2008 CFN Nebraska Preview
| 2008 Nebraska Offense
| 2008 Nebraska Depth
2007 CFN Nebraska Preview
| 2006 CFN Nebraska Preview
Just when it seemed
like things were turning, coming off an appearance in the 2006 Big
12 title game, and just when it looked like the crazy,
blow-up-the-system plan was going to work, Nebraska decided to stop
playing defense and the offense went into the tank, and now the
program is starting from scratch by going back to the comfortable
Oh sure, the Bill Callahan offense ended up cranking out huge
numbers with a passing attack, that when it was clicking, was
unstoppable, but it wasn't consistent, died during the critical
middle part of the year, and couldn't keep up with a defense that
was one of the worst in the long and storied history of Nebraska
Head coach: Bo Pelini
1st year: 1-0
Off. 24., Def. 23, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 28
Best Husker Players
2. DE Barry Turner, Sr.
3. CB Armando Murillo, Sr.
4. QB Joe Ganz, Sr.
5. DT Ndamukong Suh, Jr.
6. OG Matt Slauson, Sr.
7. OT Lydon Murtha, Sr.
8. SS Larry Asante, Jr.
9. WR Nate Swift, Sr.
10. C Jacob Hickman, Jr.
CFN Prediction: 7-5
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 San Jose State
Sept. 13 New Mexico State
Sept. 20 OPEN DATE
Sept. 27 Virginia Tech
Oct. 4 Missouri
Oct. 11 at Texas Tech
Oct. 18 at Iowa State
Oct. 25 Baylor
Nov. 1 at Oklahoma
Nov. 8 Kansas
Nov. 15 at Kansas State
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 28 Colorado
CFN Prediction: 9-3
2007 Record: 5-7
at Wake Forest
Sept. 15 USC L 49-31
Missouri L 41-6
Texas L 28-25
the Callahan experiment didn't work, but even with four years to change
things around, he never really had a chance.
Callahan had to make the Nebraska a monster again, and while former
athletic director Steve Pederson actually had the right idea in wanting
to give the program a make over and a fresh paint job, it happened while
cheezing off the Husker nation.
So will pandering to the fan base by bringing back Tom Osborne to run
the show and getting more marginally talented walk-on farm kids make
Nebraska a national powerhouse again? No, but it makes everyone feel
more comfortable again. What's going to change things around will be 1)
better coaching, 2) better players, and 3) better schemes.
Nebraska can win with its old running style, but it needs the defense to
be able to hold its own, and it needs to get a few superstars from
elsewhere to operate around the home-grown try-hards. Yeah, build the
base by getting Nebraska kids who'll run through a wall for the program,
but that's a given. All new head man Bo Pelini needs to do is open his
door and he'll be flooded with them. It's getting the guys who'll make
the engine go that'll be the hard part.
Tommie Frazier was from Florida. Steve Taylor was from California.
Turner Gill was from Texas, and Irving Fryar and Mike Rozier were from
New Jersey. Nebraska has to be a place where a top talent can go and
believe he can be a superstar, and Pelini, eventually, should be able to
do that. But first, he'll work on the defense.
Nebraska will be instantly better with stronger coaching making the D
more aggressive, better at tackling, and leaner. Last year's group got
bigger, but it didn't improve. Offensively, there won't be as many
fireworks, but it should be a better running, even more efficient and
No, Nebraska isn't going to be a superpower overnight, but it shouldn't
take that much to get back to a bowl game. After all, last year's team,
as bad as it was, still went 5-7. Call this a stepping stone season, but
at least things in the Big Red world appear to be back on the right
What to watch for on
More power running. Marlon Lucky is one of the nation's best all-around
backs, and there's good speed and promise behind them. The line gets
four good starters returning to go along with a little bit of depth, so
while the passing game won't be abandoned, the offense will revolve
around the ground attack. It'll have to with a mediocre receiving corps
unlikely to scare anyone.
What to expect on defense: A tackle. The defense didn't exactly give
up as it was giving up 46 points per game over the final seven, but it
wasn't exactly effective. The talent in the back seven is down compared
to last year, but the coaching staff will make it more aggressive,
lighter, and faster, while the line should be far more productive with
all four starters returning and great depth.
This team will be much better if… the defense forces a
turnover. The offense gave it away 28 times, which wasn't all that bad,
but the defense came up with 11 takeaways. 11. Marshall, who forced
seven turnovers, was the only team to come up with fewer than the
Huskers. The Pelini-led defense should get off the bus and force more
than the three fumbles it cranked out last year.
The Schedule: The Pelini era kicks off with three winnable, but very, very
interesting non-conference games against Western Michigan, San Jose
State and New Mexico State. No Husker fan will expect anything less than
a 3-0 start, but that'll be tougher than is looks. There's a week off
before a killer three-game stretch of Virginia Tech, Missouri and at
Texas Tech. At Iowa State and home against Baylor will be relative
breathers before a second brutal three-game run (at Oklahoma, Kansas and
at Kansas State) to close out the string of eight games in eight weeks.
There's a week off before the Friday game against Colorado.
Best Offensive Player:
Marlon Lucky. Lucky went from being an oft-injured star prospect with
all the talent in the world, to a phenomenal all-around back who led the
team in receiving while running for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns.
He's not going to have to carry the entire workload with some decent
backups ready to take away carries, but he'll be the focal point of the
Best Defensive Player:
Barry Turner. While the defense was horrific, and the line was awful,
Turner came up with a decent year making 29 tackles with three sacks.
While that might not seem like much, the 6-3, 260-pounder has a non-stop
motor who forces offenses to adjust. Under the new coaching staff, he
could blow up and be a major-league star.
Key player to a successful season: The entire linebacking corps.
Steve Octavien, Bo Ruud, and Corey McKeon were supposed to form a talented, veteran corps that was going to be the backbone of Nebraska's
resurgence. The line didn't provide any help, but overall, the
linebackers stunk. No it'll be up to a less talented group, but with a
better scheme, to make big improvements. It's a patchwork corps with a
former running back (Cody Glenn), guy who was 270 pounds going into the
off-season and is now down to 238 (Phillip Dillard), and a total unknown
who had one good spring (Tyler Wortman).
The season will be a
... the Huskers win
eight games. That might seem like a low
goal, but for a team with so many problems, and in a league that'll be
as good as the Big 12 will be, just getting the head back above water
should be good enough for now. There can't be any mistakes in the
non-conference schedule before dealing with Virginia Tech, and there has
to be an upset (yeah, it would be an upset) over a Missouri or a Kansas
along the way.
Oct. 4 vs. Missouri. If
this really is going to be a turnaround year, and if Pelini really wants
to get the fan base jumping, then a win over Missouri in the Big 12
opener is a must. The road trip to Texas Tech won't be a plus, and
there's still a trip to Oklahoma and with Kansas and at Kansas State
still to deal with, the Huskers could use a big-time start to the
2007 Fun Stats:
yards per game: Opponents 232.2 – Nebraska 144.4
- Fumbles: Nebraska 19 (lost 11) – Opponents 15 (lost 3)
- Third down conversions: Opponents 91 of 181 (50%) – Nebraska 73 of