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JUNE/JULY 2008 • VOLUME 28 • NO.

Columns
15 state of the huskers
Head coach Bo Pelini tours the state of Nebraska to visit fans.

117 from the beat


The Big 12 could play a major role in deciding who plays in the BCS
Championship.

120 final word The Nebraska football helmet is recognized throughout college
football. But the Husker helmets underwent a number of changes
before reaching its current look.

Special features
17 nebraska’s all-time greats
22 greatest walk-ons

29 father figure

32 Todd & Tyler

Position Breakdown 34 pride of the blackshirt

46 62
Quarterbacks Defensive Line
nebraska
38 Predictions On the Cover
40 season preview Running back Marlon Lucky,

50 66 44 Nebraska roster
photographed by Scott Bruhn, passed
on the NFL draft and has a new outlook
entering his senior season. He is featured
Running Backs Linebackers
on page 51 of this edition. This marks the

opposition first edition featuring the new cover design


for Huskers Illustrated Magazine.
84 Missouri

54 70
86 Kansas
88 Colorado
Wide Receivers Defensive 90 Kansas State
Backs 92 Iowa State
94 Oklahoma
96 Texas

58 74
98 Texas Tech
100 Oklahoma State
Offensive Line Kickers 102 Texas A&M
104 Baylor
108 Non-Conference

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1
From the Editor by aaron babcock
JUNE/JULY 2008 • VOLUME 28 • NO. 6

CHANGE
Editor,
General Manager
Aaron Babcock

IS IN THE AIR Contributing Editor


Mike Babcock

Contributing Writers

huskers, magazine Terry Douglass, Bob Hamar, Curt McKeever,


Steve Sipple, Brent Robinson, Brian Rosenthal,
sport new look Rick Shaw, Sean Stevens, Rivals.com

in 2008 Contributing Photographers


Scott Bruhn, NU Sports Information,
Randy Hampton, Digital Camera Workshop,
Rivals.com

Sports Marketing
& Advertising Director
Change can be scary. I’m glad to know that will not change. Tim Francis
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Going to Memorial Stadium over the past coming year and will introduce a number of new September through mid-December, except
four years has been like going to a stranger’s features, many at the request of our readers. open football dates. Single issue cost $3.95
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Reproduction or use of editorial or graphics
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Manager and Editor. Zach Potter, Todd Peterson, Tyler Wortman
acknowledged or returned unless accompanied
I am thrilled to be back in the midst and of course our annual predictions for the by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
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University of Nebraska sports information members (see page 38). unsolicited material.
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2MinuteDrill
SIDELINES

SEINFELD NERD
When he’s not studying video of
zack bowman opponent defenses, quarterback
Joe Ganz might be watching

Bowman tops NU draft picks


re-runs of the television comedy
series Seinfeld, his “favorite show of
all time. My mom got me started
on it,” he said. “I’ve been addicted to

S
oon after he arrived in 2005, early in selected in the sixth round, No. 197 overall, by
it. I’ve seen every episode probably
his first preseason of practice, Zack the New England Patriots.
20 times. It’s a sickness.” Among his
Bowman was asked if he planned to To put this year’s draft into a Nebraska
leave for the NFL after one season. perspective, the last time a Cornhusker wasn’t favorite episodes is the “Soup Nazi.”

Such were the expectations. selected until the fifth round or later was 1970,
Bowman had the size and speed (4.36) of when tight end Jim McFarland and middle
an NFL cornerback. He was a five-star, can’t- guard (drafted as a linebacker) Ken Geddes
miss prospect in former Cornhusker coach Bill were taken in the seventh round.
Callahan’s second and highest-ranked recruiting The 6-2, 200-pound Bowman almost
class. The question wasn’t whether he would certainly would have been drafted higher if not
play in the NFL; the question was when. for the injuries. His first was a torn anterior
Three years and two major knee surgeries cruciate ligament in his left knee on the third
later, Bowman has the opportunity as a fifth day of fall practice before what would have
HUSKERS PHONE HOME
round draft pick of the Chicago Bears. He was been his senior season. He rehabbed and came
Already a HuskersIllustrated.com
the first Cornhusker selected, No. 142 overall. back for practice in the spring, after looking
Offensive lineman Carl Nicks into the possibility of declaring for the draft. subscriber and want to get the
followed 22 picks later, going Even though he was held out of contact most out of your subscription?
to the New Orleans in the spring, he suffered a ruptured patellar If you are at the game or would
Saints. Before the tendon in his right knee, requiring more rather spend your weekend away
second day surgery and rehab. from the computer, text alerts
of the draft Bowman started four games last season, nine are a great way to quickly get any
ended, in his Cornhusker career after earning junior breaking news items surrounding
linebacker college All-America honors at New Mexico
Husker sports. They are free with
Bo Ruud’s Military Institute. He broke up 20 passes,
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name also including 14 as a junior, and intercepted three.
can upgrade to by clicking the Text
was called. Greg Gabriel, Bears director of college
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He was Continued on page 7
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surprised if his playing grades weren’t that of a
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second-rounder or better.”

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS HEAD COACH


carl nicks SEAN PAYTON ON CARL NICKS
AS QUOTED ON TEAM’S OFFICIAL WEB SITE

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2MinuteDrill
Khiry Cooper weighing options after MLB draft
S
cholarship recruit Khiry Cooper, a 6-2, 180-pound wide
carl crawford
receiver with 4.4 speed from Shreveport, La., was selected by
the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the fifth round (169th
pick overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft in early June. Cooper,
a center fielder, led Calvary Baptist Academy to a second consecutive
state championship. If Cooper doesn’t sign with the Angels, he’ll
play both football and baseball at Nebraska. He could sign with the
Angels and still play football for the Cornhuskers. Or he could sign and
focus on baseball. “I really don’t know right now,” he told the Omaha
(Neb.) World-Herald immediately after being drafted. “Each one is a
tremendous opportunity.”
Cooper is not the first Husker recruit to make such a decision. Carl
Crawford, an option quarterback from Houston, signed a letter of
intent with the Cornhuskers in 1999 but was selected by Tampa Bay in
the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft and decided to
sign and focus on baseball. He is a two-time all-star outfielder for the

Tampa Bay Rays/Skip Milos


Rays. Ross Pilkington, a wide receiver from Fort Collins, Colo., was a
Cornhusker scholarship recruit in 2000 but signed with the Colorado
Rockies as a 20th-round draft pick and spent two years in the Rockies’
farm system before returning to Nebraska. He earned letters in 2002,
2003 and 2004 (when he was a co-captain) before leaving the team.

Nicks, Ruud join Bowman among Husker draftees


Continued From page 4 The 6-5, 343-pound Nicks, who could play opportunity to follow his dad Tom and brother
scouting, was quoted on the team’s official guard with the Saints, might have the ability of Barrett as NFL linebackers. Tom, a first-round
Web site: “Bowman had a great combine. He’s a second-round draft pick, according to Saints pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1975, played five
100 percent recovered now. He just wasn’t 100 coach Sean Payton, who was quoted on the professional seasons, while Barrett was a
percent during the season. He’s ready to go.” team’s official Web site: “I don’t want to speak second-round pick in 2005 of the Tampa Bay
Writing on chicagotribune.com, David for other clubs, but I’d be surprised if his play- Buccaneers, for whom he now starts.
Haugh reported that Bears defensive ing grades weren’t that of a second-rounder or Bo started 33 of 46 games in which he
coordinator Bob Babich “raved” about better. There are some inconsistencies and there played during four seasons at Nebraska, earn-
Bowman, “a cornerback with first-round talent are some questions about why he didn’t play at ing first-team All-Big 12 recognition from the
limited by two knee injuries.” According to a high level more consistently. He’s a guy that conference coaches as a junior. His best season
Babich, Bowman probably wouldn’t step in as a has some maturing to do and is going to need statistically was as a sophomore, when he had
starter his rookie season but he would have an to take on some responsibilities.” 14 tackles-for-loss and 10 quarterback hurries.
impact on special teams and “provide depth at Nicks’ draft place was the highest for a He’ll be trying to earn a place on a New
one of the outside corner spots,” Haugh wrote. former Cornhusker offensive lineman since England team with four linebackers 30-years-
Nicks, like Bowman a junior college transfer, 2000, when Toniu Fonoti was selected in the old or older: Tedy Bruschi, Larry Izzo, Mike
earned second-team All-Big 12 recognition second round. However, the NFL’s all-time Vrabel and Adalius Thomas. A fifth, T.J.
from the conference coaches (AP honorable draft list includes Richie Incognito as a former Slaughter, was released soon after the draft. But
mention). He started 11 of 12 games at left Nebraska player – third round, 2005. the Patriots also drafted linebackers in the first
tackle, helping to clear the way for Marlon Ruud, who received a call from Patriots and third rounds, Tennessee’s Jerod Mayo and
Lucky to rush for 1,019 yards. head coach Bill Belichick on draft day, has an Michigan’s Shawn Crable.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 7
2MinuteDrill Maurice Purify

the outsiders
M
aurice Purify expected to be suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, he the draft but weren’t signed: Frantz Hardy
drafted. He wasn’t, even though completed 205-of-325 passes for 2,422 yards (Philadelphia Eagles), Brett Byford (New York
he had the credentials. In just two and 14 touchdowns. His completion percentage Jets), Tierre Green (Green Bay Packers), Corey
seasons at Nebraska he caught 91 (63.1) is a school record. He also holds the McKeon (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Lance
passes for 1,444 yards and nine touchdowns. school single-game record for completions, Brandenburgh (San Francisco 49ers).
He caught seven passes for 158 yards and three with 36 against Southern California. Like
Rivals.com All-Undrafted Team
touchdowns against Kansas last season, often Purify, he wasn’t drafted.
OFFENSE DEFENSE
with Jayhawks’ cornerback Aqib Talib covering Purify eventually signed as a free agent with
QB Paul Smith, Tulsa DE Bryan Mattison, Iowa
him. Talib was a first-round draft pick of the the Cincinnati Bengals. Keller attended tryout RB Yvenson Bernard, DT Eric Foster, Rutgers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 20th player selected. camps with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oregon State DE Darrell Robertson,
Purify showed he could compete with the best. Oakland Raiders, before signing with the Los RB Dantrell Savage, Georgia Tech
Oklahoma State LB Vince Hall,
And at 6-4 and 220 pounds, he has the size of an Angeles Avengers in the Arena Football League.
WR Davone Bess, Hawaii Virginia Tech
NFL receiver. But he also had off-field issues, or Purify and Keller weren’t alone in not being
WR Adarius Bowman, LB Erin Henderson,
at least the perception of issues according to his drafted. Rivals.com released an All-Undrafted Oklahoma State Maryland
agent. So he had to go the free agent route. Team, in fact, and the two Cornhuskers were TE Dorien Bryant, LB Ali Highsmith, LSU
Sam Keller also hoped to get drafted. When included among the “reserves.” Purdue LB J Leman, Illinois
OT Pedro Sosa, Rutgers CB Marcus Walker,
he transferred to Nebraska from Arizona Like Purify, former Cornhuskers Cortney
OT Eric Young, Tennessee Oklahoma
State, he was hailed by the media as a sure-fire Grixby and Steve Octavien signed free agent
OG Robert Felton, Arkansas CB Jonathan Zenon, LSU
NFL quarterback. Then-coach Bill Callahan contracts. Grixby signed with the Carolina OG Adam Kraus, Michigan S Marcus Griffin, Texas
reinforced that belief. Like Purify, Keller had Panthers, while Octavien signed with the C Fernando Velasco, S Jamie Silva,
pro-quarterback size, 6-4 and 230 pounds. Kansas City Chiefs. Several other former Georgia Boston College
K Art Carmody, Louisville P Brett Kern, Toledo
In nine starts as a Cornhusker, before Cornhuskers attended tryout camps following

8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
2MinuteDrill
NU’S RUN OF FIRST ROUNDERS
These things go in cycles, of course, and the
balance of power changes. But from 1979 through
NEBRASKA’S ALL-TIME
FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS
1937 – Sam Francis, B. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Philadelphia
SIDELINES
1998, Nebraska consistently produced first-round Lloyd Cardwell, B. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Detroit
Les McDonald, E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chicago
NFL draft picks. During that 20-year stretch, 19
1964 – Bob Brown, G . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Philadelphia
Cornhuskers were first-round selections. Lloyd Voss, T. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Green Bay
Three of those were in the 1984 draft. Irving 1972 – Jerry Tagge, QB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Green Bay
Fryar was the first player selected overall, Dean Jeff Kinney, RB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kansas City
Larry Jacobson, DT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New York Giants
Steinkuhler the second, while Mike Rozier was
1973 – Johnny Rodgers, WR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Diego
the first player picked in a supplemental round,
1974 – John Dutton, DT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baltimore
established in response to the short-lived United 1975 – Tom Ruud, LB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Buffalo
States Football League. 1979 – George Andrews, LB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Los Angeles Rams
BIG 12 BREAKDOWN
Rozier signed with the USFL’s Pittsburgh Kelvin Clark, OT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Denver
1980 – Junior Miller, TE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Atlanta The Big 12 produced only one first-
Maulers.
1982 – Jimmy Williams, LB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Detroit round pick in this year’s NFL draft,
Nebraska has produced only two first-round 1983 – Dave Rimington, C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cincinnati
Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib. He was
NFL draft picks since 1998, when Grant Wistrom 1984 – Irving Fryar, WR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New England
Dean Steinkuhler, OT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Houston the 20th player selected. The last Big
and Jason Peter were both first-rounders. Adam
Carriker was a first-round pick of the St. Louis (Supplemental) 12 player to be drafted was Kansas
Mike Rozier, RB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Houston
Rams a year ago, Fabian Washington of the State’s Rob Jackson. He was taken in
1987 – Danny Noonan, DT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dallas
Oakland Raiders in 2005. 1988 – Neil Smith, DT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kansas City the seventh round at No. 242.
The NFL draft was established in 1936. 1989 – Broderick Thomas, LB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tampa Bay Seven conference players followed
Nebraska has produced 31 first-round picks 1991 – Bruce Pickens, DB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Atlanta
Talib in the second round, with 29
Mike Croel, LB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Denver
beginning with Sam Francis, Lloyd Cardwell and being selected overall. Texas and
1992 – Johnny Mitchell, TE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New York Jets
Les McDonald in 1937. The 1936 Cornhuskers 1994 – Trev Alberts, OLB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Indianapolis Texas A&M each had five players
finished with a 7-2 record and No. 9 national 1996 – Lawrence Phillips, RB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . St. Louis drafted. Kansas and Oklahoma
ranking in the first Associated Press poll. 1997 – Michael Booker, CB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Atlanta
1998 – Grant Wistrom, DE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . St. Louis
had four apiece. No Texas Tech,
D.X. Bible coached the team. It was his last at
Jason Peter, DT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carolina Oklahoma State or Baylor players
Nebraska. Texas hired him away. 2005 – Fabian Washington, CB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oakland were drafted.
2007 – Adam Carriker, NT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . St. Louis
TRAINING CHANGEs TO FOOTBALL SPEED
EARLY OUT
New strength and conditioning
The Big 12 lost eight juniors in 2007 to
coach James Dobson has
the NFL draft, with Oklahoma taking
emphasized speed in the team’s
the biggest hit with three. Kansas and
workouts, according to offensive
Texas lost two players each.
tackle Lydon Murtha.
That’s in contrast to the past, ROUND 1
Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
when “it was more geared toward distance running,” No. 20, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
said Murtha. Dobson’s “philosophy is game speed
ROUND 2
and that’s what he wants. He doesn’t care if you Curtis Lofton, WR, Oklahoma
can run two miles. He also doesn’t care if you can No. 37, Atlanta Falcons
Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
run short sprints fast. He cares what you do on the
No. 51, Washington Redskins
football field. So all his workouts are geared toward Martellus Bennett, TE, Texas A&M
football, everything from our stretches to running to No. 61, Dallas Cowboys
conditioning.”
ADAM CARRIKER ROUND 3
Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas
No. 73, Kansas City Chiefs
CLASS IS IN SESSION Reggie Smith, CB, Oklahoma,
Coaching is teaching. Coach Bo Pelini is “always talking about the teaching progression,” No. 75, San Francisco 49ers
says linebackers coach Mike Ekeler. “That’s all we are; we’re just teachers. I call him a Jermichael Finley, TE, Texas
mad scientist. He’s just a professor, a professor of football.” Pelini’s emphasis on teaching, No. 91, Green Bay Packers
and on players getting an education, is based on his own experience. He was a three-time ROUND 4
Academic All-Big 10 honoree at Ohio State. His major was business marketing. He also has Anthony Collins, OT, Kansas
a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University. No. 112, Cincinnati Bengals

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 9
2MinuteDrill
SIDELINES

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON


Ty Steinkuhler hasn’t done
Barney cotton
many media interviews during his

‘Five heads are better than one’


time at Nebraska. Like his father
Dean, the 1983 Outland Trophy and
Lombardi Award winner, he’s not
Offensive line coach and associate head coach
PROPER PERSPECTIVE much on talking about himself. And
Barney Cotton had to do some adjusting during
Beau Davis is among by his own admission, he’s quiet. If
the spring. “For the last 20 years, I’ve been a
the Cornhusker seniors. That not for football, “I wouldn’t have any
coordinator,” he said. “My first job in Division II,
he is still in the program and friends, probably, the way I talk,” he
I was a coordinator. So it’s a little bit different. On
competing is a tribute to his said with a smile. “I’ve always been
the other hand, it’s probably going to help me be a
character, according to Senior
little bit more detailed as a position coach because quiet.” Not that quiet, though. “Naw,
Thomas Lawson. The two were roommates as
you’re worried about five guys rather than worried I’m sure I’d have friends,” he said. He
freshmen, when Davis was pulled from a redshirt
about all 50 guys (on offense), although I still catch also has a sense of humor.
to finish the fifth game of the season at Texas Tech.
myself looking at routes and tight ends and backs
He threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in the
and stuff like that.” Most recently, he was offensive ONE MORE THING, TY
70-10 loss. “To just be thrown out there and have a
coordinator at Iowa State (2004-06) after one Dean Steinkuhler, a 6-3, 270-pound
good attitude . . . it was messed up,” said Lawson.
season as offensive coordinator for Frank Solich at guard, scored Nebraska’s first
“The way he’s been approaching things the last four
Nebraska. touchdown in the 1984 Orange
years, that’s a lot of character. He’s really genuine
Cotton still wants to be “a big-picture guy,” Bowl game against Miami, running
in that, a good person.” He also understands “we
and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson allows 19 yards after picking up an
came here to go to school. I think that’s one thing
that. He has “ownership” in the offensive meeting
Beau took advantage of, ‘I’m going to get my intentional fumble. The play, known
room, Cotton said, as do running backs coach Tim
degree.’ ” Davis is a sociology major. as the “fumbleroosky,” was in coach
Beck, wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore and tight
Tom Osborne’s bag of tricks until the
ends coach Ron Brown. “Shawn’s good with that.
Bo wants that, too,” said Cotton. “Five heads are “From the outside looking in NCAA changed its rules to prevent
it. The last Cornhusker to run it was
better than one. I’ll tell you what, our GA (graduate
you don’t understand it. From Outland Trophy winner Will Shields
assistant Curt Baldus) has some ownership in the
room. It’s a comfortable, very workable situation in in 1992. Ty Steinkuhler has watched
the inside looking out you can’t
the offensive staff room.” his dad’s touchdown run “a hundred
explain it. Nebraska football’s times” and the 1984 Orange Bowl
OTHERS WHO RETURNED the culture here. They can
game beginning to end “probably 10
Matt Donahue, who transferred from Ohio times.” Osborne elected to attempt
University, will have company as a transfer redshirt laugh at us if they want. But a two-point conversion rather than
in the fall. Two other in-state athletes transferred after kicking an extra-point, which would
that’s the way we live.”
their freshman seasons elsewhere and participated have produced a tie and an almost-
in spring practice. Jim Ebke, an option quarterback Todd Peterson to certain national championship. Few
from Lincoln, transferred from South Dakota State, Sports Illustrated on what questioned Osborne’s decision to
and Tyler Legate, a fullback from Neligh, transferred football means to the state.
go for the victory then. What about
from South Dakota. Legate is a cousin of former
that, Ty? “They should have gone for
Cornhusker fullback Billy Legate (1995-98).
two,” he said.

1 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
2MinuteDrill
Helu came to Lincoln as a man on a mission
W
hat makes a high school athlete choose
one scholarship offer over another? In
the case of Roy Helu Jr., it’s not clear.
In part, Nebraska offered an opportunity to play
running back, while California recruited him as a
safety. But there was more to it than that. “I’ve lied
before and said it was the fans, I said it was facilities
and all that other stuff, but I really don’t know,” he
said. “I think it was just what God had planned for
me, and that’s probably to evangelize a lot of kids
over here.” He came to the realization late in his
freshman year that he had a responsibility to “talk to
kids about what God has done in my life and dreams
that are coming true.”

tackle this fall. He got an opportunity late last


DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
season, primarily on plays that required a pulling
Thomas Lawson was excited by the coaching
tackle. The 6-6, 275-pound Smith, who also has
change. “Coach Pelini and his staff, I wish they
worked at center, runs like a tight end, according
had been here my whole time,” he said. Even
to offensive line coach Barney Cotton. When
so, he won’t bad-mouth Bill Callahan. Quite the
he pulls, fans might notice No. 65 wiping out
contrary. “I love Coach Callahan,” Lawson said.
a defender. But as an offensive lineman, “you
“It wasn’t really him. I think it was the people
don’t get any glory at all. Basically, you have to
under him. Coach Pelini and the people under
do all the hard work in the trenches but nobody
him, Coach (Tim) Beck and Coach (Marvin)
knows your name,” said Smith.
Sanders, Coach ‘Ek’ (Mike Ekeler) and his
brother Carl (Pelini), they try to meet you on a
level plane. They don’t talk down to you. They
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Cornhusker scholarship recruit John
talk to you as a coach should. Coach Callahan
Levorson was named the Lincoln (Neb.)
helped keep me here as a walk-on. He was a good TAKING CHARGE
Journal Star boys Prep Athlete of the Year.
person. I just wish people would have seen that.” Phillip Dillard, a junior, was among
Levorson, whom Nebraska recruited as a
those who stepped up as leaders during the
defensive back, is from Crete, Neb. He was the
MILLARD NORTH ALUM spring. His position, middle linebacker, requires
honorary captain of the Journal Star Super-State
Mike Caputo must deal not only with it. On defense “you’re always working together,”
football team and excelled in basketball as well
the anonymity of an offensive lineman but he said. “But the MIKE (backer) has to speak the
as in track and field. The list of Journal Star
also with the anonymity of a walk-on. The loudest. If someone doesn’t hear the call, doesn’t
boys Prep Athlete of the Year award-winners
redshirted freshman from Millard North get the call, it’s your fault. It’s all on the MIKE
is replete with former Cornhusker football
established himself as the second-team center backer, no one else. That’s just the responsibility
players, among them Kurt Mann (2002),
in the spring, behind junior Jacob Hickman. you’ve got to have.” The Baltimore Ravens’
Barrett Ruud (2001), Matt Davison (1997) and
Caputo, who is listed at 6-1 and 270 pounds, is a Ray Lewis is his model. “I love watching Ray
Ahman Green (1995). Last year’s co-winners
“hard-working, coachable, blue-collar guy,” said Lewis,” he said.
are both at Nebraska now. Niles Paul saw
Cotton. The biggest adjustments Caputo had
action at wide receiver as a true freshman.
to make, Cotton joked, were playing with only IN THE TRENCHES
Matt Donahue transferred to Nebraska after
one hand down and not being able to wrap tape Sophomore Mike Smith came to Nebraska
seeing limited action, also as a wide receiver, at
around his helmet. Linemen have both hands expecting to be a defensive end. But he was
Ohio University. He’ll have to sit out the 2008
down in Millard North’s option offense, and the moved to the offensive line in the spring of his
season because of the transfer.
Mustangs wrap tape around their helmets. freshman year and will figure in the rotation at

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1 1
2MinuteDrill
RecruitingNotebook

david oku

Huskers pick up four more pledges


S
oon after wrapping up spring practice by Rick Shaw the 6-1, 215-pound Robinson out of Euless
drills, the Nebraska football coaching (Texas) Trinity, committed to the Huskers
staff directed its attention towards Though the Huskers were first to offer a sight unseen.
building the 2009 recruiting class. scholarship, the 6-1, 255-pound athlete out “Man, this is like a marriage to me,”
The Huskers added four pledges in the month of Galena Park (Texas) North Shore was Robinson said. “I’m not looking any more.
following the spring game, bringing the total also receiving heavy recruiting interest from All I’m worried about now is my grades,
number of known commitments to five. Texas A&M, Houston and others. North passing my classes and having a good season
Bo Pelini and his staff made strides in Shore coach David Aymond said he expects next year.”
building up the talent pool at the defensive Randall to do big things once he gets to Robinson was named first-team all-district
tackle position, gaining the commitment of Lincoln. as a junior, rushing for 886 yards and 17
talented Texan Thaddeus Randle in early “What the Nebraska coaches love about touchdowns and adding 226 yards and an
May. Randle became the second interior Thad is his pad level and leverage at defensive additional score on 16 receptions. With
defensive line pledge of the Nebraska class, tackle and the fact that he never stops moving 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, the
joining in-state standout Cole Pensick (6-2, his feet,” Aymond said. “That reminds them Texas running back has the size to get the
250 pounds) of Lincoln (Neb.) Northeast. of a young Glenn Dorsey. tough yards inside and the quickness to break
“I really like Nebraska because it’s a Big 12 “The fact that coach Pelini is a defensive- the big play.
school and because of their tradition,” Randle minded head coach makes Nebraska very “He really had a good spring, and college
said. “I was really surprised that they offered attractive. It will be great for Thad to learn coaches that have been down all wanted
me so quickly. They are really the perfect fit for from him.” to know who he was,” Trinity coach Steve
me. Coach Pelini is defensive-minded and he Nebraska also dipped into the Lone Star Lineweaver said. “He was on the sprint relay
can help me develop quickly. I plan on visiting state to land the May pledge of running team that went to regionals and has really
the school early this summer.” back Dontrayevous Robinson. Like Randle, good hands.”

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RecruitingNotebook
2MinuteDrill
SIDELINES
Scholarship offers from other schools had “You know, he felt really comfortable with the
already come in and more looked to be on the way coaching staff,” DeAntona said. “He liked how
before Robinson opted for Nebraska. New Mexico, he was able to interact with the players and the
Tulsa and Utah had also extended early offers and team. He liked what the players and the team
TCU was showing a great deal of interest. were saying about the coaching staff out there.
Shawn Bodtman traveled all the way from The players out there really made a big impact
Scranton, Pa., to be part of the 80,000 plus on Shawn with their comments on Bo Pelini and
crowd at the Nebraska spring game in April. Just the rest of the coaching staff. He just couldn’t see
days later, the 6-0, 205-pound linebacker out of a reason not to pull the trigger.”
West Scranton High School decided to formally C.J. Zimmerer, a 6-1, 215-pound fullback
join the Husker fold. out of Omaha (Neb.) Gross Catholic, was also
“It was amazing,” Bodtman said. “I mean quickly convinced that Nebraska was the best fit
people were telling me I was going to be blown for him. After grabbing a Husker offer in mid-
away, but I had no idea. When we got to the May, he committed just two days later.
stadium and walked in and I saw all those people “Growing up in Nebraska, I’ve always been POSITION SWITCHING
there at the spring game, sold out, it was just a Husker fan and it’s always been a dream to Sophomore Latravis
play with that ‘N’ on the side of my helmet,” Washington played quarterback

“Growing up in Nebraska, I’ve always Zimmerer said. “Their facilities are amazing and
I really like the coaching staff there now. I think
in high school in Bradenton, Fla. Ohio
State, West Virginia, South Florida
been a Husker fan and it’s always been they’re headed toward the right direction.” and Central Florida were among
The athlete out of Omaha rushed for 701 the schools that recruited him as a
a dream to play with that ‘N’ on the
yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior, earning
quarterback. But he picked Nebraska,
side of my helmet.” first-team Class B all-state honors. He also added
expecting to play defense – just not
123 tackles and five sacks from his linebacker
weakside linebacker. Before coming
c.j. zimmerer - nebraska slot on defense. It’s on the offensive side of the
to Lincoln, he worked with his
commit from omaha gross ball, however, where Zimmerer will focus his
cousin Fabian Washington, a former
attention in Lincoln.
Cornhusker and first-round NFL draft
incredible. Just the people there are amazing. “They were recruiting him as a fullback the
pick, on defensive back techniques,
“I got a really good feeling from the players,” whole time,” Gross coach Tim Johnk said.
he said. “They all said the same thing, that it’s “They liked his physical play on film, they liked figuring he would be a safety. He

like the greatest thing to play for Nebraska. They his blocking ability, and they liked how he can spent one practice at safety and was
love the coaches, and they love the fans. They catch the ball out of the backfield. Really, they moved to linebacker.
really are dedicated to their program.” liked everything about him.
The two-way prospect ran the ball for West “This is a big deal for our school and our BACK AT SAFETY
Scranton as a junior, rushing for more than program. We are all proud of C.J. and he’s The arrival of Bo Pelini and staff has
1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also tallied worked hard for everything he’s gotten.” given Major Culbert a new lease on
98 tackles on defense, picking up all-region and With approximately 20 percent of football life. He returned to safety in
all-conference honors. its recruiting class already in place, the the spring, the position he planned
Bodtman utilized good athleticism Nebraska staff was looking to add a few more to play when he committed to the
(4.58-second 40-yard dash) and an aggressive commitments during its summer camp sessions Cornhuskers. He played safety his
demeanor on the field to earn the early in June. Prospects like Omaha Creighton Prep first season but was moved to I-back
recruiting interest of a trio of Division I offensive lineman Jon Lechner, who currently because of injuries there. And he
programs. In addition to the Huskers, Syracuse holds a Husker offer, will be in attendance.
finished last season playing outside
and Army also extended scholarship offers to “I’m real excited about getting the Nebraska
linebacker. “He’s a real good kid,” de-
the Pennsylvania standout. offer,” Lechner said. “Coach (Barney) Cotton
fensive backs coach Marvin Sanders
“I’m known for being a tough player,” seems very high on me and I’m excited to get the
said. “He talks team first. I told him,
Bodtman said. “I’m real hard-nosed and I’m real chance to work with him at camp in June.”
‘Do you feel good at safety? He says,
durable.” Nebraska hopes to continue to build on the
‘Coach, I want to play. I want to play
West Scranton coach Michael DeAntona said, recruiting momentum that was kick-started with
wherever I can help the team.’ He’s a
from talking with his star linebacker, the comfort the hiring of Pelini and a new staff and ratcheted
level with the Nebraska program was evident. up by a nation leading spring game attendance. total team player.”

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1 3
RecruitingNotebook
Nebraska continues search for big back
W
hile Nebraska has received NU on his short list. The four-star prospect
by Sean Stevens
an oral commitment from sports offers from schools such as Auburn,
its targeted “big back” in ruthless, I feel like they’re going to get back Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Penn State, and
Dontrayevous Robinson and to that kind of style of football,” Oku said. Wisconsin.
a fullback in C.J. Zimmerer, Cornhusker He plans to visit Lincoln in the near He was unable to make it to NU’s spring
coaches remain in pursuit of a multi-faceted future. game due to a scheduling conflict, however he
back to both tote the rock and swing out of Another speedster from the Southwest did visit Lincoln in March and enjoyed the trip.
the backfield into the passing game. Three is Rex Burkhead (5-11/191/4.5) of Plano, “Oh, it went really good,” Wegher
prospects are currently at the top of their list. Texas. Burkhead is being courted by schools said. “We met with the whole coaching
David Oku (5-10/186/4.49) of Midwest in the SEC, Big 12, and Pac 10. He visited staff from the trainer to the strength and
City, Okla. is among that group. The Lincoln for the Red-White spring game. conditioning coach, to the running backs
nation’s top all-purpose back according to “Nebraska was awesome,” Burkhead coach, and Coach (Marvin) Sanders the
Rivals.com, Oku rushed for 1,628 yards on said. “A big crowd for the spring game… defensive backs coach.
182 carries and 20 touchdowns as a junior. everything was amazing up there, facilities, “We also met with Coach (Bo) Pelini, and
That followed up his sophomore year when coaches, people, all of it.” we met with Coach (Tom) Osborne, too.”
he topped 1,400 yards and had 19 scores. Burkhead, who followed up a sophomore Although he rushed for over 2,700 yards
Oku currently holds scholarship offers year where he was District 9-5A offensive and 34 touchdowns as a junior, Wegher can
from around the country but recently newcomer of the year with 1,768 yards play multiple positions.
narrowed his list of schools under rushing and 29 touchdowns as a junior, is in “They said they were projecting me to
consideration to seven and then to six, no hurry to make a decision. either running back, slot receiver, outside
eliminating USC. The Huskers made the “Right now, I want to still see what comes receiver, defensive back or safety,” he said.
cut, along with Florida State, Illinois, my way and try to start narrowing things “My position’s always been running back.
Michigan, Ohio State, and Tennessee. down,” he said. “It’s kind of open. I never That’s always been my main position, but
“I feel like with Coach Bo (Pelini) back had a favorite college team growing up.” I’m also willing to go play wherever I’d
and the AD (Tom Osborne) back, who was Sioux City, Iowa all-purpose back get on the field soonest or where a college
the coach when Nebraska was down right Brandon Wegher (5-11/190/4.42) also has program believes my best position will be.”

Husker 2008 Scholarship Recruits


Name, Position Ht. Wt. Hometown Name, Position Ht. Wt. Hometown
Antonio Bell, WR 6-2 180 Daytona Beach, Fla. Steven Osborne, WR 6-4 185 Garland, Texas
Will Compton, LB 6-2 230 Bonne Terre, Mo. Kyler Reed, HB 6-3 220 Shawnee, Kan.
Khiry Cooper, WR 6-2 180 Shreveport, La. Justin Rogers, DB 5-11 180 Birmingham, Ala.
Ben Cotton, TE 6-6 230 Ames, Iowa P.J. Smith, DB 6-2 205 River Ridge, La.
Alfonzo Dennard, DB 5-10 190 Rochelle, Ga. #Kody Spano, QB 6-2 205 Stephenville, Texas
Sean Fisher, LB 6-6 225 Omaha, Neb. Baker Steinkuhler, OL 6-6 290 Lincoln, Neb.
David Grant, OL 6-6 295 Killeen, Texas Brandon Thompson, OL 6-6 295 The Woodlands, Texas
*Ricky Henry, OL 6-4 305 Omaha, Neb. Quentin Toailoa, DL 6-4 300 Highland, Calif.
*#Tyson Hetzer, TE 6-6 245 Redding, Calif. Mason Wald, DB 5-11 205 Birmingham, Ala.
Micah Kreikemeier, LB 6-3 210 West Point, Neb. Lester Ward, RB 6-3 215 Brenham, Texas
John Levorson, DB 6-3 190 Crete, Neb. Alonzo Whaley, LB/FB 6-1 225 Madisonville, Texas
Tim Marlowe, WR 5-10 160 Youngstown, Ohio David Whitmore, DB 6-2 185 Port Arthur, Texas
Cameron Meredith, DL 6-4 225 Santa Ana, Calif. Josh Williams, DL 6-4 225 Denton, Texas
Collins Okafor, RB 6-1 195 Omaha, Neb.
Courtney Osborne, ATH 6-3 175 Garland, Texas *junior college transfer #mid-year signee

1 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
StateoftheHuskers by terry douglass

Pelini Humbled to be Home


I
n the months since being named years that I’ve been coaching is this: It’s about Nebraska’s football program is going to be a
Nebraska’s head football coach, Bo the people.” process.
Pelini certainly hasn’t been a stranger to Osborne, who fired former coach Bill “Things don’t happen overnight and there
Cornhusker fans. Callahan after Nebraska’s 5-7 season in 2007, are no quick fixes in life,” Pelini said. “You have
Not only has Pelini taken on numerous said the fiery Pelini and his strong defensive to build a foundation, you have to do things
speaking engagements in the Lincoln and Omaha resume simply seemed like the right man at the the right way, you have to get everybody on the
areas, but he’s also visited several less-populated right time for the program. same page, you have to develop relationships,
areas. His trips have taken him from South Sioux In visiting with coaches and players who had you have to build trust, you have to develop
City to Mullen, connecting with members of associated with Pelini in the past, Osborne said accountability in all areas, and that takes time.”
Husker Nation all along the way. he failed to find anyone with a negative opinion However, Pelini said he’s encouraged that
On several occasions, Pelini has brought his of Pelini. A winner of 255 games and three things are already headed in the right direction.
entire coaching staff with him to the meet-and- national titles during his 25-year head coaching He said he’s been impressed with the players
greet events, including a late February stop for career, Osborne said he liked Pelini’s ability to the Huskers already have in the program and is
the Central Nebraska Big Red Luncheon in the communicate, motivate and the way Pelini’s excited about the program’s new recruiting class,
Heartland Events Center. In Grand Island Pelini defenses have had a knack for creating turnovers. which includes 30 walk-on players.
re-emphasized many of the points he made The low-key Osborne said he also likes “It’s a tremendous group of young men with
the day he was named as the Huskers head Pelini’s passion. high character and a lot of talent,” Pelini said.
coach, speaking to a crowd of more than 1,100, “That was a problem throughout my “Our job is to develop that talent.”
including Athletics Director Tom Osborne. coaching career,” Osborne said. “I was Pelini thinks he has the coaching staff to do
Pelini has told fans repeatedly that he’s presumed to be too bland, too nice and wouldn’t just that.
“humbled” by the opportunity to be the head be able to win the big one, but we’ve got a guy “They’re not only good football coaches we’re
coach at Nebraska. The 40-year-old Youngstown, now who won’t be too bland and too nice. going to be on the cutting edge X- and O-wise,
Ohio, native also said he considers his job a “We have rectified that problem.” but they are men of great character, they’re great
tremendous responsibility and that he’s here to Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler, communicators and great teachers,” Pelini said.
serve the football program, his players and the who worked with Pelini at LSU, said he has no “At the end of the day, our players are going to
people of this state. doubt that the Husker players will soon take on know that we care about them.”
“When Coach the personality of their new head coach. Pelini has been very open about his
Osborne presented this “There’s not a more fierce competitor in the expectations for a winning culture he plans to
opportunity to me sport,” Ekeler said. “You want to talk about build at Nebraska. The main objective for the
and we talked about somebody who hates to lose, hate isn’t the right Huskers? Do things the right way in every aspect
it, it became obvious word. That man despises it.” of life and be accountable for everything, from
that this was where With Nebraska having suffered through the minute they wake up in the morning until
I needed to be and two losing seasons in the past four years under they go to sleep each night.
this was where my Callahan, Pelini has told fans that he wants the “Everything counts,” Pelini said. “You can’t
family needed to be,” program to return to its roots. let one part of your life slip and expect to make
Pelini said. “Because “I heard somebody talking about the new up for it later in the day. We’re not just preparing
what I’ve learned tradition, and I don’t believe that,” Pelini them to win on Saturday afternoon, we’re
over the said. “I believe it’s back to preparing them for life after football as well
THE tradition that’s the because it all goes hand in hand.”
old tradition. As for the upcoming season, Pelini has
“There’s nothing new typically said that he’s not one to make
that I’m bringing here. predictions in terms of wins and losses.
I want to lean on what However, he has promised Nebraska fans one
this place has been thing they can count on this fall.
built on for a long “When our team takes the field, you’re going
time.” to have a group of men out there who will go out
Throughout there and play with their hearts, and they’re going
his travels around to play with passion,” Pelini said. “That’s what
the state, Pelini has football is all about, and how that translates into
stressed that rebuilding wins and losses, that will take care of itself.”

J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1 5
1 6 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
5 All-Time Greats
at each position (POst-devaney era)

Naming Husker greats no easy task


B
o Pelini’s coaching philosophy football’s modern tradition. Players went both important to Nebraska’s rich tradition.
involves eliminating the gray, ways until the NCAA changed its rules to allow Finally, many deserving players aren’t
teaching concepts that are clearly for two platoons in 1964. The game also was mentioned. Only five are included at each
understood, black and white. In this different in 1974, 1984, 1994 and 2004. position and not only can their order be
case, however, gray is the order of the day. In addition, football is played 11 on a side. debated but also their inclusion over others.
There is no black and white with such lists, no So the accomplishments of individual players For example, does Roger Craig belong in the
certainty in ranking players. are influenced by those around them. A team’s top five I-backs? Even though he was slowed by
The game evolves as do athletes, making quality affects how those on it are perceived. injuries his senior season, his enthusiasm and
definitive comparisons impossible. A few players These rankings include those who played at selflessness made him the definitive Husker. If
mentioned here went both ways, offense and least one season for Devaney and after, so you he is to be included, however, which of the five
defense. The game was much different in the won’t find those such as Tom Novak, Bobby should be replaced?
early 1960s when Bob Devaney arrived from Reynolds, Ed Weir and Guy Chamberlin on There are no right or wrong answers, no
Wyoming to lay the foundation for Cornhusker any of the lists, even though they’re just as black and white, only gray.

Quarterback Fullback
Tommie Frazier . . . . . . . . . . . (1992-95) Joel Makovicka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1995-98)
Turner Gill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1981-83) Andra Franklin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1977-80)
Eric Crouch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1998-01)
Tom Rathman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1983-85)
Jerry Tagge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1969-71)
Dan Schneiss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1968-70)
Scott Frost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1996-97)
Often overlooked: Bill Thornton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1960-62)
Dennis Claridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1961-63) Often overlooked:
Dick Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1966-68)
Arguing with Frazier’s inclusion at the top rated him among college football’s 10 greatest
of the list is difficult. He was a consensus All- players. Beyond the awards, however, he was The top three could be in any order here. Makovicka
American and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm the definitive quarterback in Tom Osborne’s gets the nod. He still holds the school career record for
Award winner in 1995, and he finished second option offense, in a progression that began with touchdowns by a fullback with 13 and he’s third in school
in voting for the Heisman Trophy. He also was Gill and culminated in back-to-back national history among fullbacks in rushing yards with 1,447.
the United Press International “Player of the championships. He was 33-3 as a starter. Don’t Franklin tops the list with 1,738 yards. Makovicka was
Year” and a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Forget: Dennis Claridge was a key factor in the starter on the 1997 national championship team and
Award and Maxwell Trophy. Sport magazine Nebraska’s dramatic turnaround under Devaney. was named to the Sports Illustrated All-Walk-on Team
that season. He earned All-Big 12 honorable mention
from the conference coaches twice and was a co-captain

Runningback
as a senior. He also was a two-time, first-team Academic
All-American and a National Football Foundation and
College Hall of Fame Postgraduate Scholarship winner,
Mike Rozier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1981-83) the definitive student-athlete. Don’t Forget: Dick Davis is
Lawrence Phillips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1993-95) second among Husker fullbacks in career-rushing yards
Ahman Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1995-97) with 1,477.
Calvin Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1991-93)
Jarvis Redwine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1979-80)
Often overlooked:
Ken Clark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1987-89)

Like Frazier, Rozier belongs at the top of and Maxwell Award in 1983 as well as being
the list. He remains Nebraska’s career-rushing the Walter Camp Player of the Year. He also
leader with 4,780 yards in three seasons. He was a two-time Big Eight Offensive Player of
was the second player in NCAA history to the Year. He was durable and tough, playing
rush for 2,000 yards in a season, gaining 2,148 on teams that were national championship
in 1983. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry that contenders. He is a member of the College
season and 7.2 yards per carry for his career. He Football Hall of Fame. Don’t Forget: During
was a two-time consensus All-American (once his final two seasons, Ken Clark rushed for 2,693
unanimous). He won the Heisman Trophy yards and 24 touchdowns.

