On a slightly less serious note -- pretty good analysis at Foxsports on the Big Red. I'll talk about the Blackshirts today, and review the offense tomorrow.
here's the article's take on the D:
"it's the defense that'll carry the Huskers to a big season. The front seven is loaded with talent, depth, and NFL prospects led by ends Adam Carriker and Jay Moore. Nebraska led the nation in sacks and tackles for loss, and should be among the best in the nation"
I heartily agree, the press has been talking a lot about the West Coast offense, Zac Taylor and who gets to tote the rock, but the key this season is stopping the other guys. Coach Coz has some real talent on this side of the ball, and we should be among the leading D's in the nation.
The line should be tremendous, with Carriker being touted already for All-American honors. Talented pass-rusher Barry Turner and Zach Potter backup the starting ends, with Ola Dagunduro, Ndamukong Suh, Barry Cryer and Ty Steinkuhler rotating at tackle, all of whom may have NFL potential. Fox gives us a 10 rating here.
Linebacking corps is talented and probably deeper than the front four. Five players return with starting experience, including leading tackler Corey McKeon, who totally filled in for graduated Husker legend (and school tackle record holder) Barret Ruud, who now plays on Sundays at Tampa. Barrett's younger brother Bo (All-Big 12, third in tackles last year) and last year's opening game injury victim Steve Octavian both return & duel for the spot at weakside, while Stew Bradley and Lance Bradenburgh return at SAM. Soph Phil Dillard backs up McKeon at Mike. Fox says 9, I say 10 here too. Any team in the nation would like to have our top six.
The secondary is the only real weakness on the D; fortunately, all the pressure the front seven exert should ovecome any deficiency in this area. The season-ending ACL injury to CB Zac Bowman was devastating; juco transfer Andre Jones has good size and is tremendously fast, but really has to step it up right away. Vertically challenged but tough, Courtney Grixby returns at the other CB while last year's starting CB Tierre Green (Ahman's cousin) moves to SS and Andrew Shanle takes over at FS. Titus Brothers plays nickel when 3 CBs are needed on the field. These guys are all uber-fast, but the jury's not yet out on the group, and depth has to be a huge concern. Another injury would be catastrophic. Fox says 6.5, I'll say 6 with the potential to be an 8 if the young guys develop quickly.
Special teams: Grixby and WR Terrence Nunn made big strides last year on punt returns, and Tierre Green and possible starting RB Marlon Lucky, both high octane blazers, returned kick-offs last year, so all should be in place for a great return game. Highly accurate Jordan Congdon handles the place-kicking duties and worked hard in the off season to extend his range, and has succeeded to the extent that he likely will kick-off, unlike last year, when uber-legged P Sam Koch handled those. The burning issue is how to replace Koch, the first punter taken in the NFL draft, and his 46 yard average. Dan Titchner and Tyler Kester duel for the duties, with the former having a slight edge for the job. Fox says 8 for special teams, I'll agree here too.