

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    Tags: andrew green, spencer long, will compton, brett maher, taylor martinez

  8. 2011 Nov 20

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Michigan


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Holy regression, Batman! T-Magic morphed back into Taylor Martinez as doubt clearly flooded his decision-making processes.

    - Rex Burkhead only ran the ball 10 times and no one should be upset. That Superman’s legs actually work at this point in the season is a miracle.

    - Aside from Brandon Kinnie’s waltz into the end zone, all that can really be said is potential doesn’t make catches.

    - This offensive line’s banged up something awful and it’s starting to show. Michigan has a solid front four, but there was severe confusion and limited mobility among the big uglies.

    - Kenny Bell’s second half-opening fumble perfectly illustrated the Huskers’ day with one play.

    - Will Compton is continuing to develop as a solid Big Ten MIKE linebacker.

    - Lavonte David is an NFL linebacker. His draft stock is rising every week.

    - Terrence Moore runs the option with a pitch to Eric Martin following a tipped interception? Someone wanted to make SportsCenter in a bad way.

    - Brett Maher is apparently Rex Burkhead’s cousin from Krypton’s nearby solar system. Take a beating, walk it off, boom a punt across the length of the field.

    - There seemed to be so much confidence going into this game before Brady Hoke remembered that Denard Robinson is, in fact, very fast.

    - What is it with teams from Michigan faking injuries against Nebraska? Is the Big Ten really so slow that they can’t keep up?

    - Perhaps the most entertaining part of the game (for Husker fans, anyway):

    - Bowl Prediction of the Week: Gator Bowl vs. Florida

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    Tags: taylor martinez, rex burkhead, brandon kinnie, kenny bell, will compton, lavonte david, terrence moore, eric martin, brett maher, brady hoke, denard robinson

  9. 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

  10. 2011 Nov 14

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Press Conference Notes (Post-Penn State)


    By HuskerLocker

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    - This week, redshirt freshman wide receiver Kenny Bell kicked off the press conference. He spoke first about quarterback Taylor Martinez’s growth and ability to get the ball to the receivers. Bell did point out that, “A drop can be the same as a fumble, a turnover, or an interception.” He reported that there were four drops.

    - He also gave a lot of respect to Penn State’s players, saying they responded well to the scandal.

    - Bell on playing at the Big House: “I want to win. It’s another football game.”

    - However, Bell did say, “It’s been a dream of mine to play in these stadiums.”

    - He pointed out that it is a challenge putting together four quarters of terrific football.

    - How long does Bell wish the football season went? “I’d play football until the middle of May.”

    - Head coach Bo Pelini said that early games are nice for the team: “We landed around 7:30, so our kids had a good night off on Saturday.”

    - Pelini on Martinez: “He’s only a sophomore. It feels like he’s been around here for five years, but he’s only a sophomore.”

    - “The more you do it, the better you get at it,” Pelini said about running the option.

    - Pelini touched on Penn State: “Our team has a lot of character, and a lot of ‘want to.’ I give them a lot of credit. I said this after the game, I give the kids of Penn State a lot of credit.”

    - “I don’t know if you ever have normalcy around here,” Pelini said over a laugh.

    - When asked about how Nebraska prepared for Penn State, Pelini said, “There was the sense of the unknown going in, but I don’t think our team approached it any differently.”

    - Injury report from Pelini: Ben Cotton will not be practicing and it is doubtful he will play on Saturday but he won’t need surgery. Khiry Cooper is day-to-day.

    - Pelini on Alfonzo Dennard: “I think he’s as good as any corner in the country. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody.”

    - “Well, you got about an hour?” Pelini said when asked about how to stop Denard Robinson.

    - More from Pelini on Robinson: “He’s quick, he could beat you and do a lot of different thing. You watch him on film and he’s fun to watch.”

    - Pelini talked about how he felt about Michigan when he played for Ohio State: “You always had respect for Michigan, but you wanted to beat them bad.”

