Friday, April 07, 2006

University of Nebraska Football Spring Outlook

Nebraska Football Spring Outlook

In the Rearview Mirror
Nebraska finished last season on a high note by beating Michigan in the Alamo Bowl, 32-28. The finished 2nd in the Big 12 behind Colorado with a 4-4 mark in conference play. It was the second year for head Coach Bill Callahan and first year for JUCO transfer QB Zac Taylor.

Looking to the Future
The Huskers are returning 16 starters from last years squad, 8 on offense, 7 on defense and a kicker. Zac Taylor will be in his second year leading the Husker offense and should have a great year. He broke most of the Nebraska passing records last year and should do it again this season. The Husker defense is returning 5 of the starting front seven and returning Husker players accounted for 34.5 of the NCAA best 50 sacks last year.

Biggest Questions for 2006
Offense: Offensive Line – NU returns two of the starters from last years unit, but the anchor, Kurt Mann will miss spring ball due to off-season shoulder surgery. He is expected to be ready for the regular season. However, NU must replace the right side of their line with the departure of Seppo Evwarye and Brandon Koch. The Huskers do have some experienced players that can step up into the starting role but will have to do so quickly with USC looming the third week of the season.
Defense: Secondary – The Huskers graduated both of their Safeties after last season. With three experienced CB’s look for one to switch to Safety during spring ball. They seem to be solid at cornerback but lack depth at Safety and in the Secondary in general. This is evident by the 5 scholarships given to DB’s in the ’06 recruiting class.
Special Teams: Punter – Nebraska will need to replace two-year starter Sam Koch who set the single season Nebraska record averaging 46.5 yards per punt. There are several candidates that will be fighting for the starting Punter position but it almost certainly will be a drop-off from last year.

Team Strength in 2006
Offense: Quarterback – Zac Taylor spent last spring trying to learn a new offense and fighting for the starting role. This year he enters spring ball as the #1 guy and can focus on getting better. He had an impressive first year, passing for 2,653 yards and throwing 19 TDs. He also had a 55.1% completion percentage. In ’05 he threw 12 picks and needs to cut down on those numbers.
Defense: The Front Seven – NU returns it’s linebacking corps in its entirety and both starting defensive ends. They lose the interior d-lineman but have some experienced players that should be able to step in right away. This group looks like the Blackshirts of yesteryear.
Special Teams: Place Kicker – NU returns Sophomore Jordon Congdon who after missing his first PAT attempt of the year, connected on 31 straight to finish the year. He connected on 19-23 field goals and will spend the spring focusing on extending his distance.

2006 Schedule
Sep 02 Louisiana Tech Memorial Stadium
Sep 09 Nicholls State Memorial Stadium
Sep 16 USC at Los Angeles, Calif.
Sep 23 Troy Memorial Stadium
Sep 30 Kansas Memorial Stadium
Oct 07 Iowa State at Ames, Iowa
Oct 14 Kansas State at Manhattan, Kan.
Oct 21 Texas Memorial Stadium
Oct 28 Oklahoma State at Stillwater, Okla.
Nov 04 Missouri Memorial Stadium
Nov 11 Texas A&M at College Station, Texas
Nov 24 Colorado Memorial Stadium

2006 is Successful if…
The Offensive line can reload after last years losses.

2006 is a Failure if…
They fail to find the right combination and depth in the Secondary

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