Archive for the ‘Spring Practice’ Category

Nebraska’s 2009 Red-White Spring Game Rosters

April 17, 2009

To view the complete rosters – click here.

As Bo Pelini promised, the teams are evenly split.

Items of interest:

*The defensive line on the Red team is DE Pierre Allen, DE Cameron Meredith, DT Jared Crick, and DT Terrence Moore while the defensive line for the White team is DE Barry Turner, DE Josh Williams, DT Ndamukong Suh, and DT Baker Steinkuhler. I’ll be interested to see how Steinkuhler and Williams perform with Turner and Suh. As I’ve said before, I think Steinkuhler has a real shot to move up the depth chart in a hurry.

*Cody Green was singled out as the only one of the three QBs that will move from team to team. There was an article written on Thursday in the LJS about the progress of Latravis Washington in his only month as a QB since high school. I could be reading a little too much into this, but I think it appears as if Washington might have a better grip on the offense at this point and possibly even a slight edge on Green for the #2 spot. Green is, after all, 17 years old.

*The safeties for the White team are Ricky Thenarse, Larry Asante, and Eric Hagg? while the safeties for the Red team are Courtney Osborne, P.J. Smith, and Matt O’Hanlon. We already know about Thenarse and Asante so I’ll be keeping my eyes on Osborne and Smith. No doubt the coaches have said nothing but praise about the two freshman this spring and with the two of them playing together, I can’t wait to see the future at safety right now. I’m still not buying Hagg as a true safety.

*The primary WRs for the White team are Chris Brooks, Antonio Bell, and Will Henry while the WRs for the Red team are Curenski Gilleylen, Menelik Holt, and Marcus Mendoza. Anyone else at all curious about Chris Brooks? I’ve got this feeling… nevermind, I’ll keep it to myself so I don’t like an idiot. It’s too bad Brandon Kinnie couldn’t get to campus for the spring and it’s too bad Khiry Cooper is going through hell right now on the diamond. The QB for the Red team is Zac Lee so look for Gilleylen, Holt, and Mendoza to have big plays.

*The corners for the White team are Anthony Blue and Anthony West (with Hagg listed at safety) while the Red team has Prince Amukamara, Alfonzo Dennard, and Lance Thorell. It still appears as if West and Amukamara will be the starters at the corner with Blue and Dennard backing them up. As far as Eric Hagg goes, I’m starting to think we will see some interesting new looks from the defensive backfield this fall (especially with the inexperienced linebackers we have.) What that is other than nickelback for Hagg, I don’t know.

*The White team linebackers are Will Compton, Alonzo Whaley, Micah Kreikemeier, and Matt Holt while the Red team linebackers are Phillip Dillard, Colton Koehler, Mathew May, and Sean Fisher. The OWH wrote an article on Thursday about 210 lb. Mathew May and his progress this spring. With Blake Lawrence’s future in jeopardy, it sounds as if May has a real chance to slide into a starting role by fall. The three R-Fr. lining up for the Whites will be fun to watch. I’ll be interested to see how Compton and Whaley play together as the two redshirt freshman are probably the odds-on favorites in my book to start this fall. And keep an eye on Fisher, who the coaches thought was ready to play in Pelini’s defense last year as a true freshman – before he was injured in the first game.

Big Red Roundtable: Post-Spring Game Reflections

April 24, 2007

Another Big Red Roundtable is upon us. Today we look at our post-spring impressions.

1. Keller or Ganz. Pick one, then give three reasons.

Keller. Three reasons huh?

One: Blondie on the left.

Two: Brunette on the right.

Three: 461 yards, 4 TDs and a passing efficiency rating of 155.22 against #5 LSU in 2005.

2. The most impressive guy at the Spring Game?

My dad? I guess I should have mentioned this before, but I didn’t actually see any of the Spring Game. Thus, I’m just going on reports. Based on that Suh seemed to have a pretty impressive day. And I don’t know, how about Shawn Watson and Ted Gilmore calling the plays while Callahan relaxed in the booth.

