The 2017 Nebraska football offseason is rife with questions about what Mike Riley can produce in his third year, leaders among the roster, Bob Diaco’s role and others.
Nebraska has reached a unique point in the Riley Era. The Husker head man now has a quarterback depth chart that doesn’t remotely resemble 2016’s.
The offensive line will have fresh faces and the defense itself will have a brand new look thanks to Riley’s new defensive coordinator hire.
Here are five storylines that Husker Nation will be keeping a close eye on as the offseason slogs by:
The Quarterback Battle Royale
Might as well address the obvious first. The shackles are finally off of Tulane transfer Tanner Lee and he can officially battle to take over the reins of the Nebraska offense. While he may have the inside track due to experience, redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien isn’t going to stand idly by and hand him the job.
Now that offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf doesn’t have to draw up gameplans to suit his quarterback on a game-by-game basis, the signal-callers will be putting pressure on themselves. Langsdorf will hand out the homework. From there, it will be up to Lee and O’Brien to determine how well they grade out.
While they study up on how many steps to take and what reads to make, they have a friend in wide receivers coach Keith Williams.
He’ll be working dutifully with what should yet again be one of the Big Ten’s most rigorously tested corps of receivers. Much like with Langsdorf and his charges, Williams now can work with the idea of traditional pro-style quarterbacks in mind.
Lee obviously has practice checking down reads in live action and O’Brien was molded in such a fashion through high school competition and a year in the system.