Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Nebraska Cornhuskers Non Conference Progress Report
Quarterbacks: The Huskers have gotten quality play out of the quarterback position through the first four games. Only one interception has been thrown by a Nebraska quarterback. Taylor Martinez got banged up after a loss to UCLA in week three. Last week against South Dakota State we saw the depth and talent the Huskers have at the quarterback position. Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. made his first career start and showed his dual threat ability with consistent play throughout. Ron Kellogg III also played well. Husker fans should be pleased with what the quarterbacks have brought to the table in this young season.
Grade: B +
Running Backs: The Husker running backs have been stellar. Junior Ameer Abdullah has been All-Big Ten material thus far with his consistent running. Sophomore Imani Cross has grown into more than just the goal line back he was a year ago. He has become a big contributor to the running game showcasing balance and strength to get extra yardage. True freshman Terrell Newby has come in and made an impact and has shown flashes of future greatness. Fumbles, however, have once again become an issue for this unit. Husker fans should be pleased with the overall production of the running backs thus far.
Grade: A –
Wide Receivers: The Huskers were thought to have the best group of wide receivers in the Big Ten. So far they haven’t disappointed. Both senior Quincy Enunwa and junior Kenny Bell have led the group once again and proven their value. Aside from those two there has been a little bit of production lacking. Guys like Jamal Turner haven’t shown their full potential. Husker fans should be happy overall but wanting more from the whole stable of wide receivers.
Tight Ends: The Huskers knew coming into the season that the tight end position wouldn’t have the same production it has over the past few years. In 2013 Nebraska has seen little production with the youth they have. With that being said, the tight ends haven’t been targeted much so we shouldn’t be surprised. Husker fans should want to see more involvement with the tight ends.
Offensive Line: The offensive line has performed well. They have helped the offense establish a great running attack. Each of the first four games have seen improvement from the group. Husker fans should be expecting a more dominating presence so the offense can continue its progression.
Defensive Backs: The secondary has been the best unit of the defense this season. Seniors Ciante Evans and Stanley Jean Baptiste both have made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks with a combined seven interceptions. Safety is a spot where there doesn’t look to be enough play makers. Junior Corey Cooper has become a solid tackler in open space, but very little production has come from the position. Husker fans should be enjoying all the interceptions but this unit is under-performing with all the experience it possesses.
Grade: C +
Linebackers: Before the season started the most experienced backer ,Trevor Roach, was injured. We knew coming in that this unit would be filled with youth and energy. We have seen those qualities this season with freshmen Josh Banderas and Nate Gerry. This unit is still learning to communicate and come together as a group. Husker fans should be happy with the effort out of these young guys, but should expect all of them to step up their game.
Grade: D +
Defensive Line: The defensive line has been a huge letdown. Aside from Avery Moss and Randy Gregory, the Huskers top two pass rushers this season, we haven’t seen the full potential of this group. The coaching staff is still looking for the right combination to give the d line the best chance to succeed. In college football if you can’t stop the run you won’t win many games. This group is essential in being able to do that.
Grade: D –