Nebraska football going with high-risk high-reward spring game format

National championship years on the stadium before the game between Nebraska football and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
National championship years on the stadium before the game between Nebraska football and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

The Nebraska football team has used a lot of different formats when it comes to the spring game, but Matt Rhule’s is being celebrated, despite the risk.

New Nebraska football head coach Matt Rhule has finally ended the guessing game over just how the Huskers’ spring game will go. During his final press conference before the spring game on Saturday, Rhule made it clear that the format will be to treat the scrimmage like they would any regular game.

"“I need to figure out which quarterback — or how many of the quarterbacks — can go move us in the fall. And the defense needs to figure out if they can tackle a mobile quarterback.”"

There will be no green jerseys. No two-hand touch to mark the quarterbacks down. They going to get hit and hit often. Mainly because he also said that the offense isn’t going to be running a “vanilla” offense for the same reason. Rhule wants to see if Jeff Sims is the real deal and if he’s indeed the top competitor for the starting job in the fall.

"“We’re going to run our plays on offense and defense. I certainly understand: Hey, maybe we’ll surprise Minnesota with something. But we gotta get good at playing football.”"

That means that the Nebraska football team is taking a high-risk, high-reward approach to this spring game. What are the risks?

Beyond the idea that the Huskers are going to show off their offense to the opposition, there’s also the fact that playing full go for four quarters increases the chance of somebody getting hurt. Obviously, the fact that the football team will be done practicing until August means that if it’s not a significant injury, the players will have more than enough time to recover.

But there’s a non-zero chance that someone quite crucial to Nebraska football’s hopes and dreams this fall could get hurt badly. That is, of course, the risk these teams take every time they step on the field. But it’s going to sting if it happens during a glorified practice. It has to be somewhat encouraging that no one has gotten hurt yet. Maybe the offseason conditioning and training program put in by the new staff is to thank for that. Maybe it’s luck. Here’s hoping the luck doesn’t run out.

I’m far less worried about showing Minnesota what Nebraska football is going to do in the fall, gameplan wise. First of all, I have a feeling things are still going to be plenty vanilla. It’s also not like PJ Fleck, and company aren’t going to be watching game film of Marcus Satterfield’s South Carolina offense already.

The reward for Nebraska football is both obvious and already stated by Rhule. He can see who is able to run his offense. Who is able to run his defense, and who might need to be looking around to make sure the guy behind him on the depth chart isn’t catching up to him.

Personally, I love the idea of getting a real look at what Nebraska football has planned this fall. But I reserve the right to regret it.