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5 All-Time
Greats

Wide Receiver Tight End


Johnny Rodgers . . . . . . . . . . (1970-72) Junior Miller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1977-79)
Irving Fryar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1981-83) Todd Millikan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1985-88)
Maurice Purify . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2006-07) Johnny Mitchell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1990-91)
Terrence Nunn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2004-07) Jamie Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1979-82)
Matt Davison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1997-00) Tracey Wistrom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1998-01)
Often overlooked: Often overlooked:
Freeman White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1963-65) Jerry List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1970-72)
No dispute here. Nebraska’s first Heisman ineligible for varsity competition when he At 6-4 and 242 pounds, Miller was a physical presence.
Trophy winner was the difference-maker in played, limiting him to three seasons, in Former Kansas State coach Jim Dickey once remarked,
back-to-back national championships. The which he caught 143 passes for 2,479 yards “If that’s ‘Junior’ Miller, I’d hate to see ‘Senior’ Miller.”
Cornhuskers were a combined 32-2-2 during and 25 touchdowns. Also, his records did Dickey had a way with words, and tremendous respect
his career. He was first-team All-Big Eight not include bowl game statistics, a book- for Miller, a consensus All-American in 1979, when he
in each of his seasons and a consensus keeping procedure that was changed by caught 23 passes for 435 yards and seven touchdowns.
All-American his last two, including a the NCAA in 2001. Don’t Forget: Freeman He was a two-year starter and two-time, first-team All-
unanimous selection as a senior. He set White played on teams that were a combined Big Eight selection, and when he finished his career, he
41 school records, seven Big Eight records 29-4, and he earned consensus All-America held all of the school receiving records for tight ends.
and four NCAA records. Freshmen were recognition as a senior. Millikan wasn’t as physically imposing as Miller, but he
was a remarkably efficient receiver. He caught 40 passes

Offensive Guard during his career, 14 for touchdowns. List was the best
during the Devaney era, starting on back-to-back nation-
al championship teams.
Aaron Taylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1994-97)
Dean Steinkuhler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1981-83)
Will Shields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1989-92)
Bob Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1961-63)
Brendan Stai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1991-94)
Offensive Tackle
Zach Wiegert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1991-94)
Often overlooked:
Bob Newton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1969-70)
LaVerne Allers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1964-66)
Kelvin Clark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1976-78)
The top five here could be arranged in 1997. He also was a semifinalist for the Daryl White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1971-73)
just about any order. Taylor, whom most Lombardi Award. He played on three national Larry Kramer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1962-64)
schools considered too short for a lineman, championship teams, including two as a Often overlooked:
is the only player in school history to earn starter, and the Cornhuskers were a combined Eric Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1994-97)
All-America honors at two positions, center 49-2 during his career. He was a co-captain on
as a junior (consensus), stepping in for the the 1997 national championship team. Don’t Wiegert is among only six Cornhusker linemen (20
departed Aaron Graham, and guard as a Forget: LaVerne Allers was a consensus All- Cornhuskers overall) to earn first-team all-conference
senior (unanimous). American as a senior and played for teams recognition in three consecutive seasons. He was a
He was first-team all-conference three that won three Big Eight championships, with second-team All-American in 1993 and a consensus
times and the Outland Trophy winner in a combined record of 28-5. first-team All-American in 1994, when he won the
Outland Trophy. Nebraska led the nation in rushing
that season, and, of course, won Tom Osborne’s first

Center national championship. Wiegert also was the United


Press International Lineman of the Year. He finished
ninth in voting for the Heisman Trophy. And he was
Dave Rimington . . . . . . . . . . . (1979-82)
a finalist for the Lombardi Award. During his three
Dominic Raiola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1998-00)
seasons as the starting right tackle, he allowed only one
Rik Bonness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1973-75)
quarterback sack. Don’t Forget: Eric Anderson was a
Jake Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1986-89)
three-year starter, earning first-team all-conference
Mark Traynowicz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1982-84)
recognition twice and third-team All-America honors
Often overlooked:
on the 1997 national championship team.
Aaron Graham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1992-95)

Rimington is the most-decorated offensive a lineman was so honored. Teammate Mike


lineman in college football history, much Rozier was the conference offensive player
less Cornhusker history. He was a two-time, of the year when he was a senior. Rimington
unanimous All-American, the only two-time also was a two-time, first-team Academic All-
Outland Trophy winner in history and the American. He has been inducted into both
Lombardi Award winner in 1982. He was the College Football Hall of Fame and the
first-team All-Big Eight three times and the Academic All-American Hall of Fame. Don’t
conference Offensive Player of the Year as Forget: Aaron Graham was the starter on the
a junior, the only time in conference history 1994 and 1995 national championship teams.

1 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
5 All-Time
Greats

Defensive Tackle Linebacker


Jason Peter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1994-97) Jerry Murtaugh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1968-70)
Larry Jacobson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1969-71) Marc Munford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1984-86)
John Dutton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1971-73) Barrett Ruud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2001-04)
Walt Barnes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1963-65) Ed Stewart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1991-94)
Neil Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1985-87) Steve Damkroger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1979-82)
Often overlooked: Often overlooked:
Jim Skow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1983-85) Clete Pillen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1974-76)
It’s a toss-up between Peter and after both had given serious consideration to
Ruud has replaced Murtaugh as Nebraska’s career
Jacobson. Both were starters on two national leaving for the NFL following the 1996 season.
leader in tackles. But Murtaugh, whose reputation for
championship teams. Peter played sparingly Jacobson won Nebraska’s first Outland Trophy
toughness is legendary, remains the definitive Cornhusker
as a redshirted freshman in 1994, but he was as a senior on the 1971 national championship
linebacker. He was credited with 142 tackles in 1970 and
a key contributor in 1995 and 1997, when he team. He also won the Knute Rockne Award
earned All-America recognition from the Walter Camp
was a co-captain. He was overshadowed to as the nation’s outstanding lineman. Don’t
Foundation and the Associated Press. He was a two-time
some extent by teammate Grant Wistrom, but Forget: After starting only three games his
earned first-team all-conference recognition first-team All-Big Eight honoree and a co-captain for the
first two seasons, the undersized Jim Skow
twice and was a consensus All-American as a 1970 national championship team. Prior to the season,
earned All-America honors as a senior, with
senior. The two of them were driving forces 25 tackles for loss, including 15 sacks for 139 during the Big Eight Skywriters’ stop in Lincoln, he
behind the 1997 national championship team yards in losses. predicted a national championship, brash words for the
time and not something to make Bob Devaney happy.

OLB/Rush End
When all was said and done, however, Murtaugh and
fellow co-captain Dan Schneiss were at the podium with
Grant Wistrom . . . . . . . . . . . . (1994-97) Devaney and President Richard Nixon, accepting the
Broderick Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1985-88) Associated Press national championship plaque. Don’t
Willie Harper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1970-72) Forget: Clete Pillen was the Cornhusker tackles leader in
Trev Alberts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1990-93) 1975 and 1976, with a combined 271.
Jared Tomich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1994-96)

Middle Guard
Jimmy Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1979-81)
Often overlooked:
Derrie Nelson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1978-80)
Six are listed here instead of five because of American and the Lombardi Award winner Rich Glover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1970-72)
the number of players who deserve consideration in 1997, when teammate Aaron Taylor won Wayne Meylan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1965-67)
at what arguably has been the showcase position the Outland Trophy. Wistrom also was a two- Danny Noonan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1984-86)
on defense at Nebraska. Even so, Wistrom time, first-team Academic All-American and an Kerry Weinmaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1976-79)
deserves to be at the top of the list, if for no NCAA Top Eight Award winner. He holds the Ken Geddes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1967-69)
other reason than his contributions to three school career record for tackles for loss (58.5, 260 Often overlooked:
national championships. He was in the regular yards) and ranks second in sacks (26.5). Don’t Ed Periard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1968-70)
rotation as a true freshman on the 1994 national Forget: Derrie Nelson, who walked on and had
championship team and a starter and first-team a well-deserved reputation for toughness, was the When the Cornhuskers went to a 4-3 alignment,
all-conference selection the next three seasons. Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year and earned the middle guard was eliminated. The 6-1, 234-pound
He was a two-time, first-team, consensus All- All-America honors as a senior co-captain. Glover set the standard at the position, with Meylan
a close second. Glover emerged as a junior starter

Cornerback on the 1971 national championship team, earning


consensus All-America recognition and gaining
national attention with 22 tackles in the “Game of
Ralph Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1996-99)
the Century.” He was a unanimous All-American as
Dave Butterfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1974-76)
a senior, when he became the first Cornhusker to win
Tyrone Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1993-95)
both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award in the
Fabian Washington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2002-04)
same season. He was credited with a combined 192
Bruce Pickens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1988-90)
tackles his final two seasons, including 22 for losses,
Often overlooked:
evidence of his quickness. Don’t Forget: Ed Periard
Barron Miles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1992-94)
was only 5-9 and 201 pounds. But he earned first-
Brown set a school record by starting three-time, first-team all-conference selection team all-conference recognition in his only season as
52 consecutive games, every one during his and a consensus All-American in 1999, a starter on Nebraska’s first national championship
career. And he played as a true freshman. He when he was a co-captain. He completed a team.
also set school records for pass break-ups in degree in seven semesters and left Nebraska
a game (seven), season (15) and career (50). (as a fifth-round NFL draft pick) with a Get a subscription to
The 50 break-ups were 29 more than the national championship ring. Don’t Forget:
previous record.
He was the Associated Press Big 12
Barron Miles was a two-time, first-team all-
conference selection on teams that were 24-1
HUSKERS ILLUSTRATED
Defensive Newcomer of the year and a and played for the national championship Call 1-800-524-9527
Freshman All-American in 1996. He was a twice, winning it his senior year.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1 9
5 All-Time
Greats

Safety Punter
Mike Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1996-99) Dan Hadenfeldt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1998-00)
Josh Bullocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2002-04) Kyle Larson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2001-03)
Dana Stephenson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1967-69) Sam Koch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2003-05)
Mike Minter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1993-96) Jesse Kosch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1995-97)
Daniel Bullocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2002-05) Mike Stigge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1989-92)
Often overlooked: Often overlooked:
Bill Kosch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1969-71) Darin Erstad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1994)

Brown was a back-up corner as a true consecutive seasons, something only two Put the first three names in a hat and pick one. Ha-
freshman then started 38 consecutive games players before him had done, Jerry Murtaugh denfeldt holds the school career record, averaging 44.54
as a rover and free safety, earning All- and Marc Munford – both linebackers. He yards on 104 punts, and ranks third in single-season aver-
America honors from the Football Writers intercepted nine passes during his career and age, 44.98 on 65 punts in 1999. Larson is the only punter
and Associated Press in 1999. He was a two- forced six fumbles. He also was a three-time, in Cornhusker history to earn first-team All-America
time, first-team all-conference selection and first-team academic all-conference selection. honors (AFCA, 2003). He ranks second on the single-
finished second to Jerry Murtaugh on the Don’t Forget: Bill Kosch was a first-team season average list, 45.12 yards in 2003, and third on
Cornhuskers’ career-tackles list with 287. all-conference selection on Bob Devaney’s the career average list, 43.67 yards on 195 punts. Koch is
He was the team’s leading tackler for three back-to-back national championship teams. atop the single-season list, averaging 46.51 yards on 71
punts in 2005, and second on the career list, 44.04 yards
on 134 punts.

Kick Returner Erstad came from the baseball team to average 42.6
yards on 50 punts for the 1994 national championship
team. He also was 10-for-10 on extra-points and 3-of-8
Johnny Rodgers . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1970-72)
on field goals, including a 48-yarder and a 46-yarder.
Tyrone Hughes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1989-92)
Dana Brinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1985-88)
DeJuan Groce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1999-02)
Irving Fryar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1981-83)
Often overlooked:
Joe Walker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1997-00)

Among the most memorable plays in a total that is tied for the NCAA record. He
Cornhusker history was Rodgers’ 72-yard also returned 35 kickoffs during his career, for
punt return for a touchdown to open the scor- 847 yards and one touchdown – a 98-yarder
ing against Oklahoma in the 1971 Game of against Texas A&M in 1971. Rodgers is in the
the Century. He also returned a punt 77 yards College Football Hall of Fame. Don’t Forget:
for a touchdown in the 1972 Orange Bowl Joe Walker, a rover who played as a true fresh-
game against Alabama, another match-up of man, tied an NCAA record by returning a
No. 1 versus No. 2. In all, Rodgers returned kickoff, a punt and an interception for touch-
seven punts for touchdowns during his career, downs in the same season, 1998.

Place Kicker
Kris Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1995-98)
Josh Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1999-02)
Byron Bennett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1990-93)
Gregg Barrios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1986-90)
Dale Klein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1984-86)
Often overlooked:
Paul Rogers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1968-70)

Comments?
Brown is Nebraska’s career-scoring leader or more, with a long of 51 yards. He was a
with 388 points. He was the Cornhuskers’ semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award as a
place-kicker for four consecutive seasons, junior. His numbers would be even higher
Have comments about our All-Time Greatest Huskers or
beginning as a true freshman in the 1995 if official NCAA statistics included bowl
any other part of our magazine? Send us your comments
national championship season. He finished games during the time he played. Don’t
his career with an NCAA record 217 extra- Forget: Paul Rogers kicked four first- and it may be published in an upcoming issue of Huskers
point kicks, in an NCAA record-tying quarter field goals in a 45-6 victory against Illustrated. Send comments to:
222 attempts, and ranked seventh all-time Georgia in the 1969 Sun Bowl to set the Huskers Illustrated, 7755 S. 23rd St., Lincoln, NE 68512
in scoring. He made 57-of-77 field goal stage for the national championship run in or email huskersillustrated@gmail.com.
attempts, including 13-of-20 from 40 yards 1970.

2 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 2 1
Greatest Husker Walk-ons

Nebraska walk-on tradition


Players walked on at Nebraska continued as sophomores. necessarily been reflected in how
before Tom Osborne became Osborne quickly began much playing time they earned.
head coach. But when Bob saving a handful of scholarships The team includes players who
Devaney was head coach, they for walk-ons. As the NCAA paid their own way to Nebraska
were more or less incidental. reduced scholarship limits, they as freshmen. Players who trans-
Any player the Cornhuskers became an important part of the ferred from other four-year
wanted had a scholarship, and program. In 1981, more than 90 schools and paid their own
until 1964, when NCAA rules players walked on; in 1982, more way their first season also are
were changed to allow for two than 70. part of the walk-on tradition.
platoons, the roster included By the early 1990s, the num- For
fewer players, anyway. The bers had dropped. The NCAA
freshman team might have some legislated freshman programs
non-scholarship players. But few out of existence with the
elimination of three graduate as-
Greatest Husker sistants and one restricted-earn-
Walk-ons During ings coach. And the end of the
Osborne Era
freshman program was reflected
OFFENSE
in the number of walk-ons. In
WR – Todd Brown (1979-82)
1990, Nebraska recruited nearly
WR – Brendan Holbein (1993-96)
50 walk-ons. Two years later, it
OL – Joel Wilks (1992-94)
recruited about half that many.
OL – Matt Hoskinson (1995-97)
OL – Kelly Saalfeld (1977-79)
Still, Osborne understood

OL – Keven Lightner (1985-87) the value of walk-ons, for


OL – Adam Treu (1994-96) a variety of reasons, and
TE – Matt Shaw (1992-94) he and his staff evalu-
QB – Matt Turman (1994-96) ated and recruited simplicity’s sake,
IB – Isaiah Hipp (1977-79) them. Some showed however, they haven’t
FB – Joel Makovicka (1995-98) up and asked to been included.
PK – Dale Klein (1984-86) walk on, Mitch Jarvis Redwine, for
Krenk and example, isn’t on the team
DEFENSE Isaiah Hipp even though he paid his own
DE – Jimmy Williams (1979-81)
among way while he sat out a manda-
DT – Tim Rother (1986-87)
them. tory redshirt after transferring
DT – Toby Williams (1980-82)
But most from Oregon State. Neither is
MG – Mike Murray (1987-89)
walk- John Parrella, whom Colorado
DE – Derrie Nelson (1978-80)
ons were promised a scholarship and then
RE – Jared Tomich (1994-96)
encouraged pulled it. Jim Scott deserves
LB – Clete Pillen (1974-76)
LB – Bruce Dunning (1977-78)
to do so. consideration, but he transferred

LB – Mark Daum (1982-84) What follows is an Osborne from Kearney State – now

DB – Charles Fryar (1986-88) Era all-walk-on team. It is not Nebraska-Kearney. On and on


DB – Ric Lindquist (1979-81) meant to be the definitive walk- the list goes.
DB – Rodney Lewis (1979-81) on team for those 25 seasons, In addition, players need to
DB – Mark Blazek (1986-88) only representative. The con- have spent the majority of their
P – Jesse Kosch (1995-97) tributions of walk-ons haven’t careers under Osborne.
joel makovicka

2 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Greatest Husker Walk-ons

dates back to Devaney era


WR – Todd Brown OL – keven lightner
(1979-82), Holdrege, Neb. (1985-87), Hastings, Neb.
Brown drew interest from Nebraska because of his abilities in track and The 6-2, 285-pound Lightner earned first-team All-Big Eight recogni-
field. He won state Class B titles in the long jump, triple jump and 100-yard tion from United Press International as a senior, starting at tackle,
dash. But he turned his attention to football, after not playing his first fall, after alternating as a junior. He set a school record on the strength
effectively redshirting. He finished seventh on the school’s career-receptions index, based on clean, bench and squat lifting ability, after arriving as a
list with 65, for 1,092 yards (third) and 12 touchdowns (tied for fourth). He 230-pound walk-on. His 40 time dropped from 5.37 to 4.98 at Nebraska.
was a three-year starter and rare four-year letterman at the time.
TE – Matt shaw
WR – BRENDAN HOLBEIN (1992-94), Lincoln, Neb.
(1993-96), Cozad, Neb. Though Shaw didn’t catch a pass during his varsity career (he caught
Holbein caught 47 passes for 592 yards and seven touchdowns two touchdown passes for the junior varsity in 1990), he was the epitome
but he worked his way up the depth chart because of his tenacity of a walk-on, working his way up after redshirting. He was a tenacious
as a perimeter blocker, an absolute necessity under then-receivers blocker, starting all but three games in a rotation with Mark Gilman
coach Ron Brown, and his versatility; he could play both wide and Eric Alford on the 1994 national championship team. He also was
receiver and wingback. He was a high school teammate of Corn- an Academic All-American that season. Among others who deserve
husker offensive lineman Chris Dishman. serious consideration at tight end are Mitch Krenk (1981-82) and Gerald
Armstrong (1991-93), both Nebraskans – Krenk from Nebraska City,
OL – Joel wilks Armstrong from Ponca.
(1992-94), Hastings, Neb.
Wilks, a three-year letterman, was the forgotten man on QB – matt turman
the 1994 national championship team’s “Pipeline.” He (1994-96), Wahoo, Neb.
started at left guard and led the “Pipeline” in pancake, With Tommie Frazier sidelined by blood clots and Brook Berringer
or knockdown, blocks with 142, an average of 11.8 slowed by the effects of a collapsed lung, he started the Kansas State game
per game. He missed the first five games in 1993 at Manhattan in 1994 and immediately became a fan favorite. That game
with a severe ankle sprain but came back to play in was his only start. The “Turmanator” was the son of a high school football
the last six, starting once. coach. He rushed for five touchdowns and passed for four during his career.

OL – Matt hoskinson IB – isaiah hipp


(1995-97), Battle Creek, Neb. (1977-79), Chapin, S.C.

Hoskinson, a high school linebacker and fullback, was Sports information director Don Bryant promoted Hipp by using his

named to the Sports Illustrated All-Walk-on Team in 1997. Though initials, I.M., and referring to him as “college football’s most famous

he never started (he appeared in 33 games) during his Cornhusker walk-on.” He finished as the school’s career-rushing leader, with 2,814

career, he was considered a starter, the sixth man, on the 1997 national yards and 21 touchdowns, gaining at least 100 yards 10 times. Hipp

championship team, rotating at center as well as both guard positions. had to borrow money for a plane ticket to get to Nebraska. He was
hampered by a “turf toe” his senior year.
OL – KELLY SAALFELD
(1977-79), Columbus, Neb. FB – JOEL MAKOVICKA
A two-year starter at center, the 6-4, 249-pound Saalfeld was (1995-98), Brainard, Neb.

among former Cornhusker offensive line coach Milt Tenopir’s fa- The second of four Makovicka brothers to walk on, Joel rushed for

vorite walk-ons. He was first-team all-conference and a first-team 1,447 yards and 13 touchdowns, still tops among Cornhusker fullbacks.

Academic All-American as a senior, also earning third-team He was a two-year starter, two-time Academic All-American, co-captain

All-America honors from The Football News. and member of two national championship teams.

OL – ADAM TREU PK – DALE KLEIN


(1994-96), Lincoln, Neb. (1984-86), Seward, Neb.

Treu was a recruited walk-on, based on his athleti- Klein is best remembered for the Missouri game in 1985. After twice

cism as displayed during a high school basketball game losing the starting job that season, he tied an NCAA record by kicking seven

Tom Osborne attended. He started 12 games at left field goals (in seven attempts) in a 28-20 victory against the Tigers on a wet

tackle and was the deep-snapper as a senior, after field in Columbia. Five of the field goals came in the first half, an NCAA

playing in 12 games in 1995 and five games in 1994. record. He also kicked an extra point for a Big Eight record 22 points by kick
scoring. The kicks were from 32, 22, 43, 44, 29, 43 and 43 yards.

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Greatest Husker Walk-ons

DE – jimmy williams LB – clete pillen


(1979-81), Washington, D.C. (1974-76), Monroe, Neb.
The 6-3 Williams weighed 180 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in The 6-foot, 206-pound Pillen was the Cornhuskers’ leading tackler as
4.8 seconds when he and his brother Toby walked on. By his senior year, a junior (134) and senior (137), when he was a co-captain. He was the
Jimmy weighed 215 pounds and ran the 40 in a team-best 4.34 seconds United Press International Big Eight “Defensive Player of the Year” in
during spring testing. He was the UPI Big Eight “Defensive Player of 1976 and consensus first-team all-conference. He also earned second-
the Year” as a senior and earned first-team All-America recognition team All-America recognition from both the Associated Press and UPI.
from the Associated Press and Walter Camp Foundation. He also was a He finished second on Nebraska’s career-tackles list, behind only Jerry
co-captain. Murtaugh (1968-70).

DT – tim rother lb - bruce dunning


(1986-87), Bellevue, Neb. (1977-78), Arvada, Colo.
The 1987 Nebraska media guide described him as possibly the best Dunning lettered twice but he played essentially just one season,
second-string defensive lineman in the country, after backing up Lee evidence of the perseverance and determination of walk-ons. He played
Jones in a front that also included Neil Smith at tackle. With Jones ham- on the freshman team in 1974, redshirted in 1975 and didn’t see action
pered by injury, Rother shed the second-team status as a senior, leading in 1976. As a junior, he contributed on special teams. As a senior, he was
the team with 10 sacks and earning first-team All-Big Eight recognition. the starting strongside linebacker and finished second on the team with
113 tackles, 52 unassisted. He also recovered two fumbles and inter-
DT – toby williams cepted a pass for a team that defeated Oklahoma for the first time under
(1980-82), Washington, D.C.
Osborne and might have played for a national championship if not for
Jimmy Williams’ older brother redshirted his second season at
a loss against Missouri in the final game of the
Nebraska, then earned Big Eight “Defensive Newcomer of the Year”
regular season.
recognition from the Associated Press as a sophomore, starting part-time.
He was hampered by injuries and illness as a junior but came back strong
as a senior, earning second-team all-conference recognition despite miss-
ing two games late in the season because of a knee strain.

MG – mike murray
(1987-89), Chicago, Ill.
The 5-10, 240-pound Murray didn’t have the size of a major col-
lege middle guard. But he had the heart and determination that have
characterized Cornhusker walk-ons. He backed up Lawrence Pete for
two seasons then earned the starting job as a senior. He started at middle
guard on the freshman team, was the second-leading tackler and didn’t
redshirt.

DE – derrie nelson
(1978-80), Fairmont, Neb.
The athletic Nelson was second to none in intensity. He was a three-
year starter, two-time, first-team All-Big Eight honoree, the Big Eight
“Defensive Player of the Year” in 1980 and a co-captain. He also earned
first-team All-America recognition from both the Football Writers of
America and The Football News as a senior. His high school coach was
Matt Turman’s dad.

RE – jared tomich
(1994-96), St. John, Ind.
Tomich, who played opposite Grant Wistrom, earned first-team
All-America recognition twice, from the Walter Camp Foundation as a
senior and from the Associated Press as a junior, when he led the 1995
national championship team in sacks with 10. He finished his career
with 26 tackles-for-loss, including 16 sacks, caused seven fumbles and
recovered three.

clete pillen

2 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Greatest Husker Walk-ons

Continuing the
LB – mark daum
(1982-84), Dix, Neb.
An eight-man player at a western Nebraska high school, Daum was the
team’s second-leading tackler in 1984. His toughness wasn’t questioned.
He suffered a knee injury against Iowa State as a junior and eight days after
arthroscopic surgery, he was back on the practice field. He missed only one Walk-on Tradition
game and finished the season with 93 tackles, including nine for losses.
RECRUITED WALK-ONS, 2008
DB – charles fryar
Bo Pelini supplemented his first recruiting class with a large
(1986-88), Burlington, N.J.
The cousin of former Cornhusker wingback Irving Fryar was a three- group of walk-ons. The names of those who have been accepted
year starter at right cornerback. He broke up four passes as a senior to for admission by the university can be released.
tie the school career record, shared by three other players. Fryar tied the
Most are from Nebraska. But there are a couple of Thomas
school single-season record for pass break-ups with eight as a sophomore.
Lawsons on the list, including David Pillen from Stephen F. Austin
He earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior.
High School in Sugar Land, Texas. His dad, Clete, earned a place on
DB – ric lindquist
the Huskers Illustrated Tom Osborne Era All-Walk-on team.
(1979-81), Plattsmouth, Neb.
The 5-9, 180-pound Lindquist was a three-year starter at left cor-
nerback. He earned all-conference recognition as a senior, when the Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown
Cornhuskers led the nation in pass defense, and was a first-team Academic Kenny Anderson DE 6-2 235 Omaha, Neb.
All-American with a pre-law major. He tied the school record for intercep- Damon Bechtold TE 6-4 215 Omaha, Neb.
tions in a game as a sophomore, with three in a 48-14 victory against Jase Dean FS 6-0 180 Bridgeport, Neb.
Kansas State. Taylor Dixon DB 5-11 170 Wauneta, Neb.
Tanner Foxhoven LB 6-3 210 Crofton, Neb.
DB – rodney lewis
(1979-81), Minneapolis, Minn. Matt Holt RB/LB 6-0 200 Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Lewis came to Nebraska along with high school teammate Russell KC Hyland WR 6-6 195 Lincoln, Neb.
Gary, a scholarship recruit and first-team All-Big Eight safety in 1980. Justin Jackson DL 6-3 255 Roca, Neb.
Lewis redshirted. Gary did not. Lewis started his final two seasons at Jordan Makovicka RB 5-10 170 Ulysses, Neb.
cornerback. He also competed for the Cornhusker track and field team, Matt Manninger LB 6-1 225 Omaha, Neb.
qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 330-yard dash in Mychael McClure LB 6-5 210 Wisner, Neb.
1980. Lewis was a third-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints. He
Colin McDermott LB 6-2 225 Omaha, Neb.
and Gary were teammates with the Saints as well.
Conor McDermott DE 6-2 230 Omaha, Neb.

DB – mark blazek Sam Meginnis LE 6-2 210 Lincoln, Neb.


(1986-88), Raymond, Neb. Derek Meyer OL 6-5 300 Silver Lake, Neb.
Blazek’s best season was as a junior, when he started at free safety and Josh Molek DE 6-3 235 Omaha, Neb.
led the secondary in tackles (45) and the team in interceptions (three). He Brent Moravec FB/LB 6-0 180 Grand Island, Neb.
was a two-time Academic All-American and a co-captain in 1988, when
David Pillen FB/LB 5-11 230 Sugar Land, Texas
he backed up both safety positions and started once. He missed the 1985
Zach Ruiz QB/ATH 6-3 210 Beatrice, Neb.
season to go through basic training with the Army National Guard.
Marcus Smith LB 6-1 195 Crete, Neb.
P – jesse kosch Steve Spratte WR 5-11 180 Waukesha, Wis.
(1995-97), Columbus, Neb. Graham Stoddard LB 6-2 215 Lincoln, Neb.
The son of former Cornhusker defensive back Bill Kosch (1969-71) also Brian Thorson OL 6-3 280 Omaha, Neb.
earned letters on two national championship teams. His best season was
Jeremy Wallace RB 6-1 220 Omaha, Neb.
as a junior in 1996, when he averaged a school-record 44.7 yards per punt.
Brandon Brown RB/DB 5-10 205 Lincoln, Neb.
Bill Lafleur, also an Osborne Era walk-on from Norfolk, broke that record
Seung Hoon Choi OL 6-2 320 Lincoln, Neb.
in 1998. Kosch finished his career with the best punting average in school
Ronnell Grixby DB 5-10 205 Omaha, Neb.
history, 41.92 yards. Lafleur would have broken that, too, but didn’t have
sufficient punts. Neither mark still stands. Both are held by walk-ons, Sam Brett Maher K 6-0 170 Kearney, Neb.
Koch and Dan Hadenfeldt.

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2 6 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Walk-on Wonder
You’ve dreamt of being a Husker your entire life. season, figuring the more weight he
carried, the more effective he would be
Would you drop whatever you’re doing when you finally get the as a blocker. “I was just kind of eating
call? Thomas Lawson did and now he’s reaping the benefits. whatever,” he said.

W
Not so now. He expects to play at
alk-on? No way. Surely, by Mike Babcock
between 240 to 245 his senior season.
you’re on scholarship.
Even during his third season, when
Thomas Lawson
running backs coach Randy Jordan. Was he was no longer practicing on the scout
often got such a response
he interested in walking on? squad, he wondered if he would ever
during his freshman year at Nebraska. A
Was he interested? Lawson couldn’t see significant action. Dane Todd was a
teammate would meet him for the first
believe his good fortune. He returned to fixture at fullback, in his second season
time and assume he was on scholarship.
the dorm, wrapped his belongings in a as the starter, with walk-on Matt Senske
After all, why would someone from
sheet, tied it up, tossed it in the trunk of as the top back-up.
Parker, Colo., walk on at Nebraska?
his car and headed west to Lincoln. He Lawson’s dad kept encouraging him,
Walk-ons were supposed to be in-state
told no one he was leaving. He didn’t as did Todd, “who took me under his
athletes who grew up wanting to play for
want to jeopardize the opportunity. wing when I first got here. We hit it off.
the Cornhuskers.
That was a positive about being Everything I had a question on, he had
Except for the in-state part, that
a walk-on. Classes hadn’t begun at an answer,” said Lawson. “It’s always
described Lawson. He grew up a
Colorado State, so he wasn’t bound to good to have someone there to lean on
Cornhusker fan from watching them
remain in Fort Collins. He didn’t need a since you’re away from home.
on television. They were always in the
scholarship release. “He’d always tell me, ‘Man, just keep
national rankings, always playing in
Though he’d like a scholarship, of your head up. I know what you can do,
bowl games. And Lawson wanted to
course, another positive of being a walk- just keep pushing.’ I can give it up to
play for them, “to be part of something
on is what it has taught him, “to stick Dane Todd. It’s like, ‘Look at me now.’”
big,” he said.
with it, to keep my work ethic up,” he Lawson alternated with Andy Sand
During his senior year at Ponderosa
said.“You get one chance and if you mess last season, starting twice and catching
High School, he thought
up, you get put to the back of the line.” three passes, all of them for touchdowns.
he might have that
Lawson started from the bottom, as The first came against Iowa State (as did
opportunity. He was
he expected he would. He played on the second). Sam Keller threw the pass,
a running back in a
the scout squad his first two seasons, on a “pivot” play. Lawson held on that
wing-T offense on a state
beginning as an I-back and then moving time, after dropping one against Nevada.
championship team. He
to fullback after he gained weight. “It was cool. I’m never going to forget
rushed for 1,800 yards that
He played at 263 pounds last it,” Lawson said.
season. And he earned the
He has the ball in his apartment,
most valuable player award in
signed and dated.
the state title game.
Despite wondering if he would get
Frank Solich was Nebraska’s
an opportunity, “I always knew I could
coach at the time. And the
play. I knew I had the ability. I just didn’t
Cornhuskers talked to him about
know when my card was going to be
walking on. After Solich was fired,
pulled,” he said.
however, the interest disappeared.
It was pulled. And he was
Lawson set aside his dream of playing
prepared.
for Nebraska and committed to walking
His story isn’t much different
on at Colorado State. In the late summer,
from that of most walk-ons, except
he moved into the dorms in Fort Collins
that he’s from Colorado. He’s paying
and began preparing. The Colorado
his own way, playing for love of
State coaches told him they planned to
the game and earning a degree in
play him at linebacker. And if things
communications. Typically, walk-ons
worked out, he would be able to earn a
understand the importance of an
scholarship, they assured him.
education.
Then one day on the way to a pre-
“I wouldn’t change it for the
season workout, Lawson got a call on
world,” he said.
his cell phone from then-Nebraska

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Father
Figure
Bo Pelini has worked with some
of the biggest names in football.
But none of them can match
the influence of a retired
pharmaceutical salesman in
Youngstown, Ohio.

b y S te v e S i p p le
w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 2 9
Father
A
long list of coaches – a
lot of people, period
– have influenced Bo
Pelini’s development
as a coach since his start in the
Figure by Steve Sipple
Nike in sales and marketing and
was looking to start a career. It
seemed a good fit. “At that time,
I didn’t see myself wanting to be
a graduate assistant somewhere
business in 1991. There have been Iowa, then spent a year as an probably would appreciate such for eight years and waiting for my
too many influences to list. And assistant at Cardinal Mooney diligence from a coach. opportunity,” he said.
anyway, Pelini wouldn’t want to High in Youngstown. Then came In addition to his father’s But San Francisco called, and
leave out anybody. his big break – a chance to work influence, Pelini’s coaching he seized the opportunity. He was
However, the new Nebraska head as an assistant for the NFL San style was shaped in part by in his mid-20s. He originally was
football coach doesn’t mind listing Francisco 49ers. He ended up his experiences as a youth in hired to be part of the scouting
one of his primary influences - his working a total of nine years as Youngstown, where he was a department. Whatever. He was
father Anthony Pelini. an NFL assistant before landing multi-sport star at Cardinal just thrilled to get a chance to get
Bo Pelini said his father’s a job as the Huskers’ defensive Mooney. his foot in the door. He almost
impact began to take hold when coordinator in 2003. “I always go back to my high immediately was promoted to
Bo was a kid playing a variety Stints as a co-defensive school days as a key period,” Pelini assistant secondary coach and
of sports in his hometown of coordinator at Oklahoma (2004) said. “We had good talent, don’t wound up spending three seasons
Youngstown, Ohio. Anthony and defensive coordinator get me wrong. But I saw how with the franchise.
Pelini taught his five sons to play at Louisiana State (2005-07) the commitment part of things “How many times does an
sports with a sense of pride and preceded his return to Nebraska and the sacrifice and the team- opportunity like that come
respect for the game. as a first-time head coach. building and the stresses from the around?” Pelini said. “I figured
“That meant acting the right I’d put my time in and see where
way, which I didn’t always do,” it went. Fortunately, I was given a
said 40-year-old Bo Pelini, the
youngest of five brothers. “But I “My dad would never criticize me for unique opportunity to move into
coaching really quickly.”
heard about it when I didn’t.” Nebraska fans have long since
His father’s tenets help guide
how I played. But if I got a technical or gotten a feel for Pelini’s aura of
Pelini to this day. Play hard.
Play with sportsmanship. Be a
threw my helmet or something like that, confidence. Tim McDonald got a
taste of it in 1994, as a Pro Bowl
team player. Don’t worry about
individuality. Represent your
there was hell to pay when I walked in strong safety with the Niners.
McDonald was a 29-year-old NFL
team the right way all the time –
my home.” veteran when Pelini arrived on the
not only in your play, but also in Bo Pelini scene in San Francisco. McDonald
your conduct. recalls Pelini being assertive in
“My dad would never criticize meeting rooms and practices.
me for how I played,” Bo Pelini In some ways, Husker fans coaches to do things the right way “That’s why Bo is where he is
said. “But if I got a technical or are still getting to know their and be committed to team - all right now,” said McDonald, now
threw my helmet or something new head coach. Since being those things are what I thought 43. “He was never afraid to test the
like that, there was hell to pay formally hired Dec. 2, Pelini has separated us from everybody else waters. If something didn’t sound
when I walked in my home. He worked hard to instill a disciplined and enabled us to overachieve. right, if something didn’t feel right,
wouldn’t scream and yell, but he’d approach on and off the field. He’s “It sticks with you.” Bo would step up and say, ‘Hey,
say, ‘If you want to play, you’re been known to show up at Lincoln Those close to Pelini will tell let’s work our way through this.’
going to do it the right way.’ downtown taverns to check if you that he’s found his calling, “He would work with the
“Believe me,” Bo Pelini said, players are abiding by team rules. that he’s a natural leader. But players and listen to the players.
“that went a long way.” He also shows up in campus Pelini at one point actually But at the same time, he was
Nebraska fans by this time classrooms on occasion to make considered another profession. strong enough to say, ‘This is
probably have a good feel for sure players are attending. In the months before he was right and this is the way we
Pelini’s football coaching Anthony Pelini, a retired hired by the 49ers in 1994, Pelini should go about it.’”
background. He got his start in pharmaceuticals salesman was considering getting out of Pelini’s coaching foundation
1991 as a graduate assistant at who still lives in Youngstown, coaching. He had a job offer from was fortified by teaching the likes

3 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
of McDonald, free safety Merton Hanks and hand with athletics. It all relates.”
cornerback Deion Sanders. Pelini also speaks
of the influence of former Niners head coach
Football became Pelini’s best sport. But
he also excelled as a basketball player in high GETTING TO
George Seifert and assistants Pete Carroll and
Ray Rhodes.
“I saw how they attacked the job
school (he was Mooney’s first 1,000-point
scorer). Playing point guard and off-guard, the
6-2 Pelini was talented and polished enough
KNOW BO
psychologically and found ways to reach guys,” to be recruited by “a number of” Division I
Pelini said. “I saw how they communicated with programs, he said, most notably Missouri and
people. When you’re at the pro level when you head coach Norm Stewart.
start (as a coach), you see at a young age the “I had chances to commit to some schools
levels you need to coach at and how much the early,” Pelini said. “I don’t know how it would
psychological part of the game comes into play. have played out. When I didn’t commit early,
I believe I was exposed to the right things early schools knew I was going to play football.
on, and it really helped It was pretty much
shape me.” assumed.”
In the NFL – he later Pelini played free
had stints as a linebackers safety at Ohio State,
coach at both New where he was a three-time
England (1997-99) and Academic All-Big Ten
Green Bay (2000-02) – selection and team captain
Pelini also was struck as a senior in 1990. All
willie stargell
by the commitment of those lessons learned at So, Bo Pelini was a heck of a high school
certain players. Cardinal Mooney paid basketball player. In fact, he was the only
“You see how they dividends. athlete ever from Cardinal Mooney High
practice and how hard His father was School to play in the Ohio North-South all-
they work,” he said. “So watching all the while – star game in football and basketball.
you try to stress to the mainly to make sure his
Who knew former Missouri basketball coach
college guys that, ‘Hey, sons were working hard to
Norm Stewart recruited Pelini?
if you have any aspirations to get to the NFL improve. Anthony Pelini instilled work ethic in
level, you can either wait to try to adapt to that his sons before they could shave. Pelini has been known to keep a basketball
level when you get there, or you can start to “It was never about stats,” Bo Pelini said. in his office at Memorial Stadium. He grew
approach the game that way right now and put “Going 3-for-3 in a baseball game, he didn’t up idolizing NBA players such as Dennis
yourself that much further ahead.’ ” care about that, as long as I was giving my Johnson and Elvin Hayes.
The psychological part of coaching is “huge” best effort. He stressed that if you want to be
Is Bo a LeBron fan? Not especially, he said.
at every level, Pelini said. good, you have to do more than the next guy.
“It’s a matter of finding ways to reach guys,” If you’re a basketball player, you have to be out As a baseball fan growing up in Youngstown,
he said. “The thing is, everybody’s different. there shooting balls. If you miss free throws, Ohio, Pelini followed the Cleveland Indians
That’s what you learn. Every single guy is you’d better shoot 100. You had better practice and Pittsburgh Pirates (Pittsburgh is about 65
different. Players have different hot buttons, your trade at home.” miles southeast of Youngstown).
different cultural backgrounds, different family Pelini could even practice batting in his
"I didn't really get caught up in the teams as
backgrounds. You have to find a way to reach home’s garage, where his father hung a baseball
much as I liked certain players," Pelini said.
all different sorts of people. The bottom line is, from the ceiling on a cable. He even mapped
you can’t treat everybody uniformly.” out a batter’s box. Pelini remembers liking Pirates such as Willie
In terms of reaching different types of “He didn’t sit there and watch me do it, Stargell and Omar Moreno. His favorite
players, his extensive coaching resume to this but he’d have things to say like, ‘This is how Indians included Duane Kuiper and Rick
point in his career “is a huge benefit,” he said. you practice. This is what you do. You’re Manning.
But his coaching style actually began to take not just going to show up and be good,’ ” Bo
Pelini obviously was a fan of the Cleveland
shape during all those days on the playgrounds Pelini recalls.
Browns and followed the Pittsburgh Steelers.
and gyms around Youngstown (pop. 80,000), Pelini’s four older brothers – including Carl,
competing with and against neighborhood kids the Huskers’ defensive coordinator – also had a Indeed, Mark "Bo" Pelini's nickname came

and his brothers. huge impact on his development as an athlete from Bo Scott, a former hard-nosed Browns
“I just had such a good experience with and person. Bo listened to his brothers’ wisdom. running back.
sports growing up,” Pelini said. “I was into the “They would take me to the playground and Pelini's also a boxing fan. Sugar Ray
strategic parts of all sports. Coaching’s kind of I’d play basketball against the older kids,” Bo Leonard and Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini
in my blood, I guess. recalls. “Even though I was a little over my – a Youngstown native – were among his
“You have to understand, where I grew up head, they would take care of me.
favorites.
was blue collar. That kind of work ethic, and “I learned a lot of lessons doing that stuff.”
those kinds of values, I think it all goes hand-in- Lessons that guide him to this day. – Steven M. Sipple

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Todd&Tyler
W
by Terry Douglass
hen Tyler Wortman of recognition for the game that
and Todd Peterson he put up.
agreed to walk on to of a crazy set of events,” said practice as a true freshman and “All the hard work that he’s
the Nebraska football Peterson, a senior wide receiver. found himself stacked behind a been putting in behind the
team in 2003, neither knew quite “It has been kind of a wacky, large group of more experienced scenes the past few years is
what to expect. winding road.” linebackers the past three starting to pay off for him, and I
As it turned out, that was There certainly have been seasons before finally seeing know that he’ll continue to work
probably a good thing because plenty of twists and turns. playing time in 2007. hard to make the most of this
as the two Grand Island Central “This has been something After a standout performance opportunity.”
Catholic graduates prepare that you would never have been in this year’s Red-White Spring

I
for their final season with the expecting, going into it,” said Game, it appears Wortman’s n turn, Wortman said
Cornhuskers, both said they Wortman, a senior linebacker. determination is on the verge of he’s always taken
could never have imagined the “You just kind of have to roll finally paying off. great inspiration from
almost surreal path their careers with the punches and keep “There were a lot of situations watching Peterson’s career.
have taken. From having contact going.” in the past where I was working Peterson, who started
with three different coaching If there’s a constant thread hard, but just seemed to receiving playing time as a
staffs to experiencing Nebraska’s through the college football be staying under the radar,” redshirt freshman in 2005,
first two losing seasons in the careers of Peterson and Wortman said. “Now, I hope heads into his senior season
past four decades, it has indeed Wortman, it would have to be to be able to get out there in with 46 career receptions for
been a wild ride. perseverance. As roommates and the fall and get quite a bit of 816 yards for an average of
Peterson and Wortman were friends, Wortman and Peterson playing time.” 17.7 yards per catch. The 6-4,
asked to walk on by Frank Solich’s have encouraged each other No one has been happier to 215-pounder is 184 receiving
staff. They then spent four years to press on, especially during see Wortman’s emergence than yards shy of becoming the 17th
under Bill Callahan and now, Bo troubled times. Peterson. player in school history with
Pelini is Nebraska’s head coach. Wortman’s path to a potential “Tyler has been through a 1,000 receiving yards and has a
“I don’t ever look back on it spot in the starting lineup has lot,” Peterson said. “It was very chance to move into NU’s career
too much, but when I do, you been filled with many hurdles. He gratifying for him in the spring receptions and touchdown
realize that it has just been kind suffered a severely broken leg in game. I was glad that he got a lot receptions list.

3 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Grand Island natives have no regrets
M
“I have been really proud that iserable is probably Coach Pelini does a really good both of those guys were going to
Todd was able to do as well as he the best word to job of just getting everybody get to stick around,” Peterson said.
has been doing,” Wortman said. “I describe the all-too- pumped up.” Ever after starting from
remember watching him on TV in common feeling for the Huskers Peterson agreed. scratch in the spring, Wortman
away games and thinking that he last year as they endured a 5-7 “So far, these coaches have said there are also positive
was doing really well, and it just season. just been extremely upbeat feelings on the defensive side
made me think that I could be nderstandably, Peterson and and positive and trying to keep of the ball. He said the system
doing the same. I just had to keep Wortman said they try not to that positive energy around,” installed by Pelini allows players
working at it.” spend much time looking back at Peterson said. “Obviously, that’s to do more reacting and less
Even though Peterson saw the last season. That’s especially the easier when you haven’t gone thinking.
field much earlier than Wortman, case on defense where Nebraska through any real adversity yet, “It’s not simple in a bad way,
the former high school basketball set numerous records — not the but I think that was something but the concepts are easier to
standout said that early in his good kind — including allowing they could probably sense in us grasp,” Wortman said. “Everything
career, he sometimes questioned a program-worst 76 points in a when they came is that we had we do is predicated on a couple
his decision to try and play at loss at Kansas. a lot of negative energy left over.” of base defenses and that makes
Nebraska. He even wondered if “It’s over with and it’s gone. While there are new coaches it a lot easier than before.
he’d picked the wrong sport. We’re not focusing on anything and a new attitude on the team, “Before, we would put in new
“There were times when I from last year at all,” Wortman Peterson said Pelini’s decision defenses every week and they’d
wondered if it wouldn’t have been said. “I think a lot of guys want to retain offensive coordinator just be really difficult for us to get
a good idea to transfer somewhere to improve greatly from that. We Shawn Watson and wide receivers the hang of right away and that
smaller and play college basketball, want to focus on this season and coach Ted Gilmore gave a major kind of hurt us.”
but I just kept with it,” Peterson not waste our time on last year.” boost to the offense. Instead of All the changes have Wortman
said. “I always tell people that if Moving on was one of the starting over, Peterson said he and Peterson looking forward to
you’re going to come here and try central themes brought to feels like an experienced unit seeing how their careers finally
to play at this level, you’ve got to Nebraska by Pelini and his that includes fifth-year senior play out.
love football and you’ve got to love coaching staff. quarterback Joe Ganz, senior “I’m just excited to see where
competition. “I think the morale of the running back Marlon Lucky, this team can go, not only this
“It’s so time-consuming and team is up a lot, which is good senior receiver Nate Swift and a year, but in the future because
so demanding that if you don’t because it was getting down veteran offensive line, can hit the I think this program is going to
love it and want to do it every really bad, especially toward the ground running. have a bright future,” Peterson
day, then you’re going to be end of last season,” Wortman said. “I can’t even tell you how said. “I’m biased, of course, but
miserable.” “Everybody’s excited now and excited I was when I heard that that’s what I think.”

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 3 3
Zach Potter

3 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
And th e

pride
of the
blackshirt
w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 3 5
Zach Potter
And th e

pride
of the
blackshirt
A
specialist, that’s what defensive end. “I play defense.
by Mike Babcock
Zach Potter was as a I take pride in being a Blackshirt,
freshman. He was known being on the d-line here.”
in the residence hall, Cummings’ left and deflected attempt in a 27-25 victory against Technically, Potter isn’t a
where he roomed with grayshirt the ball. At the same time, a Kansas State. Blackshirt right now, though Carl
Jacob Hickman, as the guy who leaping Potter extended his right That was nearly three years Pelini has indicated the tradition
blocked kicks. arm above everyone else’s. If ago. Much has changed. Potter is will be restored in the fall. And
He earned the designation three Ickes hadn’t deflected the ball, more mature, probably 25 pounds barring the unforeseen, Potter is
games into his freshman season. Potter might have, as the cover heavier. He’s wiser for having certain to get one again.
Here’s how. of Huskers Illustrated the next backed-up Adam Carriker, who He was a Blackshirt for fewer
Less than 5 minutes into the week showed. Potter and Turner left as a first-round draft choice of than 50 days last season. He
Pittsburgh game with no score, probably deserved assists on the St. Louis Rams a season ago. received a black practice jersey
Panthers’ coach Dave Wannstedt, the play. The Panthers were so And he’s learning the philosophies with his name and number (98)
perhaps anticipating the defensive on the Tuesday before the 2007
battle the game would be, sent opener against Nevada. He was
All-Big East place-kicker Josh among 15 players to earn them,
Cummings onto the field to including five others for the first
attempt a 42-yard field goal. time.
Cummings’ kick had no chance. The first thing he did was call
Potter blocked it from the middle his dad. Then he called his mom.
of the line. Getting the Blackshirt was a
The block would have rush. Less than two months later,
implications at game’s end. he called his parents to say the
With 1 second remaining and Blackshirt was gone.
Nebraska clinging to a 7-6 lead, After a 45-14 loss against
Wannstedt sent Cummings back Oklahoma State, in which the
onto the field to attempt a fifth field Cowboys passed for 234 yards
goal. In addition to the one Potter and rushed for 317 yards, the
blocked, Cummings had missed Blackshirts were taken away.
once and been successful from “They stripped the whole
38 and 27 yards during the third defense and said we could earn
quarter. them back,” said Potter, who
This time, the attempt would made a career-high-tying six
be from 46 yards. If successful, tackles that day. “But none of us
Pittsburgh would win. earned them back.”
Pittsburgh knew it had to Some might have, Potter among
account for the 6-7 Potter and 6-3 them. After all, he did earn All-Big
Barry Turner, also a freshman. 12 honorable mention from the
Turner lined up over the middle on conference coaches. “But it’s a
the field goal block team, too. team effort,” he said. “We tried
The Cornhuskers knew to play as much as a team as we
Pittsburgh’s blocking scheme on concerned about accounting for of a third position coach, John could. Stripping the Blackshirts
field goals, not only because they them that they allowed Ickes to Papuchis, and a second defensive was the only thing to do.”
had seen it four times in the game break through. coordinator, Carl Pelini. Potter understands the
already but also because it was the In any case, Potter’s reputation Once known as a kick- Blackshirt tradition in a
same as theirs. as a kick-blocker was set. And it blocker, “now I can look in the special way, having grown up
As the final second went off the was solidified seven games later, mirror and honestly say I’m in Nebraska. Although as a
clock, Adam Ickes lunged from when he blocked an extra-point a Blackshirt,” said the senior youngster, basketball was his

3 6 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
favorite sport. Even though he first
played organized football when he
was a sixth-grader, he didn’t get
serious until after his sophomore
year at Omaha Creighton Prep.
That’s when Nebraska offered a
scholarship.
Frank Solich was the head
coach then. After Solich was fired
and Callahan hired, Potter was
uncertain about his status as a
Cornhusker scholarship recruit.
He also was considering, among
other schools, Notre Dame, which
took a serious interest in him and
vice versa. “I liked Notre Dame
a lot,” he said. But distance was
a factor. Attending games would
have been more difficult for his
parents. His dad lives in Omaha,
his mom in Fremont, Neb. And,
of course, growing up in Nebraska
meant something, too.
Plus, Notre Dame was going
through a coaching change.
Charlie Weis was replacing Tyrone
Willingham. Potter figured that
since Nebraska had already
gone through such a change and
Callahan had been in place for a
year, there would be stability.
“Obviously, that backfired on summer workouts, Carriker without redshirting. And defensive against Iowa State, he suffered a
me,” said Potter. showed him how to use his hands, line coach John Blake gave him the stinger in his left shoulder. He lost
Nebraska’s coaching change how he couldn’t rely only on his opportunity, indirectly. strength in his left arm. From that
had been “nerve-wracking.” Potter size and athleticism, as he had By the end of preseason point on, he practiced on the scout
had the scholarship offer from done in high school. practice, Blake had decided that team and was used only as a kick-
Solich, but nothing in writing, In high school, players Potter would be included on block specialist.
no certainty Callahan would be of Potter’s ability don’t need the travel roster. He could travel “I was still doing what I was
interested. His concern was quickly technique. without giving up a redshirt. basically brought in to do,” he said.
alleviated, however. A couple of “You just go,” said Potter. If he was going to travel, In retrospect, Potter would like
days after becoming head coach, “I think that was the biggest assistant Dennis Wagner told to have that season back.
Callahan visited Creighton Prep adjustment I had to make my Potter, then he, Wagner, was “Even though we won those
and watched basketball practice. freshman year down here. You going to use him on special teams, games, it would be nice to say
The offer was still good. have to keep your pads low and including the field goal team and right now, ‘Hey, I’m going into my
Potter moved to Lincoln during use your hands. In high school, the field goal block team. “I was redshirt junior season. I still have
the summer to begin preparing you can just stay high and not use like, ‘Hey, that’s fine with me. two years left,’ especially now that
for a freshman season in which he your hands, just use swim move I just want to get out and play, Coach (Bo) Pelini is here and how
hoped to play despite the presence after swim move after swim move contribute,’” Potter said. I could transform in his type of
of Carriker, a returning starter and and you’ll be fine because you’re “At the time, I was saying, ‘This defense,” said Potter. “I regret not
dominating presence at base end, bigger than everybody else.” is sweet.’ ” redshirting, but at the same time, I
the position Potter planned to play. He wasn’t bigger than Carriker, He even got to play a down on think, ‘I had a part in two victories
Carriker immediately that’s for sure. And he didn’t have defense here and there in the first for our team that year.’
befriended him. Potter even hung illusions about earning a starting couple of games. But the week “It seems like forever ago I
out at Carriker’s apartment, position as long as Carriker was after the Pittsburgh game, a bye was blocking field goals, that’s for
playing video games. During healthy. Even so, he wanted to play week before the conference opener sure.”

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 3 7
HuskerPreview
2008 Predictions

Huskers Illustrated pestered some of Nebraska’s most notorious


media members as well as a number of national names, and forced
2008 Nebraska Football Schedule
them to give us their predictions for Nebraska’s first season under Sat., Aug. 30 Western Michigan Memorial Stadium TBA
head coach Bo Pelini. Answers ranged across the board, but every
prognosticator picked a bowl appearance for the Huskers. Check out Sat., Sept. 6 San Jose State Memorial Stadium TBA
the logic behind everybody’s picks: Sat., Sept. 13 New Mexico State Memorial Stadium TBA

TREV ALBERTS (9-4) Olin Buchanan (8-5) Sat., Sept. 27 Virginia Tech Memorial Stadium TBA
CBS College Sports Network Rivals.com
Sat., Oct. 4 Missouri Memorial Stadium TBA
I think when you look at Bo Bo Pelini’s defensive expertise will Sat., Oct. 11 Texas Tech at Lubbock, Texas TBA
Pelini heading into his first year at ensure the Cornhuskers are better,
Nebraska, there are a lot of things but how much is the question. I’d Sat., Oct. 18 Iowa State at Ames, Iowa TBA
you have to like. There is such a look for them to prevail in games
Sat., Oct. 25 Baylor Memorial Stadium TBA
familiarity with his coaching staff in which they would obviously
and I think that’s really going to be favored, but the schedule isn’t Sat., Nov. 1 Oklahoma at Norman, Okla. TBA
help them in year one with the very forgiving with games against
Sat., Nov. 8 Kansas Memorial Stadium TBA
overall transition. Then you factor in Virginia Tech, Missouri, Kansas,
that Shawn Watson is back, so the Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Sat., Nov. 15 Kansas State at Manhattan, Kan. TBA
offense really isn’t going to change Colorado. I’m betting the Huskers
that much. You look at what they are will improve enough to pull off an Fri., Nov. 28 Colorado Memorial Stadium 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
going to run and I think they’ll show upset, maybe two.
Sat., Dec. 6 Big 12 Championship at Kansas City, Mo. 7 p.m. (ABC)
some remarkable improvement from
(Arrowhead Stadium)
a year ago. SEAN CALLAHAN (9-4)
I think Nebraska is going to HuskersIllustrated.com
compete for the Big 12 North and wins to the regular season, putting There are too many swing games
I think they’ll win nine games. I What I like about 2008 for first year them right around 7-5. They’ll win on the schedule, too many to expect
think the Virginia Tech game is a Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini is one people don’t think they will and Pelini to perform miracles. Unless
lose one people think they won’t, the talent gets a whole lot better real
huge game in terms of momentum, the schedule. Never before has NU
and probably end up in a place like
because it comes right before the opened the season up with five home quick expect a third- or fourth-place
Shreveport in a winnable bowl game.
Missouri game. If they can win that games in a row. This should allow finish in the Big 12 North.
And as Husker fans know after last
Virginia Tech game, I think it can the Huskers to build up some early year, there are worse things than
really get the momentum ball rolling confidence and momentum before Shreveport. TERRY DOUGLASS (8-5)
and lead to a nine-win season. the meat of the Big 12 Conference Grand Island Independent
When you look at Nebraska, it’s schedule. Nebraska obviously wins Tom Dienhart (8-5)
always been about nine wins or its first three games pretty soundly, The Sporting News A home-friendly schedule gives
better. Hopefully they can win more and I think with a bye week and Nebraska an opportunity to get
in 2008, but I think this team has Bo Pelini and Carl Pelini’s previous I think Nebraska will go 8-5. I off to a good start under first-year
the ability for a nine-win season in knowledge of Virginia Tech from don’t expect miracles in Pelini’s first coach Bo Pelini. While Virginia
year one under Bo Pelini. the 2007 season, the Huskers beat season, but there still is enough for Tech stands out on the non-
the Hokies in Lincoln. However, the Big Red to be a bowl team thanks to conference slate, the Cornhuskers
John Bishop (9-4) following two weeks, I see losses to what should be a strong offense. And had better watch out for that season
KLIN 1400 AM both Missouri and Texas Tech. I expect the defense to compensate opener against Western Michigan.
The Iowa State and Baylor games for a lack of talent with a renewed With a salty Big 12 schedule
Some may think this crazy, but should both be wins, but I see NU passion inspired by Pelini. Consider awaiting, a winning season and a
I was this close to picking 10-3. losing at Oklahoma and losing one 2008 a transition year as the program return to a bowl game would be
I am going with the mild upset of their final three games to either takes its first step back to greatness a solid accomplishment for this
at home of the Hokies before Kansas or Colorado to finish a very under Pelini. year’s team.
eventual Big 12 champ (yes, I respectable 8-4, after last season’s
said it) Missouri hands Bo Pelini disappointing 5-7 year. As for a bowl Dennis Dodd (7-5) Tim Griffin (8-5)
his first defeat as a head coach. game, I’ll say the Huskers will head CBS Sportsline.com ESPN.com
I see other losses at Texas Tech, to the Insight Bowl in Tempe and
at Oklahoma and vs. Kansas (I beat Illinois to finish 9-4. This is a borderline bowl team. Bo’s influence is immediate.
believe Mark Mangino is no fluke). Husker Nation has been too wrapped Mainly because I can’t believe
There should be a respectable bowl Brian Christopherson (8-5) up in the coaching change to see the the Cornhuskers’ defense can be
trip to a nice location like San Lincoln Journal Star reality of Bo Pelini’s first season. In anywhere as bad as it was last year.
Diego in Nebraska’s future. The the short term, changing coaches is Look for Nebraska to challenge for
offense should be really good with I believe Nebraska’s offensive rarely a good thing. Remember Bill second place in the North Division
a defense that will build confidence output will be similar to last Callahan’s first year, how did that go and finish the season in San Antonio
under a coaching staff that breeds year’s. Combine that with even an for you Huskers? Here’s a reminder: or El Paso on their bowl trip with an
average defense (which would be a 8-5 record.
hard work. From 10-3 to 5-6. I’m actually
significant step up from last season),
predicting a two-game improvement
and I think you add a couple of
so no whining about Husker hate.

3 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
HuskerPreview
2008 Predictions
by terry douglass
LANE GRINDLE (8-5) DAVE HUNT (8-5) in Manhattan and eke out a close The defense will be better, but with
Husker Sports Network KLKN-TV win in the finale vs. Colorado. A the offenses in the Big 12, better may
5-3 finish in the Big 12 is good for a not be good enough.
The 2008 football season is a This is a team that I think will get 2nd place tie behind North Division
pretty big mystery. While everyone better each week. The Big Red lose champ Missouri. A loss in the bowl Mike’l Severe (8-5)
expects a faster, more aggressive to Virginia Tech, Mizzou, Texas game ends Bo Pelini’s first year. 1620 The Zone
defense, how much faster and more Tech, and Oklahoma, but make
aggressive will the Huskers be? enough strides to take down Kansas Brian Rosenthal (7-6) Nebraska starts the season with
That’s a question that few have at home late in the year. Nebraska Lincoln Journal Star a very tough mid-major team.
answers to right now. I see this team finishes second or third in the Big 12 Western Michigan has a lot of talent
playing it’s best football late. Five North, then loses to Penn State in It’s logical to think the defense will be including quarterback Tim Hiller
chances for big wins (Virginia Tech, the Alamo Bowl. better in 2008. (It can’t get any worse, and one of the best wide receivers
Missouri, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, right?) An improved defense, although NU will see all year in Jamorko
and Kansas) and I see this team Rich Kaipust (8-5) not a rock-solid one, will mean at Simmons.
winning 1 or 2 of them. If they can Omaha World-Herald least two more victories than last Nebraska continues its great start
do that then an eight-win season season. Nebraska won’t win the Big 12 against two very beatable teams in
with an Alamo berth is likely. I really believe a major key is at North, but will return to a bowl game. San Jose State and New Mexico
Things that need to happen: (1) least splitting those back-to-back Shreveport isn’t the most coveted State. Virginia Tech doesn’t have
Anthony Blue recovers from ACL home games with Virginia Tech destination, but it will do for now. enough playmakers to hurt NU in
surgery (2) A young receiver steps and Missouri, with the latter more the secondary, but being at home
up (Paul, Gilleylen, etc.), (3) Phillip important for obvious reasons. NU chris schmidt (10-3) helps the Huskers to the close win.
Dillard emerges as a play-making won’t win at either Texas Tech or ESPN Radio 1480 KLMS Missouri and Texas Tech throw
linebacker (4) Ndamukong Suh Oklahoma, but also won’t lose by the ball too well for NU’s young and
realizes his potential. If these things a combined 100-13 as in 2004. I I’m predicting a 10-3 season, a win inexperienced secondary. ISU and
happen, the Huskers far exceed don’t think it would be optimistic over Oregon in the Holiday Bowl Baylor are two of the worst teams
anyone’s expectations. calling for an 8-4 regular season but and a tie for second in the Big 12 in the Big 12 with Kansas State a
more a statement on last season’s North. close third. Oklahoma will run for
Bob Hamar (8-5) underachieving. Nebraska will be a much better 200-plus yards against the Huskers.
Grand Island Independent and passionate team in 2008. I like NU returns with a double-overtime
merlyn klaus (8-5) the offensive firepower returning for win against Kansas. Kansas State
Everybody is a Bo Pelini fan, WOWT-TV Sports NU, which will keep them in most can’t stay with Nebraska as long as
at least until the Huskers step on games. The key game for the Big they play the 3-4, and NU’s O-line
the field. The schedule is brutal to The Huskers will be improved on Red happens early in the year against will man-handle the Wildcats. The
say the least. Virginia Tech has its defense, but there are way too many Virginia Tech. If Nebraska can win season will end on a sour note
problems, but the Hokies are still unknowns for this team to move any that game, it will provide momentum against the Buffs, leaving the Huskers
an elite program. Oklahoma and higher. I like Joe Ganz, but I think he for the rest of the year. If the with a, invite to the Holiday Bowl
Missouri are easily top 10 teams will really miss Maurice Purify – don’t running game can be dependable, where they will fall to Arizona State.
while Texas Tech isn’t far off. see any gamebreakers on offense it will help keep the defense off the
Don’t forget a tough Kansas team except Marlon Lucky. Schedule is field until they find their way. Coach GREG SHARPE (8-4)
and don’t count that opener against the best thing the Huskers have going Pelini will do a great job getting this Voice of the Huskers
Western Michigan as an automatic for them – 5 home games to start the group to play with high intensity.
victory. A 7-5 regular-season record season. I think Bo and company will Nebraska is probably a couple years The one prediction that I’m
and a bowl appearance they could ultimately succeed, but I don’t see the away from being able to win tough confident in for the 2008 Huskers
win would make the Huskers 8-5 for talent to overtake Missouri and Kansas road games. Kansas State is the one is that this team will play hard and
the year. That wouldn’t be bad for (and perhaps Colorado) this season. game I see as a trap game, late in the determined all season long. Now
Pelini’s first year as a head coach. season, and pressure on Ron Prince trying to figure out how a first year
Kevin Kugler (9-4) to perform. A victory over Nebraska head coach will fare with a group
Ken Hambleton (7-6) 1620 The Zone/NET Sports could take some heat off of him. that was deflated by the end of
Lincoln Journal Star last season is difficult. I see four
I’m predicting a 9-4 record this Jon Schuetz (9-4) games that are “swing” games for
The Cornhuskers will finish 7-6 season for Nebraska. I think the KETV Newswatch 7 the Huskers in 2008. That equates
with a win in a bowl game. Huskers will start the season with to one third of the season. Now the
New coach, new attitude should three straight wins. After they sneak Nebraska, under new coach Bo good news is that all four of those
be refreshing. But same old lack of by a tough test from Virginia Tech, Pelini and staff. will be much, much games are at Memorial Stadium.
depth or experience in the offensive the Missouri Tigers will grab their better. If they win all of the games Virginia Tech, Missouri, Kansas,
line, receivers, means it will take some first win in a generation at Memorial they should win, the team will go and Colorado are the games that
time for the offense to load and fire. Stadium in Lincoln. A loss in 7-5. I think they will pull at least one will decide how good a season the
Defense will have verve and vibrancy, Lubbock puts the Huskers at 4-2, surprise for an 8-4 regular season Huskers will have in 2008.
but no depth at linebacker, or before back-to-back wins against finish, and let’s make it 9-4 with a If NU can split those four games
cornerback. I predicted 7-6 last year Iowa State and Baylor. Holiday Bowl win. I can see an 8-4 year, putting the
and was hooted at for being negative. A closer than expected loss in The three-game stretch of Virginia Huskers back into a bowl game
Norman gives Nebraska a 6-3 Tech, Missouri and Texas Tech will and back competing with the upper
record. The Huskers then surprise tell us a lot about this team. (I have echelon of the Big 12.
Kansas in Lincoln, swamp K-State all of them in my national top 10.)

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 3 9
HuskerPreview

marlon lucky

Seniors look to finish careers on winning note

T
here’s a sense of urgency. Seniors by Mike Babcock seniors on Pelini’s first team. And those
always feel it. seniors must provide leadership to allow the
“This is my last season,” said Lydon certainly, though how realistic Slauson’s goals Cornhuskers to maximize their potential.
Murtha. “Even though last season was are remains to be seen. The process of restoring From the news conference to introduce
frustrating, it was more so for the seniors. It tradition and developing a culture has just him as head coach, Pelini has emphasized
was frustrating for us (non-seniors), too, just begun. developing a culture. “I think the key is
because we contributed to the losses. But we “There’s talent here,” Coach Bo Pelini said having a culture that runs throughout your
look to this as the year we need to get it done.” following spring practice. “They’re eager and football team and finding the right guys to
Matt Slauson was more definitive. “I have they’re learning every day. What I’ve seen is enforce that culture and promote it,” he said.
to put on the best show I can so I can get a guys getting better. How that’s going to equate “If there’s a crack built in the foundation,
ring,” he said. “We have to win the Big 12 to wins and losses, that’s not something we’re they seal it real quick. I think that’s what’s
championship. It’s going to happen. And we’re focused on right now. happening.
going to go to a BCS (bowl) game. I have to “I haven’t even had much time to evaluate “I think guys are buying in. We’re
make sure I tie up all the ends on my side. who we’re going to play against and what their developing better relationships and trust that’s
“Last year’s done. This is a whole new era strengths and weaknesses are, how good of going to help us be successful and stay together
here.” talent they have. But I think there’s talent on for a long period of time, through good times
Whole new era, yes. But Big 12 this football team. Our job is to get the most and bad, because no matter what, you’re going
championship? BCS bowl? Players have to out of that talent as we possibly can.” to have rocky times and you’re going to have
believe in themselves and their potential, Murtha and Slauson are among two dozen good times, and you need to have leadership to

4 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
HuskerPreview
by terry douglass
offset the bad times.” They produced a school-record 47 turnovers, Pelini’s philosophy is multiple but simple,
Nebraska endured its share of bad times including 36 interceptions. according to linebackers coach Mike Ekeler.
last season, particularly on defense. It ranked Last season, they managed only 11 “We’re teaching concepts so once you
112th nationally in total defense, 114th in turnovers, including eight interceptions. understand a concept, you should be able
scoring defense, 116th in rushing defense Pelini spent one season as co-defensive to build on that. It’s not just a bunch of
and 117th in turnover margin. And the coordinator at Oklahoma then three seasons memorization,” said Ekeler. “They might do the
Blackshirts were pulled after the Oklahoma as defensive coordinator at LSU. The Tigers same concept in 50 different defenses. Bo’s big
State game. “The way we were playing, we ranked third in the nation in total defense in thing is ‘same as.’ That’s what it’s based on.”
didn’t deserve the (black) jerseys,” senior each of those seasons, and they produced 36

I
defensive tackle Ty Steinkuhler said. “It turnovers last season, third-most nationally. n addition to learning “same as”
didn’t have anything to do with coaching or The teams for which Pelini has been concepts, the defense swarmed to the
anything. It was just bad play.” defensive coordinator have been a combined ball in the spring with an enthusiasm
Steinkuhler is among six returning starters 56-10. His system works. “We obviously have that appeared to be missing by the end
on defense. The others are nose tackle a different system than what they played here of last season.
Ndamukong Suh, who missed spring practice before,” he said. “But it’s not about the system. Even so, defensive breakdowns weren’t the
following knee surgery, ends Zach Potter and It’s not what you do. It’s how you do it. only reason for a 5-7 record and staying home
Barry Turner, cornerback Armando Murillo “It’s how . . . the passion you play with, the from a bowl game for the second time in four
and strong safety Larry Asante. discipline, the technique, the fundamentals, seasons, after 35 in a row.
Despite the defensive deficiencies last the little things that are going to make the “There were stupid comments made here
season, there’s reason for optimism. difference in the end. The effort, that comes and there, but nobody really thought that one
side of the ball was the reason (for the losing
record),” Slauson said. “There were times
where the defense played great and the offense
didn’t get it done. Just because numbers wise it
didn’t look very good on defense, it wasn’t just
them. It was everyone. Our offense kept putting
the defense in bad positions with turnovers and
all that. So everyone was at fault.”
Actually, the turnovers often were a result of
forcing things in an effort to overcome deficits.
Still, Slauson’s point is well-taken. Success
depends on a team effort.
Nebraska ranked ninth nationally in total
offense, averaging 468.3 yards, and 28th in
scoring, averaging 33.42 points. So sweeping
changes weren’t needed on that side of the ball.
joe ganz Shawn Watson was retained as offensive
coordinator, and though he had that title last
As former Cornhusker defensive first in our defense, how they run to the season, the offense was Bill Callahan’s. Now it
coordinator Charlie McBride used to say, football, how we go about our daily business will have his imprint.
if something doesn’t kill you, it will make in every aspect of being football players. What Watson’s credentials are solid, too. He
you stronger. Players who endured last we’ve tried to do is enforce that every day.” served as offensive coordinator at Colorado
season’s frustrations should be better for the Pelini and his assistants have tried to leave from 2000 through 2005 and during that time
experience. Perhaps the best illustration was no room for interpretation. “We talk about the Buffaloes won four Big 12 North Division
Nebraska’s ranking first in the nation in total taking the gray out of it. It’s pretty black and titles and one Big 12 championship with a
defense in 1984 after struggling with many of white what we’re asking them to do,” he said. system that incorporated the run as well as
the same players in 1983. “Then the schemes, the X’s and O’s, that the pass. Their ability to run was never more
Also, Pelini’s background is defense, and his stuff will come in time. But the foundation apparent than during Nebraska’s visit to
resume is impeccable. has to begin with effort, discipline, trust and Boulder in 2001.
When he was Frank Solich’s defensive playing team defense, and within that, playing The Buffaloes rushed for 380 yards that day,
coordinator in 2003, the Cornhuskers with the best fundamentals and techniques averaging more than 7 yards per carry. Chris
ranked first in the nation in pass efficiency possible. The scheme, that comes later.” Brown rushed for 198 of those yards and six
defense, first in turnover margin, second in Schemes will be addressed “once we start touchdowns in a 62-36 victory.
scoring defense and 11th in total defense. game-planning,” he said. Watson’s system is based on the West Coast

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4 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
HuskerPreview
by terry douglass

offense principles of the last four years under


Callahan. But West Coast offense is just a label,
and a not-very-good one at that.
“Everybody wants to put a name on it
around here,” an exasperated Watson said
after a practice in the spring. “It’s the Nebraska
offense. How’s that? Sounds good to me.”
The foundation of any offense is the line,
and that figures to be a strength. Four of six
returning starters on offense are linemen, and
the Cornhuskers finished spring with two-deep
across the line, with an infusion of talented
young players.
In addition to Slauson (right guard) and
Murtha (left tackle), the likely starters will be
senior Mike Huff (left guard), junior Jacob
Hickman (center) and sophomore Jaivorio
Burkes (right tackle). Huff and Hickman also nate swift
are returning starters, and Burkes was pulled It’s not one of those things that we’re kind of and play,” said Murtha. “He could have easily
from a redshirt and got an opportunity to stand-offish if a new kid’s coming in.” transferred, quit. But he stayed here. This is his
start when Murtha was injured late in the The standard for offensive line play is high senior year now, and he’s going to go out there
season. at Nebraska. Most notable were the Pipeline and just dominate, period. There’s no question
and the Pipeline II, which cleared the way for about it.”

T
he second unit will include sophomore national championships in 1994 and 1995. Lucky, who also is versatile, could have
Mike Smith and redshirted freshman But there were others, including the national gone to the NFL. He considered leaving early,
Marcel Jones at the tackles, championship lines in 1970, 1971 and 1997, as following a junior season in which he rushed
sophomores Keith Williams and D.J. well as a sometimes forgotten group in 1982, for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns and
Jones at the guards and redshirted freshman build around center Dave Rimington. caught a school-record 75 passes for 705 yards
Mike Caputo, the only walk-on in the group, I-back Marlon Lucky and wide receiver Nate and three touchdowns.
at center. Swift are the other returning starters on offense. During spring practice, “I thought we
In addition, there is position flexibility That quarterback Joe Ganz isn’t considered a accomplished a lot,” Pelini said. “We started
within the group. “I think we can be as good returning starter is a technicality. He started laying the foundation for where we want the
as we want to be,” Murtha said. “We want to the final three games after Sam Keller was program to be headed.
be one of the best lines in the nation. We have sidelined by a shoulder injury. “Offensively, we’re probably a little ahead
that cohesiveness a lot of lines don’t have when Ganz put up remarkable numbers in those of where we are defensively, just because we’re
they incorporate other (young) players. There three games, passing for 1,399 yards and 15 introducing new things. But I thought we
are some young kids, and we accept them as touchdowns, including school records of 510 accomplished a lot and set ourselves up to have
if they’ve been playing for three or four years. yards and seven touchdowns against Kansas a productive summer and fall camp to get ready
State. “Everybody always for the season.”
knew Joey was good, but Whether the Cornhuskers can challenge for
they didn’t know he had that the Big 12 North Division title, much less make
in him,” said Slauson. “He a trip to the Big 12 championship game in
was just throwing the ball so Kansas City on Dec. 6 remains to be seen.
strong and making such great Nebraska won the North Division two
decisions.” seasons ago, but it hasn’t won a Big 12
Because of his versatility, championship since 1999 and it hasn’t played
he’s going to be a dual-threat in a BCS bowl since the 2001 season.
quarterback, Slauson said. Those are Slauson’s goals, however. As a
Ganz has dealt with his player, “you’re always optimistic,” he said.
share of frustrations during “You’re always hoping you’re going to be great,
four years at Nebraska. expecting to do great.”
“He just needed to have Seniors in particular have that sense of
ndamukong suh a chance to get out there urgency. It’s their last opportunity.

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HuskerPreview2008 Roster
Alphabetical Roster
Numerical Roster
* - Indicates Letters Earned
* - Indicates Letters Earned
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (High School/College)
No. Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Position
95 *Allen, Pierre DE 6-5 265 So. Denver, Colo. (Thomas Jefferson)
1 Chris Brooks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WR
21 *Amukamara, Prince DB 6-1 195 So. Glendale, Ariz. (Apollo)
2 Patrick Witt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . QB
4 *Asante, Larry S 6-1 210 Jr. Alexandria, Va. (Hayfield/Coffeyville CC)
3 **Rickey Thenarse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . S
56 *Barfield, Shukree DT 6-4 300 Sr. Camden, N.J. (Garden City CC)
3 Zac Lee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . QB
66 Barrett, Cruz OL 6-4 325 So. Daytona Beach, Fla. (Mainland)
4 *Larry Asante. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S
56 Baumgartner, Justin LS 6-2 250 Sr. Cheyenne, Wyo. (Chadron State/Laramie County CC)
5 ***Marlon Lucky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . IB
14 *Blue, Anthony CB 5-10 180 So. Cedar Hill, Texas
5 *Armando Murillo. . . . . . . . . . . . CB
1 Brooks, Chris WR 6-2 210 Jr. St. Louis, Mo. (Hazelwood East)
6 *Major Culbert. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S
72 *Burkes, Jaivorio OL 6-5 325 So. Phoenix, Ariz. (Moon Valley)
7 Kody Spano. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . QB
42 Joseph Camarata LB 5-10 225 Fr. Overland Park, Kan.
8 *Will Henry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WR
82 **Cammack, Wes WR 5-11 195 Jr. DeWitt, Neb. (Tri-County)
8 Austin Cassidy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S
58 Caputo, Mike OL 6-1 270 RFr. Omaha, Neb. (Millard North)
10 *Roy Helu Jr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IB
8 Cassidy, Austin S 6-1 205 RFr. Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest)
11 Curenski Gilleylen. . . . . . . . . . . . WR
19 *Castille, Quentin IB 6-1 245 So. LaPorte, Texas
12 **Joe Ganz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .QB
31 Covey, Nick LB 6-2 240 Jr. Glendale, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
12 *Blake Lawrence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
94 Crick, Jared DE 6-6 270 RFr. Cozad, Neb.
14 *Anthony Blue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CB
6 **Culbert, Major S 6-0 205 Jr. Harbor City, Calif. (Nathaniel Narbonne)
15 Beau Davis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . QB
15 Davis, Beau QB 6-4 180 Sr. Venice, Calif.
16 Jim Ebke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . QB
52 **Dillard, Phillip LB 6-1 245 Jr. Tulsa, Okla. (Jenks)
17 ***Todd Peterson. . . . . . . . . . . . WR
97 *Dixon, Kevin DT 6-3 285 Sr. Sebring, Fla. (Sebring/Garden City CC)
18 **Menelik Holt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WR
83 Donahue, Matt WR 6-2 175 So. Fremont, Neb.
18 Shawn Sullivan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DB
16 Ebke, Jim QB 6-0 205 So. Lincoln, Neb. (East/South Dakota State)
19 *Quentin Castille. . . . . . . . . . . . . . IB
74 Escamilla, Taylor DT 6-1 270 RFr. Fremont, Neb. (Archbishop Bergan)
20 *Adi Kunalic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PK
92 Fahie, Tyrone DE 6-3 250 So. Virginia Beach, Va. (Ocean Lakes)
21 *Prince Amukamara. . . . . . . . . . DB
27 Ford, Ryan DB 5-11 175 Jr. Winfield, Ala.
22 *Anthony West. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CB
12 **Ganz, Joe QB 6-1 210 Sr. Palos Heights, Ill. (Amos Alonzo Stagg)
23 *Latravis Washington . . . . . . . . . LB
41 Gillaspie, Aaron FB 6-2 240 So. Littleton, Colo.
24 *Niles Paul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WR
11 Gilleylen, Curenski WR 6-0 210 RFr. Leander, Texas
24 Adam Watson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DB
34 ***Glenn, Cody IB 6-0 230 Sr. Rusk, Texas
27 Ryan Ford. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DB
41 *Grove, Thomas LB 6-2 220 So. Arlington, Neb.
27 *Kenny Wilson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IB
28 *Hagg, Eric DB 6-1 200 So. Peoria, Ariz. (Ironwood)
28 *Eric Hagg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DB
80 Harvey, David DE 6-4 260 Jr. LaPlata, Md. (McDonough)
30 Mike Hays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FB
30 Hays, Mike LB 6-1 230 RFr. Papillion, Neb. (Papillion-LaVista)
31 Nick Covey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
10 *Helu Jr., Roy IB 6-0 215 So. Danville, Calif. (San Ramon Valley)
31 Austin Jones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IB
90 *Henery, Alex PK/P 6-2 170 So. Omaha, Neb. (Burke)
32 Marcus Mendoza . . . . . . . . . . . . . IB
8 *Henry, Will WR 6-5 215 So. El Paso, Texas (J.M. Hanks)
33 **Matt O'Hanlon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S
85 Hetzer, Tyson TE 6-6 250 Jr. Redding, Calif. (Anderson/Citrus College)
34 ***Cody Glenn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IB
67 **Hickman, Jacob OL 6-4 290 Jr. Bakersfield, Calif. (Centennial)
35 Austin Stafford. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
80 Hill, Ryan TE 6-3 245 RFr. Arvada, Colo. (West)
36 **Thomas Lawson . . . . . . . . . . . . FB
18 **Holt, Menelik WR 6-4 220 Jr. San Diego, Calif. (St. Augustine)
36 Matthew May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . S
61 ***Huff, Mike OL 6-4 300 Sr. Ralston, Neb.
37 ***Jake Wesch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PK
69 Iske, Cory OL 6-4 280 Fr. Omaha, Neb. (Millard West)
37 Kevin Thomsen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FB
31 Jones, Austin IB 5-10 200 RFr. Aurora, Colo.
39 Lance Thorell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DB
73 *Jones, D.J. OL 6-5 305 So. Omaha, Neb. (Central)
41 Aaron Gillaspie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FB
78 Jones, Marcel OL 6-7 310 RFr. Phoenix, Ariz. (Trevor Browne)
41 *Thomas Grove. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
85 Faron Klingelhofer DE 6-2 250 Fr. Amherst, Neb.
42 Joseph Camarata . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
54 Koehler, Colton LB 6-1 230 Jr. Harvard, Neb.
43 ***Ty Steinkuhler . . . . . . . . . . . . DT
20 *Kunalic, Adi PK 6-0 185 So. Fort Worth, Texas (North Crowley)
44 *Mike McNeill. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TE
12 *Lawrence, Blake LB 6-2 225 So. Shawnee Mission, Kan. (Shawnee Mission West)
45 Justin Makovicka. . . . . . . . . . . . . . FB
36 **Lawson, Thomas FB 6-0 250 Sr. Parker, Colo. (Ponderosa)

4 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
HuskerPreview2008 Roster
No. Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Position
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (High School/College) 46 Ben Tasa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TE
3 Lee, Zac QB 6-2 210 So. San Francisco, Calif. (St. Ignatius Prep/San Francisco City College) 47 William Yancy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DE
48 Legate, Tyler FB 5-10 220 So. Neligh, Neb. (Neligh-Oakdale/South Dakota) 48 Tyler Legate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FB
88 Lester, Ben WR 5-10 165 RFr. Tecumseh, Neb. 49 *Dreu Young. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TE
75 Lingenfelter, Luke DE 6-4 250 RFr. Plainview, Neb. 52 **Phillip Dillard. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
5 ***Lucky, Marlon IB 6-0 215 Sr. North Hollywood, Calif. 53 *Tyler Wortman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
45 Makovicka, Justin FB 6-1 240 So. Ulysses, Neb. (East Butler) 54 Colton Koehler. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
63 *Martin, Ben DT 6-4 270 So. Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest) 54 Max McShane. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OT
59 Martin, Jay LB 6-2 210 RFr. Waverly, Neb. 56 *Shukree Barfield. . . . . . . . . . . . . DT
71 Masin, Mike OL 6-6 330 RFr. Lincoln, Neb. (Southeast) 56 Justin Baumgartner. . . . . . . . . . . . LS
36 May, Matthew S 6-1 195 RFr. Imperial, Neb. (Chase County) 57 Jeff Sayre. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
44 *McNeill, Mike TE 6-4 240 So. Kirkwood, Mo. 58 Mike Caputo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
54 Max McShane OT 6-6 290 Fr. Elkhorn, Neb. 59 Jay Martin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LB
32 Mendoza, Marcus IB 5-10 185 RFr. Houston, Texas (Spring Woods) 61 ***Mike Huff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
90 Moore, Terrence DT 6-3 270 RFr. New Orleans, La. (McDonogh 35) 63 *Ben Martin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DT
5 *Murillo, Armando CB 6-0 190 Sr. Tampa, Fla. (Robinson/Eastern Arizona CC) 65 *Mike Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
76 ***Murtha, Lydon OL 6-7 315 Sr. Hutchinson, Minn. 66 Cruz Barrett. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
33 **O’Hanlon, Matt S 5-11 195 Sr. Bellevue, Neb. (Bellevue East) 67 **Jacob Hickman . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
82 **O’Leary, T.J. LS 6-1 235 Sr. Omaha, Neb. (Millard North/New Mexico State) 68 *Keith Williams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
24 *Paul, Niles WR 6-1 210 So. Omaha, Neb. (North) 69 Cory Iske . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
17 ***Peterson, Todd WR 6-4 215 Sr. Grand Island, Neb. (Central Catholic) 70 ***Matt Slauson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
98 ***Potter, Zach DE 6-7 280 Sr. Omaha, Neb. (Creighton Prep) 71 Mike Masin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
89 Santin, Jonathon DE 6-3 225 RFr. Fullerton, Neb. 72 *Jaivorio Burkes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
57 Sayre, Jeff LB 6-3 215 RFr. Barrington, Ill. 73 *D.J. Jones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
88 ***Sievers, Clayton DE 6-4 255 Sr. Elkhorn, Neb. 74 Taylor Escamilla. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DL
70 ***Slauson, Matt OL 6-5 325 Sr. Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Force Prep) 75 Luke Lingenfelter. . . . . . . . . . . . . DE
65 *Smith, Mike OL 6-6 285 So. Las Vegas, Nev. (Palo Verde) 76 ***Lydon Murtha . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
7 Spano, Kody QB 6-2 205 Fr. Stephenville, Texas 78 Marcel Jones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OL
35 Stafford, Austin LB 6-2 205 RFr. Hayward, Calif. 80 David Harvey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DE
43 ***Steinkuhler, Ty DT 6-3 280 Sr. Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest) 80 Ryan Hill. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TE
93 **Suh, Ndamukong DT 6-4 300 Jr. Portland, Ore. (Grant) 82 **Wes Cammack. . . . . . . . . . . . . . WR
18 Sullivan, Shawn DB 5-10 190 RFr. Brenham, Texas 82 **T.J. O’Leary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LS
87 ***Swift, Nate WR 6-2 200 Sr. Hutchinson, Minn. 83 Matt Donahue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WR
46 Tasa, Ben TE 6-4 240 So. Humphrey, Neb. (St. Francis) 85 Faron Kungelhoffer . . . . . . . . . . . DE
89 ***Teafatiller, Hunter TE 6-3 235 Sr. Kingsburg, Calif. (San Joaquin Memorial) 85 Tyson Hetzer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TE
3 **Thenarse, Rickey S 6-0 195 Jr. Los Angeles, Calif. (Jordan) 87 ***Nate Swift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WR
37 Thomsen, Kevin FB 6-2 240 RFr. Elkhorn, Neb. 88 ***Clayton Sievers . . . . . . . . . . . . DE
39 Thorell, Lance DB 6-1 190 RFr. Loomis, Neb. 88 Ben Lester. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WR
97 **Titchener, Dan P 6-0 200 Sr. Cheyenne, Wyo. (East) 89 ***Hunter Teafatiller . . . . . . . . . . . TE
99 ***Turner, Barry DE 6-3 260 Sr. Antioch, Tenn. (Brentwood Academy) 89 Jonathon Santin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . DE
23 *Washington, Latravis LB 6-3 225 So. Bradenton, Fla. (Bayshore) 90 *Alex Henery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PK
24 Watson, Adam DB 6-0 190 So. Lincoln, Neb. (Niwot [Colo.]) 90 Terrence Moore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DT
37 ***Wesch, Jake PK 6-1 205 Sr. North Bend, Neb. 92 Tyrone Fahie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DL
22 *West, Anthony CB 6-0 200 So. San Diego, Calif. (Point Loma) 93 **Ndamukong Suh. . . . . . . . . . . . DT
68 *Williams, Keith OL 6-5 310 So. Florissant, Mo. (McClure North) 94 Jared Crick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DE
27 *Wilson, Kenny IB 6-0 225 Sr. Liberal, Kan. (Butler County CC) 95 *Pierre Allen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DE
2 Witt, Patrick QB 6-4 225 RFr. Wylie, Texas 97 **Dan Titchener. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P
53 *Wortman, Tyler LB 6-3 235 Sr. Grand Island, Neb. (Central Catholic) 97 *Kevin Dixon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DT
47 Yancy, William DE 6-4 245 RFr. Glendale, Ariz. (Ironwood) 98 ***Zach Potter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DE
49 *Young, Dreu TE 6-4 240 So. Cozad, Neb. 99 ***Barry Turner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DE

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 4 5
joe ganz

4 6 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Quarterback Preview

Ganz rides record-setting finish into 2008

Quarterbacks
suffered a season-ending shoulder injury at
Texas, Ganz, finally presented an opportunity
to prove himself, delivered masterfully in
Nebraska’s final three games.
“I just went out there and had fun,” Ganz
said. “I was kind of sick of sitting on the bench,

T
hey’d just watched their son, Joe Ganz. But maybe the years of obscurity finally and all of the sudden, I got my shot. I kind of
Ganz, shatter several Nebraska single- worked to his advantage. After all, when was the went out there and made the most of it.”
game records in his first career start at last time a record-setting Nebraska quarterback In November alone, Ganz accounted for three
Memorial Stadium. didn’t have his own jersey for sale in area athletic of the five 400-yard passing games in school
Mike Ganz and his wife, Debbie, the proud apparel stores? history, and three of the top five games in total
parents of the Huskers’ newest quarterback, “They’ve been wearing old Joe Dailey jerseys offense. Nebraska averaged nearly 600 yards of
were traveling home to Chicago. They stopped and passing them off as mine,” said Ganz, who offense in the three games Ganz started. His
at a truck stop along Interstate 80 in Nebraska. wears the same No. 12 as Dailey, Nebraska’s 15 touchdowns in a three-game stretch were a
Both entered the store. Mike school record.
headed back to the car first, but “I’m glad I was prepared and

“I was ready for the last three years.


Debbie stayed a little longer. ready,” Ganz said. “There are a lot
When she reached the counter of people who get their shot and
to pay for her purchases, she they’re not ready. They don’t take
overheard another woman in line I finally got my number called, and I advantage of it. And then they’re
talking to the clerk. back to where they started.
“Oh my God, that was Joe didn’t want to be one of those guys who “I was ready. I was ready for
Ganz’s dad!” cried the customer. the last three years. I finally got
Debbie could only shake her
wasn’t ready.” my number called, and I didn’t
head in amazement. Mike had want to be one of those guys who
been interviewed by the local JOE GANZ wasn’t ready.”
television stations earlier that day. Now, is Ganz ready to help
Already, Nebraska knew him. Nebraska’s program get back on
Even the parents of the Huskers’ top signal quarterback in 2004. “Hopefully I can get a track? The one statistic Ganz points out from
caller will find themselves in the spotlight. jersey before I leave.” last season is 1-2 – the Huskers’ record in the
“They like it,” Joe Ganz said. “They like it a It’s the least that could be done for Ganz, three games he started.
lot. They’re happy for me.” who enters his senior season in sole possession, “It would’ve been a lot better if we were 2-1
Mom and Dad weren’t the only ones who’d at long last, of Nebraska’s starting quarterback or 3-0,” Ganz said. “I share my success with
traveled to see Ganz play that day against position. A new coaching staff, with offensive how well we do as a team.”
Kansas State. Three high school friends also coordinator Shawn Watson returning, figures “If I have a good year and we’re 6-6, I won’t
came. They watched Ganz complete 30-of-40 to tweak the offense to suit Ganz’s dual-threat really be happy. But if I have an OK year, where
passes for a school-record 510 yards and a abilities. That could mean more zone reads and I help the team win a couple games and we
school-record seven touchdown passes. His 528 option plays. finish 9-3, I’ll be a lot happier.”
yards of total offense also set a school record. “I’d rather run the ball than just sit and hand

G
Nebraska won, 73-31. off every time,” Ganz said. “I kind of like anz has only one season, under new
After the game, fans in the parking lot having the decision be in my hands. Kind of coach Bo Pelini, to help turn things
outside the stadium greeted Ganz with various like it was in high school; we hardly ever turned around. It’s pressure he welcomes.
congratulatory messages. and handed off. It was either option or zone “It’s normal for the quarterback
“My friends were like, ‘People know who read, or we were throwing the ball. I like having to be under pressure,” he said. “Every team, if
you are when you’re walking down the street?’ ” the decision rest on my shoulders rather than you don’t have good quarterback play, you’re not
Ganz said. “I’m like, yeah … Well, I guess now handing off and hoping for the best.” going to win. That’s how it is. I’m used to that
they do.” Ganz proved that with a remarkable stretch pressure and I understand it. It is a lot of pressure,
True, it hadn’t always been this way for of play late last season. When Sam Keller but I’d rather it be on me than anybody else.”

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 4 7
Quarterback Preview

In high school, Ganz was lightly recruited, “Up to this point, Patrick has had a little spring game. True freshman Kody Spano got
somebody who seemed destined for Eastern edge,” Nebraska offensive coordinator and a jump start on his Husker career by enrolling
Michigan. He was a late addition to former quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson said after early and participating in spring practices. He
Nebraska coach Bill Callahan’s hastily arranged the spring game. was 4-of-6 for 47 yards in the spring game, but
recruiting class of 2004. Witt, the sophomore from Wylie, Texas, barring injury to those in front of Spano, it’s not
As Ganz puts it, “I was a last-second grab.” started for the White team in the April spring likely he’ll be a major factor come fall.
He then watched as the previous coaching game and saw snaps for both teams. Combined,
staff trotted in quarterback after quarterback Witt was 8-of-15 for 78 yards. AT A GLANCE
Returning Quarterbacks
after quarterback, each one destined to take In leading the White team on a 75-yard
Beau Davis 6-4 180 Sr.
Nebraska to greatness. The message to Ganz scoring drive, Witt completed all four of his
Joe Ganz 6-1 210 Sr.
always seemed to be something about better pass attempts. Zac Lee 6-2 210 So.
competition or the need for depth. “I think the confidence is a big part of it,” Patrick Witt 6-4 225 RFr.
“I don’t know how many ‘saviors’ I’ve had Witt said after the game. “Knowing the plays, Incoming Quarterbacks
Kody Spano 6-2 205 Fr.
in my time. Four?” Ganz said. “I think the only being able to step in the huddle and really take
one to pan out was Zac.” command of it. I think the guys in the huddle
#12 • Joe Ganz
That, of course, was Zac Taylor, who became respect me a lot more, knowing that I know Sr., Quarterback, 6-1, 210
Nebraska’s all-time passing leader in only two what I’m supposed to do.” Palos Heights, Ill. (Amos Alonzo Stagg)
Ganz completed 58.6 percent
seasons. Lee, the junior college transfer who redshirted of his passes for 1,435 yards and
Others didn’t live up to their hype. Jordan last season, was 6-of-11 for 87 yards and a 16 touchdowns in 2007. He also
Adams. Harrison Beck. Last season’s “savior,” touchdown in the spring game. He played as a rushed 20 times for 93 yards and
three touchdowns. He finally got
Keller, had strong moments, but the season- backup to Ganz on the Red team. his chance at the end of the season,
ending injury, with three games remaining, A sophomore, Lee was named Nebraska’s filling in for injured QB Sam Keller.
put his Husker career in the disappointment offensive scout team MVP last season. He Ganz started the final three games (Kansas, Kansas State,
Colorado) and accounted for three of the five 400-yard
category. played the 2006 season at San Francisco City passing days in school history, in addition to three of the
“It may hurt kids, coming in with all that College and threw for more than 3,400 yards top five games in total offense. He is the Nebraska single-
pressure,” Ganz said. “It was probably a little and 35 touchdowns while completing 64 percent game record holder for passing yards (510), total offense
(528) and passing touchdowns (7), all in last year’s 73-31
easier for me. Nobody really expected anything of his passes, but a knee injury sidelined him in rout of Kansas State.
from me. Nobody really thought, ‘This kid’s the spring of 2007 at Nebraska.
going to be the savior of the program,’ like they Lee has built a reputation as a player with a #2 • Patrick Witt
Redshirt Freshman, Quarterback, 6-4, 225
did with Harrison, like they did with Sam. strong arm who possesses good mobility in the Wylie, Texas
“I’ve seen my fair share of saviors. Hopefully pocket. Witt has good size and has
dub me the next one.” “What I’ve seen so far, he’s got a ridiculously exhibited a strong arm and solid
all-around skills. He joined the
Ganz then second-guessed his own strong arm,” senior receiver Nate Swift said. Huskers at mid-year last year and
statement. “He can make any throw.” participated in 2007 spring drills.
“Actually, don’t dub me as the next savior, Swift told of how one day in spring practice, He has continued to learn the NU
system and adds depth at the
please. It will just be a curse.” Lee threw the ball some 50 yards off his back quarterback position. As a senior at Wylie, Texas, High
foot. School he threw for 1,846 yards and 17 touchdowns
“Didn’t even look like he was throwing it at while completing 57 percent of his pass attempts. He

POSITION OUTLOOK all,” Swift said.


has adjusted well to the college classroom as he sports
a 4.0 grade point average.
Unlike last season, there’s no uncertainty Said Lee of his abilities: “I like to think that
about Nebraska’s starting quarterback as fall I’m somebody that drops back, and then, when #3 • Zac Lee
So., Quarterback, 6-2, 210
camp approaches. needed, can create a play or extend a play and San Francisco, Calif.
It’s Joe Ganz. The senior started the final get receivers time to get open.” (St. Ignatius Prep/San Francisco City College)
Lee continues to add depth at
three games of 2007, shattering several Nebraska Witt, though, in addition to his strong
the quarterback position. He
single-game records along the way, and did physical traits, appears to have a better grasp of came to Nebraska with some
nothing in the spring to lose the confidence of a the offense. impressive numbers compiled at
San Francisco City College during
new coaching staff. “You’ve got to remember, this is the first time
the 2006 season. He led his team
In other words, Ganz, at long last, is the man. Zac has been asked to run the offense,” Watson to a 10-2 record while throwing
There is, however, an important question said, “and he’s gotten better every week of the for better than 3,400 yards and 35 touchdowns while
completing 64 percent of his passes. He was ranked as
regarding the quarterback position. spring.”
the nation’s top junior college quarterback by Rivals.com
Who’s the backup to Ganz? Patrick Witt? Senior Beau Davis shouldn’t be counted out, and SuperPrep Magazine. Lee has a strong arm and good
Zac Lee? although he had only five pass attempts in the mobility.

4 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Coaches Call-in Quarterback Preview

Every Friday morning join hosts Coach Ron Brown,


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prepared in order to address the connection between
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7:00 am Central Time


Call 712.432.3900 - id 740984�

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402-464-2343 www.nebraskafca.org
marlon lucky

5 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Running Back Preview

Lucky brings fresh outlook to senior season

RUNNING BACKS
When last season started, Lucky was leaning
strongly toward skipping his senior season.
However, “as the season went on and we
were losing, and we didn’t have that team spirit
anymore, I made the decision to stay,” he said.
But he reversed field once again after the

T
he rain fell steadily one day last spring has matured into a confident adult before our season.
in Lincoln, Neb. It was cold rain – the eyes. He’s on track to complete his sociology “A lot of people put pressure on me, and I
kind that makes you feel thankful you degree in December of 2009. started thinking about leaving again,” he said.
brought your umbrella. He also seems on track for a big senior season. “Friends at home were saying I should go to the
Unfortunately, the wise old man’s umbrella “I really didn’t have a great season last year NFL. Everybody was putting in their 2 cents,
was broken. – at least not the season I wanted to have,” he and it was getting down to the nitty-gritty.”
OK, so Marlon Lucky isn’t exactly ready for said. “But I finished it off great.” “I’m just like any other player,” he adds. “I want
retirement. He recently turned 22. Now Lucky hopes to carry that momentum to go out with a winning season and get back to a
However, “seeing all the young fellas on the into the 2008 season. Continuing his late 2007 bowl game, because bowl games are fun. I want to
team, you feel old,” the Nebraska have fun my last year.”
senior I-back says. So, Lucky no longer is holding
By the way, grandpa Lucky
wasn’t grousing about his broken
“I guess I’ve learned that life has a lot back. Not only has he matured off
the field, he evidently has grown
umbrella. Lucky rarely complains
at all these days. After all, he’s
to offer.” up on it. He raised eyebrows last
November when he admitted
weathered his share of storms marlon lucky he paced himself at times last
since his much-anticipated arrival season, if ever so slightly, mindful
on campus in 2005. He seems of the injury bug that slowed him
much more at peace these days. surge – he topped 100 all-purpose yards in each as a sophomore.
“I remember when I first got here (to of the final five games to finish with 1,743 – was The thing is, Lucky knows he can’t afford to
Lincoln), I about lost my mind,” says the native the impetus behind his decision to remain at hold back now, what with sophomore Roy Helu
of North Hollywood, Calif. “I got homesick Nebraska instead of opting for the NFL. Jr. enjoying a breakout spring and 6-1, 235-pound
and everything. You look back on some of those He still wants to become a stronger runner Quentin Castille saying he’s determined to be an
things, and it’s kind of funny.” both mentally and physically. every-down back. What’s more, redshirt freshman
Lucky says Nebraska feels like home now. His Bottom line: He was unsure if he was ready Marcus Mendoza also flashed big-time speed a
homesickness gradually subsided and basically to make the big jump. few times in the Red-White Spring Game.
disappeared in the spring of 2007, he says. He’s Nebraska first-year head coach Bo Pelini was

L
no longer the shy and struggling student, the happy to keep Lucky in the fold. Lucky discussed ucky says he was surprised when senior
unsure and hesitant rusher, who so often tried to the NFL with Pelini about a week before the Cody Glenn told him he was moving
bounce inside running plays to the outside. He mid-January deadline for underclassmen to from I-back to linebacker. However,
no longer feels engulfed by the pressure of being declare for the draft. That meeting was the first Lucky says, Glenn handled the transition
a five-star recruit. time Lucky and Pelini visited at length. well during spring ball.
In 2005, he was ranked by Rivals.com as the “Bo keeps it really simple,” Lucky says with a “He’s already like a leader over there,” Lucky
nation’s No. 2 running back. chuckle. “He said if you’re not going in the first said. “He’s always talking. He’s really happy.”
“To please the fans, I had to come out and just or second (round), you shouldn’t leave.” Lucky can relate.
rip up the field,” he says. “I learned you can’t do The 6-0, 215-pound Lucky was projected Some college kids hit a rough patch and drop
that just coming into college football. The game is as a third-round selection in an NFL pre-draft out, while others persevere even when the hard
much faster. You have to come in and learn first.” evaluation. and cold rain falls and it feels like it’ll never end.
Now, however, “that’s all way past me,” he “(Pelini) wanted me to help our team out,” At the end of the day, Lucky is thankful he
says. Lucky said. “I’ve heard great things about him. stayed in Lincoln.
He smiles a lot more than he used to, friends I liked his attitude when I talked to him, so I was “I guess I’ve learned that life has a lot to
say. In short, the homesick kid from California like, ‘I’ll stay.’ ” offer,” he said.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 5 1
Running Back Preview

eyes with impressive play early on in spring drills.


POSITION OUTLOOK “He does everything,” Beck said. “He’s a #5 • Marlon Lucky
Sr., I-Back, 6-0, 215
Bottom line: Marlon Lucky stands atop the physical presence blocking. He can run the ball North Hollywood, Calif.
Huskers’ I-back depth chart entering preseason inside, outside. He has good vision and quick Lucky is one of the top returning
practice in early August. After all, he’s the Big offensive players in the Big 12
feet in the hole. He’s catching the ball well for
Conference after earning Second
12 Conference leading returning rusher. us. He’s understanding (the offense) better, so I Team All-Big 12 honors a year ago.
However, Roy Helu Jr. generated quite a think he’s playing faster. You put a young kid in He is the league’s top returning
rusher after averaging 84.9 yards
buzz in spring practice. To be sure, Lucky an offense like they had . . . That’s a lot of stuff, per game in 2007. In addition to
and Helu will get a large share of the carries man. Your head’s swimming.” rushing for over 1,000 yards, Lucky
also had a record-setting season as a receiver. He caught
in 2008, with Quentin Castille and Marcus A standout at San Ramon Valley High a Nebraska single-season record 75 passes for 705
Mendoza also ready for a significant amount School, Helu finished his senior season with yards and three touchdowns. The 75 catches bettered
of action. the previous Nebraska season record by 20 and he led
1,085 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns while
the nation in catches by a running back. Overall, Lucky
Lucky, a senior from North Hollywood, adding 300 receiving yards on 20 catches. He totaled 1,743 all-purpose yards in 2007, seventh in
Calif., last season averaged 84.9 yards rushing wasn’t nearly as ballyhooed coming out of high school history and the most by a Husker in 10 seasons.
in 12 games while also catching a school-record school as Castille, a 6-1, 245-pounder who has #10 • Roy Helu Jr.
75 passes for 705 yards. The 6-foot, 215-pound sneaky speed. As a senior at La Porte (Texas) So., I-Back, 6-0, 215
speedster led the nation in receptions by a Danville, Calif. (San Ramon Valley)
High School, Castille rushed for more than
Helu played a significant role
running back. 1,800 yards and 22 touchdowns. in the Husker offense in 2007
“It’s a tribute to Marlon that he doesn’t let the Castille’s tendency to fumble last season at despite just being a freshman.
He finished as Nebraska’s third-
ego get to him,” said Nebraska running backs Nebraska caused nervousness. He was working leading rusher with 45 carries for
coach Tim Beck. “He’s ultimately the senior, hard during the spring to break the habit. 209 yards. He also caught five
and he’s ultimately the guy who’s had a lot of passes for 40 yards. His season-
At any rate, Beck is glad to have quality
best was 56 yards on nine carries
success and the guy we’re going to ride. But I depth. against nationally-ranked Kansas.
think he realizes we need those other guys, too. How does he plan to rotate his backs?
#32 • Marcus Mendoza
The more success they have, the more success “I think you go with who’s hot,” he said. Redshirt Freshman, I-Back, 5-10, 185
he’s going to have.” “(But) I think it matters which team you’re Houston, Texas (Spring Woods)
Mendoza redshirted last season
Beck said during spring ball that Lucky was playing and what your game plan is. But I and is hoping to work his way
playing very well. definitely think you need to have three. You into the mix at the I-Back position
“He’s working on the things he needs to this fall. He was also a dangerous
look at teams that have that, they are probably
return threat during his prep
work on,” the coach said. “You know, it’s easy more successful. When you play 12, 14 games, career at Spring Woods High
for him to catch a toss or screen pass or run an someone’s going to get hurt. And it’s not School in Houston, Texas. Coming
out of high school, Mendoza was a
option play. We’re working on him blocking. always an injury – sometimes it’s just getting four-star prospect by Rivals.com, which ranked him the
He’s really done a better job of sticking his face beat up. No. 12 all-purpose running back in the country.
in there and doing those types of things – the “That happened to us at Kansas last season a
#19 • Quentin Castille
things we felt like he needed to improve in his little bit. Both (Jake) Sharp and B Mac (Brandon So., I-Back, 6-1, 245
game to be an all-around back. So he may not McAnderson) were beat up. They were day-to- LaPorte, Texas
Castille, a true freshman, served
be really flashy out there in practice because day, and we really didn’t have a third.” as Marlon Lucky’s top backup
I’m not always using him in that (flashy type of) at I-Back in 2007. He was used
manner, because I want him to be the guy pass AT A GLANCE heavily in short yardage and
goal-line situations. He was
protecting, I want him to block that linebacker Returning Running Backs Nebraska’s second-leading rusher
or defensive end.” Marlon Lucky 6-0 215 Sr. with 76 carries for 343 yards and
Roy Helu Jr. 6-0 215 So. four touchdowns. He had four
Lucky played his best football late last games with 50 or more yards and he lost only four yards
Quentin Castille 6-1 245 So.
season, topping 100 all-purpose yards in each Marcus Mendoza 5-10 185 Rfr. on his 76 rushing attempts. His top game was against
Oklahoma State as he rushed 20 times for 102 yards.
of the final five games. Meanwhile, Castille
and Helu, competing as true freshmen, Returning Fullbacks #27 • Kenny Wilson
Thomas Lawson 6-0 240 Sr. Sr., I-Back, 6-0, 225
finished with 343 yards and 209 yards rushing,
Justin Makovicka 6-1 235 So. Liberal, Kan. (Butler County CC)
respectively. Cody Glenn, hobbled by a foot Kevin Thomsen 6-2 240 Rfr. Wilson is trying to work himself
injury, added 78 yards rushing. Glenn, a senior, Aaron Gillaspie 6-2 240 So. back into the mix at I-Back for
the Huskers. He missed the entire
moved to linebacker during spring ball, helping Tyler Legate 5-10 220 So.
2007 season because of injury
pave the way for Helu, Castille and Mendoza and redshirted. Wilson was a key
Incoming Running Backs part of a four-man running back
to get increased repetitions.
Collins Okafor 6-1 195 Fr. rotation in 2006. He rushed for 335
Helu, of Danville, Calif., opened the coaches’ Lester Ward 6-3 215 Fr. yards and four touchdowns.

5 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
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nate swift

5 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Wide Receiver Preview

Swift survives many changes over career

WIDE RECEIVERS
who the coach was going to be for that two- or
three-week period.”
When Callahan came to Lincoln, bringing the
West Coast offense with him, Swift knew he was
going to remain a Husker.
The decision seemed a good one almost

A
redshirt season, for many players, is a past three seasons, enters his senior season with immediately. After a productive redshirt season
challenging, exhausting, unrewarding 103 career receptions. That ranks fourth on in 2004, Swift entered 2005 penciled in as
period that doesn’t exactly conjure Nebraska’s all-time charts, and is 40 receptions the starting “X” receiver. But he sprained his
joyful images. shy of Nebraska’s all-time record, held by shoulder in fall camp, sat out nearly two weeks,
For some, the following season doesn’t get Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers. and lost his starting spot.
much better. Swift has always played the “X” position, He still played in every non-conference game,
It wasn’t that way for wide receiver Nate Swift. and sometimes the Zebra, or slot receiver. He’s entering the game for a play here and there, but
A fifth-year senior, Swift enters his final season playing under his same receivers coach, Ted didn’t catch a pass.
with Nebraska with fond memories of his early Gilmore, and his same offensive coordinator, “I had a couple thrown to me,” Swift said,
Husker years. “but didn’t catch ‘em.”
Swift, a native of Hutchinson, That changed immediately
Minn., came to Lincoln with the
mindset of redshirting. He figured
“Five years here, it’s quite a long time when Nebraska began conference
play. In the Huskers’ Big 12
he wouldn’t grasp the offense
with the redshirt and everything. But Conference opener against
immediately. And running on the Iowa State, Swift turned in a
scout team really wasn’t all that I’ve had a lot of excitement and a lot of breakthrough performance. He
bad. In fact, Swift enjoyed it. recorded his first five career
“I was going up against playing time.” catches, for 81 yards, helping
Fabian Washington and Lornell Nate swift Nebraska to a 27-20 double-
McPherson and all those guys. overtime victory over the
They made it a lot of fun,” Swift said. “They although Shawn Watson will be solely in charge Cyclones in Lincoln.
went hard every time, and I went hard. of play-calling. “Once I got that chance, it felt good,” Swift
“I beat them every once in a while, and that “Every year there’s going to be new routes said. “I felt right, I guess.”
makes you feel good when you beat a senior.” here and there, but mostly it’s the same thing,”

S
Swift felt even better when he started beating Swift said. “There are different concepts every wift hasn’t missed a game since. His
opposing defensive backs the following season. year. They throw a couple new plays here and numbers weren’t as impressive in 2006
His 45 receptions in 2005 led the team and set a there. It doesn’t really change that much.” – when Maurice Purify came to Lincoln
Nebraska freshman record. The biggest wrinkle to the offense appears to be – with a mere 22 catches in 14 games.
Since then, Swift has been a key cog in more option and zone read plays, something that But Swift had 36 receptions last season, and as
Nebraska’s offense. Don’t expect that to change, suits the abilities of senior quarterback Joe Ganz. one of only two veteran receivers returning,
even as a new coaching staff tinkers with former “It’s not that bad to block for him out there figures to have solid numbers again this season.
coach Bill Callahan’s West Coast offense. on the end,” Swift said of running option plays. Nebraska will also count upon Swift for
“If there is a difference, I think it’s going to be “But I don’t think we’re going to be doing it 15, leadership – he’s a member of the Unity Council,
instead of basing the run off the pass, it might be 20 times a game.” something new coach Bo Pelini has returned to
basing the pass off the run – establishing the run Ironically, this offense could be more similar to the program.
a little bit more in the game early on, and then the one Swift expected to run when he committed “It seems like my time here has gone fast, but
going to the pass,” Swift said. to Nebraska in 2003. He was being recruited by it also seems like it’s taken a long time,” Swift
“We kind of said we used to do that a lot, but I head coach Frank Solich, offensive coordinator said. “Five years here, it’s quite a long time with
think it was a little bit more pass-oriented the last Barney Cotton and assistant coach Turner Gill. the redshirt and everything. But I’ve had a lot of
couple of years.” That staff, though, was replaced by Callahan. excitement and a lot of playing time.
Swift still envisions a balanced offense. Only Gill remained, and that for only one season. “Everyone I’ve talked to who’s done with
Whether it’s balanced enough to give Swift a Swift said he reconsidered his decision to football said the biggest thing they miss isn’t really
chance at making more dents in the Nebraska come to Nebraska. the game, it’s being in the locker room and being
record books remains to be seen. “Yeah, there was a little doubt in there,” he around the team. It’s going to be tough when it’s
Swift, who’s played in all 38 games over the said. “I didn’t really know if I wanted to stay, over, not having those guys with you.”

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 5 5
Wide Receiver Preview

Spring Game that the battle for playing time is


POSITION OUTLOOK wide open. #44 • Mike McNeill
So., Tight End, 6-4, 240
When Menelik Holt catches a pass in practice, The youngsters will be able to lean on a couple Kirkwood, Mo.
teammates call it a “Mo” catch. of veterans, Nate Swift and Todd Peterson. Ganz McNeill is in line to make a
That’s a good thing. said they’ll be his go-to receivers, his “security significant jump in playing time
in 2008. The sophomore has great
The comparison is to Maurice Purify, the blanket.” receiving skills and has worked
big, tall, physical receiver who caught 91 passes Youth could also be served at tight end, where hard in the weight room to build
for 1,444 yards and 16 touchdowns in his two Nebraska loses three players, including Sean Hill, on his 6-4 frame. He played in
eight games as a redshirt freshman
seasons with Nebraska. who had 18 catches and three touchdowns last in 2007, serving as a reserve behind J.B. Phillips, Josh
Holt, who will be a junior, has only four career season. Mueller and Sean Hill. McNeill’s lone catch was a
catches. But when looking at the 6-4, 220-pound Hunter Teafatiller is the most experienced of 25-yarder against Nevada in the season-opener.

Holt, it’s hard not to think of Purify. the returning tight ends, although sophomores #89 • Hunter Teafatiller
Holt seems OK with that. Mike McNeill and Dreu Young proved during Sr., Tight End, 6-3, 235
“My thing is, I’m just as big as him. I’m just the spring they could be a valuable part of the Kingsburg, Calif. (San Joaquin Memorial)
Teafatiller has played a key role
as strong,” Holt said. “I’ve just got to work on offense. among Husker tight ends the
playing just as big.” “I think there’s some guys who can get past two seasons. He was used
Holt is one of many young or unproven downfield and make some plays,” said Ron primarily as a blocker, seeing
action in the final 11 games of
receivers in Nebraska’s offense who has a chance Brown, the longtime Nebraska receivers coach 2007. He caught four passes for
to make his name known this fall. who’s returned to coach the tight ends. “We’re 34 yards and also contributed on
In fact, the emergence of new players will not the largest tight ends in the world. We’ve got special teams, running back four kickoffs for 37 yards.
His biggest season came as a sophomore as he caught
be somewhat of a necessity for Nebraska’s to work real hard in the blocking phase, but that’s five passes for 78 yards, but four of those catches went
passing game. The Huskers lose four seniors going to come.” for touchdowns. Due to off the field problems, his status
who combined for 293 career receptions and 34 Junior college transfer Tyson Hetzer hopes for the upcoming season was uncertain at press time.

touchdowns – most notably, Purify. to return for fall practice; he injured his knee #49 • Dreu Young
In Purify, the Huskers lose their big-body early in the spring and missed the rest of spring So., Tight End, 6-4, 240
receiver. In Terrence Nunn and Frantz Hardy, practice. Redshirted freshman Ryan Hill could Cozad, Neb.
Young may be in line to see a
they lose speed. also be a factor. significant increase in playing
That’s where Curenski Gilleylen has his time after seeing limited action
chance. A redshirted freshman from Leander,
AT A GLANCE as a reserve tight end last season.
However, with the departure of
Texas, Gilleylen ran the 100 meters in 10.22 Returning Receivers three seniors and the questionable
seconds in high school, breaking a school Chris Brooks 6-2 210 Jr. status of Hunter Teafatiller, Young
record. Wes Cammack 5-11 195 Jr. could be getting a chance this fall. Originally a walk-on
Curenski Gilleylen 6-0 210 RFr. from Cozad, NE, Young earned his way in the tight end
Husker fans saw that speed in the spring game,
Will Henry 6-5 215 So. rotation with a strong showing in fall camp last year.
when Gilleylen beat cornerback Anthony West Menelik Holt 6-4 220 So. He played in eight games and had a 14-yard reception
for a 77-yard touchdown pass from Joe Ganz. Ben Lester 5-10 165 RFr. against Nevada in the season-opener.

“It’s nice to have somebody like that who can Niles Paul 6-1 210 So.
Todd Peterson 6-4 215 Sr.
#24 •Niles Paul
stretch the field vertical,” Ganz said. So., Wide Receiver, 6-1, 210
Nate Swift 6-2 200 Sr.
After the game, coach Bo Pelini said Gilleylen Omaha, Neb. (North)
With the loss of four senior wide
“could be a big weapon in our offense.” Returning Tight Ends receivers, Paul is one of a handful
Other players with opportunities to shine Ryan Hill 6-3 245 RFr. of talented young wideouts who
include sophomore Niles Paul, sophomore Will Mike McNeill 6-4 240 So. will be looking to work their
Ben Tasa 6-4 240 So. way in the receiving rotation in
Henry and junior Chris Brooks. Combined, they
Hunter Teafatiller 6-3 235 Sr. 2008. He played in seven games
have two career catches – one each by Paul and Dreu Young 6-4 240 So. last season, serving as a reserve
Brooks. receiver and also assisting on kickoff coverage. He had
Incoming Receivers one catch in the season-opener against Nevada. The
“We all look at it as it’s our time,” Brooks said.
Antonio Bell 6-2 180 Fr. Omaha native was one of the top recruits in Nebraska’s
“We have to step up. We have to fill a lot of shoes 2007 class and was one of 11 true freshmen to see
Khiry Cooper 6-2 180 Fr.
and we’re going to fill them.” action last fall.
Tim Marlowe 5-10 160 Fr.
Keep an eye on Paul. He wasn’t used as much Steven Osborne 6-4 185 Fr.
last season as many anticipated – Paul had a
Incoming Tight Ends
reception in the first game against Nevada. He
Ben Cotton 6-6 230 Fr.
had none thereafter. Tyson Hetzer 6-6 245 Jr.
Receivers coach Ted Gilmore said after the

5 6 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Wide Receiver Preview

#17 • Todd Peterson #11 • Curenski Gilleylen #8 • Will Henry


Sr., Wide Receiver, 6-4, 215 Redshirt Freshman, Wide Receiver, 6-0, 210 So., Wide Receiver, 6-5, 215
Grand Island, Neb. (Central Catholic) Leander, Texas El Paso, Texas (J.M. Hanks)
Peterson has 46 career catches Gilleylen hopes to take advantage Henry’s size is what makes him
for 816 yards, an average of 17.7 of opportunities provided with such an attractive target for
yards per catch, entering the the departure of four experienced the Husker passing offense. At
2008 season. The Grand Island wide receivers from a year ago. 6-5, he has the stature to create
native needs 184 receiving yards He redshirted a year ago but mismatches against opposing
this season to become the 17th made some favorable impressions defenders. He appeared in two
player in school history with 1,000 in spring practice. He could games last season, seeing action
receiving yards. He could also move into the top 10 on challenge for playing time with a good showing this fall. against Ball State and Iowa State. Henry developed a
Nebraska’s career receptions and career touchdown reputation as one of the hardest workers on the squad
lists. In 2007 he finished the year with 18 receptions for #18 • Menelik Holt during his redshirt year in 2006.
359 yards and five touchdowns. He is also a standout in Jr., Wide Receiver, 6-4, 220
the classroom, three times earning First Team Academic San Diego, Calif. (St. Augustine) #3 • Wes Cammack
All-Big 12 honors. Holt saw action in all 12 games last Jr., Wide Receiver, 5-11, 195
season. His playing time increased DeWitt, Neb. (Tri County)
#87 • Nate Swift late in the season and he made the Cammack has provided great
Sr., Wide Receiver, 6-2, 200 most of his opportunity. He caught depth for the Huskers at the
Hutchinson, Minn. four passes for 97 yards in the wide receiver position and has
Swift has played in all 38 games season’s final four games, the first also found a way to get onto the
over the past three seasons and catches of his career. playing field via special teams
enters his senior year in position work. He played in 11 of 12 games,
to challenge the Huskers’ all-time #1 Chris Brooks primarily on special teams. He has
receptions record. For his career, Jr. Wide Receiver 6-2, 210 also been a key contributor in the classroom as he has
Swift has 103 receptions good St. Louis, Mo. (Hazelwood East) three times been named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s
for 1,535 yards. The 103 catches Brooks has seen limited action at Fall Academic Honor Roll. In 2007 he was First Team
ranks fourth on the Husker career charts, 40 receptions Nebraska, after a heralded prep Academic All-Big 12.
behind Johnny Rodgers’ school-record total. Swift’s career. Rivals.com ranked him
yardage total is third on the NU list, trailing Rodgers the No. 2 prospect in Missouri
and former teammate Terrence Nunn, while his 12 following a senior season in which
career touchdown receptions place him within striking he caught 66 passes for 1,200 yards
distance of second on that list. He played in all 12 and 14 touchdowns in the state’s
games last year with 36 catches for 520 yards. He holds large-schools classification. He played in four games as a
the freshman records for receptions (45), receiving yards true freshman in 2005 then redshirted. He played in only
(641) and touchdowns (7). one game last season, with one reception.

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w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 5 7
mike huff

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Offensive Line Preview

Huff nearing end of life-long journey as Husker

OFFENSIVE LINE Returning


Cruz Barrett
Jaivorio Burkes
AT A GLANCE
6-4
6-5
325
325
So.
So.

W
Mike Caputo 6-1 270 RFr.
hen Omaha native Mike Huff says before the staff overhaul of 2004 that brought Jacob Hickman 6-4 290 Jr.
he was set to be a Husker at an in Bill Callahan as head coach and Dennis Mike Huff 6-4 300 Sr.
D.J. Jones 6-5 305 So.
early age, he means it. Wagner as offensive line coach; Cotton landed Marcel Jones 6-7 310 RFr.
His parents made certain of it. at Iowa State as offensive coordinator, the same Mike Masin 6-6 330 RFr.
“When they took me from the delivery position he’d held at Nebraska. Lydon Murtha 6-7 315 Sr.
Matt Slauson 6-5 325 Sr.
room,” Huff said, “they brought me home in “When he went to Iowa State, he actually Mike Smith 6-6 285 So.
a Huskers onesie.” talked about me going there, too, but I decided Keith Williams 6-5 310 So.
No wonder, then, that Huff believes he to stay here,” Huff said. “We had some
Incoming
was bred “to be a Nebraska boy,” or, more really good conversations, and we built that David Grant 6-6 295 Fr.
specifically, a member of the Husker football relationship up, which made it really hard, Ricky Henry 6-4 305 Fr.
team. but I wanted to go to Nebraska, and I think he Baker Steinkuhler 6-6 290 Fr.
Brandon Thompson 6-6 295 Fr.
That dream came true. And, like most understood that.”
dreams, it’s gone fast for Huff, who’s entering Huff felt more comfortable with his decision telling Huff to stick to the mentality of being
his senior season as a member of Nebraska’s after meeting Nebraska’s new coaching staff. an offensive lineman; that’s what he would
offensive line. “They told me right away, when they got the play in college, they told him.
“I’m a senior now, and I still don’t think whole staff in, that I was a good fit,” Huff said. No problem. That’s where Huff had always
it’s set in that I’ve accomplished something I “Coach Callahan and Coach Wagner actually played; even in Pop Warner football, he was
wanted to do since I was a little kid,” Huff said. came to my house and said I was a good fit for deemed too big to play any other position but
“One day I’ll sit back and think about it all.” their system, too, and they hoped that I’d stay offensive line.
He’ll have much to ponder. with them.” The lone exception in Huff ’s career came
Huff could begin by reflecting when he lined up as the fullback
on his reunion, of sorts, with in a jumbo pro-set in high school
Barney Cotton, and what could
be the resurgence of Nebraska’s
“I know what Nebraska fans think of – “I scored a touchdown once,”
he said.
pipeline. Both are key storylines the program, and I know what it means It’s one of those rare times
in Huff ’s fifth and final season in Huff remembers receiving glory.
Lincoln. to be a player here.” That’s OK. It comes with the
Huff, the Huskers’ starting mike huff territory of being a lineman.
left guard, is one of four players “You’re going to know if
returning who made at least six starts last Huff ’s dream, though, had become reality you’re doing a good job, and everybody else is
season on the offensive line. He’s started 19 long before Callahan and Wagner stepped going to know if you’re doing a bad job,” Huff
games over the past two seasons. through his front door. It began – and, said. “It’s a funny deal, because nobody knows
“I’ve always thought that we had talent, but appropriately, will end – with Cotton. about us until we mess up.”
now we have a lot of experience coming back,” “It’s really weird,” Huff said, “but I’m really The offensive line, at times, received such
Huff said. “In past years, I wouldn’t be able to excited to work with him for at least a year.” notoriety during the Callahan era, especially
say that about our two-deep.” Huff, now 6-4, 300 pounds, began turning early, as Nebraska transitioned to the West
And then there’s Cotton, the Nebraska heads as a high school freshman. That’s when Coast offense. At that same time, Huff was also
coach who recruited Huff, a standout at his coach, Tyler Zahn, a former Husker walk- transitioning to college football.
Ralston High School, throughout the 2003 on who lettered in 1991, inserted Huff into the “When you come in as a freshman, you’re
season. That was Cotton’s first go-round with starting lineup. so used to firing off the ball and just hitting
Nebraska’s coaching staff. It lasted one year By the time he was a junior, recruiters were the guy in front of you,” Huff said. “You’re

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Offensive Line Preview

not worried about, ‘Well, on this play, I need injury to his Achilles following the season was Those are usually comments heard
to take this footwork, or on this play I need a bit of a setback, although Huff still started six when discussing a position that performed
to have a wide landmark instead of a tight games at right guard last season, including four extraordinarily well the previous season.
landmark.’ ” of the last six games. That’s not entirely true with Nebraska’s
Huff made the most of his scout team work That has set the stage for what Huff believes group of big men.
in 2004, going against the likes of Le Kevin can be a memorable senior season. The Huskers, in 2007, averaged a mere 120
Smith and Adam Carriker, a couple of future “I know what Nebraska fans think of the rushing yards per game over the final 11 games.
NFL Draft picks. program, and I know what it means to be a For the season, nearly 70 percent of Nebraska’s
A lot of guys can just show up on the scout player here,” Huff said. “Me being a Nebraska yards came through the air.
squad and just go through the motions,” Huff kid, I know what kind of tradition’s here, and The general theory, of course, is that
said. “You’re not making yourself better, and all of the players that have played here. I’m Nebraska, with its porous defense, was always
you’re not making your teammates better. The actually doing it. I’m strapping on the uniform playing from behind, trying to keep pace with
coaches see that. Even if you think they’re they put on.” the quick-striking offenses of Kansas, Missouri,
not watching you on the scout team, they’re Colorado, etc.
watching you.” POSITION OUTLOOK Pass, pass, pass, and pass some more. That
Huff had a solid spring in 2006 and started The offensive line is deep, and it’s talented. meant passing on the run.
all but one game that fall. A winter conditioning Experience abounds. Expectations are high. Now, Nebraska’s new coaching staff wants
to return to the Husker ways
of old.
“We’re going to be as
physical as we can,” said
Barney Cotton, who’s returned
to Nebraska as offensive line
coach. “We’re going to play as
hard as we can.”
Don’t misunderstand
Cotton. Being versatile, he said,
is still key.
“But the big thing is, we
have a chance to be physical,”
Cotton said. “Coaches always
talk about wanting players to
play until the whistle. You’d
better finish one step after the
whistle if you really want to be
the best.”
Cotton, Nebraska’s offensive
coordinator for one season in
2003, has returned to Lincoln
and inherited what figures to
be Nebraska’s biggest team
strength in 2008.
“(Coaches) always say that
our offensive line is one of the
best they’ve seen talent-wise,”
Matt Slauson said. “Now, we
just need a little direction.”
matt slauson

6 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Offensive Line Preview

Slauson, who’s bounced between guard #61 • Mike Huff #73 • D.J. Jones
Sr., Offensive Line, 6-4, 300 So., Offensive Line, 6-5, 305
and tackle throughout his career, will focus Ralston, Neb. Omaha, Neb. (Central)
on right guard. The rest of the starting lineup Huff, a Ralston, Neb., native, has Jones saw extensive action as a
started 10 games at guard the redshirt freshman in 2007 and
will probably look like this: Lydon Murtha
past two seasons. He suffered hopes to make a push for a
at left tackle, Mike Huff at left guard, Jacob an Achilles injury during winter starting spot this fall. He has the
conditioning in 2007, but returned ability to play both guard and
Hickman at center and Jaivorio Burkes at
in time to start six games at right tackle. Jones sat out his first season
right tackle. guard, including four of the last six in Lincoln as a redshirt.
Slauson, Huff and Murtha are seniors, giving contests. He is being counted on to anchor an offensive
line that figures to be a strength for this year’s Huskers. #78 • Marcel Jones
the Huskers ample experience. Nebraska, in Redshirt Freshman, Offensive Line, 6-7, 320
fact, returns a total of 67 career starts along the #76 • Lydon Murtha Phoenix, Ariz. (Trevor Browne)
Sr., Offensive Line, 6-7, 315 Jones sat out last fall as a redshirt
offensive line, including 32 from last season. Hutchinson, Minn. but figures to work his way into
(Gone are Brett Byford at center and Carl Nicks Murtha anchored the right side the mix this fall on the offensive
of the Husker offensive line for a line. The big 6-7, 320-pound
at tackle.)
majority of last season. He missed product of Trevor Browne High
the final four games of 2007 School was a three-star prospect

B
with a foot injury. He is one of by Rivals.com and was ranked as
ut it’s the players behind the starters
four returning offensive linemen the 13th best prospect overall in the state of Arizona
that make this unit perhaps the who made at least eight starts after his senior year.
team’s strongest. Sophomores Keith last season. He has 14 career starts entering his senior
season. His play earned him 2007 Honorable Mention #65 • Mike Smith
Williams, D.J. Jones and Mike All-Big 12 status among the league’s coaches. So., Offensive Line, 6-6, 285
Smith have game experience and were among Las Vegas, Nev. (Palo Verde)
#70 • Matt Slauson Smith originally came to
those promising Callahan recruits. Sr., Offensive Line, 6-5, 325 Nebraska as a defensive end but
Williams plays primarily left guard, Jones Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Force Prep) has established himself on the
Slauson is one of Nebraska’s most offensive line and figures to battle
can play either tackle or guard, and Smith
experienced performers on either for playing time this year for the
has dabbled at all positions, including center side of the ball. He has been a Huskers. He earned valuable
regular on the Husker offensive playing time last year as a reserve
during the spring. Smith has since begun to
line since late in his freshman tackle and helps make the offensive line a strength for
settle at tackle, probably as a backup to Murtha. campaign in 2005. He has started the 2008 Nebraska squad.
Sophomore Cruz Barrett could see more time, 22 games over the past three
seasons and brings a physical presence to the O-line. #68 • Keith Williams
too, as a backup at guard. Slauson made eight starts last season at three different So., Offensive Line, 6-5, 310
A couple of redshirted freshmen could also positions, both tackle spots and right guard. Florissant, Mo. (McClure North)
Williams is a key figure in a
make an impact, including Marcel Jones at #72 • Jaivorio Burkes Nebraska offensive line that
tackle, and walk-on Mike Caputo at center. So., Offensive Line, 6-5, 325 returns eight lettermen for the
Phoenix, Ariz. (Moon Valley) 2008 season. He has all the
Caputo, a Millard North graduate, was
Burkes is one of five returning physical tools and last season
particularly impressive during the spring. offensive linemen who made at gained valuable game experience.
least three starts during the 2007 Williams played in 10 games last
Don’t forget, either, about the arrival of
season. He earned his first start season at guard. He also saw action as a blocker on PAT
highly touted freshman Baker Steinkuhler, against the Texas Longhorns. He and field goal units.
although coaches haven’t confirmed he’ll play played in the final four games of
the season, also starting against #67 • Jacob Hickman
offense; he could give the thin defensive line Kansas and Kansas State. He earned first-team freshman Jr., Offensive Line, 6-4, 290
some help. All-Big 12 honors from The Sporting News. Bakersfield, Calif. (Centennial)
Hickman has seen action at guard
Should Steinkuhler follow in the footsteps of #66 Cruz Barrett the past two seasons, but could
his father, former Husker and Outland Trophy So. Offensive Lineman 6-4 325 also be a candidate to take over
Daytona Beach, Fla. (Mainland) at center in 2008. After missing
winner Dean Steinkuhler, and play offensive
Barrett was a heralded member spring ball because of a knee
line, look for the younger Steinkuhler to of the 2006 recruiting class, injury, Hickman played in all 12
which included two other games in 2007, including starting
contribute immediately.
similarly publicized offensive the final nine games at offensive guard. His steady play
Then, of course, there’s Cotton, who Slauson linemen – Keith Williams and D.J. earned him honorable-mention All-Big 12 status among
said will rally the troops. Jones. Oklahoma, Florida, Florida the league’s coaches.
State and West Virginia were
“I think he’s going to be a great leader for us,” among the schools interested in Barrett. He redshirted
Slauson said. “He’ll motivate us in productive as a freshman, as did Williams and Jones, but hasn’t
developed as quickly as they have. He didn’t see action
ways, and I’m excited about it.” last season.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 6 1
ty steinkuhler

6 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Defensive Line Preview

Steinkuhler more than a name to Nebraska

DeFENSIVE LINE
AT A GLANCE
Returning End
Zach Potter 6-7 280 Sr.
Barry Turner 6-3 260 Sr.
Pierre Allen 6-5 265 So.

Y
Clayton Sievers 6-4 255 Sr.
es, Ty Steinkuhler is often asked about was assigned 43. William Yancy 6-4 245 RFr.
his No. 43 jersey. And no, he isn’t about “I was like, ‘This is really weird. I’ve got to David Harvey 6-4 260 Jr.
to ask for a different one, even though it keep this number,’ ” he said. Luke Lingenfelter 6-4 250 RFr.
Faron Klingelhoefer 6-2 250 Fr.
isn’t a defensive tackle’s number. So even when he was asked if he would be Jonathon Santin 6-3 225 RFr.
There’s significance to 43 but not, as is often interested in moving from defensive end to Tyrone Fahie 6-3 250 RFr.
the case, because he wore it in high school. His defensive tackle before his sophomore season,
Returning Tackles
number was 55 at Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest. He he didn’t give it up. Ty Steinkuhler 6-3 280 Sr.
was a linebacker. Playing inside appealed to him, but not Ndamukong Suh 6-4 300 Jr.
If he could have had 55 when he got to changing jersey numbers. “I kind of looked at Kevin Dixon 6-3 285 Sr.
Shukree Barfield 6-4 300 Sr.
Nebraska, he’d be wearing it now. But Wali it like, ‘These guys are fast.’ The defensive ends Ben Martin 6-4 270 So.
Muhammad had 55, and he was a senior. Plus, are guys that are speed rushers,” he said. “I’m Terrence Moore 6-3 270 RFr.
he played defensive end. Two players can have not that type of guy at all. When they asked me, Jared Crick 6-6 270 RFr.
Taylor Escamilla 6-1 270 RFr.
the same jersey number, as long as they’re not I was like, ‘That would almost be better.’ ”
on the same side of the ball. Nebraska was thin at defensive tackle, while Incoming
So Steinkuhler, who was recruited as a Adam Carriker and Jay Moore were established Cameron Meredith 6-4 225 Fr.
Quentin Toailoa 6-4 300 Fr.
defensive end, picked three numbers from those defensive ends. Plus, Steinkuhler was competing Josh Williams 6-4 225 Fr.
available for incoming players at his position. with Zach Potter, who had played as a true
And he was assigned 43. freshman, and “I knew Potter needed to get a lot rarely got to him, anyway.
“Is this just a coincidence?” he wondered. more reps,” Steinkuhler said. “It was a big transition,” said Steinkuhler.
Sure, he had worn 43 in the Nebraska Initially, he thought the move inside “would He made the transition during a redshirt
Shrine Bowl all-star game. But the coincidence be a huge adjustment.” But that wasn’t the case. season, playing on the scout team. For some,
went well beyond that. a redshirt season drags. For him,
Specifically, his dad, Dean,
once wore 43.
“I was like, ‘Geez, I’m not ever going however, it went by fast. Redshirts don’t
have the pressures of preparing to play.
Dean wore 71 at Nebraska,
to play here,’ when I was on the scout And scout squad players just read off
of course. He earned All- cards and go as hard as they can.
America honors, the Outland team.” Even so, “I wouldn’t want to do it
Trophy and Lombardi Award ty steinkuhler for two years. I was like, ‘Geez, I’m
as an offensive guard on the not ever going to play here,’ when I
1983 “Scoring Explosion” team. The biggest difference was, “outside, you’re just was on the scout team. But you get over it in the
But he wore 43 as an eight-man player at farther from the center,” he said. spring. That’s when you get a glimpse of what
Sterling (Neb.) High School, where he was a “You pretty much get the same reads.” you’re going to be able to do,” Steinkuhler said.
fullback and a linebacker, and any other position Steinkuhler had already dealt with a significant His time at Nebraska has gone quickly, which
he wanted to play. adjustment as a Cornhusker freshman. Not only isn’t surprising. He grew up a Cornhusker,
Dean’s success was such that a lady in was he a linebacker in high school but also he attending his first game at Memorial Stadium
Sterling, Neb., painted a bobblehead doll with was a better athlete than most of those against during the 1994 national championship season,
a “43” and “Steinkuhler” on it and presented whom he played. He just ran to the ball, never and he never saw himself playing college football
it to him. The bobblehead was kept in a trophy concerning himself with technique. anywhere else.
case at home. Ty asked his dad one day why 43? He never used his hands and never read He began playing organized football in
Because he wore it in high school, his dad said. blocks because high school offensive linemen Syracuse, Neb., moving to Lincoln before
Ty thought about the bobblehead the day he usually blocked only one way. Besides, they his junior year in high school. He considered

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 6 3
Defensive Line Preview

enrolling at Southeast High, but settled on kills you, the mental thing.” be pretty cool.”
Southwest, which played its first season of varsity His senior season, Southwest went 5-5 and Presumably, Baker will pick a jersey number
football that year. Southeast had a tradition of qualified for the state playoffs. appropriate to his position.
success, and Steinkuhler figured he would have Three years ago, the Silver Hawks reached Mike Masin, a redshirted freshman offensive
a better chance to play at Southwest. the Class A state championship game, and a lineman, wore 71 in the spring, by the way. But
He got his chance, all right, on a team that year ago, they were ranked No. 1 through much no one wore 55, which was Baker’s number in
went 0-9. Playing for a winless team didn’t affect of the season, finishing 10-1. They also had the high school, too.
Nebraska’s recruiting him, however. He had a player regarded by recruiting analysts as the best
scholarship offer before his senior year. in the state – Ty’s brother Baker, a lineman. POSITION OUTLOOK
He has compared his junior season to The two will be Cornhusker teammates in The defensive line has something to prove.
Nebraska’s 5-7 finish last fall. the fall, possibly on the defensive line, although Though last season’s defensive problems can’t all be
“After the USC game, I don’t know, it that’s a longshot. Baker did play defense in the placed on the line, it starts up front, and “I think we
just went downhill,” he said. “At Southwest, U.S. Army All-American Game, to the surprise underplayed for the talent we have,” Ndamukong
everybody knew we were going to lose, and by of his brother. But he is projected as an offensive Suh said. “We want to come out and prove to
the end of (last) year, we had the same mindset, lineman at Nebraska. everybody that, ‘Oh yeah, we’re still Nebraska and
‘We’re not going to win,’ ” he said. “We never Wherever Baker plays, “it’s going to be we still can play defense and…stop people.’ ”
gave in physically, but mentally, I think some fun,” Ty said. “I’ve never played with him The line is experienced. The top eight return,
people had a lot of doubts. I think that’s what because he was always too young. I think it’ll with six of them seniors. Suh, the only returning

zach potter

6 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Defensive Line Preview

starter who isn’t a senior, missed spring practice repetition over the course of the summer, to
#97 • Kevin Dixon
following knee surgery, but he is expected to be where their reactions are split-second.” Sr., Defensive Tackle, 6-3, 285
full-speed in the fall, and trimmed down from the When it reaches that point, “you can really Sebring, Fla (Garden City CC)
Dixon saw considerable playing
300 pounds at which he’s listed. evaluate where we are,” he said.
time in his first year in the Nebraska
Everyone has been energized by the arrival of Bo Pelini also was satisfied with what he saw program. He eventually worked
his way into the regular rotation at
coach Bo Pelini and staff. from the defensive linemen during the spring.
defensive tackle. He played in all
“Personally, I think our defensive line is in They’re “not even close to where they were 12 games in 2007, earning starts
against Wake Forest, USC, Ball State
a great mindset,” said Suh. “We don’t have when we started,” he said. “We’ve made great
and Oklahoma State. The Sebring, FL product, by way
anything to lose. Coming off a not-very-good progress there.” of Garden City Community College, finished the season
season, you can only go up.” with 19 tackles, including 11 solo stops.

Zach Potter was the leading tackler among #98 • Zach Potter #95 • Pierre Allen
defensive linemen with 45, including 12 for Sr., Defensive End, 6-7, 280 So., Defensive End, 6-5, 265
Omaha, Neb. (Creighton Prep) Denver, CO (Thomas Jefferson)
losses and 2.5 sacks to earn All-Big 12 honorable Potter is part of the Nebraska Allen has high hopes of earning
mention from the conference coaches. defensive line that returns intact more playing time this season after
for the 2008 season. He had a great a solid redshirt freshman season in
Barry Turner became an every-down player
season in 2007, finishing second 2007. He saw significant action as
after being primarily a pass rusher his first two on the team in tackles for loss. He a reserve end last fall, playing in 11
played in all 12 games, starting 11 games as the No. 2 base end behind
seasons, the best of which was in 2005 when he
at base end. He finished with 45 Zach Potter. He finished the year
earned Freshman All-America recognition with tackles, the most among defensive linemen. His play with 16 total tackles, including three tackles for loss. He
six sacks for 46 yards in losses. He was credited earned him honorable-mention All-Big 12 honors from showed improvement late in the year as 15 of his 16
the conference coaches. tackles came in the final six games.
with three sacks last season.
Ty Steinkuhler is the other returning starter #43 • Ty Steinkuhler #56 • Shukree Barfield
Sr., Defensive Tackle, 6-3, 280 Sr., Defensive Tackle, 6-4, 300
and has the versatility to move outside, after
Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest) Camden, NJ (Garden City CC)
beginning his career at Nebraska as a defensive Steinkuhler had a rough year, Barfield had a respectable first
battling injuries during the first half season in the Husker program in
end. Kevin Dixon started three games and
of the 2007 season. Nevertheless, he 2007. He served as the top backup
Shukree Barfield one, after transferring from played in 10 games with eight starts. behind Ndamukong Suh in the
Garden City (Kan.) Community College. He finished the year with 13 total middle of the defensive line and
tackles and had four tackles for loss. played in all 12 games, with a start
The linemen have had to adjust to a third Steinkuhler figures to be one of the against Oklahoma State. He finished
position coach in the past three seasons, with leaders of this year’s Husker defensive line. the year with 15 total tackles, including seven solos, and
had one tackle for loss.
defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and John
#93 • Ndamukong Suh
Papuchis (ends), following John Blake and Jr., Defensive Tackle, 6-4, 200 #88 • Clayton Sievers
Portland, Ore. (Grant) Sr., Defensive End, 6-4, 255
Buddy Wyatt. “It wasn’t a huge difference
Suh had knee surgery in early March Elkhorn, NE
between Coach Blake and Coach Wyatt,” said but figures to be full speed for the Sievers began his Husker career on
Steinkuhler. “But there’s a lot of new stuff with start of fall camp in August. He is the offensive side of the football
one of four returning starters on before moving to the defensive
Coach (Carl) Pelini.” the defensive line. He played in all side two years ago. He has spent
He has adjusted well. “It makes a lot of sense 12 contests last year with 11 starts. the past two seasons splitting
He finished the year with 34 tackles, time between defensive end and
how he’s (Pelini) coaching certain blocks and how including 20 solos and had six tackles for loss. He was linebacker. Sievers played in 11
you play them. It’ll be great,” Steinkuhler said. First Team Freshman All-Big 12 as selected by The games in 2007, serving primarily as Barry Turner’s top
Sporting News in 2006. backup at open end. He finished the season with seven
Carl Pelini was satisfied with what he saw in
total tackles. He also served on several Nebraska special
the spring. #99 • Barry Turner teams units.
“I’m excited about the progress of the Sr., Defensive End, 6-3, 260
Antioch, Tenn. (Brentwood Academy) #63 • Ben Martin
defensive line. I think they’re really taking to Turner is the most experienced of So., Defensive Tackle, 6-4, 270
the new techniques,” he said. “They’re asking the four returning starters along Lincoln, NE (Southwest)
the Nebraska defensive line. He has Martin’s versatility made him
good questions. The want-to is there, which is been in the Huskers regular rotation valuable to last year’s Nebraska
the biggest thing. When you talk about defensive at defensive end since bursting team. He earned playing time as
onto the scene as a true freshman in a redshirt freshman. He has the
line play, you talk about process. It is a process
2005. He has great speed and uses ability to play either defensive end
because it’s so reactional. You can’t think and that to pressure quarterbacks on the outside. He enters or defensive tackle for the Huskers.
his senior season with 10.5 career sacks and 17 career Martin played in seven games in
play defensive line. Repetition is the key. So
tackles for loss. He missed spring ball after shoulder 2007, serving as a backup defensive tackle behind
we’re not nearly where we want to be come surgery, but played in all 12 games with 11 starts at the fellow Lincoln Southwest graduate Ty Steinkuhler, and
opening game next year. But that’s going to take open end spot in 2007. Kevin Dixon. He finished the year with three tackles.

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cody glenn

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Glenn completes switch to linebacker


linebackers Phillip Dillard
Cody Glenn
Tyler Wortman
AT A GLANCE
Returning Linebackers
6-1
6-0
6-3
245
230
235
Jr.
Sr.
Sr.

T
o say former Cornhusker Broderick Cory Ross was the veteran running back, Blake Lawrence 6-2 225 So.
Thomas wasn’t a fan of Bill Callahan and he was going to be used in short-yardage Latravis Washington 6-3 225 So.
Colton Koehler 6-1 230 Jr.
and his staff would be understating. situations.
Nick Covey 6-2 240 Jr.
That influenced Thomas’s attitude, He scored four touchdowns in seven games. Thomas Grove 6-2 220 So.
without a doubt. But he didn’t want to be labeled a short-yardage Austin Stafford 6-2 205 Rfr.
Still, the two-time All-America linebacker back. He was more versatile, as he showed Mike Hays 6-1 230 Rfr.
Jeff Sayre 6-3 215 Rfr.
did see it coming. during the spring. Or so he thought.
Joseph Camarata 5-10 225 Fr.
“He saw before everything happened how “After that spring, I just knew I was going
they ran stuff and how it was going to go,” to be the starter. It was going to work out,” Incoming Linebackers
Cody Glenn said. “He used to tell me, and I’d Glenn said. “I felt like I was pretty much the Will Compton 6-2 230 Fr.
Sean Fisher 6-6 225 Fr.
go, ‘OK.’ Then I saw he was right.” best player we had at the position at that time
Micah Kreikemeier 6-3 210 Fr.
Glenn and Thomas are cousins. They talk and that there was no way I wasn’t going to *Alonzo Whaley 6-1 225 Fr.
regularly. And had Glenn taken his cousin’s be the starter. The next three years were going *could play fullback

advice when he was a sophomore, he probably to be great. Coming out of high school in Rusk, Texas, he
wouldn’t be at Nebraska now. “But things changed. Things don’t always had scholarship offers from schools interested in
He remained optimistic, however, believing happen the way you think they will.” him as a defensive player.
his time would come. And when it came, he Despite his play during the spring, Glenn Texas was among those schools. “But I
needed to be ready. He prepared accordingly. “It found himself in an I-back committee with wanted to play running back. That was one of
just never came,” said Glenn. Marlon Lucky, Kenny Wilson and Brandon the big reasons I came to Nebraska,” Glenn
Last season, he finally realized Thomas was Jackson in 2006. Lucky started the first five said. “But, I mean, things change.”
right, that his time wasn’t going to come as long games before giving way to Jackson, who rushed The physical aspect wasn’t difficult, “just
as Callahan was the coach. If not for the mental part, being able
the arrival of Bo Pelini, “I wouldn’t
be here now,” Glenn said. “If Coach “I really didn’t think it was going to to read things I’m not used
to reading. On offense I read
Callahan and all of them would have
stayed, I’d be gone.”
work. I was real skeptical.” things differently than I do on
defense,” he said.
That’s moot now, unpleasant Blake Lawrence helped,
history as far as Glenn is concerned.
Pelini’s his coach, and he has a new
Cody glenn going over the defense with
him the day after he moved.
lease on football life – not as a running back, as for 989 yards and eight touchdowns. The two sat in linebackers coach Mike Ekeler’s
a linebacker. Glenn also rushed for eight touchdowns, office while Ekeler was in a meeting.
Glenn’s move to linebacker was a major story but never got to start. And after suffering a foot Glenn had joked with Ekeler about his
during the spring, how he asked Pelini if he injury scoring a touchdown at Texas A&M, he switching to defense long before spring practice
could try linebacker and if it didn’t work out, was effectively shelved. He carried 27 times in began. Ekeler told him he needed to be on
return to running back. five games last season. He said he was healthy. defense. His response was, “Yeah, right.”
Initially, “I really didn’t think it was going to The coaches said he wasn’t. When Ekeler learned he really was making
work,” said Glenn. “I was real skeptical. But I That’s when his thoughts of leaving were the switch, “he was all kind of fired up and
just kind of stuck with it, and it started getting strongest. “But I was fortunate enough and happy,” said Glenn. “You know Coach ‘Ek.’
easier and easier, and a lot of fun.” blessed to have them (Pelini and staff) come in You can imagine how happy he was.”
Glenn hadn’t had that much fun since his here and have a clean slate,” he said. Thomas was happy about the switch to
first year at Nebraska, when he was among 13 Glenn wrote “linebacker” on that figurative defense, too. “He was like, ‘Welcome to the
true freshmen who played on Callahan’s second slate, something he never imagined he would do family. You’re one of us now. We need to get
team. He was realistic about his situation then. when he signed a letter of intent with Nebraska. you one of those Blackshirts,’ ” Glenn said.

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Linebackers Preview

Having played offense his first three years at “He was fast, a really good athlete and kind
Nebraska, and being from out of state, Glenn of how they used him at defensive end and #52 • Phillip Dillard
Jr., Linebacker, 6-1, 245
didn’t fully understand the Blackshirt tradition. different things like that. I guess only time will Tulsa, Okla. (Jenks)
Dillard is the most experienced of
But he has learned quickly. tell. He was a great player here.”
Nebraska’s returning linebacker
Thomas has told him about it, as have former Comparisons aside, Glenn is just happy for corps. He played all 12 games at
defensive players who have been welcomed the opportunity to get on the field and contribute the MIKE linebacker spot in 2007,
splitting time with senior Corey
back into the program by Pelini. Glenn talked to in any way he can. He’s even looking forward to McKeon. Dillard finished the year
Demorrio Williams the weekend of the Spring playing on special teams, something he hasn’t with 37 tackles, including 22 solo
stops. He was one of the nation’s
Game, and “you can just see the passion he has done during his time at Nebraska. In the spring, top linebacker prospects after earning Oklahoma
about it,” said Glenn. he was on all of them. all-state honors for two consecutive seasons at Jenks
High School.
He has been compared to Williams, who Even though he’s a linebacker now, the
emerged as a dominant linebacker during Pelini’s running back hasn’t been taken out of him. #34 • Cody Glenn
Sr., Linebacker, 6-0, 230
one season as Cornhusker defensive coordinator. “I know I could be an every-down back for Rusk, Texas
Glenn is flattered by the comparison. anybody,” he said. Glenn will be leaving the Husker
offense in an attempt to solidify
“I’ve heard that a lot, just because of how he Thomas always told him that. Thomas also the linebacker position on defense
was,” Glenn said. told him how it would be. And it was. for this year’s team. He had a
respectable spring and hopes
are high that he can be a key
contributor this year. In 2007,
Glenn was slowed by injury and
saw limited action. Early in his career, Glenn made his
mark as a short-yardage back. The Rusk, Texas native
has all the tools to be a contributor if he can avoid
further injuries.

#53 • Tyler Wortman


Sr., Linebacker, 6-3, 235
Grand Island, Neb. (Central Catholic)
Wortman had served as a scout
team player through his first three
years in the Husker program but
finally got his chance on the field
in 2007. He played in nine games
during his junior season, including
each of the final eight contests.
Wortman finished the year with
nine total tackles, including three solo stops. He also
had three tackles for loss. He is hoping to play even a
bigger role for the Huskers this fall.

#23 • Latravis Washington


So., Linebacker, 6-3, 225
Bradenton, Fla. (Bayshore)
Washington saw limited action as
a true freshman in 2007, playing
primarily on special teams. He
played in six games, both on
kickoff coverage and as a reserve
linebacker. He finished the year
with two tackles, both coming in
Nebraska’s win over Kansas State.
Washington is the cousin of former Husker standout
Fabian Washington.

#12 • Blake Lawrence


So., Linebacker, 6-2, 225
Shawnee Mission, KS (West)
Lawrence played in eight games
as a true freshman in 2007. He was
a backup to senior Bo Ruud at the
SAM linebacker spot. He also was
a regular member of the Huskers
kickoff coverage unit. Lawrence
saw his most extensive action of
the season against Texas A&M
when Ruud went out with a knee injury. He made his
first career tackle against the Aggies.
Latravis washington

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Linebackers Preview

opportunity late last season, was among the the success or failure of that unit as they start
POSITION OUTLOOK surprises of the spring, while Cody Glenn made to hear communication. You know they’re
Linebackers coach Mike Ekeler stepped a successful transition from running back. beginning to understand.”
into a difficult situation. Last season’s top four
Wortman played the strongside, primarily, For Wortman, getting an opportunity has
linebackers are gone: Bo Ruud, Corey McKeon,
and Glenn the weakside. But linebackers could been a dream come true.
Steve Octavien and Lance Brandenburgh.
They were four of the top seven tacklers, and line up differently depending on the situation. “I knew it was going to take time and my
Brandenburgh was even sidelined by injury “If you want to talk about BUCK linebacker hard work would pay off,” he said. “At times,
the final three games. Octavien led the way or MIKE linebacker or WILL, I hate to do that I was getting down on myself, but in the end,
with 92 tackles, including 15 for losses, also because we’re moving guys around,” defensive it paid off.”
a team high. coordinator Carl Pelini said. “We’re looking at Wortman has a near-perfect grade-point
Even so, Ekeler was undaunted when spring them in different positions.” average in mechanical engineering, a quality
practice began. “We’ve got plenty of guys. Like Ekeler, Pelini isn’t concerned about required of what Ekeler considers a perfect
We’ve got guys who are sharp. We’ve got guys inexperience. “We’re fine at the linebacker linebacker, a “guy who is sharp.” A perfect
who are going to be great players,” he said. position,” he said late in the spring. “We’ve got linebacker also has to play “with fanaticism,
“Anywhere you’re at, you’re always going to a lot of guys. They understand multiple roles. his hair on fire, a guy who’s just going to be
have turnover. You’re always going to have guys They understand the different positions and that relentless, refuses to get blocked,” said Ekeler.
graduating, every single year. It’s no different whole corps is coming around.” “That’s perfect for me. There’s a balance.”
for us.” Communication is essential at linebacker,
That attitude hadn’t changed by spring’s end, and Pelini saw that communication developing #41 • Thomas Grove
quite the contrary. So., Linebacker, 6-2, 220
during the spring. “It’s a demanding,
A trimmed down Phillip Dillard is the most Arlington, Neb.
intellectual position in this scheme,” he said.
Grove was one of 11 true
experienced of the linebackers and figures to “You have to understand what’s going on in freshmen to see action in 2007
hold down the middle. He started twice last front of you. You have to understand what’s – and he did it after walking on
season and was credited with 37 tackles. going on behind you. There is constant from Arlington, Neb., High School.
Walk-on Tyler Wortman, who got an communication involved. You can really judge He participated on special teams
for the Huskers and this fall looks
to make a push at linebacker. Grove has also got off to
a good start in the classroom, as he was named to the
2007 Big 12 Commissioner’s Fall Academic Honor Roll.

#54 • Colton Koehler


Jr., Linebacker, 6-1, 230
Harvard, Neb. (Nebraska Wesleyan)
Koehler is hoping to battle for
playing time at the linebacker
position this fall for the Huskers.
He joined Nebraska in January
of 2006 and worked as a fullback
initially. He began his college
career at Nebraska Wesleyan University after an
outstanding prep career at Harvard, Neb.. High School.

#45 • Nick Covey


Jr., Linebacker, 6-2, 240
Glendale, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
Covey is hoping to work his way
into playing time this year as a
junior linebacker for the Huskers.
He missed the entire 2006 season
with a knee injury, after missing
spring drills in 2006 following
shoulder surgery. Covey had a great prep career at
Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Ariz.
tyler wortman

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matt o’hanlon

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O’Hanlon takes risks, accepts challenges as walk-on

Defensive backs Armando Murillo


Anthony Blue
Anthony West
AT A GLANCE
Returning Cornerbacks
6-0
5-10
6-0
190
180
200
Sr.
So.
So.

I
t was a risk, one Matt O’Hanlon wishes He won a state power-lifting title in 2003 and Prince Amukamara 6-1 195 So.

he would have taken immediately was a runner-up in 2004.


Returning Safeties
following his senior year in high school Beyond those qualities, however, O’Hanlon Larry Asante 6-1 210 Jr.
Rickey Thenarse 6-0 195 Jr.
instead of doing what was reasonable. had something that couldn’t be measured,
Matt O’Hanlon 5-11 195 Sr.
Reasonable was accepting a football the passion for Cornhusker football that has Major Culbert 6-0 205 Jr.
scholarship from South Dakota. And in the characterized its walk-ons. Coach Bo Pelini has Austin Cassidy 6-1 205 Rfr.
Matthew May 6-1 195 Rfr.
late summer of 2004, O’Hanlon headed to placed a premium on that passion, and walk-ons
Vermillion, S.D., for two-a-day practices. are again an essential part of recruiting. Others
Eric Hagg 6-1 200 So.
He spent three weeks there, earning a job as “I wanted to be here since I was 6-years old, Shawn Sullivan 5-10 190 Rfr.
the starting nickel back. But he wasn’t happy. So since I saw all those guys running through the Adam Watson 6-0 190 So.
Ryan Ford 5-11 175 Jr.
he returned to Nebraska, intent on walking on, tunnel (at Memorial Stadium),” O’Hanlon said
Lance Thorell 6-1 190 Rfr.
an uncertain proposition at best. following a practice late in the spring.
Incoming Defensive Backs
Bill Callahan was in his first year as “But that scholarship at South Dakota kind
Alfonzo Dennard 5-10 190 Fr.
Cornhusker coach, and he was downsizing the of drew me there.” John Levorson 6-3 190 Fr.
roster. In particular, he was eliminating walk-ons, Again, it was the reasonable thing to do. So Justin Rogers 5-11 180 Fr.
P.J. Smith 6-2 205 Fr.
or so it seemed. That was never made specific. when he decided to give up the scholarship, Mason Wald 5-11 205 Fr.
But it was a hot rumor among Cornhusker fans, some who knew him well were skeptical. Maybe David Whitmore 6-2 185 Fr.

given credence early in the season. most were skeptical, in fact, but they didn’t say a tryout for walk-ons. Then he had to avoid
South Dakota’s roster included some former anything. If that’s what he wanted to do, they getting lost in the shuffle. “I got to know Coach
Nebraska walk-ons who had left after Callahan were going to support him. Busch well,” said O’Hanlon. Busch coached
was hired. O’Hanlon tried “to steer special teams and “gave me
clear” of them. He was considering my shot. I’m grateful for the
transferring soon after two-a-days
began and “didn’t want any negative
“You kind of have to be (a risk taker) opportunity he gave me.”
After a mandatory redshirt
effects on my confidence,” he said. to be where I’m at right now. If I wasn’t because of the transfer,
If Callahan didn’t embrace walk- O’Hanlon earned playing time
ons, O’Hanlon didn’t want to hear
a risk-taker, I’d still be in South Dakota. on special teams. He has been
about it. I wouldn’t be here.” on the kickoff, kickoff return
During the football season his matt o’hanlon and punt return teams.
senior year at East High in Bellevue, He was never given an
Neb., O’Hanlon was recruited as a walk-on by His parents supported him “completely. opportunity at safety, however. And that was
then-coach Frank Solich and his staff. O’Hanlon Everything I do they always support me,” he discouraging. All he wanted was a chance,
was a running back and defensive back, starting said. “There are always the people who are like, which he got during the spring. Now it’s up to
at safety in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl All-Star ‘You’re not going to be able to do that.’ But him.
Game. thank God, I have two great parents. Without “When the new coaching staff came in,
He might have lacked the size for which them, I probably wouldn’t be here.” I knew I was going to get a chance at least.
Callahan was looking, with a philosophy Without former Cornhusker assistant Bill It’s definitely true. Guys like me, like Tyler
based on recruiting service rankings and NFL Busch, O’Hanlon might not be at Nebraska, Wortman, who have been walk-ons for four or
potential. But he was athletic, having also either. Leaving South Dakota didn’t ensure he five years, are finally getting a chance our senior
earned four letters in high school soccer, and would make the team as a walk-on. year,” O’Hanlon said.
exceptionally strong. He was a power-lifter. In January of 2005, he survived cuts in Like Wortman who climbed to the top of the

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Defensive Backs Preview

depth chart at linebacker, he’s a solid student, a “I prayed about it and luckily, I got my Marvin Sanders. The secondary is young.
fact that alleviated some of the risk of leaving a chance.” “I’m ‘Pops,’ ” said the quiet Murillo. “That’s
sure thing at South Dakota. Earning a degree He has no regrets . . . well, maybe one. what they say.”
is important to O’Hanlon. He was first-team “I wish I would have just come straight here,” Murillo started every game last season in a
Academic All-Big 12 in 2006 and second team he said. four-cornerback rotation that included Cortney
in 2007, with a secondary education-social Grixby, Andre Jones and Zack Bowman. He was
sciences major. POSITION OUTLOOK fourth on the team in tackles with 71 (including
O’Hanlon is a risk-taker. “You kind of have Armando Murillo and Larry Asante are the 43 unassisted and three for losses) and seven
to be to be where I’m at right now,” he said. “If only returning starters in the secondary, and pass break-ups.
I wasn’t a risk-taker, I’d still be in South Dakota. they represent most of the experience there Asante, who earned All-Big 12 honorable
I wouldn’t be here.” besides. Murillo and Matt O’Hanlon are the mention from the conference coaches, was
He also is persistent, “definitely,” he said. only seniors under new defensive backs coach second on the team in tackles with 78, including
“There have always been those doubts in
my mind, ‘I’m never going to get to play.’
But as time goes on, you realize that you
love being here, not just for the playing
time but for the experiences and being
with the guys.
“I look at it as a blessing to even be
here with my teammates.”
Spring practice can often be drudgery
for veteran players. But that wasn’t the
case for O’Hanlon, and not just because
of the coaching change – though that was
a part.
He was eager to go to practice every
day, to fix mistakes and improve. His
being a senior, there was a sense of
urgency. He had to make up for lost time.
He didn’t want it to end.
Even if his contributions are limited
to special teams again this season, he
had a chance. And he appreciates being
at Nebraska. “It’s amazing to be in one
of the greatest programs in the country,
really not even being given a shot out of
high school,” he said.
“It’s amazing I have this opportunity
to play in front of 85,000 on Saturdays.”
The first time he took the Tunnel Walk,
he was “so nervous.” But the nervousness
quickly subsided after he made a tackle
his first time on the kickoff team.
Giving up the scholarship at South
Dakota and coming to Nebraska required
“a leap of faith,” said O’Hanlon. “I had
no idea if I was going to make the team
or not.
larry asante

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a high of 10 against Texas A&M. Both he and passes total. By comparison, cornerbacks What the defensive backs lack in experience,
Murillo are being counted on for leadership. He intercepted 12 passes in 2003, when Pelini was they make up for with enthusiasm. The return
gained confidence every day during the spring, the defensive coordinator. of Pelini has energized them. “Last year, guys
according to coach Bo Pelini. “He has good The Cornhuskers allowed 21 pass plays of 25 were passionate,” Murillo said.
understanding,” Pelini said. yards or more last season. “It’s just a better attitude.”
Tierre Green, the only defensive player
besides Murillo to start every game last season, #4 • Larry Asante #33 • Matt O’Hanlon
6-1, 210, Jr., Safety 5-11, 195, Sr., Safety
is gone, along with Bryan Wilson and Ben
Alexandria, Va. (Hayfield/Coffeyville CC) Bellevue, Neb. (East)
Eisenhart, creating opportunities at safety. Asante had a good first O’Hanlon saw action in 10 games
Most prominent among the candidates is season for the Huskers after last year, primarily working on
transferring from Coffeyville the Huskers special teams units.
Rickey Thenarse, a two-time special teams (Kan.) Community College. He He finished the year with three
MVP with a penchant for making big hits. earned the starting job at strong tackles, including solo stops
safety and played in all 12 games, against Nevada and Iowa State.
Major Culbert appears to have found a home at including 10 starts. He finished In 2006, O’Hanlon played in all
safety after beginning last season as a running second on the team with 78 tackles, including 38 solo 14 games and contributed on one of the nation’s
stops. Asante was named to the honorable mention best kickoff coverage units. He had eight total tackles
back and finishing as a linebacker.
All-Big 12 team by the conference coaches. that year.
“I feel real great at safety,” Culbert said.
“Hopefully, I’ll stay there.”
#14 • Anthony Blue #21 • Prince Amukamara
5-10, 180, So., Cornerback 6-1, 195, So., Defensive Back
O’Hanlon had to be force-fed during Cedar Hill, Texas Glendale, Ariz. (Apollo)
the spring, according to Pelini, because his Blue worked his way up the Amukamara saw limited action
ladder last season as a freshman in 2007 as a true freshman.
experience the past two seasons has been limited in the defensive secondary. Nevertheless, after losing
to special teams. He earned playing time at the a majority of the defensive
start of the season and went secondary, he will have an
Anthony Blue had an immediate impact as a on to start the final two games. opportunity to step into
true freshman, including starting the final two He played in all 12 games and considerable playing time this
recorded 18 tackles, including nine solos. He also fall. He has the versatility to play both cornerback and
games against Kansas State and Colorado. But
saw extensive action on special teams. Blue had safety. After not playing in 2007’s first three games,
he suffered an ACL injury during a seven-on- the misfortune of suffering a knee injury in winter he saw action in eight of the final nine contests. He
conditioning and had surgery in early March. It is was a regular on the Huskers kickoff coverage unit. He
seven passing drill during winter conditioning
hopeful he will be ready for the beginning of fall drills recorded four tackles last season.
and missed spring practice. in early August.
With Blue sidelined, Anthony West stepped #6 • Major Culbert
#5 • Armando Murillo 6-0, 205, Jr., Safety
up in the spring. He played primarily on special 6-0, 190, Sr., Cornerback Harbor City, Calif. (Nathaniel Narbonne)
teams last season, after redshirting. Prince Tampa, Fla. (Robinson/Eastern Arizona CC) Culbert landed on the defensive
Murillo is the lone returnee from side of the football after
Amukamara and Eric Hagg will figure in the a four-player cornerback rotation beginning 2007 as a reserve
mix somewhere after seeing action as true in 2007. He started all 12 games I-back. He carried the ball
last year and is being counted on five times for 35 yards and a
freshmen on special teams.
to be a leader with the departure touchdown against Nevada. His
It appeared both Amukamara, who worked of six regulars from last year’s move to defense came midway
secondary. He was one of only though 2007. He recorded eight tackles in the season’s
as a nickel back in the spring, and Hagg would
two defenders to be in the starting lineup in every final five games as a reserve linebacker. He also
redshirt last season. However, Amukamara game. Murillo finished fourth on the team in tackles participated on the Huskers special teams. This fall,
was pulled from a redshirt three games into the with 71 stops, including 43 solo tackles. He had a look for Culbert to try to land the starting safety job.
season-high seven pass breakups.
season and Hagg was asked to shed his redshirt #28 • Eric Hagg
one week later. #22 • Anthony West 6-1, 200, So., Defensive Back
6-0, 200, So., Cornerback Peoria, Ariz. (Ironwood)
The secondary has room for improvement. San Diego, Calif. (Point Loma) Hagg is like several of Nebraska’s
Nebraska ranked 84th in the nation in pass West served as a reserve young defenders – licking his
cornerback throughout the 2007 chops at a chance to replace
defense and 75th in pass efficiency defense,
season and also saw time on the six outgoing regulars in the
allowing 20 touchdown passes with only eight special teams. He finished the defensive backfield. He saw
year with six tackles, including limited action as a true freshman
interceptions – and only three were by defensive
four solo stops. West had last fall. He has the athletic ability
backs. Grixby had two, Bowman one. prepared to play in an injury- to compete for playing time at both cornerback and
The eight interceptions were tied for the plagued secondary in 2006, but he ultimately sat out safety. Hagg played in seven games last fall as both
the season as a redshirt. This could be the year the a reserve in the secondary and on special teams. He
fewest in the Big 12. During the past four seasons, Point Loma High School product out of San Diego recorded two assisted tackles.
Nebraska’s cornerbacks have intercepted 11 gets his chance.

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dan titchener

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Kickers Preview

Titchener aims for the sky as a senior


kickers Adi Kunalic
AT A GLANCE
Returning Place-Kickers
Alex Henery 6-2
6-0
170
185
So.
Sr.

D
uring the team breakfast before the Texas It’s something that can’t be described.” Returning Punters
A&M game last October, Tim Cassidy, Titchener experienced it in the stands when he Dan Titchener 6-0 200 Sr.
Nebraska’s former associate athletic was in high school. Former coach Frank Solich
Returning Specialists
director for football operations, motioned and his staff recruited Titchener as a walk-on
Jake Wesch 6-1 205 Sr.
for Dan Titchener to come over to the table at in 2003. Scott Downing was the contact. After
T.J. O’Leary 6-1 235 Sr.
which he and then-coach Bill Callahan sat. Solich was fired, however, Titchener didn’t hear
Justin Baumgartner 6-2 250 Sr.
Former Cornhusker Mike Minter also was from Nebraska.
among those at the table. Callahan introduced Then, after Callahan was hired, Titchener technique,” Titchener said. Papuchis doesn’t tell
Titchener to Minter, who retired in 2007 after came home one day to find a message on the him what to change. Rather, “he’ll say, ‘Look at
10 seasons in the NFL. telephone answering machine from Downing, this, see if this is something you need to change;
“This is our ‘scholarship’ punter,” Callahan who had been retained on staff. try this and see if it works.’ ”
told Minter. Nebraska was still interested in him. And he Titchener doesn’t need to change much, just
Titchener looked at Callahan as if to say, Uh, was still interested in Nebraska. refine technique and continue to be consistent.
Coach, I don’t have a scholarship. That seems like a long time ago. Much has After all, he’ll be going into his third season as
Callahan read the look and smiled. He hadn’t changed. the Cornhuskers’ punter, something only seven
misspoken. “It’s totally different than when I was getting others have done since 1946, when annual
“You’re on scholarship,” he said. “We put recruited,” Titchener said. records were first kept.
you on scholarship.” When he came to Lincoln for the spring game Mike Stigge set the standard, holding the
That’s how Titchener learned, job for four seasons (1989-92).
with five games remaining in his The others, all three seasons,
junior season, he had achieved a goal
he brought with him as a walk-on
“Then I got here and saw how huge were: Kyle Larson (2001-03),
Jesse Kosch (1995-97), John
from Cheyenne, Wyo.
Even better, the scholarship was
everybody was at this level and I Kroeker (1986-88), Tim Smith
(1977-79), Randy Lessman
retroactive to the beginning of the
season. The next Monday, he signed
realized there was no way I could play (1974-76) and Dennis Claridge
(1961-63).
the paperwork and was reimbursed
for the semester’s tuition as well as
another position at this level. Smith and Claridge also
were regular position players,
for the cost of textbooks. “For my Smith a split end and Claridge
parents, it was nice,” Titchener said. dan titchener a quarterback. Titchener played
It also certified his defensive end and tight end in
accomplishments over two seasons, though prior to his freshman season, for example, the high school. But giving up that aspect of football
“with or without the scholarship, it still team’s post-game barbeque was held in Schulte wasn’t difficult. “I thought it was going to be
would have been worth coming here, just for Fieldhouse. Then the venerable but out-dated fairly hard,” he said.
the experiences. Getting to play in front of structure was torn down to make way for the “Then I got here and saw how huge everybody
80,000-plus people every game is worth any Tom and Nancy Osborne Complex. was compared to me and I realized there was no
amount of money,” he said. There are many other differences, too many way I could play another position at this level.
Four years at Nebraska, including one as a to mention. Downing remained for two seasons That made a pretty easy transition.”
redshirt and another spent watching Sam Koch and worked with the punters as well as tight During his first two seasons, he shadowed
set the school single-season record for punting ends, before leaving to become head coach Koch. He was always right there, doing what
average (46.51 yards), haven’t diminished the at Northern Colorado. He was succeeded by Koch did, figuring that was a way to get better.
excitement of playing in front of sellout crowds Shawn Watson and then Joe Rudolph. “I paid real close attention to pretty much every
at Memorial Stadium. Punters often are on their own anyway, but move he made. I wanted to see how to react at
Emerging from the Tunnel Walk into a after Downing left, that was even more the case, practice if things went wrong, how to improve,
stadium packed in red is the “one moment that “a lot of learning on our own, going to camps what to do, what kind of drills to do to, that kind
will never get old,” said Titchener. “It was nice and stuff,” said Titchener. of stuff,” Titchener said.
to experience it in the stands when I came as a Now, John Papuchis works with the punters, He also watched how Koch carried himself.
recruit, but it’s completely different as a player. and “he has helped me a ton, in terms of Titchener maintains contact with Koch

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Kickers Preview

and Koch’s predecessor Kyle Larson, whose


45.12-yards-per-punt average in 2003 ranks #82 • T.J. O’Leary #90 • Alex Henery
Sr., Long Snapper, 6-1, 235 So., Place-Kicker, 6-2, 170
second on the Cornhuskers’ single-season list.
Omaha, NE (Millard North/New Mexico State) Omaha, NE (Burke)
He would like to challenge Koch and Larson O’Leary returns for his senior Henery handled the Huskers extra-
at the top of that list this season. He averaged season after handling the long point duties and short and mid-
39.3 yards on 66 punts in 2006 and 41.3 yards on snapping chores for the Huskers range field goals in 2007. He had a
49 punts in 2007 to rank fifth in the Big 12 and each of the past two years. He perfect season going 45-for-45 on
was perfect in 2007 as NU kickers extra points and made all eight of
48th nationally and earn All-Big 12 honorable
converted on every PAT and field his field goal attempts. He earned
mention from the conference coaches. His punts goal attempt. He also had three First Team All-Big 12 honors from
have been downed inside the 20-yard line 42 tackles on punt coverage. O’Leary redshirted in 2005 The Sporting News. A football and soccer standout
times over the past two seasons. after transferring from New Mexico State. He played in at Omaha Burke High School, Henery walked on and
every game for the Aggies in 2004 as a freshman. He redshirted his first year at Nebraska.
“My goal is to lead the nation in punting,”
also served as the NMSU long snapper.
said Titchener. “It’s something I can definitely #20 • Adi Kunalic
attain. That’s what I’m striving toward. I always #37 • Jake Wesch So., Place-Kicker, 6-0, 185
want to be the best. Sr., Holder/Place-Kicker, 6-1, 205 Fort Worth, TX (North Crowley)
“But whether it’s a certain number (average) North Bend, NE Kunalic gives Nebraska a key
Wesch played in all 12 games as defensive weapon with his long-
out there, I don’t know. I’d want to average
Nebraska’s holder last fall. He was range kicking ability. As a true
about 45 yards . . . maybe 44 would be on the consistent as the Huskers posted freshman last year, he helped the
lower end of what I want.” the first perfect kicking season Huskers rank among the nation’s
Last season’s NCAA leader, Cincinnati’s in school history. Nebraska place best kickoff teams. He negated
kickers went 46-for-46 on extra the move of kickoffs to the
Kevin Huber, averaged 46.88 yards on 57 punts.
point tries and 9-for-9 on field 30-yard line by holding teams to 28 touchbacks in 66
A top-six finish would have required at least a goals. Wesch also hopes to continue to battle for attempts and his 42.4 percent touchback rate was the
45-yard average. place-kicking and kickoff duties. He has also shown best of any kicker in the country. He was also Nebraska’s
Kansas State’s Tim Reyer led Big 12 punters the ability to be diverse as he has thrown a touchdown long-range field goal kicker. He made his only attempt
with a 44.53-yard average. pass for the Huskers. He helped pull off a perfectly of the season, from 46 yards, against Nevada.
executed fake field goal against Kansas State in 2006
Actually, even if his average improves,
with a 17-yard TD strike to tight end Hunter Teafatiller. #97 • Dan Titchener
Titchener would forego leading the nation in Sr., Punter, 6-0, 200
punting if the team is successful. If the offense first team All-Nebraska and first team Super- Cheyenne, Wyo., (East)
is potent enough to limit the number of punts, State as a punter in high school – and he Senior punter Dan Titchener has
expected to punt in college. been a consistent performer for
he might not meet the minimum requirement.
the Huskers over the past two
That would be OK with him. “I’d take 12 punts Kunalic attempted, and made, the
seasons. He has downed 42 punts
all year,” Titchener said. “I want to play in each Cornhuskers’ first field goal of the season, a inside the opponent’s 20-yard
game, so I’ll take one a game.” 46-yarder in the opener against Nevada. He also line during that time and had just
And make the most of each one. kicked an extra point against the Wolfpack, and one punt blocked in two seasons.
He punted 49 times for a 41.3 yard average in 2007.
he’ll likely continue as the choice on long field
POSITION OUTLOOK goals, although Henery, who kicked a 48-yard
He showed improvement as in 2006 he averaged 39.3
yards per punt. He has also excelled in the classroom as
The Cornhuskers are set for kickers. Alex field goal as a high school sophomore, has he has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Fall
Henery and Adi Kunalic are returning starters shown good range, as well. Academic Honor Roll four times and is a two-time First
Kunalic has left no doubt about who will Team Academic, All-Big 12 selection.
as place-kickers. Their continued competition
will make both better. handle kickoffs. Even though the NCAA moved for a third season, after stepping in when Lane
Henery was something of a surprise, earning kickoffs back 5 yards, to the 30, he sent 28 of Kelly was sidelined early in 2006 (he continued
the job kicking extra points and handling short his 66 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, to snap on punts when Kelly returned).
and mid-range field goals after walking on and averaging 65.7 yards per kickoff. Nebraska The most pressing question about the kicking
redshirting. He was perfect in his first collegiate managed only 12 touchbacks in 2006. game is: Who will handle returns? Nothing was
season, making 45-of-45 extra-point kicks and Kunalic’s strong right leg was much in decided in the spring. Sophomore wide receiver
8-of-8 field goals. evidence in the spring game. After his first Niles Paul and redshirted freshman I-back Marcus
He was the ninth kicker in school history to be kickoff was returned from the 11-yard line, the Mendoza were among those who got looks, but
perfect on extra points and the first to be perfect next seven were touchbacks. the list of candidates is much longer. Senior wide
on field goal attempts, with a minimum of five. Jake Wesch is valuable because of his receiver Nate Swift’s sure-handedness again
The field goal distances ranged from 22 to 39 versatility. He’ll be the top holder for a third makes him a possibility on punt returns.
yards. consecutive season. He can punt, as evidenced in The Cornhuskers ranked eighth in the
Henery’s efficiency was particularly the spring game, when he punted twice, for 44 conference in both punt returns and kickoff
important given the fact Nebraska attempted and 62 yards. And he can kick off. He handled returns last season, the latter despite the efforts
the fewest field goals in the conference. Baylor the majority of kickoffs beginning with the Texas of Cortney Grixby, who set a Big 12 record with
attempted the second fewest, with 14. game in 2006, stepping in for Jordan Congdon. 1,094 yards on 45 returns. They need to improve
Henery could also punt in a pinch. He was Finally, T.J. O’Leary will be the deep snapper in both areas.

7 6 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
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Big 12 Preview

BIG 12 PREVIEW
Quarterbacks dominate the conference scene
T
he standard for Big 12 quarterbacks is high.
Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell led the nation in total offense. And
Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford led the nation in passing efficiency. But Big 12 Conference Preview
neither was first-team all-conference.
Harrell was on the coaches’ all-conference second team, sharing the
NORTH
position with Kansas’ Todd Reesing, while Bradford received honorable
mention. Missouri . . . national title contender, maybe
Reesing, alone at second on the Associated Press team, posted numbers
that would have merited first-team honors most seasons. But 2007 wasn’t
Nebraska . . . back on track with Bo
most seasons. Kansas . . . tough inter-division games
The Big 12 was loaded with quality quarterbacks, none better than
Missouri’s Chase Daniel, first-team all-conference according to both the AP Colorado . . . joining no-huddle ranks
and the coaches.
Kansas State . . . better if juco experiment works
Daniel, who also finished fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy, had
impressive numbers. Beyond that, however, he elevated his team, took the Iowa State . . . deciding between quarterbacks
Tigers to another level.
Missouri climbed to No. 1 in the AP poll the last week in November and
finished No. 4 with a 12-2 record, its only losses coming against Oklahoma SOUTH
and Bradford.
Daniel is back, as are Reesing, Harrell and Bradford. Texas quarterback Oklahoma . . . in Big 12 title game again
Colt McCoy also is back, along with Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson, Texas . . . new defensive coordinator
Kansas State’s Josh Freeman, Colorado’s Cody Hawkins, Texas A&M’s
Stephen McGee and Baylor’s Blake Szymanski. Texas Tech . . . defense is key in Lubbock
That’s 10 of 12 starters returning.
Oklahoma State . . . new offensive coordinator
Only Nebraska and Iowa State don’t
have returning starters – and in Texas A&M . . . Aggies get NFL perspective
the Cornhuskers’ case, that’s a
technicality. Joe Ganz started the
Baylor . . . new coach, same sad scenario
last three games and produced
remarkable numbers, passing “You can just look at the number of schools that played close games
for 1,399 yards and 15 and upset some perennial teams last year, and the ones that ended up in
touchdowns. the Top 10.”
Quarterbacks In addition to Missouri’s being No. 4 in the final AP rankings, Kansas
characterize the was No. 7 and Oklahoma was No. 8, with Texas finishing No. 10.
conference and The quarterbacks were a factor, Brown said, but so were the coaches.
contribute to its “Everybody’s got a good football team in this league now, so you can no
overall strength. longer plan on winning a game. You’re going to have to earn the right to win
“I think this will that game before you can count it.”
be the best balanced Consider that Kansas was picked in the conference-area media pre-
league we’ve had since I’ve been season poll to finish fourth in the North Division but tied Missouri for first.
here, the 10 years we’ve been at Nebraska, in contrast, was picked to finish second in the division but ended
Texas,” said Longhorns coach up in a fifth-place tie with Iowa State.
Mack Brown. “It is because The South Division was more predictable, although Texas Tech finished
everybody’s better. in a three-way tie for third and ranked No. 22 in the AP poll after being

missouri’s chase daniels

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picked fifth in the division.

All-Big 12 Team
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach also attributes that success, as well as high
expectations for South Division teams this season, to more than marquee
quarterbacks. Competition is “always at such a high level that maybe it’s just
in degrees,” he said. “I mean, even though quarterbacks are big this year…
First Team
if not for that, there are running backs… Offense
“I remember one year, this was such a scary conference because of Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Yr. School
WR Michael Crabtree 6-3 208 So. Texas Tech
d-linemen. But I think the South Division’s always good, and maybe the
WR Jeremy Maclin 6-1 200 So. Missouri
flavor of the month this year is quarterbacks. But I don’t know, better (the WR Dexton Fields 6-0 204 Sr. Kansas
division)? It’s hard to say, maybe different.” TE Chase Coffman 6-6 245 Sr. Missouri
OL Daniel Sanders 6-3 325 Sr. Colorado
Despite finishing with the highest national ranking of any conference
OL Duke Robinson 6-5 352 Sr. Oklahoma
team and reaching the Big 12 championship game for the first time, Missouri OL Luis Vasquez 6-6 335 Sr. Texas Tech
couldn’t win a rematch with Oklahoma, which has won three of the last four OL Lydon Murtha 6-7 315 Sr. Nebraska
OL Phil Loadholt 6-8 350 Sr. Oklahoma
conference titles and five total. South Division teams have won the last four
QB Chase Daniel 6-0 225 Sr. Missouri
conference titles, in fact, and eight of 12. RB Marlon Lucky 6-0 215 Sr. Nebraska
Sooners coach Bob Stoops isn’t dismissing teams in the North Division, RB Mike Goodson 6-0 206 Jr. Texas A&M
PK Jeff Wolfert 6-2 185 Sr. Missouri
however. “Those North teams look pretty good, too, with everybody that’s KR DeMarco Murray 6-0 191 So. Oklahoma
back,” he said. “The overall strength of all the quarterbacks back just makes
the whole league strong. And even though we were (strong) a year ago, you Defense
DL Auston English 6-3 257 Jr. Oklahoma
would expect it to be even more so this year.” DL George Hypolite 6-1 285 Sr. Colorado
One season doesn’t produce divisional parity. “You don’t just have one DL Ziggy Hood 6-4 295 Sr. Missouri
good year in the North and all of a sudden we’re balanced with the South,” DL Ian Campbell 6-5 249 Sr. Kansas State
LB Joe Mortensen 6-1 250 Sr. Kansas
said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel. “We’ve got a great league. We’ve got great LB Sean Weatherspoon 6-1 235 Jr. Missouri
teams in this league, in both divisions, and I think if the North can continue LB Rashad Bobino 5-11 238 Sr. Texas
DB Chris Harris 6-0 180 So. Kansas
to improve, it just makes our league that much stronger.”
DB Jacob Lacey 5-11 175 Sr. Oklahoma State
Kansas coach Mark Mangino, the consensus national coach of the DB William Moore 6-1 230 Sr. Missouri
year, doesn’t “try to analyze the North versus South. We’re in the Big 12 DB Nic Harris 6-3 226 Sr. Oklahoma
P Justin Brantly 6-3 241 Sr. Texas A&M
Conference, and eventually, you have to play everybody,” he said. “You can
PR Jeremy Maclin 6-1 200 So. Missouri
see some signs of teams in the North, teams emerging. But I still am a firm
believer that things go in cycles, and there’ll be a back and forth.” second Team
Offense
Offense and defense can be cyclical, too, and offense seems to be on the
WR Juaquin Iglesias 6-1 201 Sr. Oklahoma
upswing in the Big 12, which led all conferences with seven teams ranked in WR Quan Cosby 5-11 205 Sr. Texas
the NCAA Top 20 in total offense. In addition, four Big 12 teams ranked in WR Nate Swift 6-2 200 Sr. Nebraska
TE Brandon Pettigrew 6-6 260 Sr. Oklahoma State
the top eight nationally in scoring.
OL Jon Cooper 6-2 285 Sr. Oklahoma
Nebraska averaged 35.3 points in eight conference games yet finished in OL Matt Slauson 6-5 325 Sr. Nebraska
the lower half. OL Rylan Reed 6-7 314 Sr. Texas Tech
OL Adam Ulatoski 6-8 310 Jr. Texas
The no-huddle, spread offense has been a factor in the scoring. “I think
OL Alesana Alesana 6-4 299 Sr. Kansas State
right now that the innovations that have occurred on the offensive side of the QB Graham Harrell 6-3 202 Sr. Texas Tech
ball, most of those have to do with creating space for very athletic players,” RB DeMarco Murray 6-0 191 So. Oklahoma
RB Jake Sharp 5-10 190 Jr. Kansas
Kansas State coach Ron Prince said. PK Brooks Rossman 6-0 178 Sr. Kansas State
Speed is at a premium, with defensive players “out in space, one-on-one KR Marcus Herford 6-3 208 Sr. Kansas
against a very athletic blocker and athletic, sometimes, runner,” he said.
Defense
Defenses will adjust. “You’ve got a lot of people in this profession who DL Brian Orakpo 6-4 260 Sr. Texas
are terrific at thinking about the game from the defensive perspective,” DL Gerald McCoy 6-4 289 So. Oklahoma
said Prince. DL Brandon Nicholas 6-3 290 Sr. Colorado
DL Stryker Sulak 6-5 250 Sr. Missouri
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is among those Prince described. Louisiana LB Joe Pawelek 6-3 236 Jr. Baylor
State ranked third nationally in total defense the past three seasons with him LB Brock Christopher 6-2 235 Sr. Missouri
LB James Holt 6-3 222 Sr. Kansas
as coordinator.
DB Justin Thornton 6-1 202 Jr. Kansas
The SEC is “probably a little bit more of a defensive league, I guess,” DB Jamar Wall 5-10 194 So. Texas Tech
Pelini said. “When I first came back in the league (Big 12) and I saw the DB Ryan Walters 6-0 200 Sr. Colorado
DB Jordan Lake 6-2 206 Jr. Baylor
numbers in the league, I was a little bit blown away at how skyrocketed the
P Matt Fodge 6-1 195 Sr. Oklahoma State
numbers were on the offensive side of things. PR Deon Murphy 5-10 170 Sr. Kansas State

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Big 12 Preview

“It’s just a trend. I think when it’s all said in BCS bowl games, the conference was not
and done, you see the teams that are usually
in it at the top finding a way to play good
represented in the Texas Bowl, however. The
Big 12 bowl results were: Big 12 Notebook
defense because you’re never going to win 4Orange: Kansas 24, Virginia Tech 21
RULES CHANGE
championships without having success on 4Fiesta: West Virginia 48, Oklahoma 28
The NCAA will use a 40-second clock like the NFL this
defense. It’s cyclical, like everything else.” 4Gator: Texas Tech 30, Virginia 27
season. The 40 seconds will begin as soon as the ball is
Statistically, Kansas was the top defensive 4Cotton: Missouri 38, Arkansas 7
blown dead. Previously, teams had 25 seconds to snap
team in the conference last season. 4Music City: Oklahoma State 49, Indiana 33
the ball after officials marked it ready for play. After a
The Jayhawks also run a spread offense, 4Independence: Alabama 30, Colorado 24
change of possession, the 25-second clock will be in
which has contributed to their success on 4Alamo: Penn State 24, Texas A&M 17
effect, and the 40-second clock will not be used in the
defense. “Just watching our defense, they’re 4Holiday: Texas 52, Arizona State 34
final two minutes of games.
starting to pick up on some of the little Eleven conference teams have played in
“It sounds like it would slow it down,” Brown said of
nuances on offense that we do because they’re bowl games since 2005. Baylor hasn’t played
the new rule. “But the purpose is to try to get the game
seeing it every day,” said Mangino. in a bowl game since 1994, when the Bears
through more quickly with dead time, not take away
The terms “spread” and “no-huddle” don’t lost to Washington State in the Alamo Bowl.
plays from kids. If it’s a long pass, you’re going to have
describe a single offensive system. “Every
to get back to work and move forward immediately
offense you play against has a different offensive
because we felt like there was definitely a quicker pace
rhythm,” Pelini said. “Some teams, even Seven Big 12 teams ranked in the NCAA’s
this spring than there has been in the past.”
though they get up to the football in a hurry, Top 20 in total offense in 2007:
Most of the coaches agreed. “I think the game is
they’re not going real fast-paced. The bottom
Rk. School Yards speeded up to some degree,” said Stoops. “I guess the
line is, a lot of these offenses these days, the
2. Texas Tech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 529.6 best way of saying it is there’s a more consistent speed
offensive coordinators want to see what the
5. Missouri. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 490.3 of play. Some officials spot the ball and get the clock
defense comes out in and they want to see if
7. Oklahoma State. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486.3 started sooner than others when we didn’t have the
they can get themselves into the right plays.
8. Kansas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 479.8 40-second clock.”
“So you have to evaluate what they’re
9. Nebraska . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 468.2 Leach is less certain. “I haven’t noticed just a lot of
trying to accomplish and try and offset it by
13. Texas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 462.9 difference,” he said. “We no-huddle it some and try to get
how you disguise, how you hold your looks
19. Oklahoma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 448.9 after it. The biggest thing is those long plays, you have to
and still be able to get your calls in and match
hustle down there.”
personnel at the same time. Every offense is
Putting up points
different and presents, I guess, a unique set of
Six Big 12 teams ranked in the NCAA’s Top NEW FACES
problems.”
20 in scoring: Pelini isn’t the only new head coach in the conference.
Spread offenses “are a lot different,” said
Rk. School Points Texas A&M hired Mike Sherman and Baylor hired Art
Pinkel.
2. Kansas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42.8 points Briles. Pelini hasn’t been surprised by the enthusiastic
Missouri’s spread, no-huddle system,
5. Oklahoma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42.3 reaction of Cornhusker fans. “I guess nothing here
installed by offensive coordinator Dave
7. Texas Tech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40.9 surprises me from being here the first time for a year,”
Christensen in 2005, is different than West
8. Missouri. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39.9 said Pelini, Nebraska’s defensive coordinator and interim
Virginia’s, which is different than Oregon’s.
14. Texas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37.2 head coach for one game in 2003.
And the Tigers’ offense is different than both.
18. Kansas State. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35.2 “It became obvious in 12 months how passionate the
That “makes it good, and really makes a
people of the state of Nebraska are about their football.
difference in college football and high school
CONSENSUS We’ve had a great reception.”
football. It’s a lot different than the NFL,
where every offense and every defense looks Eight Big 12 players earned consensus All-
America recognition, a conference high. TICKET DEMAND
absolutely identical,” Pinkel said.
4Michael Crabtree*, WR, Texas Tech
Total attendance in the Big 12 surpassed 4.6 million
Regardless of the offensive system, the key
4Jordon Dizon, LB, Colorado
for a second consecutive year. Attendance was 4,652,267
component is the quarterback. And the Big
4Curtis Lofton, LB, Oklahoma
in 2007. Big 12 stadiums were 96.6 percent filled in 2007,
12 has an abundance of veteran quarterbacks,
4Jeremy Maclin*, WR/R, Missouri
the ninth consecutive year of over 90 percent. Nebraska
proven leaders, in 2008.
4Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State
continues to set the standard with its on-going NCAA
record 289 consecutive sellouts at Memorial Stadium.
bowl bound 4Martin Rucker, TE, Missouri
4Duke Robinson*, OL, Oklahoma
The Cornhuskers were third in the conference in total
For the sixth time in the past seven
4Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
and average attendance behind Texas and Oklahoma.
seasons, eight Big 12 teams played in bowl
* Return in 2008 Texas averaged 85,144, Oklahoma 84,858 and Nebraska
games in 2007. With Oklahoma and Kansas
84,515.

8 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Big 12 Preview

Breaking down the Big 12 position by position


some situational diversity. And Kenny Wilson, a member of a four-man

QUARTERBACK
committee in 2006, remains optimistic about returning from a broken leg.
The fullback also might do some running again in Nebraska’s offense.
Rest: Tony Temple is gone, but Missouri coach Gary Pinkel expects to
replace him with a group of running backs, including sophomore Derrick
Best: Kansas
Washington (5-11, 215), redshirted freshman De’Vion Moore (5-9, 195) and
Todd Reesing, 5-11, 200, Jr.
senior Jimmy Jackson (5-9, 200). Texas A&M used 285-pound Jorvorskie
Kerry Meier, 6-3, 220, Jr.
Lane at fullback in an I-formation alignment with Mike Goodson during
the spring. Kansas will replace Brandon McAnderson with Jake Sharp
The Big 12’s best quarterback can be debated. But Kansas has an edge (821 yards, seven touchdowns) and Jocques Crawford, the junior college
at the position with an experienced back-up. The back-up is always only national offensive player of the year.
one snap away, of course. Few back-ups can perform the way Joe Ganz Gone: Charles; Temple; McAnderson; Dantrell Savage, Oklahoma
did for Nebraska last season, after Sam Keller was sidelined late in the State.
Texas game. Ganz was an unknown. Kerry Meier is not. He was the starter
in 2006 but was moved to wide receiver in order to get on the field with
the emergence of Reesing. No question, the Jayhawks’ continued success
depends on Todd Reesing remaining healthy. He makes the offense go,
throwing for 3,486 yards and 33 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions
receiver
Best: texas tech
last season. But Meier could fill in if the need were to arise. He completed
Michael Crabtree, 6-3, 208, So.
25-of-29 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to catching
Ed Britton, 6-0, 183, Jr.
two touchdown passes and running for a touchdown.
Eric Morris, 5-8, 174, Sr.
Rest: “You have to have team guys at the quarterback position,” Texas
Detron Lewis, 6-0, 198, So.
coach Mack Brown said. Colt McCoy, who ranked 22nd nationally in
Aaron Crawford, 5-11, 199, So.
total offense last season, is his quarterback. But John Chiles gives the
Longhorns’ offense a different dimension with his zone-read running.
Missouri’s back-up to Chase Daniel is another Chase, Patton. Iowa State Texas Tech had to replace three senior wide receivers, among them Joel
is the only Big 12 team without a quarterback who has starting experience. Filani, a year ago and did quite nicely. Filani’s replacement was Michael
The Cyclones will continue to evaluate Phillip Bates and Austen Arnaud Crabtree, a redshirted freshman from Dallas who caught 134 passes for
during pre-season practice. 1,962 yards and 22 touchdowns to earn consensus All-America honors.
Gone: Keller; Bret Meyer, Iowa State. He was complemented by Danny Amendola (109 catches, 1,245 yards, six
touchdowns), who is gone. Even so, opposing teams can’t focus on Crabtree
to the exclusion of Eric Morris and Ed Britton. Morris caught 75 passes

RUNNING BACK Best: nebraska


for 767 yards and nine touchdowns – which tied for fourth in the Big 12
behind Crabtree, Kansas State’s Jordy Nelson (122 catches, 1,606 yards,
11 touchdowns) and Kansas’ Marcus Henry (54 catches, 1,014 yards, 10
touchdowns). Britton, among the fastest Red Raiders, started 10 games
Marlon Lucky, 6-0, 215, Sr.
and caught 48 passes for 631 yards and four touchdowns. Lewis is a likely
Roy Helu Jr., 6-0, 215, So.
successor to Amendola. Aaron Crawford can catch out of the backfield.
Quentin Castille, 6-1, 245, So.
Rest: Kansas lost Henry and tight end Derek Fine but returns a
talented group of receivers, led by Dexton Fields and Dezmon Briscoe,
Texas’ Jamaal Charles declared for the NFL draft after leading the who combined to catch 106 passes for 1,330 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Big 12 in rushing as a junior, with 1,619 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Missouri lost Will Franklin and All-America tight end Martin Rucker but
Kansas City Chiefs selected him in the third round (the 73rd player taken). has another All-America tight end candidate in Chase Coffman as well
With his departure, Marlon Lucky, who also considered leaving early, is as Jeremy Maclin, who earned consensus All-America recognition as a
the leading returning rusher in the Big 12. He ran for 1,019 yards and multi-purpose player, receiver and kick returner. Maclin shared Big 12
nine touchdowns and caught a school-record 75 passes for 705 yards and Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors with Crabtree.
three touchdowns. Lucky won’t be alone in the Cornhusker backfield. Gone: Amendola; Nelson; Henry; Rucker; Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma;
Quentin Castille and Roy Helu, who had a solid spring, both played Adarius Bowman, Oklahoma State; Todd Blythe, Iowa State; Maurice
as true freshmen. Marcus Mendoza, a redshirted freshman, provides Purify, Terrence Nunn, Nebraska.

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Big 12 Preview

Freshman of the Year. He was credited with two sacks and six tackles for

offensive line Best: oklahoma


loss. The Sooners led the conference in sacks, with 32 for 239 yards in
losses, and were second in total defense, behind Kansas. Inexperienced
linebackers will put added responsibility on the line.
Rest: Missouri lost Lorenzo Williams but returns Stryker Sulak, Ziggy
Phil Loadholt, 6-8, 350, Sr.
Hood and Tommy Chavis. Sulak had 60 tackles, including 11 for losses
Duke Robinson, 6-5, 330, Sr.
and six sacks. Hood and Chavis combined for 9.5 sacks. Colorado also
Jon Cooper, 6-2, 285, Sr.
has three returning starters: George Hypolite, Brandon Nicholas and
Brandon Walker, 6-3, 306, Sr.
Maurice Lucas. Statistically, Nebraska’s defense has nowhere to go except
Trent Williams, 6-5, 321, Jr.
up. A veteran front is the place to start. The top eight return, six of them
Branndon Braxton, 6-6, 312, Sr.
seniors, plus junior Ndamukong Suh, who was sidelined by injury during
the spring.
Seven of the top eight on the two-deeps and all five starters return. The
Gone: Lorenzo Williams; James McClinton, Kansas; Frank Okam,
Sooners allowed only 14 sacks, which made for the nation’s most efficient
Texas; Derek Lokey, Texas; Nathan Peterson, Oklahoma State.
passing game, but the running game needs to be more consistent. They
ranked fourth in the conference in rushing, averaging just under 200 yards

linebacker
per game. Consistency in the running game also starts up-front. Jon Cooper
has 29 consecutive starts over the past three seasons and anchors the line at
center. Phil Loadholt, a junior college transfer, had an immediate impact at
left tackle, protecting quarterback Sam Bradford’s blindside. Duke Robinson Best: kansas
lined up alongside Loadholt. Both were all-conference selections. Brandon Joe Mortensen, 6-1, 250, Sr.
Walker earned the highest grade among all of the Oklahoma linemen. Mike Rivera, 6-3, 255, Sr.
Williams and Braxton again will compete at right tackle. James Holt, 6-3, 222, Sr.
Rest: Texas has a veteran line, built around junior tackle Adam Ulatoski,
senior guard Cedric Dockery and junior Chris Hall, who has started
The Jayhawks are loaded at linebacker. Not only do the starters – the
at least one game at all five interior positions. Ulatoski was a second-
team’s top three tacklers – return but also every letterman at the position.
team all-conference selection last season. Nebraska’s offensive linemen
Kansas led the conference and ranked 12th nationally in total defense, and
are experienced and have settled into positions after consistent moving
the linebackers played a significant role. Joe Mortensen earned first-team
around. And the Cornhuskers are two-deep, with promising young players
all-conference recognition, with 106 tackles, including 15 for losses. James
in the mix. Kansas State has seven linemen with multiple starts, including
Holt and Mike Rivera both earned all-conference honorable mention,
left tackle Alesana Alesana and center Jordan Bedore, who was sidelined
combining on 195 tackles, including 23.5 for losses. The experience at
five games into last season.
linebacker should help offset the loss of All-Big 12 defensive tackle James
Gone: Anthony Collins, Kansas; Adam Spieker, Missouri; Tyler
McClinton, who plugged the middle.
Luellen, Missouri; Cody Wallace, Texas A&M; Tony Hills, Texas; David
Rest: Missouri’s starters also return, including Sean Weatherspoon
Koenig, Oklahoma State.
(130 tackles, 9.5 for losses) and Brock Christopher (106 tackles, 7.5 for
losses). Oklahoma has to restructure with the loss of consensus All-

defensive line
American Curtis Lofton, who was credited with 157 tackles, and Lewis
Baker. Ryan Reynolds, the starter on the weakside, could end up in the
middle. Colorado is without the nation’s No. 2 tackler, Jordon Dizon. He
Best: oklahoma was credited with 162, including 114 unassisted.
Auston English, 6-3, 257, Jr. Gone: Lofton; Dizon; Alvin Bowen, Iowa State; Misi Tupe, Texas
DeMarcus Granger, 6-3, 300, Jr. A&M; Mark Dodge, Texas A&M.
Gerald McCoy, 6-4, 289, So.
joe mortensen, kansas
John Williams, 6-5, 249, Sr.

The Sooners will look about the same up-front as they did at the
beginning of last season if John Williams can come back from an Achilles
injury. He was granted a sixth season of eligibility after starting three of
the first four games a year ago. English, an outstanding pass rusher, led the
conference and ranked 15th nationally with 9.5 sacks among 13 tackles for
loss. DeMarcus Granger was credited with 3.5 sacks and eight quarterback
hurries, while Gerald McCoy was the coaches’ choice as Big 12 Defensive

8 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Big 12 Preview

defensive back kicking


Best: missouri
Best: kansas
Chris Harris, 6-0, 180, So. Jeremy Maclin, kick returner, 6-1, 200, So.
Kendrick Harper, 5-9, 190, Sr. Jeff Wolfert, place-kicker, 6-2, 185, Sr.
Darrell Stuckey, 6-1, 205, Jr.
Justin Thornton, 6-1, 202, Jr.
Patrick Resby, 6-0, 200, Sr. The kicking game is no longer the problem it once was for the Tigers.
Jeff Wolfert led the Big 12 in scoring by a kicker (and ranked second
The Jayhawks took a hit when consensus All-American cornerback overall) with 130 points. He was perfect on 67 extra-point kicks and made
Aqib Talib opted to bypass his senior season in favor of the NFL draft 21-of-25 field goal attempts. The versatile Jeremy Maclin, who ranked first
– the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked him in the first round (20th player in the conference and seventh nationally in all-purpose yardage, returned
selected). However, everyone else returns from a secondary that helped two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns. He averaged 24.2 yards on 43
Kansas rank first in the Big 12 and ninth nationally in pass efficiency kickoff returns and 12.3 yards on 25 punt returns. With the loss of Adam
defense and second and 49th in pass defense. The Jayhawks led the Crossett, who averaged just 37.9 yards, the Tigers need a new punter. To
conference in interceptions with 23, five of them by Justin Thornton, that end, the recruiting class included junior college transfer Jake Harry.
who started the last four games at strong safety. He also broke up nine Rest: Kansas State coach Ron Prince emphasizes special teams. The
passes. Chris Harris started 10 games as a true freshman and had two Wildcats led the nation in punt returns, and Deon Murphy is back. He led
interceptions as well as 65 tackles. Darrell Stuckey, the free safety, was the the conference and ranked third in the nation with a 17.5-yards-per-return
leading tackler in the secondary, with 72. average. He returned one for a touchdown. Jordy Nelson, who is gone,
Rest: Oklahoma also lost junior cornerback Reggie Smith to the NFL returned two. Place-kicker Brooks Rossman is back, after making 22-of-28
draft, as well as D.J. Wolfe and Marcus Walker, leaving safety Nic Harris field goals and 44-of-46 extra-point kicks. Tim Reyer, the Big 12’s best punter,
as the only returning starter. Texas Tech, which led the conference and must be replaced. Oklahoma led the nation in kickoff returns, and both
ranked 12th nationally in pass defense, has two starters returning: free returners are back, DeMarco Murray and Juaquin Iglesias. Murray returned
safety Darcel McBath and left cornerback Jamar Wall, who had a breakout two for touchdowns and averaged 29.3 yards, seventh best in the nation.
season as a sophomore, intercepting five passes and breaking up six. Gone: Nelson; Reyer; Alex Trlica, PK, Texas Tech; Garrett Hartley,
Gone: Talib; Smith; Wolfe; Terrence Wheatley, Colorado; Marcus PK, Oklahoma.
Griffin, Texas; “Pig” Brown, Missouri; Justin McKinney, Kansas State.

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Big12 Conference

Missouri Oct. 4 at Lincoln, Neb.