    - Rex Burkhead spoke about his experience under center: “It was fun, it was a lot of fun. Act like you’re the quarterback every now and then. You get to show your versatility.”

    - Burkhead on returning to full-strength: “It was a great week of preparation.”

    - Michigan has forced 19 fumbles this season, Burkhead stressed the importance of ball management: “Yeah, it’s huge. It could turn a game around in an instant.”

    - “It was something I’ve never been a part of and something that was really cool,” Burkhead said about the pregame prayer with Penn State.

    - Will Compton spoke about “all the drama” from last week and said the team did know about what was going on. He was quick to say though that being at Penn State was “awesome.”

    - Compton said of Penn State: “Nothing but good things to say. The prayer in the beginning was first class, which it was. Nothing but respect for Penn State and I hope everything works out for the football program.”

    - Austin Cassidy talked a little about what games he has been most looking forward to: “When the schedule came out, these were the two games I was the most excited for.”

    - He had one thing to say when asked about the critique the defense receives: “People say all kinds of things about our defense.”

    - Cassidy also spoke about the pregame prayer: “I thought it was really cool. I said after the game that not too many people would remember who won that game, but people would remember what happened before forever.”

    - Taylor Martinez was asked about Michigan’s quarterback quite a few times. He said he has never spoken with him but said that, “He’s a great quarterback, an awesome player, and great athlete.”

    - Martinez on big games like Penn State and Michigan: “I play college football for big games like this.”

    Follow Husker Locker on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: press conference, bo pelini, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, kenny bell, will compton, austin cassidy

  11. 2011 Nov 13

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Most Valuable Huskers vs. Penn State


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By James Stevenson

    Offensive MVP: Junior I-Back Rex Burkhead was hobbled last week and didn’t look like himself. He was back this week with an explosive burst that made you wonder if he’s always been that fast, or if Penn State is just that slow.

    Burkhead paced the Huskers, rushing 25 times for 121 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and a touchdown. He also lined up for several direct snaps, and had two plays where he looked to throw the ball as well.

    Defensive MVP: Junior linebacker Will Compton has really started to perform the way many Husker fans imagined he would when he was a highly-recruited prep star. Compton led the Blackshirts with 13 total tackles, including one critical tackle for a loss on Penn State’s final drive that kept the clock running.

    Special Teams MVP: Junior punter Brett Maher was a huge difference-maker. His late-game 61-yard bomb flipped the field on Penn State, and took some of the pressure off the Blackshirts as they attempted to defend a slim three point advantage. He averaged 45 yards on eight punts, including five downed inside the 20-yard line. His 41-yard field goal proved to be the difference.

    Penn State MVP: Senior running back Stephon Green made the most of Senior Day. His 17 carries for 71 yards led the Nittany Lions and he scored both of Penn State’s touchdowns. In some ways, it was a little surprising that Penn State didn’t rely on their running game more on a day where senior quarterback Matt McGloin completed only 16 of 34 passes.

    Throwback Award - Sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez executed the offense like a veteran, but his third quarter option play was a flashback to the great Nebraska option quarterbacks of the 1990s. Taking the ball on the option to the right side, Martinez was wrapped up, but he spotted Rex Burkhead coming free as he was being tackled.

    A death-defying pitch was caught by Burkhead, and taken to the end zone to give Nebraska a three score lead. Martinez managed the game well, completing 13 of 16 passes for 143 yards, and rushing 19 times for 63 yards. His numbers would’ve been even better had Nebraska's receivers been able to hang onto the ball.

    Premature Whistle Award - A fourth quarter turnover on a handoff from Rex Burkhead to fullback Tyler Legate nearly doomed the Huskers. Despite the officials whistling the play dead and signaling possession in favor of Penn State, the Nittany Lions never recovered the fumble.

