Nebraska’s season opener is just 3 days away. When the Huskers open up against Southern Miss. they will be in year two of Tim Beck’s offense. They will also have a third year starter in quarterback Taylor Martinez, and senior running back Rex Burkhead to complete a loaded backfield. Those are a couple names you may recognize. Here are five names you may not know a whole lot about that will see playing time on Saturday.
Imani Cross, Running Back #32
Gainsville, GA. running back Imani Cross comes to Lincoln at 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. He joins the Husker backfield with the intentions of taking the load off of Burkhead, and add a “big back” feel to the Husker offense. Head coach Bo Pelini said Cross brings a dimension to Nebraska’s offense that they haven’t had in a long time. It will be a look in to the future when Cross gets on the field. He is the future at the running back position for the next four years.
Justin Jackson, Center # 72
For the last three years Mike Caputo has been a staple at the center position. He has graduated and moved on from the Husker program. Going in to fall camp most people had center Cole Pensick penciled in as a starter. Former walk-on Justin Jackson’s leadership, and work ethic have paid off. Going in to the last week of fall practice Jackson is the clear cut center for the No. 1 offense. Pelini said as many centers will see time on Saturday as needed. So if Jackson struggles, Pensick may see time on the field Saturday.
Jordan Westerkamp, Wide Receiver #1
With an already loaded wide receiver corp in Lincoln, freshman wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp has caught the coaches eye. According to offensive coordinator Tim Beck, Westerkamp has yet to drop a pass in practice. It would be in Westerkamp’s best interest to redshirt this season. With production like we here Westerkamp is providing in practice, it may be hard to keep him off the field.
Mike Marrow, Fullback #19
Marrow is a redshirt junior who transferred to Nebraska from Alabama. He is 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. He and fellow fullback C.J. Zimmerer have been battling all fall for the starting spot at fullback. Marrow, has nudged ahead of Zimmerer according to reports. Marrow is a very well rounded back. He can block, run, and can catch out of the backfield. Beck said Marrow is athletic enough to see time at I-back as well.
Brent Qvale, Offensive Tackle #76
With the loss of Tyler Moore and Ryan Klachko this off season, it is up to redshirt juniors Brent Qvale, and Jeremiah Sirles to fill in at tackle. Andrew Rodriguez will be the starter at one of the tackle spots, and Qvale will be the other starter. It will be up to Sirles to rotate in and out to keep those guys fresh. Expect Qvale and Sirles to get equal playing time. Really the player to watch is whoever else comes in not named Rodriguez, Qvale, and Sirles. The coaches will need to develop a solid fourth option at tackle.
By Jimmie Allen
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