Tigers
Missouri has the look caught 80 passes for 1,055 yards and nine include wide receiver Will Franklin, tailback
of a title contender, and touchdowns and had 2,276 all-purpose yards, Tony Temple, center Adam Spieker and left
maybe not just a Big 12 title the fifth-most in NCAA Bowl Subdivision tackle Tyler Luellen.
contender, though that in (formerly I-A) history. He also returned three Spieker, the coaches’ Big 12 Offensive
itself would be a significant accomplishment. kicks for touchdowns. Lineman of the Year, and Luellen, who
The Tigers haven’t won a conference title With a year’s maturity, he’s going to be even protected Daniel’s blindside, had 90
since 1969, when they shared the Big Eight better, according to Pinkel. consecutive starts between them.
championship with Nebraska. And they haven’t Daniel and Maclin are Missouri’s marquee Missouri ranked eighth nationally and first
won an outright title since 1960. players on offense, with tight end Chase in the Big 12 in conference games in scoring
They came close last season, losing to Coffman close behind. Coffman, who already offense. With place-kicker Jeff Wolfert,
Oklahoma, for a second time, in the Big 12 holds the school career record for touchdown touchdowns were always worth seven points.
championship game. And they regrouped with catches with 20 and needs 47 receptions to break Wolfert was perfect on 67 attempts, as well as
an impressive 38-7 victory against making 21-of-25 field goal attempts
Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl to finish to lead the Big 12 in kick-scoring with
12-2 and No. 4 in the Associated Press 130 points, good for second in the
rankings. conference overall.
Not only that, they were No. 1 in The Tigers’ no-huddle, spread
the AP and BCS rankings going into offense attracted most of the
the Oklahoma rematch. The question attention, but the development of
is: Can they continue to compete at their defense as the season went on
that level? was at the center of their success.
Sophomore Jeremy Maclin is They led the Big 12 in total defense
convinced they can. “There is no in conference games only, allowing
doubt that we will pick up where we 353.9 yards per game.
left off last season,” he said following Just one Cotton Bowl defensive
Missouri’s spring game. starter is gone, tackle Lorenzo
“The team chemistry is definitely Williams. “We can definitely be
there.” a great defense,” linebacker Sean
So are many of the players who Weatherspoon told the Columbia Daily
produced the dream season in 2007. Tribune in the spring. “Last year, we
Maclin, a consensus All-America were a good defense. But this year, we
wide receiver and kick returner, and can be great.”
quarterback Chase Daniel, the Big 12 Prominent among the defenders, in
Offensive Player of the Year, are the addition to Weatherspoon, are safety
most notable. William Moore, linemen Ziggy Hood
Both figure to be Heisman Trophy and Stryker Sulak and linebacker
candidates, serious candidates in fact. Brock Christopher.
Daniel finished fourth in Heisman Weatherspoon and Christopher
voting last season, passing for 4,306 were involved in 230 tackles and 4.5
yards and 33 touchdowns. sacks between them while Moore was
“A quarterback will generally be credited with 115 tackles and led the
chase daniels
the difference in taking your team to Big 12 with eight interceptions.
another level,” eighth-year coach Gary Sulak had six sacks and forced
Pinkel said. “And Chase does that for us.” that career record, caught 52 passes for 531 four fumbles, as Missouri ranked second in
Success depends on more than one player. yards and seven touchdowns to earn second- the conference and 11th nationally in turnover
But “when the quarterback plays at the level team all-conference recognition from the AP. margin, with a plus-13.
Chase does, it increases your chances of The first-team pick was teammate Martin Moore was sidelined in the spring, following
winning,” said Pinkel. Rucker, also a consensus All-American. Rucker surgery to repair a torn labrum. Weatherspoon
The same could be said of Maclin, who is among several key losses on offense. Others and Van Alexander, the other linebacker, also

8 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
missed the spring game because of injuries, The confidence built during a 12-2
a torn knee ligament and torn labrum,
respectively. They should be ready by fall.
season should carry over, however.
“I saw our team deal with rankings like
Tigers at a Glance
Obviously, high expectations are you want a mature team to do last year, for

Projected
justified. But “redeveloping the leadership the first time,” said Pinkel. “In the past,

1 st
and chemistry on our team is really it was kind of overwhelming. I think last
important,” Pinkel said going into the year we kind of broke down that barrier of
spring. “Just because you had that one year it not being such a big deal, just more of
welcoming it and accepting it for what it is
2008 Finish
“A quarterback will generally and moving on to the next thing at hand.”
STRENGTHS
The Tigers are looking at their highest
be the difference in taking your pre-season ranking in the AP poll since How about getting stronger? Gary Pinkel would
1969, when they were No. 10 (and finished like the running game to be more productive,
team to another level. And which means finding a replacement for Temple.
No. 6). And they’re looking forward to it.
Chase does that for us.” “There’s more of an air of confidence “Generally, we’re at our best on offense when our

around us,” Daniel said following the running game is working, so that’s going to be real
Coach Gary pinkel on spring game. “That’s good. It’s not important to try to get that going and to have some
quarterback chase daniel cockiness, it’s confidence.”
degree of consistency, game by game.” The top
candidates are sophomore Derrick Washington,
The confidence, like the high expecta-
redshirted freshman De’Vion Moore and senior
it doesn’t automatically happen the next tions, is justified.
Jimmy Jackson.
year. It doesn’t just carry over. You still Can you say “conference title?” How
have to work at it, and we’re constantly about “national title?”
question marks
working on developing those things.” OK, first things first.
It’s not a weakness but there is some uncertainty
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (12-2), Big 12 Finish (7-1)
in the offensive line, with the loss of Adam Spieker
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 Illinois W 40-34
8/30/08 Illinois St. Louis, Mo. 9/8 Ole Miss W 38-25 and Tyler Luellen and two top back-ups. “I don’t
9/6/08 SE Missouri St. Columbia, Mo. 9/15 Western Michigan W 52-24 want to overuse the word ‘concern’ because you go
9/13/08 Nevada Columbia, Mo. 9/22 Illinois State W 38-17
through this all of the time with graduation,” said
9/20/08 Buffalo Columbia, Mo. 10/6 Nebraska W 41-6
10/4/08 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 10/13 Oklahoma L 31-41 Pinkel. But “that’s almost half of your offensive
10/11/08 Oklahoma State Columbia, Mo. 10/20 Texas Tech W 41-10 line depth you’re replacing.” Punting is also a
10/18/08 at Texas Austin, Texas 10/27 Iowa State W 42-28 concern, though the Tigers probably won’t have to
10/25/08 Colorado Columbia, Mo. 11/3 Colorado W 55-10
11/1/08 at Baylor Waco, Texas 11/10 Texas A&M W 40-26
do much of that, anyway. Junior college transfer
11/8/08 Kansas State Columbia, Mo. 11/17 Kansas State W 49-32 Jake Harry drew some boos after a 21-yard punt in
11/15/08 at Iowa State Ames, Iowa 11/24 Kansas W 36-28 the Spring Game.
11/29/08 Kansas Kansas City, Mo. 12/1 Oklahoma L 17-38
1/1 Arkansas W 38-7
DIFFERENCE-MAKERS
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART Take your pick, Chase Daniel or Jeremy Maclin.
See above.
Offense (returning starters in bold) Defense
XWR Danario Alexander 6-5 210 Jr. DE Tommy Chavis 6-2 255 Sr.
Jared Perry 6-1 180 Jr. Jaysen Corbett 6-4 260 Sr. WELCOME BACK
HWR Jeremy Maclin 6-1 200 So. DT Ziggy Hood 6-4 295 Sr.
Daniel, Chase Coffman, William Moore,
Forrest Shock 6-1 205 So. Jason Townson 6-4 305 Jr.
ZWR Tommy Saunders 6-0 210 Sr. NT Jaron Baston 6-1 300 Jr. Ziggy Hood and Stryker Sulak all looked into the
Earl Goldsmith 5-9 200 Sr. Andy Maples 6-4 300 Jr. possibility of bypassing their senior seasons in favor
LT Dain Wise 6-5 305 Jr. DE Stryker Sulak 6-5 250 Sr. of the NFL draft. All decided to return to school,
Elvis Fisher 6-5 290 Rfr. Tyler Crane 6-3 225 So.
LG Ryan Madison 6-5 305 Sr. WLB Sean Weatherspoon 6-1 235 Jr. with the announcement coming in early January.
Jayson Palmgren 6-3 305 Rfr. Connell Davis 6-3 215 Jr. Pinkel breathed a sigh of relief.
C Tim Barnes 6-4 305 So. MLB Brock Christopher 6-2 235 Sr.
J.T. Beasley 6-4 285 Rfr. Luke Lambert 6-3 225 So.
RG Kurtis Gregory 6-5 305 Jr. SLB Van Alexander 6-0 235 Sr.
TOUGH TIME IN LINCOLN
Austin Wuebbels 6-4 285 Rfr. Steve Redmond 6-0 230 Sr. If the Tigers are to win a conference title, they’ll
RT Colin Brown 6-8 325 Sr. SS Justin Garrett 6-2 200 Sr. probably have to do something they haven’t done
Mike Prince 6-4 300 So. Del Howard 5-11 200 Jr.
since 1978, defeat Nebraska in Lincoln. After an
TE Chase Coffman 6-6 245 Sr. FS William Moore 6-1 230 Sr.
Jon Gissinger 6-3 240 Jr. Hardy Ricks 6-0 190 Jr. off-week, they open conference play at Memorial
QB Chase Daniel 6-0 225 Sr. CB Castine Bridges 6-2 210 Sr. Stadium on Oct. 4. Missouri won 35-31 in 1978. The
Chase Patton 6-5 220 Sr. Tremane Vaughns 5-9 170 Sr. Cornhuskers had moved up to No. 2 in the AP poll
TB Jimmy Jackson 5-9 200 Sr. CB Carl Gettis 5-11 200 So.
Derrick Washington 5-11 215 So. Kevin Rutland 6-0 190 So. after upsetting No. 1 Oklahoma the previous week.
PK Jeff Wolfert 6-2 185 Sr. P Jake Harry 6-1 190 Jr.

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Big12 Conference

Kansas Nov. 8 at Lincoln, Neb.


Jayhawks
The response was brief, passes for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns. offense that make for a good, strong supporting
shorter than the question. But key players return as well, beginning with cast for Todd.”
During the Big 12 coaches Reesing, who set single-season school records Wide receivers Dexton Fields and Dezmon
post-spring teleconference, for passing yards (3,486) and touchdowns (33). Briscoe are such players, as is versatile Kerry
Kansas coach Mark Mangino was asked which He completed 61.9 percent of his passes and Meier, Reesing’s back-up as well as a wide
was harder, getting to the top or staying there. threw only seven interceptions. And he has receiver and punter during the spring. Fields
“They’re both equally difficult; I can assure another season of eligibility after this. and Briscoe combined to catch 106 passes for
you that,” he said. A season’s experience in the Jayhawks’ no- 1,330 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“Thanks,” said the questioner. huddle spread offense should serve him well. “We feel like our receivers will be a strong
“You’re welcome,” said Mangino. “All I expect Todd to do is what he can, play suit for us,” said Mangino, who noted that at
In the context of Jayhawk football, within his abilities,” Mangino said. “I don’t the end of spring practice, Fields and Meier
Mangino’s sixth team reached the top last expect him to put up obscene numbers this were the “most dependable” of the receivers.
season. It finished 12-1, a school record for year. I expect him to have another strong year. Defense has the most experience with nine
victories, and ranked seventh in both returning starters, including all the
polls. It also played in, and won, its linebackers Joe Mortensen, the man
first New Year’s Day bowl since the in the middle, was credited with 106
1968 season. tackles, 15 of them for losses, to earn
As a result, Mangino, whose record first-team all-conference recognition.
at Kansas was 25-35 previously, James Holt and Mike Rivera both
reached the top of his profession. received all-conference honorable
He was a consensus pick as national mention and were the second and
coach of the year. third tacklers, respectively.
But that was then. “We’re not even Perhaps the most significant loss
talking about last year,” sophomore on defense was coordinator Bill
defensive back Chris Harris said Young, who came to Kansas with
following the Blue-White Spring Mangino. He left for Miami (Fla.)
Game. “We just have to rebuild.” and was replaced by Clint Bowen,
Harris was the coaches’ Big 12 co-defensive coordinator the past two
Defensive Freshman of the Year. seasons and the only coach retained
Junior quarterback Todd Reesing when Mangino arrived.
expressed a similar attitude. “Things Though the Jayhawk offense was
aren’t just going to happen for us,” he impressive, ranking second in the
said. “We have to show up and make nation in scoring (42.8) and eighth
them happen. We learned that from in total yards (479.8), the defense
last year. The Orange Bowl doesn’t was dominating. Kansas was first in
mean anything this season.” the conference in scoring and total
What does mean something is defense and second in rushing and
the return of 15 starters, though the passing defense.
departures are significant. Among The Jayhawks led the nation in
those gone are cornerback Aqib Talib turnover margin, with a plus-21.
and offensive tackle Anthony Collins, McClinton was a major factor.
todd reesing
first-team All-Americans who both And no one player can fill the void
declared for the NFL draft following his departure leaves. “But we have a
junior seasons. “There’s no reason for him not to. But the committee of guys that’ll give us the repetitions
Also gone are second-team All-America biggest thing we don’t want is for him to feel he we need,” Mangino said.
defensive tackle James McClinton, running has to carry the offense on his back every play. Likewise, no one player can fill the void left by
back Brandon McAnderson and wide receiver We’re trying to surround him with playmakers. Talib, who intercepted five passes and had 13 pass
Marcus Henry. McAnderson rushed for 1,125 We lost a few of them from last year, but we break-ups. But all-conference honorable mention
yards and 16 touchdowns. Henry caught 54 feel like we have plenty of playmakers on our free safety Darrell Stuckey made plays, too. He

8 6 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
was credited with 72 tackles, intercepted two each other, comfortable with the schemes,
passes and recovered two fumbles.
Justin Thornton, who started the final
executing things fundamentally, so we feel
pretty good about our defense.
Jayhawks at a Glance
four games at strong safety after Patrick “We think our defense is going to be

Projected
pretty stellar again.”

“Things aren’t just going to


3 rd
Whether or not the kicking game is
stellar remains to be seen. The Jayhawks
happen for us. We have to show have to settle on a new place-kicker as well
as a punter, which is why Meier punted
2008 Finish
up and make them happen. We in the spring. Marcus Herford, also a
learned that from last year.” wide receiver, returned two kickoffs for STRENGTHS
touchdowns in 2007. Not only do all of the starters at linebacker
quarterback todd reesing Last season’s success hasn’t led to return but also all of the back-ups. Every linebacker
complacency in Lawrence. During the who earned a letter is back. Identifying those who
Resby was injured, also intercepted five spring, “the kids really took a business- would provide depth at the position was a spring
passes. Add Harris and the secondary still like approach to it,” Mangino said. “Last goal, and “I think we have some young kids that
should be solid. year’s team wanted to prove something.
have stepped up to help us in that area,” said Coach
In addition, several players saw action This year’s team wants to maintain the
Mark Mangino. The same is true of the secondary.
in special packages. “You just try to get excellence last year’s team had.”
Kendrick Harper started three games at cornerback in
the right chemistry together, and it started Those things represent similar
the middle of the season, in between injuries.
to come together about the last third of challenges.
spring,” said Mangino. “You could kind “I don’t see a major difference in it at
of see the kids were comfortable with all,” he said. question marks
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (12-1), Big 12 Finish (7-1) Brandon McAnderson’s production at running
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 Central Michigan W 52-7 back must be replaced. Jake Sharp rushed for
8/30/08 Florida International Lawrence, Kan. 9/8 SE Louisiana W 62-0
821 yards and seven touchdowns and caught two
9/6/08 Louisiana Tech Lawrence, Kan. 9/15 Toledo W 45-13
9/12/08 at South Florida Tampa, Fla. 9/22 Florida International W 55-3 touchdown passes. But he’ll be pressed in the fall by
9/20/08 Sam Houston State Lawrence, Kan. 10/6 at Kansas State W 30-24
junior college transfer Jocques Crawford, who brings
10/4/08 at Iowa State Ames, Iowa 10/13 Baylor W 58-10
10/11/08 Colorado Lawrence, Kan. 10/20 at Colorado W 19-14 size to the position at 6-3 and 230 pounds. A new left
10/18/08 at Oklahoma Norman, Okla. 10/27 at Texas A&M W 19-11 tackle to protect Reesing is a must.
10/25/08 Texas Tech Lawrence, Kan. 11/3 Nebraska W 76-39
11/1/08 Kansas State Lawrence, Kan. 11/10 at Oklahoma State W 43-28
11/8/08 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 11/17 Iowa State W 45-7 DIFFERENCE-MAKERS
11/15/08 Texas Lawrence, Kan. 11/24 Missouri L 28-36
11/29/08 Missouri Kansas City, Mo. 1/3 #Virginia Tech W 24-21 Todd Reesing makes the offense go. At 5-11 and
# at Orange Bowl 200 pounds, he’s not big. But he plays big. Based on
spring practice, he is “in sync and looking good from
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART last fall,” Mangino said.
Offense (returning starters in bold) Defense
WR Dexton Fields 6-0 205 Sr. DE Russell Brorsen 6-4 240 Sr.
Kerry Meier 6-2 220 Jr. Jake Laptad 6-4 237 So. WELCOME BACK
WR Dezmon Briscoe 6-3 200 So. DT Caleb Blakesley 6-5 290 Jr.
Kansas is scheduled to come to Lincoln on Nov.
Rod Harris 6-2 200 So. Richard Johnson, Jr. 6-4 279 Rfr.
WR Marcus Herford 6-3 205 Sr. DT Todd Haselhorst 6-4 290 Sr. 8. The Jayhawks haven’t won at Memorial Stadium
Johnathan Wilson 6-3 185 So. Jamal Greene 6-4 301 So. since 1968. Nebraska shouldn’t need motivation after
LT Jeff Spikes 6-6 312 Rfr. DE John Larson 6-3 250 Sr.
Ian Wolfe 6-5 280 So. Max Onyegbule 6-5 240 Jr. losing at Lawrence 76-39 last season. The 76 points
LG Adrian Mayes 6-3 305 Sr. SLB James Holt 6-3 220 Sr. were the most ever scored against Nebraska. The
Jeremiah Hatch 6-3 311 Rfr. Arist Wright 6-0 220 Jr.
C Ryan Cantrell 6-3 290 Sr. MLB Joe Mortensen 6-1 250 Sr. crowd of 51,910 was a record. Kansas set a record
Sal Capra 6-3 285 So. Justin Springer 6-4 232 So. attendance at home for a third consecutive season.
RG Chet Hartley 6-4 310 Sr. WLB Mike Rivera 6-3 255 Sr.
Carl Wilson 6-4 285 So. Jake Schermer 6-2 220 Jr.
RT Matt Darton 6-6 305 Sr. CB Chris Harris 6-0 180 So. FORMIDABLE SOUTHERN FOES
Nathan D’Cunha 6-6 307 Jr. Anthony Webb 6-0 185 Jr.
The Jayhawks didn’t play Texas Tech, Texas or
TE Bradley Dedeaux 6-3 245 So. CB Kendrick Harper 5-9 190 Sr.
Nick Plato 6-6 235 Fr. Isiah Barfield 6-0 175 Rfr. Oklahoma last season in the Big 12’s inter-division
QB Todd Reesing 5-11 200 Jr. SS Darrell Stuckey 6-1 205 Jr. scheduling of two years on, two years off. So this
Kerry Meier 6-2 220 Jr. Patrick Resby 6-0 200 Sr.
RB Jocques Crawford 6-1 230 Jr. FS Justin Thornton 6-1 195 Jr. season, they’ll play all three. Reproducing a 7-1
Jake Sharp 5-10 190 Jr. Phillip Strozier 6-0 196 So. conference record will be more difficult.
PK Stephen Hoge 6-4 216 Rfr. P Alonso Rojas 6-3 220 So.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 8 7
Big12 Conference

colorado Nov. 28 at Lincoln, Neb.


Buffaloes
Yes, Dan Hawkins had changed. The Buffaloes went to a no-huddle Nebraska debacle as well as a combined 85
planned a trip to the spread in the spring, to pick up the pace. The points against Baylor and Miami (Ohio).
Amazon this summer. But offense wasn’t completely new to Hawkins. Sophomore Cody Hawkins, the coach’s
no, he and his family aren’t “We’ve used it in the past, in the 90’s, and we son, returns at quarterback as does sophomore
going. Their trip was cancelled because of a had part of it in last year as well,” he said. wideout Scotty McKnight, the leading
potential health risk. “So it’s really kind of a modification that receiver with 43 catches for 488 yards and four
That Hawkins considered such a trip, way. But I like it.” touchdowns in 12 games (Colorado totals don’t
however, is evidence of his sense of adventure He also likes the fact that there were more include bowl statistics).
and willingness to accept a challenge. As if offensive linemen available for the modification Counting the Independence Bowl loss against
coaching in the Big 12 isn’t challenge enough. this spring. A year ago, the Buffaloes had Alabama, Cody Hawkins completed 263-of-463
“It’s definitely a dogfight, but that’s certainly to make do with only five to seven healthy passes for 3,015 yards and 22 touchdowns with
what makes it fun and that’s why I don’t linemen. This year, they had enough to run two 17 interceptions. Though he needs to cut down
think you can assume your record is going or three stations during practice. on interceptions, he has shown the ability to
to continue to improve when you’ve got to Three starters in the line return: senior make the offense work.
scratch and claw every week,” Hawkins said center Daniel Sanders, a post-season honors Tailback Hugh Charles is gone, however,
during the Big 12 coaches post-spring and that’s a concern because even
teleconference. with him, the Buffaloes averaged just
The third-year coach was 144 yards per game on the ground.
responding to a question regarding The no-huddle offense isn’t limited to
the possibility of his Buffaloes’ being passing. “I think you can do both,”
improved over last season but perhaps said Hawkins. “You definitely can do
not having a better record. both.”
“I don’t know that any of that’s a Demetrius Sumler was listed first
given,” he said. in the post-spring “tailback grouping,”
Colorado was 2-10 in his first following a freshman season in which
season and 6-7 a year ago, qualifying he rushed for 335 yards and scored
for the Independence Bowl by five touchdowns.
defeating Nebraska 65-51 in the final But incoming freshman Darrell
regular-season game, of course. Scott could have an immediate impact
Achieving a better record will at tailback. The 6-2, 215-pound Scott
be complicated by a difficult non- was No. 1 on the Long Beach Press-
conference schedule that includes Telegram “Best of the West” list and
not only the annual game in Denver considered by many as the nation’s
against rival Colorado State but top high school running back.
also games against West Virginia Eight starters return on defense,
in Boulder and Florida State in most notably senior tackle George
Jacksonville, Fla. Then the Buffaloes Hypolite, a first-team all-conference
open conference play against Texas selection by both the Associated Press
before traveling to Kansas. and coaches. Hypolite was credited
The rugged start is broken only with 44 tackles, the most among
by a home game against Eastern defensive linemen, six sacks and seven
george hypolite
Washington. quarterback hurries.
At least Hawkins has players with He is included on the watch list for
experience in his system now, including 15 candidate; sophomore tackle Ryan Miller and the 2008 Lott Trophy.
returning starters, depending on what happens junior guard Devin Head. “If we can bear down and do what we’re
with Riar Greer. The junior tight end was The offense needed modification. Colorado supposed to do and stay in our gaps, we can
suspended for an off-campus incident and ranked in the bottom half of the conference be a special defense,” Hypolite said following
didn’t participate in spring practice. in rushing, passing and scoring. The Buffaloes the Buffaloes’ spring game. “But that’s what it
Offensively, however, the system has averaged 27 points, and that included the comes down to; we have to prepare. We have to

8 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
out-work people.” vulnerable to the pass, in part because of
Seniors Brandon Nicolas and Maurice
Lucas also are returning starters up-front.
an inability to pressure quarterbacks. The
Buffaloes managed only 20 sacks in 13
Buffaloes at a Glance
The most significant losses on defense games, to rank 95th in the nation.

Projected
During the spring, “I thought we
“It’s (The Big 12) definitely got
4 th
did a much better job of pressuring the
quarterback,” said Hawkins. “But we’re
great coaches and tradition, a lot

of teams that are used to winning


kind of going into year three, so we’re able
to add a lot more wrinkles, and I just think
2008 Finish
a lot of the details and communication and
a national championship” specifics get a lot better.” STRENGTHS
All things considered, Colorado might In five seasons at Boise State, Coach Dan Hawkins
Coach dan hawkins
be even more competitive in the Big 12 earned a reputation for his offensive imagination. So
are linebacker Jordan Dizon, the Big than last season, when it finished 4-4. But the Buffaloes’ offensive woes shouldn’t be chronic.
12’s leading tackler, and cornerback the record might not reflect it. “I love the long pass,” said Hawkins. “As I’ve come
Terrence Wheatley. Both were first-team A reporter on the Big 12 post-spring along in this game, I’ve learned you’ve got to pound it
all-conference picks, along with Hypolite. teleconference asked Hawkins if the Big 12
and launch it.”
Returning starters Jeff Smart and Brad might be the best conference in the country.
Jones will have to pick up the slack at “It’s definitely got great coaches and tradi-
question marks
linebacker, while senior free safety Ryan tion, a lot of teams that are used to win-
Uncertainty might be a better description for the
Walters is a leader in the secondary. ning a national championship,” he said.
situation at cornerback. Terrence Wheatley is gone
Though Colorado ranked in the middle “So I don’t think the Big 12 has to take a
of the conference in total defense, it was back seat to anybody.” and the availability of senior Benjamin Burney is in

2008 Schedule 2007 Record (6-7), Big 12 Finish (4-4) doubt because of the effects of multiple surgeries.
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 vs. Colorado State W 31-28 The top cornerbacks on the post-spring depth chart,
8/31/08 Colorado State Denver, Colo. 9/8 at Arizona State L 14-33
junior Cha’pelle Brown (5-7, 180) and senior Gardner
9/6/08 Eastern Washington Boulder, Colo. 9/15 Florida State L 6-16
9/18/08 West Virginia Boulder, Colo. 9/22 Miami, Ohio W 42-0 McKay (5-11, 165) are small. The others are young,
9/27/08 Florida State Jacksonville, Fla. 9/29 Oklahoma W 27-24
sophomores and redshirted freshmen. Increased
10/4/08 Texas Boulder, Colo. 10/6 at Baylor W 43-23
10/11/08 at Kansas Lawrence, Kan. 10/13 at Kansas State L 20-47 pressure up-front would help.
10/18/08 Kansas State Boulder, Colo. 10/20 Kansas L 14-19
10/25/08 at Missouri Columbia, Mo. 10/27 at Texas Tech W 31-26
11/1/08 at Texas A&M College Station, TX 11/3 Missouri L 10-55 DIFFERENCE-MAKERS
11/8/08 Iowa State Ames, Iowa 11/10 at Iowa State L 28-31 If a defensive lineman can be considered, then
11/15/08 Oklahoma State Boulder, Colo. 11/23 Nebraska W 65-51
11/28/08 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 12/30 #vs. Alabama L 24-30 Hypolite is the man.
# at Independence Bowl
husker de-commits
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART Colorado capitalized on Nebraska’s change in
Offense (returning starters in bold) Defense
coaching staffs, signing three players who had made
WRX Patrick Williams 6-2 205 Sr. LE Maurice Lucas 6-4 260 Sr.
Josh Smith 6-0 180 So. Lagrone Shields 6-3 250 Rfr. non-binding oral commitments to the Cornhuskers:
WRZ Scotty McKnight 5-11 180 So. DT George Hypolite 6-1 285 Sr.
linebacker Doug Rippey from Trotwood, Ohio;
Cody Crawford 5-11 175 Sr. Taj Kaynor 6-5 265 Jr.
LT Nate Solder 6-8 280 So. NT Brandon Nicolas 6-3 290 Sr. offensive lineman Bryce Givens from Castle Rock,
Ethan Adkins 6-4 295 Rfr. Eugene Goree 6-1 295 Rfr. Colo.; and linebacker Shaun Mohler from Newport
LG Matthew Bahr 6-4 280 Rfr. RE Marquez Herrod 6-2 270 So.
Shawn Daniels 6-3 280 Rfr. Jason Brace 6-4 250 Jr. Beach, Calif., by way of Orange Coast College.
C Daniel Sanders 6-3 325 Sr. MLB Jeff Smart 6-0 210 Jr.
Keenan Stevens 6-2 280 So. Michael Sipili 6-1 255 So.
RG Devin Head 6-4 295 Jr. WLB Marcus Burton 6-0 255 Jr. where’s kai
Eric Faatagi 6-2 310 Sr. Bryan Stengel 6-2 225 Jr. Kai Maiva started the final nine games at offensive
RT Ryan Miller 6-7 315 So. SLB Brad Jones 6-3 225 Sr.
guard as a true freshman last season. The plan was
Sione Tau 6-5 320 Rfr. B.J. Beatty 6-2 220 So.
TE Riar Greer 6-4 250 Jr. LCB Gardner McKay 5-11 165 Sr. to move him to fullback. He lost 20 pounds for that
Patrick Devenny 6-3 240 Jr. Jimmy Smith 6-2 195 So.
purpose, switched jersey numbers from 51 to 40 and
QB Cody Hawkins 5-11 190 So. FS Ryan Walters 6-0 200 Sr.
Nick Nelson 6-1 230 Sr. Anthony Perkins 5-10 190 Rfr. then announced that he was transferring to be closer
TB Demetrius Sumler 5-10 215 So. SS Daniel Dykes 6-2 210 Sr. to home.
Kevin Moyd 5-7 185 Jr. Travis Sandersfeld 6-0 190 Rfr.
FB Maurice Cantrell 6-0 240 Sr. RCB Cha’pelle Brown 5-7 180 Jr.
Jake Behrens 6-0 230 Jr. Jalil Brown 6-1 205 So.
PK Jameson Davis 5-10 195 Fr. P Matt DiLallo 6-1 190 Jr.

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Big12 Conference

KANSAS STATE Nov. 15 at Manhattan, Kan.


Wildcats
After his first season as indicated the plan was to take “a high number Deon Murphy is among those who will help
Kansas State’s coach, Ron of community college players this year.” replace Nelson’s production. Murphy caught
Prince was applauded. After Typically, junior college players aren’t part 57 passes for 605 yards and five touchdowns,
his second season, he was of a long-range plan. Prince was looking for rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns
asked to defend the outcome of the Wildcats’ immediate help. Eleven of the 19 are defensive and ranked third in the nation in punt returns,
spring game. players; four are wide receivers. averaging 17.3 yards per return.
“I guess I saw the game a little bit differently The needs on defense are obvious. So The transfer from Coffeyville (Kan.)
than maybe those who might like to write too is the need at wide receiver, where the Community College was the Big 12 Offensive
otherwise,” he said during the Big 12 coaches departure of Jordy Nelson leaves a significant Newcomer of the Year, while safety Gary
post-spring teleconference. void. Nelson, the ninth consensus All- Chandler, also a transfer from Coffeyville
“I was very pleased with the game.” American in Kansas State history, caught 122 Community College, was the Big 12 Defensive
The spring game was decided by a 51-yard, passes for 1,606 yards and 11 touchdowns Newcomer of the Year.
fourth-quarter field goal by freshman Josh last season. The offense is built around junior
Cherry, a back-up. No need to quarterback Josh Freeman, a
defend that, really. two-year starter who threw for
Obviously, the game was a school-record 3,353 yards
competitive. But there was no other and 18 touchdowns last season,
scoring. And the combined total and a veteran line that includes
offense was 204 yards. “I thought Rimington Trophy watch list
our defense played real well,” said center Jordan Bedore and left
Prince. tackle Alesana Alesana.
Plus, he said, the focus of the Freeman and Bedore will be
intrasquad scrimmage was playing co-captains along with defensive
to win. Those on the losing team end Ian Campbell and safety Chris
ate bologna sandwiches, while those Carney. Freeman and Campbell
on the winning team ate steak. also were voted captains last
But to quote Allen Iverson, we’re season.
talking about practice, man, game- Campbell, a two-time, first-team
conditions certainly, but practice All-Big 12 selection, has been
nonetheless. So Prince probably credited with 28.5 tackles-for-loss
shouldn’t have to defend it. (17.5 in 2006) and 16 sacks the past
He might not have if his second two seasons. After playing outside
team hadn’t collapsed down the linebacker in a 3-4 alignment a year
stretch. The Wildcats were 5-3, ago, he has returned to defensive
needing to win only one of four end. He’ll still move around,
remaining games to be bowl however, so that teams “can’t zero
eligible. They lost all four, and in on him,” defensive coordinator
allowed 198 points in the process – Tim Tibesar said.
including 73 to Nebraska. The linebacking, with returning
Based on that, the spring game starters John Houlik and Reggie
outcome would seem positive. Walker, will be bolstered by the
Instead, it has been regarded as a return of Antwon Moore, who
josh freeman
negative, coming on the heels of was sidelined by injury two games
another perceived negative. Kansas into last season. “Since we are
State’s recruiting class included 19 junior “I don’t know that you can replace Jordy probably the smallest defense in the Big 12, we
college transfers, six of whom enrolled for Nelson, certainly in the state of Kansas,” have to play more aggressive and faster than
second semester. offensive coordinator Dave Brock said prior to anyone else,” the 5-10, 210-pound Moore said
More than one writer has described that the start of spring practice. “We need to replace following the spring game.
as a sign of “desperation,” though Prince the production that he had.” He is a transfer from Northeast Oklahoma

9 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
A&M, so it’s not as if Prince hasn’t tied a school record. He’s a transfer, but not
done well with junior college transfers.
Alesana and Penisini Liu, another
from junior college. He came from Ohio,
where he kicked for former Cornhusker
Wildcats at a Glance
returning starter in the offensive line, are coach Frank Solich.

Projected
Kansas State finished last in the Big 12
“I don’t know that you can
5 th
North for two consecutive seasons before
Prince arrived. The Wildcats were 7-6 and

2008 Finish
replace Jordy Nelson, certainly
played in the Texas Bowl in his first season.
in the state of Kansas. We need But Kansas State had six 11-win seasons
under former coach Bill Snyder from 1997
to replace the production that STRENGTHS
to 2003, and that’s the standard to which
he had.” Prince is being held. And that’s why he Expect the Wildcats’ special teams to be strong,
dave brock,
was asked to defend the defense-dominated though Tim Reyer must be replaced, Jordy Nelson
offensive coordinator
Spring Game, even though it was just a contributed to their leading the nation in punt return
among others on whom the Wildcats are glorified practice. average. He had two punt returns for touchdowns.
counting. As for the late collapse last season, Deon Murphy had one. The team had five, total. Six
They’re also counting on George what’s done is done. “I’ve said it before,
offensive linemen have multiple starts, and Freeman
Pierson, who will arrive in the fall from every year the team has to be reborn,”
continues to get better.
Tyler (Texas) Junior College, to replace Prince said. “I think that’s critical in every
Tim Reyer, the Big 12’s leading punter. circumstance.
question marks
Place-kicker Brooks Rossman returns, “And that’s the case this year.”
Kansas State ranked in the lower half of the
after making 22-of-28 field goals in his first The Wildcats are being reborn, with an
season at Kansas State. The 22 field goals influx of junior college transfers. conference, statistically, in scoring defense, total

2008 Schedule 2007 Record (5-7), Big 12 Finish (3-5) defense, pass defense and rushing defense. So
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 at Auburn L 13-23 obviously, the defense needs a boost, although last
8/30/08 North Texas Manhattan, Kan. 9/8 San Jose State W 34-14
season’s problems were a result of “multiple layers of
9/6/08 Montana State Manhattan, Kan. 9/15 Missouri State W 61-10
9/17/08 at Louisville Louisville, Ky. 9/29 at Texas W 41-21 things,” according to Coach Ron Prince. Offensively,
9/27/08 UL Lafayette Manhattan, Kan. 10/6 Kansas L 24-30
the production of running back James Johnson, 1,106
10/4/08 Texas Tech Manhattan, Kan. 10/13 Colorado W 47-20
10/11/08 at Texas A&M College Station, TX 10/20 at Oklahoma State L 39-41 yards and 12 touchdowns, must be replaced. Leon
10/18/08 at Colorado Boulder, Colo. 10/27 Baylor W 51-13 Patton rushed for 390 yards and four touchdowns,
10/25/08 Oklahoma Manhattan, Kan. 11/3 at Iowa State L 20-31
11/1/08 at Kansas Lawrence, Kan. 11/10 at Nebraska L 31-73 with two starts. Keithen Valentine, a walk-on (from
11/8/08 at Missouri Columbia, Mo. 11/17 Missouri L 32-49 junior college), played well in the spring and could be
11/15/08 Nebraska Manhattan, Kan. 11/24 at Fresno State L 29-45
11/22/08 Iowa State Manhattan, Kan. a factor.

DIFFERENCE-MAKERS
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART Ian Campbell, who walked on from Cimarron,
Offense (returning starters in bold) Defense
Kan., and earned a scholarship in the spring before
WR Deon Murphy 5-10 170 Sr. DE Ian Campbell 6-5 249 Sr.
Adrian Hilburn 6-1 190 Jr. Brandon Howard 6-5 260 Fr. his sophomore year, is a proven pass rusher and
WR Cedric Wilson 6-1 181 Sr. NT Bandon Balkcom 6-6 266 Sr.
candidate for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and
Lamark Brown 6-3 229 So. Xzavier Stewart 6-1 304 So.
WR Ernie Pierce 6-3 209 Sr. DE Chidubamu Abana 6-5 280 Sr. All-America honors. He’s already on the Lombardi
Aubrey Quarles 6-2 190 Jr. Jack Hayes 6-4 270 Jr. Award watch list.
LT Alesana Alesana 6-4 299 Sr. LB Eric Childs 6-3 227 Jr.
Edward Prince 6-5 280 Jr. Ulla Pomele 6-1 235 Jr.
LG Wade Weibert 6-5 300 Jr. LB Antwon Moore 5-10 210 Sr. beefed up schedule
Brock Unruh 6-5 301 Jr. John Houlik 5-11 217 Jr.
C Jordan Bedore 6-3 308 Sr. LB Reggie Walker 6-1 231 Sr. The Wildcats recruited junior colleges heavily
Trevor Viers 6-5 270 Jr. Cortney Herndon 5-11 206 Jr. under Snyder, though nothing on the order of 19
RG Gerard Spexarth 6-6 280 Sr. LB Olu Hall 6-3 232 Jr.
transfers in one season. But Prince has diverged
Nick Stringer 6-6 270 Jr. Hansen Sekona 6-0 230 Jr.
RT Penisini Liu 6-6 325 Sr. CB Joshua Moore 5-11 187 So. from Snyder’s scheduling of less-than-formidable
Kaleb Drinkgern 6-6 260 Rfr. Ray Cheatham 6-0 185 Sr.
non-conference opponents. Although Kansas State
TE Jeron Mastrud 6-6 259 Jr. CB Blair Irvin 5-11 185 Jr.
Brett Alstatt 6-4 224 Sr. Kendrick Matthews 5-10 180 So. opted out of a game against Fresno State this season,
QB Josh Freeman 6-6 250 Jr. FS Chris Carney 6-1 185 Jr. replacing it with one against Montana State, it has
Carson Coffman 6-3 200 So. Darhnaz Tigner 6-2 200 So.
RB Leon Patton 5-7 187 Jr. SS Gary Chandler 5-11 195 Sr. future non-conference series with UCLA, Miami
Daniel Thomas 6-2 227 Jr. Andrew Erker 6-1 187 Sr. (Fla.), Oregon and Virginia Tech.
PK Brooks Rossman 6-0 178 Sr. P George Pierson 6-0 180 Jr.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 9 1
Big12 Conference

iowa state Oct. 18 at Ames, Iowa


Cyclones
The term Gene Chizik used run threat. I think Austen, right now, is a little “I feel that athletically we are still a little bit
was “star-power player.” Iowa further ahead in the passing game, probably off,” said Chizik.
State doesn’t have such a doesn’t quite bring to the table what Phillip “If you have a lot of solid recruiting classes,
player to replace the departed does when it comes to making things happen you will eventually crawl your way back to
Todd Blythe at wide receiver. on his feet.” competing with some of the upper-echelon
“We don’t have that guy that we can target Arnaud, a sophomore, saw limited action teams.”
and say ‘We must get the ball to him,’ ” the as Meyer’s back-up last season, while Bates, Based on the Cyclones’ 2008 recruiting class,
Cyclones’ coach said during the Big 12’s post- though recruited as a quarterback, played Chizik isn’t looking for a quick fix. It included
spring teleconference. wideout as a true freshman. only one junior college transfer – Jason Carl-
“Quite frankly, we don’t have that here.” The bottom line is, “we can run our offense son, a wide receiver.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, with both of them,” Chizik said. The defense also has to replace its top play-
Chizik added, because “we’re into team any- The situation at quarterback, like the situa- ers from last season, linebackers Alvin Bowen
way, and we’re into not worrying about who tion at wide receiver, is characteristic of Chizik’s and Jon Banks and tackles Athyba Rubin and
gets the credit and all those things. Bryce Braaksma.
We’ve got guys who play within our Bowen, the nation’s leading
system and we still feel can be very tackler in 2006 and a second-team
productive.” all-conference selection last season,
That the Cyclones don’t have and Rubin were both selected in the
another Blythe waiting in the wings NFL draft.
is certainly no surprise. He finished Those four contributed to a
his career as Iowa State’s all-time defense that made marked improve-
leader in pass receptions, receiving ment in Chizik’s first season. The
yards and touchdown catches. But Cyclones were respectable statisti-
they don’t even have a reasonable cally, ranking 65th nationally and
facsimile. seventh in the conference in total
“We have solid guys. We don’t defense and 44th and sixth in rush-
have any guys who just make you ing defense.
go ‘Wow.’ We just don’t have a By comparison they ranked
bunch of big-time players there,” 102nd in both categories in 2006.
Chizik said of his wide receivers. The top returning tacklers are
“They’re all solid guys who try hard both named Smith, linebacker
and they really care about football, Jesse and safety James. They each
they really love the game. were credited with 79. Defensive
“And we can win games with end Kurtis Taylor, the team’s
guys like that.” comeback player of the year (he
The question is: How many missed 2006 with a knee injury),
games can the Cyclones win? finished with 41 tackles, including
They won three with Blythe, and 6.5 sacks.
quarterback Bret Meyer last season. Junior defensive end Christopher
Meyer, who’s also gone, is the Lyle is among those who played
school’s all-time leader in passing well in the spring, according to
yardage and total offense. Chizik, and senior Chris Singleton
Meyer’s replacement will be jason scales is a veteran cornerback.
either Austen Arnaud or Phillip Even with Blythe and Meyer,
Bates, or both. “It’s not out of the realm for second team on both sides of the ball, players the offense struggled. Iowa State averaged
us to end up playing two quarterbacks,” said who appear to be solid but not “star power” only 18.2 points per game, tying the Big 12’s
Chizik. quality, at this point anyway. So the program Baylor for 111th in the nation and last in the
“I think Phillip gives us a little bit more of a will continue to experience growing pains. conference.

