Nebraska Football: 5 Things We Learned About the Huskers This Spring
Fans had a lot of questions for Nebraska football before spring practice began. By the time the spring game had finished, many of those questions had been answered. Or answered enough for the time being.
Regardless, fans were able to learn a lot about this Huskers team thanks to spring practice. With a few months still to go until the season, some areas will now be less of a concern, while others will be under a microscope come fall.
So what exactly did fans see from Bo Pelini's team?
Here are five things we learned about the Huskers this spring.
Tommy Armstrong Is the Starting Quarterback
He's still not perfect, but he still has time to prepare. Regardless, Tommy Armstrong is the starting quarterback.
Unless something major happens between now and fall, Pelini has been clear Armstrong is his guy. During the spring game, he looked comfortable executing the zone read. Additionally, he seemed to be much more confident in his role than he was in 2013.
It doesn't hurt that Armstrong's team supports him fully.
"Tommy is focused; he's very mature," junior I-back Imani Cross said, per Lincoln's 1011 News. "He understands defenses and rotations. When you see it day in and day out, a guy putting your team in the right positions, you have that same confidence."
So the spring proved Armstrong is the No. 1 guy. The question that still remains is who will be next in line.
The Running Backs Are As Solid As Ever
Fans walked away from the spring game beyond impressed with the running game. The best part? Ameer Abdullah didn't even play.
Think about that. With how well Cross and Terrell Newby performed on their own, imagine adding Abdullah back into the mix. Everyone already knows what he's capable of. Cross and Newby just proved he's not alone.
By the end of the spring game, Cross has 100 yards on six carries and two touchdowns. That's not bad at all.
Needless to say, fans learned that Nebraska has a very potent weapon in the I-backs. Big Ten defenses will be very challenged to stop this group. As long as everyone stays healthy, Abdullah, Cross and Newby should be running all over the Big Ten this fall.
The Secondary Looks Much Better Than Last Year
It looks like moving Nathan Gerry from linebacker to safety was the right move. In his new position, Gerry looked much more comfortable. Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network summed Gerry up nicely:
Gerry turned heads as a true freshman last season in playing a key role as an undersized newcomer. But his dimensions, speed and athletic ability seem better served on the back end of a Nebraska defense that needs new starters at a cornerback and safety spot. The guy can hit and tackle.
Beyond that, Josh Mitchell is also showed a lot of confidence this spring. But that seemed to start well before practice with a very confident tweet.
But that type of confidence is great for this group. With senior safety Corey Cooper leading the way, this secondary looks to be much stronger in 2014. While fans didn't get to see Cooper play in the spring game, they know what he's capable of.
Between Gerry, Cooper and LeRoy Alexander, though, the Huskers showed they'll be in a much better place this next season over last.
Kicking Could Be a Bit Problematic
Nebraska fans aren't exactly used to worrying about the kickers. After several years of strong and consistent kickers, the spring game was a bit of a shock to the system.
Mauro Bondi, for instance, missed an extra point and hooked an 18-yard field-goal attempt. Spencer Lindsay also had a PAT blocked.
Pelini wasn't pleased. "[Bondi] had a chance to separate himself as the place-kicker and didn't do it," Pelini said, as reported by USA Today.
The good news is that Nebraska has a new kicker coming to the program. Pelini wasn't afraid to mention that after the spring game either.
"The bottom line with the guys we have right now, they are capable but none of them are consistent. So enter Drew Brown, so we’ll find out," Pelini said.
Will kicking be an issue come fall? It's hard to tell. But for the meantime, Husker fans didn't see much positive from the kickers during the spring.
The Offensive Line Is Inexperienced but Promising
The offensive line doesn't have a lot of experience, but that doesn't mean it's not filled with promise. That doesn't mean there isn't going to be some concern with this group.
After all, only three players on the offensive line have started for the Huskers. Beyond that, only left guard Jake Cotton has started more than three games, per the Lincoln Journal Star.
So after spring practice ended, it's clear there is still some work to do. Pelini will be busy working to shore up the offensive line. As of now, the biggest question is who will start at center. The job could go to Mark Pelini, but Ryne Reeves isn't off the list either.
Otherwise, fans saw Cotton emerge as the obvious leader of the group. And ESPN's Mitch Sherman even noted that Colorado-transfer Alex Lewis looks like he's bringing some much-needed attitude to the group.
Needless to say, what was learned from this group is that it still has work to do, but it's on the right path.
All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted.