2013 Nebraska Spring Football Analysis
Nebraska Cornhuskers 2012 ...
Head Coach: Bo Pelini
Why To Be Excited: The offense that led the Big Ten in yards and finished second in scoring comes back full of talent and options. Rex Burkhead might be done, but Ameer Abdullah proved last season that he could step up and produce in his place. Taylor Martinez is back for his final year under center, and he has a terrific receiving corps to work with led by Kenny Bell on the outside and Quincy Enunwa at flanker. Throw in the four returning starters to a line that paved the way for the league’s best running game, and the Husker offense should be even stronger.
| 2013 Schedule|
9/7 Southern Miss
9/21 South Dakota State
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/12 at Purdue
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 at Minnesota
11/9 at Michigan
11/16 Michigan State
11/23 at Penn State
Why To Be Grouchy: The defense loses a ton of talent. On the plus side, it’s a new day for a D that completely and totally melted down over the final two games of the season, but outside of the loss to Ohio State, it was a good year before the Big Ten championship debacle against Wisconsin. The entire starting linebacking corps is gone along with big-hitting safety Daimion Stafford and running mate P.J. Smith. The top pass rushers up front – end Eric Martin and tackle Cameron Meredith – also have to be replaced. The biggest loss could be in the kicking game with star punter and placekicker Brett Maher done after a terrific career.
What Needs Working On: Turnover margin. The running game just couldn’t seem to hang on to the ball with a steady stream of fumbles throughout the season. There weren’t any lost fumbles in the opener against Southern Miss and in the thrilling win over Michigan State – that was it. With 22 on the year to go along with 13 interceptions, turnovers put the team in a hole time and again. Those games against USM and MSU were the only two without two giveaways, while the defense failed to come up with a fumble recovery in the final four games of the year.
Non-Conference Games: Wyoming, Southern Miss, UCLA, South Dakota State
Games Against The Leaders: Illinois, at Penn State, at Purdue
Realistic Best Case Record: 11-1
Worst Case Record: 8-4
Likely Finish: 11-1
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Wyoming, Southern Miss, UCLA, South Dakota State, Illinois, at Purdue, at Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State, at Penn State, Iowa
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Michigan
Schedule Analysis: The Huskers have their tune-up games at home against Wyoming and Southern Miss before getting to make amends for last year’s rough loss against UCLA. Unfortunately, this year’s Bruin team should be even better, but if they can get by with a win, they’ll be 4-0 after playing South Dakota State and with an open date to get ready for the Big Ten season.
Illinois shouldn’t be a problem, and going to Purdue should be a breeze before getting a week off to prepare for a trip to Minnesota. If Nebraska is up to Big Ten championship snuff, it should be 7-0 before hosting a dangerous Northwestern team and going to Michigan State. With Michigan State to follow, it’ll be a rough month before going to Penn State ad closing out against Iowa. No, considering there’s no Ohio State or Wisconsin from the Leaders, the schedule really isn’t that bad.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Huskers have to improve the turnover margin, and mostly, they have to be better at holding on to the ball after losing 22 fumbles and giving away 13 picks. The offensive line still isn't up to normal Nebraska snuff in pass protection, and while it did a great job blasting away for the league's best running game, it allowed 35 sacks, partly because Taylor Martinez is a mobile quarterback who was technically caught on several sacks. The defensive front has to be far better and far stronger after giving up 193 yards per game.
Replacing star kicker Brett Maher is a big problem.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Safety D.J. Singleton will be a big part of the secondary rotation right away, and running backs Terrell Newby (California) and Adam Taylor (Texas) are going to be a key part of the backfield, but the excitement for the offense should center around quarterback Johnny Stanton - a.k.a. Johnny Tebow - out of California. The defensive front is the area Bo Pelini and his staff focused on highlighted by tackle Maliek Collins and end A.J. Natter, who slipped away from Missouri and Wisconsin, respectively. JUCO transfer Randy Gregory could start on the end right away.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
48. That Class Was Heavy On ... More players. It was a concern when Nebraska joined the Big Ten that it wouldn’t be able to fight off the top conference teams for talent in the Midwest, and that appears to be the case with a light class that’s painfully lacking in top prospects. The linebacking corps is loading up a bit with some hard-nosed options for the future, and JUCO transfer Zaire Anderson for now, but for an offense that needs more options the class is lacking in skill prospects.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 24. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterback. Either the coaching staff doesn’t 1) believe Taylor Martinez is a reliable part of the mix and/or 2) can’t stay healthy and other options are needed. Jamal Turner was taken away from Oklahoma and other Big 12 schools, and while he might be moved somewhere else, he could be a terror of a runner with his sub-4.5 speed. 6-5 Bubba Starling could be the answer with the passing ability to add more pop to the passing game to go along with the speed to be Martinez-like. The running will mostly be done by Aaron Green, a special back out of San Antonio who turned down Alabama, LSU, and Texas to be a Husker. Defensively, JUCO transfer safety Daimion Stafford will make an immediate impact.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 30. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive backs.
Again. Bo Pelini wants to make sure the defense
remains special, and he reinforced the secondary
with more great prospects after loading up the
secondary last year. Corey Cooper is a talented
safety who has the NFL size and speed to get the pro
scouts drooling now, while Ciante Evans is a good
looking corner who could play a role as a nickel and
dime back early on. Overall this was a good class,
but it would've been a special one had Pelini been
able to win a few of the bigger battles, most
notably the fight for top end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, who ended up signing with UCLA.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 31. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive backs. It was a common theme for teams throughout this recruiting season after everyone’s defense got ripped apart … get better against the pass. Nebraska was no exception with five good defensive backs to go along with DE Jason Ankrah and linebackers Eric Martin and Chris Williams for the front seven. JUCO transfer Dejon Gomes is a big, fast corner, while Lazarri Middleton and Andrew Green have good size and excellent speed.