3. If you were the Athletic Director, what would you do with the proceeds?

Let’s see 55,000 fans at $8 a head means roughly $440,000. Paying off our existing debt is BORING! So, we’ll think outside the box. How about a huge party on September 15 with USC visiting Lincoln? We invite back the 1997 team to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their national championship (Muck Fichigan!). Not only does Dr. Tom take the field, but so does the indomitable Frank Solich at the request of Steve Pederson (Ohio plays at VT that day, but play along). The ’97 team takes the field during the pregame, with Pederson tucked away in a suite or in a corner or something. Coach Callahan shakes hands with Dr. Tom and Solich. The crowd offers a roaring standing ovation for Solich’s contributions and those of the incredibly talented 1997 Huskers. God smites Broderick Thomas with permanent laryngitis. And Husker Nation lives happily ever after.

4. Do 54,000 people show up at Nebraska’s Spring Game because there is really nothing else to do in Nebraska or because we’re more in love with our Huskers than anyone else is with their team?

Well, clearly there is nothing else to do in Nebraska and we like our Huskers. But Alabama loves their team and Nick “I don’t have time for this shit” Saban way more than we could ever imagine.

5. When you heard Marlon Lucky was injured, your first thought was…

…honestly I think I probably sounded a bit like old school Too Short – Mother fucking shit god damn asshole. But I was far more worried about his mental health. After fighting back from his curious medical emergency it seemed unfair to be hurt late in the spring game. I was extremely relieved to hear the injury was minor. I seriously hope that guy has AFLAC.

6. Were you at all concerned by the fairly modest rushing performance overall by the Red team or is that a sign there’s some depth on the defensive front seven?

Whoa, I’m a stats junkie and I can honestly say this is the first I’ve heard about modest rushing numbers. After losing all four starters on the defensive front, I don’t think we have much depth in our front seven. But the spring game rushing isn’t a big concern to me right now. We outrushed our opponent in 9 of our 14 games last season and the only change is no BJax. I think we’ll be okay, but get back to me in September.

7. Callahan called the receiving corps the strength of the team. Would you tend to agree with that or would you choose another aspect (e.g. linebackers)?

I do agree with Callahan. I think the trendy answer will be the linebackers, but I’m not convinced they go as deep as the receivers. Nunn, Purify, Swift and Peterson are all capable guys. Factor in Hardy, Dan Erickson’s blocking, and youngsters Will Henry, and Meno Holt and I think we have our deepest unit.

At linebacker we have Ruud, McKeon, Octavian, Dillard, Brandenburgh, and occasionally a healthy Nick Covey. Out of that group only Ruud and McKeon have proven their worth over an entire season. Octavian is an enigmatic pinball of talent, waiting to be pushed in the right direction. We’ll see if Cosgrove has both flippers functioning in 2007. Dillard is fighting his way back from injury and Brandenburgh has never gotten enough PT. Both are only likely to see their minutes increase in a 3-4 schematic shift.

So yeah, the WRs are the strength of our team right now.

Be sure and check out the other roundtable posts:

Husker Mike
Big Red Network
Corn Nation
Hi-Plains Drifter
Midwest Coast Bias
Husker Faithful
Husker Guy

Obligatory Spring Game Post

April 16, 2007

I suppose I should say something about Saturday’s ultra-competitive spring scrimmage. I put something up at the FanHouse, but can elaborate here a bit more.

· First, I didn’t actually see any of it. I was in small town Texas for a yeehaw wedding. We had a great time at the wedding and it was nice to be meet a bunch of new friends and future family members. Even if they were Aggies. I sorta had a chance to watch the game, as the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at had Direct TV. But since the reception was in full force at 8:00 I decided to be a team player and remain at the festivities. They tell me this is called “maturity”.

· I don’t really know what to say about the current spring game format. It certainly does make it the game very interesting for the fans – especially with a scoreless second half. I would love to see us do what Texas A&M does, having two sets of captains actually draft the respective teams. If we are going to have planned TD celebrations, its not like the coaching staff is completely anti-fun.

· Both quarterbacks apparently looked good and obviously nothing was settled with regards to this battle. Meh. Gives us something to talk about from now until the first game.

