With the Nebraska football wide receiver room in a state of flux, there are a pair of guys who could get some unexpected playing time in the season opener.
Zavier Betts is gone again. Marcus Washington and Malachi Coleman are fighting through injuries. And suddenly two names have emerged as players that could see some serious playing time in the season opener against Minnesota.
This week, the Nebraska football coaches have talked a lot about how they are going to find playing time and production from a receiver room that suddenly doesn’t have a ton of experience. Billy Kemp IV is one veteran presence on the team. Marcus Washington is another, but it’s not clear how much or how hard he’s going to be able to practice and the game is just 16 days away.
It’s the lack of true veterans on the Nebraska football team that has led to two unexpected names to carry more weight recently. That’s why Alex Bullock and Ty Hahn are suddenly being talked about a bit more.
The two receivers are far from grizzled vets. They’re both sophomores who have appeared in a combined five games. Neither has a catch. Both saw action on special teams. And both are being talked about quite often as seeing the field quite against Minnesota.
Nebraska football veteran presences slim
One reason why it seems as though Hahn and Bullock could get quite a few offensive snaps on August 31 is because Rhule doesn’t sound like he’s very excited to have a bunch of freshman playing in the season opener. It’s hard to tell whether that’s genuine or being used as motivation for guys like Coleman, Demitriuis Bell, Brice Turner or Jaylen Lloyd.
There’s a ton of talent among the freshmen. It’s whether any of that talent is going to translate to a ton of snaps early in their careers.
“We’d love to have them play if they’re ready but the older guys know how to play,” Rhule said after Tuesday’s practice. “That first game, the team we’re playing, that’s going to be a grown-man game. They play real football. I told our older guys, ‘If you guys want to win, you better see a bunch of veteran players out there on special teams.’ You can’t subcontract out winning to young players.”
Hahn and Bullock barely qualify as “older guys” but they’ve been through seasons of college football. That might be enough for Rhule and company against the Gophers.