As we inch closer to the 2013 football season, we are examining the state of Nebraska Cornhuskers football. Today we focus on a few concerns the team has entering it’s third year in the Big Ten.
5 Concerns for Nebraska in 2013:
1) Inexperience on Defense:
To say that the Blackshirts will have plenty of new faces is not unexpected. All three starting linebackers from 2012 are gone. Two players have been shown the door by Coach Pelini for stupidity, and Chase Rome left the program. Many position battles are wide open with no clear frontrunner.
The defense struggled in 2012. It was downright awful against UCLA, Ohio State, and Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. The lack of game experience will come into play this year, but the unknown can be more frightening than needed. Last years recruiting class might be the best in Bo Pelini’s tenure as coach of The Huksers. We can only hope that the new faces will become playmakers for Nebraska in 2013.
2) The Offensive Line:
Spencer Long is getting plenty of preseason hype as being one of the best offensive lineman in the Big Ten. Outside of Long, the o line has a lot of question marks. Andrew Rodriguez has been a disappointment. Brent Qvale, Jeremiah Sirles, and Cole Pensick have been inconsistent. Offensive Line Coach Barney Cotton has been the most scrutinized coach by Husker faithful since he returned to the staff with Bo Pelini. Assistant John Garrison is expected to take a larger role with the line, while Cotton concentrates on the tight ends. With as much attention as the Husker offense is getting leading up to the season, the line needs to produce or all of the weapons available will mean nothing.
3) Tight Ends:
Losing Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton to graduation has left Nebraska very thin. Obviously the coaching staff knew this was coming, so they must have it under control, right? Jake Long looks to be the man off tackle, but who else will step up and fill in as the lockdown number two? A ton of youth at the position is concerning, and could be just as big of a factor as the offensive line itself.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers need to stop beating themselves with missed assignments and mistakes. Penalties always come at pivotal points in games, and personal fouls have to stop. Sure, there were a few calls last year that were bad calls, but a lot of them were simply horrible judgement by players. Both coaches and players should be held accountable, and before fall camp ends, this team needs to find the discipline needed to make this team what it truly could be.
We have all heard the stories from the glory years of the 1990′s and the days of the Unity Council in Lincoln. Players policing players both on and off the field. While bringing the council back is not going to happen, a philosophical shift is needed. It starts with head coach Bo Pelini and his outbursts on the sidelines. As the line from “Remember The Titans” goes, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” Pelini needs to lead by example. Don’t get me wrong, there are times a coach needs to get all over an official or one of his players. It just needs to be done in moderation.
When it comes to the players, having permanent captains should help this problem some. There needs to be leaders in the locker room and on the field. Players who will get in a teammates face and let them know what the expectations are. If Nebraska wants to make the next step in success, leadership needs to be addressed.
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