· Callahan called the receivers one of the team’s strengths. It certainly is a much, much deeper unit than we he arrived in 2004. Now if we could just find a tight end.

· Ndamukong Suh evidently looked good, which is a great sign for the inexperienced defensive line. He finished with three tackles for loss, and two sacks.

· Randy Jordan “couldn’t breathe” when he saw Marlon Lucky go down in the 4th quarter. Coach Callahan is calling it a sprain, but hasn’t Lucky endured enough this off-season?

I don’t have much else to say right now. As always check out what other Husker bloggers are saying:

Husker Mike
Big Red Network (Live from Barry’s – talk about making me homesick)
Jim Rose
Husker Guy

McKeon Breaks Down the QBs

April 3, 2007

The LJS got some great stuff from Corey McKeon Monday:

“Joe’s a great quarterback because he has a lot of athletic ability and can make plays on his own and he knows the offense very well,” McKeon said after practice. “Everyone’s like, ‘Well, Sam’s this competitor.’

“The gist of it is, they are two different styles of quarterback. Joe’s a product of the system. He goes through his progressions (to find the open receiver).”Meanwhile, Keller “knows how to attack people,” McKeon said. “He’s got that experience. He’s looking for Maurice Purify every play. If you look over and see Cortney Grixby guarding Maurice Purify, Sam knows where to put the ball to get a big play.

“Sam knows how to attack people. He knows if he’s going to run a three-step quick slant to look for Terrence Nunn or Nate Swift — guys who can beat people with speed. He knows how to use his weapons.

“That’s something Joe has not been able to do yet because he’s not been on the field (in games) as much (as Keller).”

In the final analysis, “It’s hard to choose, because you have a guy who knows how to take advantage of a defense, but also a guy who knows how to read a defense.”

I thought this was very telling. McKeon is the first to really verbalize the strengths and weaknesses of each guy.

Now we (ok, technically, just the coaches) have to decide which we prefer. A guy who can operate the system to its fullest potential. Or a guy recognizes and attacks weaknesses by utilizing his strengths and those of his teammates.

My take – Get ready to hear A LOT of “Keller’s pass complete to Purify.”

Kenny Wilson’s Hopes and Femur Crushed by TV

March 29, 2007

Unbelievable. A week ago I joked that an ACME safe was going to fall on Sam Keller’s head. Instead an effing TV somehow takes out Kenny Wilson. Damn that Wyle E. Coyote!!

Zack Bowman is also reportedly injured, but I don’t even want to think about that at this point.

Spring Practice Stuff

March 28, 2007

Well with spring practices pretty much closed to the media, we aren’t left with much to talk about. I’ll try to hit on a few things, however.

· Larry Asante appears determined to wind up as the starter at strong safety.

“I’m all about perfection,” said Asante, a transfer from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. “I want to know everything. When I’m out there on the field, I don’t want to have to think — just read and react to everything. If I know everything like the back of my hand, I’ll be good to go.”

He’s also been sending text messages to defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove. I can only imagine what those must look like.

hA Coz, itz Larry A. XLNT practiS 2day. R U watchN film? I 4get, wot iz my role n Robber 11. Also do I roL my coverage agAnst dbL tights? By d way I jst saw Ricky T. & he sed he h8z U. J/K. LOL. c U l8r.

· Sticking with the defense, Zach Potter wants us to know that he’s no Adam Carriker.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Well, why can’t Zach Potter be 6-7, 300 pounds just like Adam Carriker?’ Everyone’s different,” said Potter…Carriker was “a freak of nature,” he said. “I mean, you can ask anybody on our team. He’s a special guy. So there might be a little drop-off there, just in that.”

I like Zach’s honesty and I personally don’t expect him to “replace” Carriker. I just hope he, or Pierre Allen or Joseph Townsend or somebody can shed blocks against the run and put some pressure on the QB on passing downs.

· The Major Culbert move to RB is looking at least semi-permanent at this point. Some fans are already making comparisons to the way in which the coaching staff handled Leon Jackson, and I can’t say I blame them. I’m sure Major would love to have this settled, but his versatility certainly comes in handy. If nothing else you have to love the guy’s attitude.