    Nebraska’s senior offensive tackle Jermarcus ‘Yoshi’ Hardrick dove on the ball, and head coach Bo Pelini tried to challenge the play. The officials said the play wasn’t reviewable, and the Nittany Lions received a much needed boost of momentum. They scored on the ensuing drive, closing the gap to three points.

    She May Not Look Like Much Award - In some ways, it was sort of an ugly win for Nebraska. The drama leading into this weekend's game made it a no-win situation.

    If the Huskers won, it would be under the cloud of the firing of Joe Paterno. Nebraska lost the yardage battle 375-331, only converted six of 16 third down conversions, and held the ball for under 30 minutes.

    In the end, the Huskers pulled out a relatively complete team win. Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead managed the game well enough, and put points up against one of the Big Ten’s best defenses. The Blackshirts did their job, getting huge stops late with the game on the line.

    Most importantly, the Huskers got a win on the road against the Leaders Division’s frontrunner and the only remaining team undefeated in Big Ten conference play. All in all, a pretty solid day, but a performance Nebraska will need to improve on before they travel to face Michigan in the Big House next week.

    Follow James on Twitter: @jamesstevenson
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    Tags: penn state, rex burkhead, will compton, taylor martinez, bo pelini, brett maher, stephon green, tyler legate, yoshi hardrick, joe paterno

  12. 2011 Nov 13

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Penn State


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - The score was near-expected. The atmosphere was exactly as expected and yes, it was surreal.

    - The mid-field prayer may be one of the highlights of the entire college football season.

    - If Taylor Martinez can learn how to draw that much attention and provide a pitch off the option like that every time, no one will complain.

    - Someone clearly changed out Rex Burkhead’s batteries. Another game, another 100 yards.

    - When Martinez and Rex switched positions, did it look like they just got curious about what the other’s day was like to you, too?

    - Due to what we’ve been told regarding receivers’ performance habits, Jamal Turner will clearly be starting against Michigan…right?

    - Kinda thinking that a redshirt should’ve been kept on Aaron Green or Braylon Heard.

    - Two offensive guards traveled and went the distance. Bravo Mr. Choi and Mr. Long.

    - That wasn’t a fumble.

    - Will Compton has taken his game up a notch and none too soon.

    - Alfonzo Dennard continues to look better every week. That guy’s gonna make some coin in The League.

    - Take a look at every FBS team around the country and thank your lucky stars for Brett Maher again.

    - An amazing press conference by Bo Pelini. As Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples said, it’s required viewing.

    - Bowl Prediction of the Week: Outback Bowl vs. Georgia.

    Follow Brandon on Twitter: @eightlaces
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    Tags: penn state, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, jamal turner, aaron green, braylon heard, spencer long, seung hoon choi, will compton, alfonzo dennard, brett maher, bo pelini, andy staples, outback bowl, georgia

  13. 2011 Nov 12

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Penn State Game Day Thoughts


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    This week:

    Do you think Tim Beck will open the playbook up more against Penn State?

    Brian: I could tell say yes and, “Man, we could be looking for Jamal Turner's breakout day, and Aaron Green and Ameer and Braylon and yeah!”

    However, every time that it seems inevitable for this to happen, this offense goes into a shell and plays more conservative than necessary. Again, I could say that it will happen, but until I see it, I won't believe it.

    Erin: I really hope so. The game plan against Northwestern was very disappointing. Whatever Tim Beck does, his playbook needs to resemble what he used against Washington and Michigan State. No stubbornness today, either.

    No. I think Bo and Tim will end up keeping the gameplan conservative. Penn State doesn't have elite talent, and Nebraska should be able to defend them similarly to how they defended Michigan State.

    This will starve the Nittany Lions of points, and Nebraska will look for opportunities to strike. The biggest thing Bo doesn't want the offense to do is make a mistake that will give the Penn State free points.

    As the game progresses, you'll see the playbook open up as Beck understands the scheme, and as Nebraska tries to take control in the second half. This will be Michigan State Part Deux.

    Ryan: No, I think the play-calling will stay conservative. With what is sure to be a rowdy, deafening crowd, the Huskers will keep it mostly the ground and call a pass play here and there to mix it up. I imagine a grind-it-out game in which the Huskers bleed the clock and the Nittany Lions in the process.

    Brandon: I doubt it. That’s unfortunate, too, because while Penn State hasn’t played the most difficult schedule, they are stopping teams from putting up points.

    While the Nittany Lions have the No. 3 scoring defense is likely a by-product of their softer schedule, it’s still a big indicator of what they can do against a team that’s not firing on all cylinders.

    Perhaps what’s most concerning is that if Nebraska doesn’t utilize more formations that have proven effective in the past, specifically the Diamond, I don’t think they win this game.

    PSU limits their opposition to less than 112 yards per game on the ground and 170 through the air. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve picked off 14 passes this season and are ranked No. 3 in pass efficiency defense.

    Beck needs to keep with the short/intermediate passing game with Taylor and spread out Penn State’s defenders or it’s going to likely be a long day.

    We saw the defense take a conservative approach, risking Northwestern’s wide receivers getting space against the Blackshirt defensive backs which obviously worked. How do you feel the defense should shift for Penn State’s attack?

    Brian: Penn State can run very well which is helpful as the defensive line, as mangled up as it seems to be, is much more serviceable than a secondary that has been torched time and time again. Even if the Lincoln Journal Star tells me that they have been solid.

    Ciante Evans and Lance Thorell could be better. Let's hope they play out of their minds, because to beat Penn State, you have to dare Matt McGloin and Robert Bolden to throw on you.

    Erin: Today's defense will be Bo's again. It will be similar to what we saw against Michigan State, you can count on that. The defense doesn't need to shift, as much as the coaching does.

    There is talent on that side of the ball and we've seen it. With proper guidance, they should be able to contain Penn State.

    James: Nebraska will play it's typical cover 2 scheme. They will stay conservative, block the deep routes, and not allow the receivers to beat them.

    You'll see more of the four-standing-defensive-linemen look that we used against Michigan State, and you'll also see the offensive line attacking the quarterback.

    Expect David/Compton to be the run support guys. Nebraska should be able to keep Penn State from executing long drives for scores.

    Ryan: The defense needs to tighten up in the middle as Northwestern gashed Nebraska between the tackles and Penn State will attempt the same thing.

    A strong middle presence with eight or nine guys in the box is the appropriate shift as Penn State does not do well through the air and will rely on Silas Redd to pound the rock.

    Brandon: Penn State’s offense isn’t anything to write home about, but it can be effective against a defense in disarray.

    Running back Silas Redd is averaging over 111 yards per game, so if Lavonte David and Daimion Stafford can’t help support the run defense, that’s going to be an area of major concern.

    Honestly, a better approach may be to sell out to stop Redd and focus on forcing PSU’s quarterbacks to make mistakes. Matt McGloin is no Dan Persa, only competing passes at a 55 percent clip.

    He can make throws if he isn’t facing pressure, and if the secondary can’t keep wide receiver Derick Moye under wraps, that spells trouble.

    The good news is that McGloin is about as mobile as Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins. If Baker Steinkuhler can mirror his performance from last week while Cameron Meredith and Eric Martin are released off the edge, Nebraska’s got a good chance to fluster PSU’s signal-callers.

    Do you feel that the Nittany Lions will be distracted by the massive scandal?

    Brian: Oh...maybe? They will be distracted, but at the same time they will be galvanized to play well for Paterno and themselves.

    The game can go one of two ways very early: Either Nebraska jumps on top of them and puts them into a submission move or Penn State gets the momentum and rides it for 3-plus hours as State College forgets about what has been and will be happening.

    Erin: Yes, I do. Everyone keeps making these comments about how they will be more fired up, which I could not disagree with more. I can only imagine how our team, let alone entire state, would be feeling if something like this happened to us.

    Penn State will be shaken. It's not a big shock. These are young men who are trying desperately to brave a major storm they had nothing to do with. You can't tell me for a second it won't affect them.

    James: They can't help but be distracted, but as we've seen earlier this season with Mike Stoops' termination at Arizona, sometimes the team can rally and "win one for the gipper."

    This is an 8-1 team, at home on senior day, wanting to win for their coach and move within a game of securing their berth in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game. I think Penn State comes to play, and wins in spite of the scandal.

    Ryan: Absolutely, but not in the way some think. They will band together and use an "us vs. the world" mentality in this game. I think the scandal may improve their performance on the field.

    Brandon: I can’t see how they won’t be. At the same time, it’s Senior Day and these guys love Joe Paterno. They want to go out and win one for him if nothing else. Whether this will affect them negatively or not is the big question mark.

    This scenario appears to be black and white. Either Penn State rallies behind the JoePa banner and overwhelms Nebraska or the Huskers get to McGloin/Bolden early, stuff Redd and the Nittany Lion balloon deflates.

    At this point, Rex Burkhead has to be hurting averaging around 25 carries per game over the past four games. Will this finally be the game where he can get some rest?

    Brian: Refer to the first question for what I think about this. We have ponies in the stable that are begging to be released, yet for some reason Tim Beck and Bo Pelini think that a Rex Burkhead at 60 to 75 percent at best is better then a 100 percent Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard, or Aaron Green.

    If we refuse to use these young guys, it’s a wasted season for at least Aaron and Braylon who could've used redshirts. Ameer has been used well on kick returns, but Aaron and Braylon seem lost in the shuffle.

    Erin: Sorry, but Rex's resting week was against Northwestern. We made a mistake playing him too much. He will be too valuable against Penn State and Michigan.

    Here's hoping he healed up over the last week because we'll need him. Can the three freshman rotate in too? Sure, they can. Rex will still carry the heaviest load.

    James: If it wasn't apparent last week, Bo and/or Beck don't trust the three-headed freshman I-Back monster. Burkhead was supposed to get rest last week, and he's the most "power" back of any of the I-Backs on the roster.

    I don't really expect to see him get much of a rest. It sure would be nice to see Aaron Green out there though. How will we know how good our new I-Backs are if we don't give them a chance to shine during actual game time?

    Ryan: Not at all. Rex goes for 25-30 as Nebraska knows they must rely on Ol' Dependable No. 22 in a tough road contest. Rex gets no rest at all.

    Brandon: I’d love to say yes, but with the insistence that we’ve seen to get Rex the ball, I don’t see it happening. If Burkhead keeps racking up as many carries as he has been, that's a horrible decision.

    He’s not just tired, he’s hurt and the more he grinds out, the more damaged he’s going to be and the less effective he’s going to be running down the stretch.

    There’s absolutely no reason Abdullah, Green and Heard shouldn’t be seeing significant time. Hopefully, I’ll be proven wrong and Rex gets an opportunity to give himself a rest while coaching the young guns from the sidelines. I’m not holding my breath, though.

    Follow the panel on Twitter:

    Brandon: @eightlaces
    Brian: @btbowling
    Erin: @helloerinmarie
    James: @jamesstevenson
    Ryan: @digitalryan

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    Tags: penn state, aaron green, ameer abdullah, braylon heard, tim beck, bo pelini, matt mcgloin, robert bolden, rex burkhead, ciante evans, lance thorell, lavonte david, will compton, daimion stafford, dan persa, kirk cousins, cam meredith, eric martin

  14. 2011 Nov 03

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Mucho Hooch-O - No, THIS Is Sparta!


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    The tenth edition of Mucho Hooch-O, an audio blog by Husker Locker's own Greg "Hooch" Mehochko, features a regular cornucopia of content.

