Sunday, August 23, 2009

Questions at Linebacker Start to be Answered; More Questions at I-Back

Last week, I noted that we still hadn't heard about how things were shaping up at linebacker and on the offensive line. Sounds like injuries are going to keep the o-line an open question for now, which is somewhat concerning at this point. I'd be more concerned if everybody was healthy and the questions were being asked.

At linebacker, a depth chart is now emerging. Redshirt freshman Sean Fisher is taking charge at linebacker. He's got defensive end height and safety speed, so split the difference at plug him in at linebacker. Mathew May looks to be the other linebacker in nickel defenses. Mike Ekeler points out that May is another recruitnik failure, since the only offers he received were from division 2 schools. Blake Lawrence and Will Compton seem to be emerging as top backups. Colton Koehler seems to have faded, with still no sign of the slimmed down Phillip Dillard reemerging.

At I-back, the departure of Quentin Castille has turned Nebraska's expected strength on offense into disarray. A lot of people still question just what Castille did to get suspended, but that's not the point. It's a coaches decision, and unless/until something more specific is divulged, there's no point in speculating further. Frankly, it's none of our concern either. If the coaches were to divulge the reasons, every blog (including this one, in all likelihood) would be retrying the case in public. The Lincoln and Omaha newspapers monitor police reports, so we know there aren't any pending criminal cases.

My #1 concern in this situation is Castille at this point. Will he continue to attend classes, will he transfer, or will he drop out? I understand Bo Pelini has already handed out his scholarship, so he's not coming back to the team. He might choose to transfer; he's got a redshirt season available if he can find a division 1-A team to transfer to quickly. Otherwise, there's always 1-AA; he might even be eligible immediately. The worst decision for Q would be to simply drop out; that would compound Castille's mistake.

What about football? I've felt that the combination of Helu and Castille would give Nebraska one of the Big XII's best running back tandems. Without Castille, hardly --- especially since Helu has seemed to have injury concerns as of late. (Shoulder during the first two months of the 2008 season, knee in the Gator Bowl, hamstring in spring practice.) True freshman Rex Burkhead has jumped up to #2 on the depth chart; his Plano (TX) High nickname of "Superman" no doubt has Husker fans in full drool mode to see him in a couple of weeks. But at 5'11" and 200 pounds, he's not going to be the candidate to be that pounding back that might be needed in short yardage situations. Neither is Marcus Mendoza, who apparently is moving back from wide receiver. (That indicates that depth at wide receiver might be better than we anticipated.) My vote is probably either Lester Ward (who I liked in the spring game) or Collins Okafor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eckler was also super excited by that double secret defensive game plan we had for Missouri last year until May shows it on the field, I will maintain some skepticism.