Friday, August 22, 2008

Game Day Just a Week Away

Via the OWH's Big Red Today, Husker LB Coach Mike Ekeler is amped about the beginning of the season, and said yesterday the beginning of game planning made the players feel like it was "Christmas" on Thursday. DC Carl Pelini, having come over from Ohio in the MAC conference, has some idea of the offensive scheme of first opponent Western Michigan, and says the Broncos are a fundamentally sound team that is good up front and very physical.

"Ekeler admitted that he’ll get more and more energetic as the next week progresses – which is almost hard to believe. The first-year coach is the loudest person in preseason camp. He can be heard across both practice fields that sit just outside the Hawks Center. He’s pumped even for the seemingly monotonous individual footwork and blocking drills at the beginning of practice."

On the injury front, it appears that the physical nature of fall camp has not resulted in any serious injuries, although soph CB Anthony Blue is likely to sit out the season as a redshirt due to lingering issues with his knee. On a positive note, apparent starting RT Javario Burkes has been practicing recently after being held out due to a blood pressure issue. Backup LB LaTravis Washington appears to have returned, and reserve DTs Terrence Moore and starter Ty Steinkuhler have also been practicing after missing a few days. Junior safety Major Culbert is recovering from an ankle sprain but should be ready to go, and DE Clayton Sievers, the only other Husker held out of yesterday's scrimmage, probably would have played if it had been gametime.

As far as redshirts go, it appears that there are at least four and possibly seven freshman who appear to be in line for playing time, primarily on the defensive side of the ball. WR Khiry Cooper appears to be in the mix as a return man on special teams, CB John Levorson in the secondary, TE Ben Cotton, and LB Will Compton, along with LB Sean Fsicher, CB Alonzo Dennard, and safety PJ Smith. Baker Steinkuhler? Coaches are keeping it tight to the vest so far, but I have to think that he's ready to play alongside brother Ty.

Some other players making an impact in camp so far: LG Ricky Henry (along with the rest of the O-line), the first four of the RB corps, QB Joe Ganz, WRs Menelik Holt, Curenski Guilleylen, Chris Brooks and Niles Paul, CB Anthony Murillo, safety Larry Asante, LBs Cody Glenn and Phil Dilliard, DE Barry Turner, and DT Ndamukong Suh.

I'm pretty sure that this coaching staff can get the guys to perform at much higher level than the previous one, and the schedule still looks pretty favorable to be undefeated (unless I'm hugely mistaken) when Mizzou comes to Lincoln on Oct. 4th.

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