    Hooch welcomes Husker Locker colleague Brian Towle to the show. They discuss the Michigan State game in-depth including the offense led by Rex Burkhead, how the defense line got their groove back, and Blackshirts including Will Compton and Daimion Stafford. A very succulent choice makes the Snack/Food of the Week.

    Please enable Javascript, or download the podcast here.

    Follow Greg a.k.a. Hooch on Twitter: @thehooch36
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    Tags: michigan state, rex burkhead, will compton, daimion stafford

  15. 2011 Oct 30

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Michigan State


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

    - Yep. Rex Burkhead really is from the planet Krypton.

    - Seriously, what Rex did against Sparty was a testament to his hard work, dedication and refusal to say “I quit.” Go Team Jack.

    - Where do you start with the secondary? When you hold one of the best wide receivers in Michigan State history to no catches, you’ve had a good day.

    - Taylor Martinez wasn’t all-everything, but he didn’t need to be. He did only what was necessary and that’s enough.

    - The defense seen yesterday, those were the Blackshirts.

    - Love the standing linemen front. Apparently this was taken from the Pittsburgh Steelers and was also used by the New England Patriots. One big stat that stands out because of the line’s work: four sacks.

    - It’s about time Eric Martin started tallying up sacks.

    - Each member of the Sea of Red should pat themselves on the back. There was a ton of noise at appropriate times and the Huskers clearly fed off of it.

    - Going to suggest that with this game having the implications it did that Bo had a little more to do with the defensive game plan this week.

    - It’s not an easy road to hoe, but the Nebraska team that showed up to play yesterday can beat any team remaining on the schedule, and yes that means Wisconsin should they meet up again.

    - Okay, which one of you is this?:

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    Tags: taylor martinez, rex burkhead, alfonzo dennard, lance thorell, daimion stafford, bo pelini, eric martin, will compton, michigan state

  16. 2011 Oct 30

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Video of Michigan State Post-Game Press Conference (Pelini & Players)


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    Click each name for that person's respective interview

    Bo Pelini

    Taylor Martinez

    Rex Burkhead

    Cameron Meredith

    Will Compton

    Alfonzo Dennard

    Lance Thorell

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    Tags: bo pelini, taylor martinez, rex burkhead, cameron meredith, will compton, alfonzo dennard, lance thorell

  17. 2011 Sep 13

    Husker Heartbeat 9/13: Abdullah's Golden Move, Pelini Seeing Red and Ex-Huskers Make Waves in NFL


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - Ameer Abdullah's move to Nebraska presents a golden opportunity

    - Blackshirts' poor performance hasBo Pelini seeing red

    - Linebacker Will Compton manages to shake off an injury

    - The Huskers have received a genuine gift: Unity

    - Washington will learn that there is no place like Nebraska

    - The Huskers slip a bit in the Big Ten power rankings

    - How former Huskers performed this week in the NFL

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    Tags: ameer abdullah, bo pelini, will compton, nfl

  18. 2011 Sep 12

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Winning Covered Up a Game That Still Stinks


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brian Towle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  19. 2011 Sep 11

    NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Knee-Jerk Reactions - Fresno State


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

    By Brandon Cavanaugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  20. 2011 Sep 07

    Husker Heartbeat 9/7: The Injured Returns, Garrison Ratchets Up The Heat and NU on ESPN


    By HuskerLocker

    Blog post image

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

    - Linebacker Will Compton returns; Kicker Brett Maher handles his workload

    - Assistant offensive line coach John Garrison is asking more of senior center Mike Caputo

    - The Fresno State Bulldogs won't roll over for Nebraska

    - The Huskers are still standing strong in the Big Ten despite their shaky showing versus UTC

    - Nebraska basketball will be seen five times on ESPN networks

    - The Big Ten remains calm among the chaos of the crumbling Big 12

    Follow us on Twitter: @huskerlocker
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    Tags: will compton, brett maher, john garrison, big ten, fresno state

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