“Doesn’t matter,” the 6-foot, 207-pound Culbert said. “Safety. Running back. I just want to get on the field…I was predominantly a running back in high school. I love safety. It don’t matter. I want to play safety, but there’s no preference.”

· Huskers is also reporting that QB guru Bob Johnson is on campus this week to watch Nebraska’s practices and visit with its coaching staff. Johnson is recognized as arguably the nation’s top QB instructor. His son is Rob Johnson the former USC QB who also played for Callahan for a year in Oakland. I don’t know what this means for the development of our quarterbacks, but it is nice to see folks like this hanging around our practices. I don’t seem to remember much of this during the Osborne/Solich eras, but I could be wrong.

· Lastly, I’ve been spending more and more time at the Big 12 FanHouse. Any of you guys made your way over there at all? If so, do you have any feedback? I’d love to get your thoughts on how we can improve it.

Press Conference Tidbits

March 21, 2007

Coach Callahan spoke with the media yesterday, but failed to disclose anything new or particularly meaningful. I’ll recap some portions just the same, however.

On the players’ work in the off-season:

“They’ve worked hard, not only in conditioning, but in video review. They’ve had an opportunity to go back and to review their video and their plays and their performance from last year. I thought that was extremely productive for them, as individuals as well as a team and as a unit. Just to get back into football, to refine their techniques, and to refine themselves.”

I like that the players are spending some time critiquing their play via game film. Research indicates that in almost all fields, people tend to improve by watching both their successes and their failures. While I’m sure this is nothing new, it felt good to read about it here.

A lot was discussed concerning the quarterback situation and Callahan did his best to reiterate that it was a wide-open race.

“I think that people naturally look at this as a two-horse race, and it certainly isn’t even that. I think that Beau Davis has a lot of great attributes that have really been kept in the dark the past two seasons. His performance in his rookie year was really an unfair performance because it was really too soon. He has talent, he has mobility, and a good arm, and has been in this system going on his fourth year, so I think that has some merit. If you look at the successful quarterbacks around the country that have performed at a high level, it usually takes awhile to get to that level. So I don’t want to discount any of the guys in the quarterback race.”

The spring is a perfect time to really evaluate the talent and depth that we have at the QB position. That is why I have no problem with dividing the snaps amongst 3-4 guys. I don’t really expect Beau Davis to do much more than carry a clipboard or signal in plays, but if he earns the spot, so be it. Besides, given our recent luck I half expect an ACME safe to fall on Sam Keller some time in the next few months anyway.

Two questions on Tuesday pertained directly to Mr. Keller concerning whether the job was his to lose and what he brings to the offense. Here is the question I would like to have seen answered:

Coach, I assume you traded your soul to the devil himself in return for Sam Keller. Any regrets? And a follow up – had Sam Keller not found his way to Lincoln, is it safe to say that your house would be on the market right now?

Callahan also addressed concerns about the defensive line:

“We graduated some outstanding players, and that’s not to say that the upcoming players will not be outstanding. I think (sophomore defensive lineman Ndamukong) Suh has a chance to be an all-league performer, I think (junior defensive lineman Ty) Steinkuhler is coming into his own. I look at our end position, and unfortunately (junior defensive end) Barry Turner will be out this spring, but he is a top end when compared with other guys around the country. I think (junior linebacker) Clayton Sievers moving positions should provide us some depth and intrigue in regards to what he can do with a full-time position. And of course (junior defensive end) Zach Potter is a guy that has been around for a couple of years and has only gotten bigger and stronger, so we’re changing him really from a base-five technique to a base-six technique, so that should really tie in to his strengths as a player.”

I guess I didn’t expect a miracle here, but part of me was hoping Callahan had some Jared Tomich clone that he was keeping under wraps until the spring. I think we may have some talent on the D-line, but Buddy Wyatt is certainly going to have to earn his paycheck in 2007.

So with that let’s hit the field fellas. Wait, you want an inspirational pre-game speech. Hey, why not. Take it away Coach Coronary-Embolism

Huff Out…Patrick Too?

