The Crimson and Cream Machine from SoonerLand has requested another roundtable, so here are my thoughts...
Who are some of the new faces that emerged in the spring who could be serious playmakers for your team this fall?
The biggest "new" face has to be wide receiver Curenski Gilleylen. It looks like it's easier to spell his name than catch him, as he's got speed to burn. If he can consistently catch the ball, he'll provide a deep threat that's been a rather rare commodity. An old face in a new place would be Cody Glenn, who moved from I-back to linebacker and basically won a starting job. (Of course, that's in part due to the lack of depth at linebacker!) Also making an impression at linebacker is senior walk-on Tyler Wortman, who might have been the star of the spring game on defense. And while he's not a "new" face, since we saw a glimpse of him last fall, Roy Helu is going to challenge Marlon Lucky for serious playing time. That might free up Lucky to line him up elsewhere on the field to take full advantage of his speed.
What is your biggest concern following the spring?
Wide receiver. Nate Swift and Todd Peterson are nice possession receivers, but the Huskers need some of the youngsters to step up: Gilleylen, Menelik Holt, Will Henry, Chris Brooks. Names that we heard more about before they arrived in Lincoln than after they enrolled.
Any major changes (philosophy, coaching or personnel) that you are concerned or worried about?
Didn't you see how last season ended? Major changes were called for in Lincoln, and we're getting them. I think that, without exception, every new coach is an upgrade over his predecessor. Blankman will disagree with me over Barney Cotton, but considering how the synergy between Dennis Wagner and Bill Callahan worked out, that's got to be an upgrade as well.
Looking over the 2008 which home and away game will be the most difficult?
Home: Missouri (That's easy.) I'm not completely sold on Kansas, and Virginia Tech lost eight players to the NFL draft, not to mention their top two running backs to suspension and injury, off a squad that lost to Kansas in the Orange Bowl.
Away: Oklahoma (Also a no-brainer.) Texas Tech isn't going to be all that easy either, but I like our chances to do better than the last time the Huskers traveled to Lubbock.
Time for your way too early predictions (Yes, you can change them in August). Rank how you see your division finishing up next season.
First of all, there are two teams that are huge wildcards in the Big XII North. The Huskers and Kansas State. With the Huskers, the question is how much of the problem last season was coaching and how much of it was talent. I think it was largely a clusterfool of coaching, though others will argue that it's much deeper in the program. Then there is Kansas State, who signed 19 JuCo's this spring. Usually, you sign JuCo's because you have a pressing need...and with that many JuCo's signed, it sure appears that Ron Prince thinks he has a lot of needs. If it all works out, K-State could surge. But, for right now, I've got to assume there are big problems in the Little Apple.
1. Missouri (No duh... with all those players returning from a Top Five squad?)
2. Nebraska (Call me crazy, but I think Billy C is going to look even more inept this fall...)
4. Colorado (Hawk Love has the Buffs on the move upwards)
5. Iowa State
6. Kansas State
For more, check out the Crimson & Cream Machine...