Gabe Ervin called a Nebraska football leader by EJ Barthel

Nebraska Football (Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska Football (Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /

Nebraska football running backs coach Gabe Ervin is showing that he can be a leader and not just for the starting job for the Huskers this year.

Nebraska football running backs coach EJ Barthel appeared on Sports Nightly on Tuesday evening and talked quite a bit about how he feels about the running back room heading into the 2023 season.

To no one’s surprise, the two players Barthel mentioned first were Gabe Ervin and Anthony Grant. One of those players is currently considered the top candidate to be the starter against Minnesota. However, it looks like a young up and comer is continuing to show that he can handle the job should a change be made.

Barthel said on Tuesday that Anthony Grant is still currently “the man” at the top of the depth chart. While Gabe Ervin might technically be #2 right now, he’s clearly continued to impress his coaches over the summer.

"“He’s an older player, but had to grow up pretty quickly this spring and now is kind of turning into a leader this offseason and even this summer. When he makes a mistake it’s about getting right back and correcting that mistake himself in front of the guys.”"

Berthel said that while he isn’t a “rah rah” buy, he’s seeing Ervin step up. He’s becoming a leader in the way he carries himself. Both in practicing and working on recovery.

Anthony Grant could be in for big things for Nebraska football in 2023

While Ervin got quite a bit of praise and has been billed as a leader, it’s clear that Barthel is also quite impressed by what Grant can offer if given the chance.

"“The one thing that we’ve been working on this offseason is teaching him the blocking schemes and teaching him the run schemes. As a running back, Pop Warner to high school and maybe even into some colleges, you usually rely on your athleticism or you rely on your speed and your power … but at this level you can’t win every battle that way. You have to have a really good understanding of where the ball is trying to insert, what we’re trying to do, what we’re trying to accomplish and here’s where you should be using your natural God-given abilities. And here’s where you need to use timing and patience and vision.”"

Nebraska football fans who watched Grant try to bounce a run outside when there was a hole in the middle of the line last year should absolutely be thrilled to hear Barthel’s comments. If the coaching staff has managed to get a running back who dashed for 915 yards and six touchdowns could have a much bigger season.