With half of the Big Ten conducting spring games t..."/> With half of the Big Ten conducting spring games t..."/>

Nebraska Cornhuskers Spring Game


With half of the Big Ten conducting spring games this past weekend I thought that I’d take a look at new kids on the block the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska enters the Big Ten with personnel on both sides of the ball to compete for a Big Ten championship. With no dominate defense in the Big Ten Nebraska is poised to set the bar returning fourteen starters. Seven starters on offense and seven starters returning from a defense that ranked eighth in both total team defense and scoring defense. On defense, Eric Martin has moved from LB to DE and fans got a good look at DT Thad Randle. Both players combined for 3 tackles for losses, 2 forced fumbles & 1 fumble recovery. Jared Crick was out with a sore knee but it’s quite obvious the black shirts will be taking over where they left off last year. A season ago they were ranked 8th in both scoring defense and total team defense.

Special teams seemed to be in mid-season form with the likes of incoming True Freshman Jamal Turner from Sam Houston High School in Arlington Texas. This kid brings speed & versatile after being recruited as one of the top QB’s in this years recruiting class. This is a player that will be tough to match-up against. Teams can prepare for kickoff returns and punt returns but a team is never really ready for the speed of someone like Turner until he is running past you. The Big Ten struggled early on last year with giving up kickoff & punt returns. Having a player like Turner will be beneficial to Nebraska in it’s inaugural season. After last years less than stellar offense Nebraska could use any extra points Jamal Turner and the return game can give them. Between number one receiving option Brandon Kinnie’s 68 yard kickoff return and Turner’s two returns, one a 59 punt return the other a kickoff return of 54 yards, the return game promises to be explosive.

On offense with 66,000 plus in attendance to get a look at the newly installed “aggressive” & “attacking” offense. Head coach Bo Pelini had let it be known leading up to the game that the Huskers and first year OC Tim Beck would be running a very basic version of the new offense. With the offense holding true to Pelini’s word of, “a very basic version” we still don’t know exactly what the new offense is going to look like until the season starts. The new offense certainly wasn’t on display today…well atleast not until midway through the second quarter. Thats when red shirt freshman QB Brion Carnes came in for the white team and virtually did what none of the other three QBs could do and that was run the offense. A couple of things we are certain of when facing the Cornhusker offense is that an opposing defenses will have stop the run from the tailback position which was evident today. The run game was led by junior tailback Rex Burkhead who carried the ball 11 times for 91 yards in limited play. Defenses will also have to be focused on stopping the run from the quarterback position and the play action pass set-up from Nebraska’s run first mentality.

A few notes from the offensive side of the ball that really seemed to be apparent: Rex Burkhead is going to start right where he left off last year with his tailback versatility. The offense sputtered for the first twenty minutes of the game behind Red team’s QB Tyler Martinez & White team’s Cody Green. At one point there were more penalties than points on the scoreboard. Both Red and White teams struggled and managed less than 150 yards in the first quarter. Red shirt sophmore Tayler Martinez, QB for the red team, went 4-13 with one interception and no touchdown passes. Martinez is a very explosive scrambler but he stuggles mightly with his accuracy. The QB on the opposite side of the ball for the white team was Cody Green who went 4-10 with no interceptions and no touchdown passes either. The lone bright spot at the quarterback position was QB Brion Carnes. He seemed to be able to do what all the others could not do at his position and that was complete a pass. Carnes on the day finished with 11-15 for 173 yards with no interceptions and two TDs one for 39 yards and the other a 49 yard catch and run to Jamal Turner. Carnes also rushed for 49 yards on 9 carries. Could there be a quarterback controversy brew in Lincoln? If Carnes keeps playing like he did in the spring game it will be hard to avoid one. at one point Carnes led the white team to seventeen straight points and a 29-21 lead over the red team. He looked poised and ready to step-up if called upon. Last but not least by no means as mentioned before Jamal turner played lights out and looks ready to step in and possibly push for the starting wide receiver spot opposite 6’3″ Senior Brandon Kinnie, the spot vacated by Niles Paul. With 228 all purpose yards which included a 4 catch day for 93 yards and one touchdown its only a matter of time before Turner even as a freshman is on the field in some fashion. Who knows if Jamal Turner and Brion Carnes get on the field together this year it could mean one of more conference championship runs for the Huskers during the tandems tenure in Lincoln.

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