March 1, 2007

News of out of Lincoln is that junior guard Mike Huff will miss at least the spring after tearing his achilles tendon. This is not a pretty injury and my irrational fear of suffering said ailment keeps my ass planted firmly on the couch. Anyway, Huff was expected to push for a starting spot in 2007, but now will spend the near future recovering and rehabbing from surgery. Although his bio on gives no indication of this, it seems as though Huff has battled injuries before. Maybe a shoulder injury last spring or something?

The loss of Huff could have further repercussions following the apparent, but unverified dismissal of Chris Patrick. As the LJS points out both Patrick and Callahan have refused to comment on the speculation surrounding the starter’s future with the team. This sounds like it might involve the dreaded “violation of team rules”. According to the boys at EDSBS this generally means one of three things:

1. Skipped class.
2. Smoked weed and tested positive.
3. Tackled, upended, and then devoured a Geo Metro whole after a raucous off-campus party.

Given the presence of random, but mandatory off-season drug-testing perhaps we can narrow down the list. Number 3, however, would make for a much better story.

10 Questions for Spring Practice

February 22, 2007

In case you were looking for a reason to pay attention to spring practice, here are some things to watch for.

1. What happens at the RB position? It is still crazy to think just how muddled the outlook at this position has become in such a short amount of time. Instead of an intact stable with four studs, we now have uncertainty abound. Marlon Lucky might be back, but this isn’t a sure thing. The same can also be said for Cody Glenn and a healthy Kenny Wilson is looking less and less realistic. Who then picks up the carries and how does this affect the progress of the offense?

2. A follow up – Is the surf and sand of Hawaii enough to convince Leon Jackson that he was right in choosing not to wait for his opportunity in Lincoln? I can’t blame the kid for the decision he made, but this is why patience is a virtue. It’s also why our coaches stockpile talent at the RB position.

3. Does Sam Keller live up to the hype? He’s got the talent and arm, but does he have the make-up to understand the terminology and nuances of Callahan’s WCO this quickly? The expectations could be a heavy load on Keller’s shoulders, especially with question marks in the running game.

4. Who or perhaps what is the future of the TE position? J.B. Phillips, Josh Mueller, and Hunter Teafatiller all got reps in 2006, but no one stood out. The spring was supposed to give Mike McNeill a chance to shine, but a shoulder injury will keep him out of action. Does someone step up and a make a name for himself, or will this unit continue to flounder?

5. Will the musical chairs along the offensive line continue or will the spring allow guys to get comfortable at one spot? Coach Wagner prefers, if not requires his players to be flexible and understand more than one position. Is it time to reevaluate this notion?

6. What happens when you lose all four starters along the defensive line? I’m really intrigued by this one. Add to that the loss of Barry Turner to shoulder surgery and we will see a plethora of new faces on the front four.

7. How does an extra spring impact the development of a JUCO CB recruit? Armando Murillo is already on campus and will enjoy a luxury not afforded Zack Bowman or Andre Jones. Will we see this payoff come fall or does the return of Bowman, coupled with the continued progress of Jones and Grixby make this a non-issue in 2007?

8. Is Larry Asante the next great Nebraska safety? We’ve had success with JUCO safeties in the past (Toby Wright, Kareem Moss), but the learning curve is often steep. Junior colleges often emphasize athleticism over technique. The coaching staff felt he was the best safety recruit in the country. How does that type of fanfare and a January enrollment translate to PT come fall?

9. Is Bo Ruud the best linebacker in the Big 12? seems to think so, and they just might be right. If it is true, the Nebraska LB corps could be pretty solid, despite the loss of Stewart Bradley. Also of note – Does Steve Octavien have more than one great game this season (see Maine 2005, Texas 2006), and how does Phillip Dillard look after returning from ACL surgery.

10. How does the coaching turnover affect the team this spring? Blake and Norvell are gone, Wyatt is slightly more entrenched and Watson sees his duties shuffled. Will the casual observer notice any changes this soon, and how might they impact the players? Perhaps more importantly will the staff be complete come spring practice or will Callahan go all Hoosiers on us?

“But you’ve only got 8 coach.”

“I said, my team is on the field!”