It’s spring in Husker Nation which can mean only one thing; optimism. The 2015 Nebraska football team had a disappointing season, finishing 6-7, but capped off the year winning three of their last four games including a comeback victory over UCLA (8-4) in the Foster Farms Bowl. The Huskers headed into winter conditioning with some much-needed optimism and a chance to continue the momentum into spring practices. Have the Husker coaches and players been able to turn that surge into a solid month of improved spring practices? All signs point to mostly! Has the energy turned this team into a Playoff Contender? Of course it has! So, Husker Nation, instead of the usual ‘Path to Victory’, here are my predictions and things to watch for the 2016 Nebraska Red/White Intrasquad Scrimmage Spring Game.
(Back-up) Quarterback Battle
Iknow, I know; Patrick O’Brien will be the first ever five-time Heisman Trophy winner and true freshman to be drafted #1 overall in the NFL draft. Leave your angry thoughts in the comments. Let’s just, for laughs, assume that Tommy Armstrong is the clear number one at quarterback. Who will make the move to take, or keep, the number two spot? Senior Ryker Fyfe has the experience in the program but Sophomore AJ Bush and Freshman O’Brien have drawn praise from coaches throughout spring. I’ll be curious to see who can limit their mistakes and separate themselves from the rest of the roster to back up Armstrong in the fall.
Spring Game Hero
Who will you be, oh probable third-stringer, to capture the imagination of Husker Nation through summer? What plays will you make that give the Nation hope beyond compare that you, only you, will lead the program to 3 straight national titles? Whose statue shall we imagine atop the South Stadium Wall of Fame this April? What name shall we struggle to recall once conference play begins? We’ll find out tomorrow.
Loss of the Mack
With probably starter Greg McMullen and definitely-not-backup Kevin Williams out for the spring game (and possibly forever) some young guns at defensive tackle will get a chance to shine. Senior Kevin Maurice has one spot locked up but younger players, including the redshirt freshman Davis twins, have been praised throughout camp. New defensive line coach John Parrella has expressed confidence in the talent but has said it’s not quite where it needs to be right now. Look for limited mistakes, especially penalties, for this young defensive line.
Especially procedure penalties where Nebraska helps out the opponent on needless pre-snap mistakes. These were a huge issue last season with the Huskers finishing 106th in the nation with over 7 penalties per game. Needless to say, Nebraska can’t shoot itself in the foot and expect to achieve its goals for the 2016 season. Keep an eye on the defensive line and the special teams units to see if the mistakes have improved.
Husker Offense in a landslide.
Have fun, Husker fans, when you watch the team take the field tomorrow. There will be some definitive things we’ll learn from the team but, remember, we’re talking about practice. Sit back, mindfully critique and have some fun. We’ll see you in the fall.