Monday, April 13, 2009

Names I'm Following in Husker Spring Practice

With the spring game this Saturday, I've been patiently reading and listening for "name dropping" from the folks who are covering the team this spring. Sadly, that's all I've had to work with so far, so I'm looking forward to the spring game. Through all the coverage, here's what I've been hearing so far.

Quarterback: With the departure of Patrick Witt, Zac Lee seems to be the prohibitive favorite to nail down the starting job. Kody Spano seems to be the invisible man this spring; we hear more about Cody Green and even LaTravis Washington's howlitzer than we do about Spano.

Running Back: I was really looking forward to see if Roy Helu was indeed faster and stronger, but it sounds like his hamstring injury is going to sideline him. No big deal to me; Helu is a known quantity to me. The upside is that means we'll hopefully get a better look at freshmen Lester Ward and Collins Okafor on Saturday.

Wide Receiver: Niles Paul's status is questionable after a bout of stupidity over the weekend. That opens up more opportunities for a young receiver to make a splash. It won't be Khiry Cooper, who's on the baseball team. The Journal-Star did a feature on Will Henry today. Tim Marlowe's name has come up as well.

Offensive Line: Mike Caputo jumped into the mix on the line, pushing Jacob Hickman over to guard. Perhaps that's only to put a spur underneath D.J. Jones and Ricky Henry, but you'd really like to see the line take their game to the next level. In the early parts of last season, NU tried to pound the ball, but couldn't. So out came the "Spread Coast Offense" with Joe Ganz firing the ball at Nate Swift and Todd Peterson to loosen things up. Those guys are gone, so it's up to the offensive line to become road graders for Helu and Quentin Castille.

Tight End: Mike McNeill became quite a weapon towards the end of last season. But Ron Brown seems happy with the rest of Nebraska's tight ends. I'm curious to see how Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed look.

Defensive Line: Barry Turner doesn't sound 100%, which isn't a big deal to me at this time. So it comes down to...who'll work next to Ndamakong Suh: Jared Crick, Baker Steinkuhler, or Terrence Moore. I also want to see the backup defensive ends: Cameron Meredith and Josh Williams.

Linebacker: OK, has Phillip Dillard REALLY fallen that far? Or have Will Compton, Sean Fisher, Matt Holt, Matthew May, and Colton Koehler jumped their game to the next level?

Secondary: For as bad as they looked at times last year, this secondary could be that good. Chatter is high on freshman P.J. Smith, and Courtney Osborne is getting some mention as well. Eric Hagg and Prince Amukamara too. Anthony Blue is starting to get his feet back in the secondary as well.

So many things to look for, I'm not sure exactly what I'll focus on at this time. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

No comments: