Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Big 12 Spring Football Review: Nebraska

I called in more back up with my Big 12 spring football review. Clark Foster from Big Red Husker Analysis was gracious enough to answer my questions concerning the Nebraska spring camp. Here are my five questions to Clark along with his answers. Thanks Clark!

What is the biggest question that Nebraska needs to answer this spring?

The biggest question mark this spring is probably the offensive line.
By the end of 2005, NU was playing two freshmen (Lydon Muthra and Matt Slauson) and a sophomore (Chris Patrick) at offensive tackle and they had both good and bad moments. Kurt Mann returns at center (but will miss the spring with injury), along with 10 game starter Greg Austin at guard. Nebraska will need all three offensive tackles to take the next step and stabilize the corners. They will also need help from injury redshirt Andy Christensen and newcomers Victory Haines and Jacob Hickman.

What will be the biggest position battle this spring?

The biggest position battle, or at least the most publicized, will be the battle for starting I-back (replacing the departed Cory Ross). Marlon Lucky, a 5 star recruit, was the backup last year as a freshman and showed great speed. Cody Glenn is a monster at 230lbs+ and was outstanding in a short yardage role as a freshman a year ago. They will be joined in battle by Leon Jackson, another sophomore to be, who was highly recruited and played just a little as a backup safety last season. Brandon Jackson, now a junior, showed flashes two years ago, and will also get a look.

Who is an unknown player that will emerge as a star this spring?

Unknown to the nation, but not to Husker fans, is outside linebacker
Steve Octavien. The juco broke his leg in the first half of the first game last season, but in that short period of time appeared to make every play on the field. After a string of seasons of solid, but unspectacular, linebacking, the Huskers have a star here.

What are the expectations of the fans for quarterback Zac Taylor?

Expectations are always high in Nebraska, especially for the starting quarterback. Taylor displayed toughness and moxie last season, playing behind a marginal offensive line. Husker Nation thinks the talent surrounding Taylor will be better this year and will be looking for Taylor, who completed 55% of his passes for 2653 yards (a school record) in 2005, to be even better.

Take away Zac Taylor, who will be the biggest star on the team?

Without question, Zac Taylor is the star of the team. Aside from him,
you have to look to defensive end Adam Carriker (by all accounts bigger, faster and stronger than last year) as the 'name' player of the team. Of course, a big start by whoever wins the I-back job will thrust that person into the limelight, particularly if it is Marlon Lucky.