9 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
The Cyclones also were 102nd in total ander Robinson and senior Jason Scales.
offense and 95th in rushing.
“We tried to run the football last year
Robinson finished strong, rushing for
391 yards and six touchdowns in the final
Cyclones at a Glance
and weren’t very good at it,” Chizik said. four games. And he “definitely stepped to

Projected
the front of the pack” during the spring,
“If you have a lot of solid
6 th
said Chizik.
Senior R.J. Sumrall was the team’s lead-
recruiting classes, you will

eventually crawl your way back


ing receiver last season, with 54 catches for
434 yards, but he didn’t have a touchdown
2008 Finish
catch. Junior Marquis Hamilton, who
to competing with some of the STRENGTHS
caught 45 passes for 534 yard and one
upper-echelon teams.” touchdown, provides size at the posi- The offensive line could be a strength, with four
tion; he’s 6-3 and 220 pounds. And junior starters returning, though all four were first-time
Coach gene chizik
Houston Jones played well in the spring. starters last season. One of the four, sophomore
“But we’re going to have to run the football But none is in Blythe’s category. tackle Ben Lamaak, played quarterback at the end
here. We just feel very strongly about that. “We don’t have a guy that’s here on of his high school career and was recruited by Iowa
“We had some flashes of some running campus right now that really is what Todd State as a tight end. Redshirted freshman Kelechi
backs doing some nice things.” Blythe was,” Chizik said. “We’ve got solid Osemele, the offensive scout team player of the year,
Three of the backs rushed for 100 or guys that are role players. is competing for the other starting job, at guard. He is
more yards in a game, and all three return, “But as far as big-play capability, a guy listed at 6-5 and 341 pounds.
although senior J.J. Bass was suspended in- that can go up and catch four touchdown
definitely in the spring for not meeting team passes in a game, things like that, we don’t question marks
standards. The others are sophomore Alex- feel like we have that guy.” In addition to the offensive struggles last season,

2008 Schedule the Cyclones hardly distinguished themselves on


2007 Record (3-9), Big 12 Finish (2-6)
Date Opponent / Event Location 8/30 Kent State L 14-23 special teams. They ranked last in the conference in
8/28/08 South Dakota State Ames, Iowa 9/8 Northern Iowa L 13-24 kickoff returns and punt returns – they ranked last
9/6/08 Kent State Ames, Iowa 9/15 Iowa W 15-13
9/13/08 at Iowa Iowa City, Iowa in the nation, in fact. Obviously, those areas need to
9/22 at Toledo L 35-36
9/20/08 at UNLV Las Vegas, Nev. 9/29 at Nebraska L 17-35 improve. Also, Bret Culbertson, who was 100-for-100
10/4/08 Kansas Ames, Iowa 10/6 at Texas Tech L 17-42 on career extra-point kicks, is gone.
10/11/08 at Baylor Waco, Texas 10/13 Texas L 3-56
10/18/08 Nebraska Ames, Iowa 10/20 Oklahoma L 7-17
10/25/08 Texas A&M Ames, Iowa 10/27 at Missouri L 28-42 DIFFERENCE-MAKER
11/1/08 at Oklahoma State Stillwater, Okla. 11/3 Kansas State W 31-20 The 5-10, 181-pound Alexander Robinson, who had
11/8/08 at Colorado Boulder, Colo. 11/10 Colorado W 31-28
11/15/08 Missouri Ames, Iowa the Cyclones’ longest run from scrimmage last season
11/17 at Kansas L 7-45
11/22/08 at Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. (37 yards for a touchdown against Missouri), “is going
to be a threat to break it,” said Chizik. “He can make
guys miss in the open field. You know he can spark
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART our offense, but it is certainly going to take more than
Offense (returning starters in bold) Defense
just him.” The line has to be consistent, for example.
WR R.J. Sumrall 6-1 203 Sr. WE Rashawn Parker 6-0 252 Jr.
Euseph Messiah 5-10 171 Sr. Christopher Lyle 6-4 248 Jr.
WR Marquis Hamilton 6-3 220 Jr. DT Bailey Johnson 6-3 266 So. Cyclone commitment
Wallace Franklin 6-3 169 Sr. Chris Weir 6-3 274 Sr.
Iowa State is in a $19.5 million, first-phase
LT Doug Dedrick 6-4 282 Sr. NG Nate Frere 6-2 307 Jr.
Matt Hulbert 6-7 287 So. Jerrod Black 6-2 290 Rfr. refurbishing of Jack Trice Stadium. The phase
LG Reggie Stephens 6-4 320 Jr. DE Kurtis Taylor 6-2 257 Sr. includes the addition of suites, the remodeling of
Alex Alvarez 6-2 282 So. Nick Frere 6-2 248 Sr.
the donor-club section and the widening of the
C Brandon Johnson 6-3 305 Sr. SLB Michael Bibbs 6-2 225 Sr.
Mike Knapp 6-3 270 Jr. Cameron Bell 6-1 223 So. concourse. Average attendance last season (49,462)
RG Joe Blaes 6-2 289 Sr. MLB Jesse Smith 6-0 235 Jr. was the highest since 1982.
Kelechi Osemele 6-5 341 Rfr. Derec Schmidgall 6-1 222 Jr.
RT Ben Lamaak 6-4 306 So. WLB Josh Raven 5-11 218 Jr.
Trey Baysinger 6-6 292 Rfr. Fred Garrin 6-1 219 Jr. nebraska connection
TE Collin Franklin 6-6 231 So. LCB Allen Bell 6-2 189 Jr. Phillip Bates is the son of former Cornhusker
Derrick Catlett 6-4 251 Jr. Devin McDowell 5-9 183 So.
fullback Phil Bates (1980-81) and an Omaha North
QB Austen Arnaud 6-3 222 So. RCB Chris Singleton 5-10 191 Sr.
Phillip Bates 6-2 209 So. Zac Sandvig 5-10 184 So. High teammate of current Cornhusker wide receiver
RB Alexander Robinson 5-10 181 So. SS Chris Brown 5-10 177 Sr. Niles Paul. The 6-1, 207-pound Bates has “enough
Jason Scales 5-9 212 Sr. Steve Johnson 5-11 201 Jr.
athletic ability when he gets himself in trouble to get
FB Derrick Catlett 6-4 251 Jr. FS James Smith 5-8 192 Jr.
Brian Eklelundu 5-10 237 Jr. Brandon Hunley 5-11 205 Sr. himself out, and of course, in this league that’s huge,”
PK Zach Guyer 6-3 180 Rfr. P Mike Brandtner 6-1 208 Jr. Chizik said.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 9 3
Big12 Conference

oklahoma Nov. 1 at Norman, Okla.


Sooners
Although last season they had something special waiting in the wings did last year.
finished with a second prior to last year in quarterback Sam Bradford, “I’ve got to go out there and compete and
consecutive bowl-game flop, who was then a redshirt freshman. show that I belong on that field every day,”
it’s doubtful that anyone in the Bradford produced one of the top freshman Bradford said. “There are a lot of little things
Big 12 will start feeling sorry seasons in NCAA history, completing – footwork, mechanics – that I need to get a lot
for Oklahoma anytime soon. 237-of-341 pass attempts (69.5 percent) for 3,121 better on. I want to be quicker with my release
In the past eight seasons, the Sooners have yards and 36 touchdowns, breaking the NCAA and quicker with my drops. Overall, I just want
captured five league titles – three more than any freshman TD record by seven. He also led the to do everything quicker in the pocket.
other Big 12 school. Since winning the national nation in passing efficiency with a 176.53 rating “On the other hand, I’ve been through
title in 2000, no college football program can that placed him just ahead of 2007 Heisman a season and I am more comfortable in the
boast more than Oklahoma’s 90 victories and Trophy winner Tim Tebow of Florida. huddle, so I think I am able to relax a little bit
OU has failed to win 10 or more games just two While some might expect even bigger things more and play the way that I know I can.
times in that span. from Bradford in 2008, Stoops said he wants In the spring, Bradford and his teammates
It would seem that coach Bob Stoops has the sophomore to simply continue on a steady took on the new challenge of learning the no-
everything aligned for yet another huddle offense.
successful season as Oklahoma eyes “That’s something we’re going to
its third consecutive Big 12 title. have to continue to get comfortable
No less than 10 players return with with and learn the pace, so it will be
significant starting experience on the fine,” Stoops said. “We’re no different
offensive side of the football and five than anyone else. We just have to keep
regular starters return on defense working it and I just think with the
from a team that finished 11-3 and clock-management issues it becomes
defeated Missouri 38-17 in the Big 12 more of a factor than anything else, so
Championship game. OU still wound we’ll keep working it.”
up No. 8 in the final national polls, With the implementation of a
despite falling to West Virginia 48-28 40-second play clock and other teams
in the Fiesta Bowl. in the Big 12 having success with no-
“I think we have a chance to be a huddle systems, Stoops said he felt it was
solid team, but a lot of it is going to be important for the Sooners to keep pace.
determined by what kind of attitude and “I just want to make sure that we’re
what kind of toughness and commitment getting the same number of tries at it and
this team wants to have,” said Stoops, the same opportunities,” Stoops said. “I
who is 97-22 (.815) entering his 10th think to have an opportunity to change the
season at Oklahoma. plays at the line of scrimmage, you need to
While Stoops-led teams are sam bradford be at the line of scrimmage quicker.”
traditionally solid on the defensive side, Despite losing wide receiver Malcolm
this year’s squad expects to feature an impressive progression of growth, both mentally and Kelly one year early to the NFL draft and tight
offensive attack. Oklahoma averaged 6.4 yards physically. Stoops said Bradford has added 10 to end Joe Jon Finley and running back Allen
per play last season, which was the program’s 15 pounds to his 6-5 frame and has come a long Patrick completing their eligibility, Oklahoma
highest since 1987 when the Sooners led the way in the knowledge of the game as well. returns players who accounted for 83.2 percent
country in rushing, scoring and total offense. “Our caution to him is to try not to do too of their total yards last season.
OU was fifth nationally in scoring offense in much and force things – that’s not how we DeMarco Murray missed the final three
2007, averaging 42.3 points per game. operate – and trust the guys around you like games of last season due to injury, but still
Stoops has always said that inexperience at you did last year to make plays and play within rushed for 764 yards and 13 TDs as a freshman.
the quarterback position is not a major concern yourself and within this system,” Stoops said. A major break-away threat, Murray had a
to him as the Sooners have won their five Big 12 Despite all his success, Bradford seems to 92-yard scoring run against Utah State and
titles with five different quarterbacks. However, be taking the approach that he’s still trying to returned two kickoffs for TDs – a 91-yarder
here’s guessing that Stoops and his staff knew win the starting quarterback job – just like he against Baylor and an 82-yarder against Tulsa,

9 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
helping Oklahoma lead the country in chart are back for a unit that allowed just
kickoff return average.
In short-yardage situations, Oklahoma
14 sacks a year ago. The unit is led by a pair
of players named to the Outland Trophy
Sooners at a Glance
will continue to rely on Chris Brown. The watch list in junior guard George Robinson

Projected
junior rushed for 611 yards and scored nine and junior tackle Phil Loadholt – the tallest

1 st
TDs in 2007. player in OU football history, standing 6-8.
With Murray and Brown sitting out Oklahoma’s defensive strength is up front
spring practice while rehabilitating from
offseason surgery, Mossis Madu had an
where Outland Trophy watch list nominee
DeMarcus Granger at defensive tackle.
2008 Finish
opportunity to put his talents on display. Defensive end will be bolstered by the
The Sooners also bring in a pair of highly return of John Williams, who was granted STRENGTHS
touted high school running backs in Jermie a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after It all starts up front for Oklahoma, which returns
Calhoun and Justin Johnson. an injury to his Achilles’ tendon. Austin tons of experience on the offensive line. Junior
With Kelly foregoing his senior season, English, who ranked 15th in the country last tackle Phil Loadholt and junior guard and 2007
Juaquin Iglesias likely moves into the No. 1 year with 9.5 sacks, also returns. All-American George “Duke” Robinson are on the
receiver role. Last year as a junior, Iglesias The linebacker positions and secondary Outland Trophy Watch list, while guard Brandon
led Oklahoma with 68 receptions for 907 present Stoops with perhaps his biggest con- Walker and center Jon Cooper also return as full-time
yards and five TDs. Fellow receiver Quentin cerns. Both units took a hit to the NFL draft starters from a unit that scored the second-most
Chaney was impressive in the Fiesta Bowl, as linebacker Curtis Lofton and cornerback points (592) in school history. The Sooners averaged
catching four passes for 129 yards. Reggie Smith bypassed their senior seasons 190.7 yards rushing and 258.2 yards passing, while
The Sooners are stacked on the offensive to go pro. Linebacker Ryan Reynolds and giving up just 14 sacks.
line as all five starters and seven of the top safety Nic Harris will be counted on heavily
eight players on last year’s two-deep depth as returning starter to lead their units. QUESTION MARKS
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (11-2), Big 12 Finish (6-2) Graduation and early departures of linebacker
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 North Texas W 79-10 Curtis Lofton and cornerback Reggie Smith leave
8/30/08 Chattanooga Norman, Okla. 9/8 Miamai W 51-13
Oklahoma relatively inexperienced in the back seven
9/6/08 Cincinnati Norman, Okla. 9/15 Utah State W 54-3
9/13/08 at Washington Seattle, Wash. 9/21 at Tulsa W 62-21 of its defensive unit. Ryan Reynolds, who started
9/27/08 TCU Norman, Okla. 9/29 at Colorado L 24-27 at weakside linebacker last year, will likely move
10/4/08 at Baylor Waco, Texas 10/6 vs. Texas W 28-21
10/13 Missouri W 41-31 to middle linebacker. Three-year starter Nic Harris
10/11/08 Texas Dallas, Texas
10/20 at Iowa State W 17-7 returns at strong safety, but the Sooners will need
10/18/08 Kansas Norman, Okla.
11/3 Texas A&M W 42-14
10/25/08 at Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. former nickel back Lendy Holmes, junior college
11/10 Baylor W 52-21
11/1/08 Nebraska Norman, Okla. 11/17 at Texas Tech L 27-34 transfer David Sims and redshirt freshman Sam
11/8/08 at Texas A&M College Station, TX 11/24 Oklahoma State W 49-17
11/22/08 Texas Tech Norman, Okla. Proctor to take on key roles.
12/1 *vs. Missouri W 38-17
11/29/08 at Oklahoma State Stillwater, Okla. 1/2 #vs. West Virginia L 28-48
* Big 12 Championship, # at Fiesta Bowl DIFFERENCE-MAKER
Quarterback Sam Bradford enjoyed one of the best
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART freshman years in college football history in 2007,
Offense (returning starters in bold) DEFENSE
LT Phil Loadholt 6-8 352 Sr. DE Auston English 6-3 253 Jr. but running back DeMarco Murray displayed play-
Cory Brandon 6-7 296 So. Alan Davis 6-2 253 Sr. making ability that simply can’t be coached. Even
LG Duke Robinson 6-5 352 Jr. DT DeMarcus Granger 6-2 307 Jr. thought he missed the final three games of the season
Jason Hannan 6-3 270 Fr. Cory Bennett 6-2 284 Sr.
C Jon Cooper 6-2 276 Sr. DT Gerald McCoy 6-4 291 So. due to injury, the freshman rushed for 764 yards
Ben Habern 6-4 275 Fr. Cordero Moore 6-2 297 Jr. and 13 touchdowns, including a 92-yard scoring run
RG Brandon Walker 6-3 307 Sr. DE Jeremy Beal 6-4 268 So. against Utah State. He’s equally dangerous as a return
Brian Simmons 6-4 305 Jr. John Williams 6-5 249 Sr.
RT Branndon Braxton 6-5 325 Sr. SLB Keenan Clayton 6-1 240 Jr. man, taking two kickoffs back for TDs in 2007.
-or- Trent Williams 6-5 305 Jr. J.R. Bryant 6-3 230 Jr.
TE Jermaine Gresham 6-5 263 Jr. MLB Ryan Reynolds 6-2 231 Jr. THAT WINNING FEELING
Eric Mensik 6-5 246 So. Curtis Lofton 6-0 238 Sr.
WR Juaquin Iglesias 6-0 202 Sr. WLB Brandon Crow 6-1 220 So. Even though Oklahoma’s last national title came
Tyler Stradford 6-1 173 So. Travis Lewis 6-2 220 Fr. in 2000, there’s little doubt that coach Bob Stoops has
WR Manuel Johnson 5-11 180 Sr. CB Lendy Holmes 6-0 193 Sr. fully restored the Sooners’ winning tradition. Last
Brandon Caleb 6-1 196 Jr. Brian Jackson 6-1 190 Jr.
QB Sam Bradford 6-4 214 So. SS Nic Harris 6-2 232 Sr. season, OU captured its 41st conference championship
Joey Halzle 6-3 208 Sr. David Sims 5-11 198 Jr. in the program’s history, produced their 143rd and
FB Brody Eldridge 6-4 260 Jr. FS Desmond Jackson 5-11 187 Fr. 144th All-Americans in linebacker Curtis Lofton and
Matt Clapp 6-2 242 Jr. Sam Proctor 6-0 202 Fr.
RB Chris Brown 5-10 202 Jr. CB Dominque Franks 5-10 187 So. guard George “Duke” Robinson and won 10 or more
DeMarco Murray 6-0 191 So. Jonathan Nelson 5-11 176 So. games for the nation-leading 30th time. Alabama is
PK Jimmy Stevens 5-5 149 Fr. P Mike Knall 5-9 192 Sr. second on the list with 28 10-win campaigns.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 9 5
Big12 Conference

texas
Longhorns
Entering his 11th because everybody’s better,” Brown said. “I collar football team and we’re able to do that
season as head coach think Kansas and Missouri are listed above because we have enough talent to have some
at Texas, there’s little us in the preseason polls for next year, so I do success.“It’s an every-day process – consistency
debate that Mack think that because of quarterbacks, partly, but and performance as a coach and as a player –
Brown has turned the Longhorns into one of also because the coaches have done a great job and that is what we’re demanding from them.”
the nation’s most dominant college football and everybody’s deeper and everybody’s got a Texas is arguably more experienced on
programs. good football team in this league now. defense than it would appear at first glance.
With a 10-3 record last season, Texas has “You can no longer plan on winning a game While the Longhorns technically return full-
posted double figures in victories for each of in this league. You’re going to have to earn the time starters at three positions, Muschamp’s
the past seven seasons – the only team in the right to win that game before you can count it.” unit actually brings back five players who have
country that can make such a claim. With Texas will have a different look, defensively, been full-time starters in their careers and 10
their victory over Arizona State in the Holiday as Brown brought in former Auburn defensive players who have made collegiate starts.
Bowl, the Longhorns set a school record with coordinator Will Muschamp to take the same Senior linebacker Rashad Bobino, a
their fourth consecutive bowl wins and have position with the Longhorns. two-time All-Big 12 selection with 38 career
now won six bowl games in the past starts, returns to lead the defense. Senior
seven years. cornerback Ryan Palmer is back with 36
While Texas annually lands one career starts, while junior defensive end
of the nation’s most highly regarded Lamarr Houston leads a group up front
recruiting classes and departures simply that also returns part-time defensive end
just allow a different, talented player starters Aaron Lewis and Brian Orakpo,
to step into the starting lineup, Brown who each have 32 or more career starts.
admits the Longhorns did have some While Texas ranked No. 8 in the
concerns heading into spring practice. country in rushing defense last year,
Brown’s team lost five starters on offense allowing, 93.4 yards per game, a No.
and will have to replace seven starters on 109-ranked pass defense ultimately led
defense this season. to the Longhorns finishing 52nd in total
“There are a lot of question marks defense (371.2 yards per game).
on our team because of the youth and “One thing I know we’re going to do
the inexperience, so we really went smarter is that we’re going to have more
after it in drills with a very competitive pass rushers and more speed on the field
nature,” Brown said. “We’re excited on third downs than we’ve ever had,”
about the challenge. When you play at Brown said. “We’re going to try to get
the University of Texas and you lose a more pressure with four down (linemen).
great player, which you do every year at “We’ve talked about that a lot, but there
certain positions, if we’re doing our jobs quan cosby are going to be four ends in the game in
as coaches when you have so much talent most pass-rushing situations. We’re going
in this state, you should have someone ready to “Will is high-energy, he’s tough, but he’s to be going after the quarterback better.”
step up.” also very, very positive,” Brown said. Offensively, Texas should have a similar
Somehow, most figure the Longhorns will Muschamp said the Longhorns were able look as two-year starting quarterback Colt
find a way. Texas has a nation-best 103 wins to install most of his defensive playbook in McCoy returns for his junior season. McCoy
over the past seven seasons and has a Big 12 the spring, but noted that the greater focus is 20-6 in two seasons as a starter since taking
Conference-leading 65 victories during that was placed on developing the proper defensive on the difficult task of following Vince Young’s
same timeframe. attitude. national title-winning season in 2005 and ranks
Still, Brown considers the challenges greater “I just wanted the guys to play hard, play first in school history in completion percentage
than ever. Every South Division team is slated fast and play physical,” Muschamp said. “I (66.4) and passer rating (148.9).
to return its starting quarterback, and he sees think that the players are a reflection of their After being named the national freshman of
the North Division as much-improved. coach and I told them that I want to be the the year in 2006, McCoy passed for 3,303 yards
“I think this will be the best-balanced league most over-achieving defense in the country. and 22 touchdowns last season.
that we’ve had since I’ve been here, and it is We want to be a blue-collar defense, a blue- Behind McCoy, Texas ranked 13th in the

9 6 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
country in total offense last season (462.9 Shipley (43 career receptions) also return.
yards per game) and 14th in scoring offense
(37.2 points per game).
Cosby caught 60 passes last year for 680
yards and five TDs.
Longhorns at a Glance
While leading rusher and three-time All- Chris Ogbonnaya, Vondrell McGee and

“I think this will be the best- Projected


Fozzy Whittaker are expected to compete

2 nd
for the right to replace Charles. Ogbonnaya

balanced league that we’ve had is the most experienced of the group, but

since I’ve been here, and it is


had just 13 carries for 66 yards and a pair
of TDs last season while appearing in all
2008 Finish
13 games.
because everybody’s better.”
“Chris Ogbonnaya has got the most STRENGTHS
coach mack brown experience because he’s been in there for Despite losing four major offensive weapons from
Big 12 running back Jamaal Charles and two years as a third-down back and Chris 2007 in running back Jamaal Charles, tight end
two-time All-Big 12 wide receiver Limas can play,” Brown said. “Those three guys Jermichael Finley and wide receivers Limas Sweed
Sweed are gone, McCoy will still have would still be competing in the fall to see and Nate Jones, quarterback Colt McCoy returns
several key players around him coming who will step up.” with plenty of weapons to make an offense potent.
back. That includes four offensive linemen On special teams, Texas returns senior Heading into his junior year, McCoy is 20-6 as a

with 20 or more career starts in senior place-kicker Ryan Bailey. A former starter and already ranks fourth in school history in

Outland Trophy candidate Chris Dockery walk-on who burst onto the scene in 2006 touchdown passes (51) and sixth in passing yards

and juniors Chris Hall, Charlie Tanner and with a chip-shot game-winning field goal (5,863). The Longhorns averaged 37.2 points per
game last season.
Adam Ulatoski. at Nebraska, Bailey has made 24 of 28
Experienced senior receivers Quan career field-goal attempts, including 18 of
Cosby (120 career receptions) and Jordan 22 last year.
QUESTION MARKS
Even at talent-laden Texas, replacing a running
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (10-3), Big 12 Finish (5-3)
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 Arkansas State W 21-13 back with 10.1-second speed in the 100-yard dash
8/30/08 Florida Atlantic Austin, Texas 9/8 TCU W 34-13 isn’t easy and so it goes as the Longhorns look to fill
9/6/08 at UTEP El Paso, Texas 9/15 at Central Florida W 35-32 the shoes of 1,600-yard rusher Jamaal Charles. Fifth-
9/13/08 Arkansas Austin, Texas 9/22 Rice W 58-14
9/29 Kansas State L 21-41
year senior Chris Ogbonnaya sophomore Vondrell
9/20/08 Rice Austin, Texas
10/4/08 at Colorado Boulder, Colo. 10/6 *vs. Oklahoma L 21-28 McGee, redshirt freshman Fozzy Whittaker and in-
10/11/08 Oklahoma Dallas, Texas 10/13 at Iowa State W 56-3 coming freshmen Jeremy Hills and Tre Newton could
10/18/08 Missouri Austin, Texas 10/20 at Baylor W 31-10
all get a shot at taking over, or coach Mack Brown
10/25/08 Oklahoma State Austin, Texas 10/27 Nebraska W 28-25
11/1/08 at Texas Tech Lubbock, Texas 11/3 at Oklahoma State W 38-35 says he might use the running-back-by-committee
11/8/08 Baylor Austin, Texas 11/10 Texas Tech W 59-43 approach.
11/15/08 at Kansas Lawrence, Kan. 11/23 at Texas A&M L 30-38
11/27/08 Texas A&M Austin, Texas 12/27 vs. Arizona State W 52-34
*-at Dallas # - Holiday Bowl DIFFERENCE-MAKER
Brian Orakpo has been placed on to the watch list
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART for the 2008 Lott Trophy, wich is awarded annually
Offense (Returning starters in bold) Defense to college football’s top defensive player. The 6-4,
FL Jordan Shipley Sr. 6-0 195 DE Brian Orakpo Sr. 6-4 260 260-pound defensive end has appeared in 35 career
Brandon Collins Fr. 6-0 170 Eddie Jones So. 6-3 260
games and has 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 32
TE Blaine Irby So. 6-3 240 DT Roy Miller Sr. 6-2 300
Peter Ullman Sr. 6-4 260 Aaron Lewis Sr. 6-4 265 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and a fumble
RT Kyle Hix So. 6-7 320 DT Lamarr Houston Jr. 6-2 275 recovery. Orakpo may have set the tone in last year’s
Aundre McGaskey Fr. 6-5 295 Ben Alexander Jr. 6-0 310
final game as he was named defensive MVP in Texas’
RG Cedric Dockery Sr. 6-4 320 DE Henry Melton Sr. 6-3 265
Michael Huey So. 6-5 315 -or- Aaron Lewis Sr. 6-4 265 Holiday Bowl victory over Arizona State.
C Chris Hall Jr. 6-4 300 SLB Sergio Kindle Jr. 6-4 239
Buck Burnette So. 6-3 320 Keenan Robinson Fr. 6-3 220
LG Charlie Tanner Jr. 6-4 300 MLB Rashad Bobino Sr. 5-11 238
major addition
Britt Mitchell So. 6-5 300 Jared Norton Jr. 6-3 242 Look who’s back in burnt orange, it’s none
LT Adam Ulatoski Jr. 6-8 310 WLB Roddrick Muckelroy Jr. 6-2 230 other than former Texas quarterback great Major
Tray Allen So. 6-5 320 Dustin Earnest So. 6-3 233
SE Quan Cosby Sr. 5-11 205 CB Ryan Palmer Sr. 5-10 190
Applewhite, who joined Mack Brown’s staff as the
Malcolm Williams Fr. 6-3 225 -or- Curtis Brown So. 6-1 178 assistant head coach/running backs coach. He was
TB Vondree McGee So. 5-10 205 S Earl Thomas Fr. 5-10 190 a graduate assistant at Texas (2003-04) and coached
Chris Ogbonnaya Sr. 6-1 225 -or- Christian Scott Fr. 6-1 208
FB Antwan Cobb So. 6-0 222 S Ishie Oduegwu Jr. 5-10 210 quarterbacks at Syracuse in 2005. He served as the
Cody Johnson Fr. 5-11 255 Ben Wells Fr. 6-1 195 offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rice
QB Colt McCoy Jr. 6-3 210 CB Deon Beasley Jr. 5-10 175 in 2006 and held the same position on Nick Saban’s
John Chiles So. 6-2 215 -or- Chykie Brown So. 6-1 185
PK Ryan Bailey Sr. 6-2 205 P Justin Tucker Fr. 6-1 171 staff at Alabama in 2008.
Hunter Lawrence Jr. 6-0 180 -or- Trevor Gerland Jr. 6-2 195

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 9 7
Big12 Conference

texas tech Oct. 11 at Lubbock, Texas


Red Raiders
Opposing defensive as Harrell had 48 scoring passes a year ago. Now, what to do for an encore?
coordinators performing due “It would be a huge honor for me personally,’’ “Will we put up the same numbers? I have
diligence with their offseason Harrell told the Avalanche-Journal in Lubbock, no idea. The season he had will be unbelievably
research of 2008 opponents Texas, in regard to the career TD passes record. hard to match,” Harrell said. “But at the same
probably won’t like what they “More than that, I think it would be a huge honor time, I think we can take it to another level (by)
see if they find Texas Tech on their schedule. for this team, because it’s a team effort. just understanding where each other’s going to
Yes, one of the most prolific offensive units in “The receivers have to make plays for that be – him understanding where I’m going to put
the country is expected to be even better than to happen. The offensive line has to protect on the ball, me understanding where he’s going to
last year. those touchdowns. It’d be a huge honor for the be, stuff like that. I think we have a chance to be
No less than 10 offensive players with starting whole team. It’d be exciting and a fun moment.’’ better in that aspect.’’
experience return from a unit that helped the The final numbers for Harrell last year Crabtree agreed, telling the Avalanche-Journal
Red Raiders finish with a 9-4 season and a No. were staggering. The 6-3, 202-pound senior that he and Harrell actually had “a lot of
23 national ranking following a 31-28 come- from Ennis, Texas, completed 512-of-713 pass miscommunications” last season.
from-behind victory over Virginia in the Gator attempts (71.8 percent) for 5,705 yards and 48 “This year, we look forward to getting better
Bowl. In 2007, Texas Tech averaged 40.9 points TDs with 14 interceptions, breaking former Red on communicating with each other and being on
and 529.6 yards per game of total offense the same page at all times,” Crabtree said.
with the help of Sammy Baugh Trophy Crabtree leads a group of returning
winner Graham Harrell at quarterback receivers that accounted for 65 percent of
and Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Texas Tech’s receptions last year. After the
Crabtree at wide receiver. spring, it appeared that sophomore wide
With eight defensive starters returning receiver Detron Lewis is well on his way to
and several significant special teams replacing the Red Raiders’ only lost starter
performers back, many college football in Danny Amendola.
analysts are predicting this might be the Senior receiver Eric Morris (75
best season yet for coach Mike Leach and receptions) and junior wideout Ed Britton
the Red Raiders. While Leach obviously (48 receptions) also return.
recognizes the potential, the ninth-year A solid offensive line is largely back
Texas Tech coach is trying to curb the in place, led by senior left guard Louis
enthusiasm of Red Raider fans. Vasquez, who has started 24 consecutive
“You just keep working, keep games. A first-team All-Big 12 selection
improving and try to keep everyone’s by the Associated Press, Vasquez and right
perspective right to understand that all guard Brandon Carter lead a unit that
that counts is what you do together,” allowed 18 sacks in 763 pass attempts last
Leach said. “Anything outside of our year (1.38 per game).
program provides distraction because you Perhaps the biggest question mark on
have to go work and grind. Potential and the offensive line is left tackle Rylan Reed,
nice articles and all that are not anything who suffered a serious leg injury in the
michael crabtree
unless you go out there and you make it Gator Bowl.
happen.” Raider Kliff Kingsbury’s NCAA records for The running back spot is the greatest
As for this potentially being Leach’s best single-season completions and pass attempts. unknown for the Red Raiders. Senior Shannon
team? “I don’t know – I guess we’ll find out,” Harrell, who has surpassed the 10,000-yard Woods, junior Kobey Lewis and sophomores
Leach said. “We haven’t played a snap yet, but mark for career passing yards, capped his 2007 Aaron Crawford and Baron Batch are all
we’ve done some good things in spring. I think if season with a Gator Bowl-record 407-yard expected to compete for playing time this fall.
we continue to improve, any team that improves passing performance to earn MVP honors. Woods, who led the Big 12 in all-purpose yards
has got a chance to do some good things. Hauling in many of Harrell’s passes was as a sophomore in 2006, started the first eight
“With this group here, I guess we’ll find out.” Crabtree, who came out of nowhere to record games last year before falling out of favor with
Harrell should receive some preseason arguably the greatest freshman season by a the coaching staff.
Heisman Trophy buzz as he enters his senior year receiver in NCAA history. He set freshman While Tech’s offense tends to grab all the
needing 43 touchdown passes to break the major- records for receptions (134), yards (1,962) and headlines, the Red Raiders quietly improved
college record of 131 set last year by Hawaii’s TD receptions (22), earning first-team All- on defense last season under the direction of
Colt Brennan. That mark is certainly within reach America honors. interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.

9 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Leach has removed the interim tag from free safety Darcel McBath and cornerback
McNeill, who helped Tech lead the Big 12
in total defense over the last nine games of
Chris Parker return. The trio has 37
combined starts from a unit that helped
Red Raiders at a Glance
the 2007 regular season. allow a Big 12-low 188.4 yards passing per

Projected
Junior defensive tackle Rajon Henley game last season.

3 rd
came into his own last season, while Leach said it’s imperative that the defense
sophomore-to-be Colby Whitlock earned play well early. After a slow start in the
freshman All-America honors for his play at
nose guard. Junior defensive end Brandon
spring, he said the defense finally played up
to its capability in the final spring practice.
2008 Finish
Williams is coming off a year in which he led “We have a chance to be good on
Tech in sacks (six) and tackles for loss (12). defense if we build from this point, but if STRENGTHS
Linebacker could be Tech’s deepest we have to spend two weeks getting to this As everyone has come to expect from a Mike
position. Sophomore Brian Duncan, who point when we get to (preseason) camp, Leach-coached team, Texas Tech’s offense is heavy
started nine games at strongside linebacker, we haven’t accomplished as much as we on firepower. After passing for 5,705 yards and 48
moved to middle linebacker in the spring. hope,” Leach said. “This needs to be our touchdowns last year, quarterback Graham Harrell
Sophomore Bront Bird is expected to step next starting point.” is looking for even more with another year of experi-
into the strongside linebacker spot, while The chief special teams concern will be ence. He’s got almost all his weapons back, including
junior Marlon Williams is No. 1 on the replacing place-kicker Alex Trlica. A four- All-American wide receiver Michael Crabtree (134
depth chart at weakside linebacker after year starter, Trlica was good in the clutch – receptions for 1,962 yards and 22 TDs in 2007) and a
ranking second on the team with 81 tackles his last kick at Tech was a 41-yard field goal solid offensive line.
a year ago. to win the Gator Bowl – and set an NCAA
The Red Raiders are experienced in record by converting all 233 point-after QUESTION MARKS
the secondary as strong safety Joe Garcia, attempts in his career.
While there appears to be talent in the backfield,

2008 Schedule 2007 Record (9-4), Big 12 Finish (4-4) the battle for the starting running back job between
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/3 at SMU W 49-9 Shannon Woods, Kobey Lewis, Aaron Crawford
8/30/08 Eastern Washington Lubbock, Texas 9/8 UTEP W 45-31 and Baron Batch won’t be decided until fall camp.
9/6/08 at Nevada Reno, Nev. 9/15 at Rice W 59-24
9/13/08 SMU Lubbock, Texas 9/22 at Oklahoma St. L 45-49 Texas Tech also needs to find a replacement for Alex
9/20/08 Massachusetts Lubbock, Texas 9/29 NW (La.) St. W 75-7 Trlica, a four-year starter at place-kicker who set an
10/4/08 at Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. 10/6 Iowa St. W 42-17 NCAA record by making all 233 point-after attempts
10/11/08 Nebraska Lubbock, Texas 10/13 Texas A&M W 35-7
10/18/08 at Texas A&M College Station, TX 10/20 at Missouri L 10-40 during his college career. Trlica was outstanding in
10/25/08 at Kansas Lawrence, Kan. 10/27 Colorado L 26-31 the clutch.
11/1/08 Texas Lubbock, Texas 11/3 at Baylor W 38-7
11/8/08 Oklahoma State Lubbock, Texas 11/10 at Texas L 43-59
11/22/08 at Oklahoma Norman, Okla. 11/17 Oklahoma W 34-27 DIFFERENCE-MAKER
11/29/08 Baylor Lubbock, Texas 1/1 vs. Virginia* W 31-28 After serving on Leach’s staff as a defensive posi-
*-Gator Bowl at Jacksonville, Fla. tion coach, Ruffin McNeill was elevated to interim
defensive coordinator prior to last year’s game against
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART Northwestern Louisiana State. McNeill brought a
Offense Defense
more aggressive approach and stressed playing with
LT Mickey Okafor 6-7 320 Fr. DE Jake Ratliff 6-7 247 Sr.
Chris Olson 6-5 303 So. Daniel Howard 6-3 238 Jr. passion to his players. The formula worked well as
LG Louis Vasquez 6-6 335 Sr. NT Colby Whitlock 6-2 281 So. the Red Raiders led the Big 12 in total defense over
Adrian Archie 6-5 313 So. Bobbie Agoucha 6-4 328 Fr.
C Shawn Byrnes 6-4 303 Jr. DT Rajon Henley 6-3 265 Jr.
the last eight regular-season games. The interim tag
-or- Stephen Hamby 6-3 287 Jr. Richard Jones 6-1 277 Jr. was lifted in January.
RG Brandon Carter 6-7 374 Jr. DE Brandon Williams 6-5 253 Jr.
Lonnie Edwards 6-5 313 Fr. Sandy Riley 6-0 248 Jr.
RT Marlon Winn 6-6 329 Jr. SLB Bront Bird 6-3 222 So. props to leach
Chris Olson 6-5 303 So. Tyrone Sonier 6-2 215 Fr. While sometimes a little unorthodox, it’s impos-
QB Graham Harrell 6-3 203 Sr. MLB Brian Duncan 6-1 239 So.
sible to deny the success Mike Leach (65-37) has
Taylor Potts 6-5 221 So. Victor Hunter 5-11 256 Jr.
RB Aaron Crawford 5-11 202 So. WLB Marlon Williams 6-0 211 Jr. had in his first eight seasons as Texas Tech’s head
-or- Kobey Lewis 5-5 173 Jr. Blake Collier 6-2 212 Jr. coach, taking the program to an unprecedented eight
WR Eric Morris 5-8 174 Sr. CB Jamar Wall 5-10 194 So.
Adam James 6-3 211 Fr. LaRon Moore 5-9 186 So. consecutive bowl game appearances, including wins
WR Detron Lewis 6-0 198 So. SS Anthony Hines 6-1 212 Sr. in five of the last six. The Red Raiders have won the
Tramain Swindall 6-3 176 Fr. Lance Fuller 6-2 222 Sr. NCAA passing title five consecutive seasons and
WR Edward Britton 6-0 183 Jr. FS Darcel McBath 6-1 196 Sr.
Lyle Leong 6-1 165 So. Daniel Charbonnet 5-11 195 Sr. Tech’s No. 10 final ranking in 2006 was the program’s
WR Michael Crabtree 6-3 208 So. CB Marcus Bunton 5-8 196 Sr. first top-10 finish since 1976.
Todd Walker 6-1 184 Jr. -or- Pete Richardson 5-11 196 Jr.
PK Cory Fowler 5-8 157 Sr. P Jonathan LaCour 6-2 206 So.
Jonathan LaCour 6-2 206 So. Cory Fowler 5-8 157 Sr.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 9 9
Big12 Conference

oklahoma state
Cowboys
The old saying goes that the shots in a 49-33 Insight Bowl victory over be those of second-team All-American offen-
if it isn’t broke, don’t Indiana. While Gunter Brewer and Trooper sive lineman David Koenig, 1,200-yard rusher
fix it. That’s exactly the Taylor are listed as co-offensive coordinators, Dantrell Savage and second-team All-Big 12
approach that Oklahoma Gundy said the final plan is still up in the air. wide receiver Adarius Bowman. All three
State coach Mike Gundy “My personal opinion is that offenses and completed their eligibility.
plans to take with the high-powered Cowboys defenses both have gotten so much more com- Robinson returns after a record-setting
offense, despite the fact that former offensive plex in the last five or six years that the concern sophomore season where he supplanted Bobby
coordinator Larry Fedora left to become the that I have is whether or not there’s a enough Reid as the starting quarterback and became
head coach at Southern Miss. time to be able to study tape and be prepared to one of the country’s top dual-threat quarter-
Led by quarterback Zac Robinson, Okla- give your team that advantage in a play call and backs. Robinson completed 201 of 333 pass
homa State’s offense thrived in 2007 as the still be the head coach,” Gundy said. “Obvi- attempts (60.4 percent) for 2,824 yards for 23
Cowboys finished with a 7-6 record, using amaz- ously, it’s different for everybody.” touchdowns and nine interceptions, while also
ing balance. In a strange but true stat, OSU’s Regardless of who winds up actually calling gaining 847 yards and nine TDs rushing.
no-huddle attack wound up gaining 3,161 yards the plays, Gundy said he intends to be heavily Sophomore Dez Bryant (43 receptions for
rushing and, yes, 3,161 yards passing. 622 yards and six TDs in 2007) will be
No team in the country could come counted on to lead the wide receivers.
close to matching Oklahoma State’s Senior tight end Brandon Pettigrew (35
balance of averaging 243 yards per game receptions for 540 yards) is one of the
both on the ground and through the air. best in the Big 12, if not in the country.
Oregon State was the runner-up in offen- At running back, junior Keith Toston
sive balance, averaging 251 yards rushing and sophomore Kendall Hunter (696
and 215 yards passing. yards rushing in 2007) are expected to
Even with Fedora’s departure, Gundy battle to replace Savage in the starting
said the Cowboys plan to keep the foun- lineup. Beau Johnson, the most valuable
dation of their offensive scheme intact. player in last year’s junior college national
“We’ve stayed very consistent with championship game, arrived on campus
what we’ve done,” Gundy said. “Obvi- for the second semester and impressed
ously, we’ve made a few changes in the coaches in spring drills.
spring. We’ve tinkered with certain plays With the return of center David
and personnel moves that may alter the Washington, a two-year starter who was
way that we attack a team in the upcom- lost in the third game of the 2007 season
ing season, but we’re comfortable with with a broken leg, the Cowboys return
our system. We feel like our players have five players with starting experience on
a good grasp of what’s going on. the offensive line. Tackles Russell Okung
“We’re convinced that the no-huddle and Brady Bond lead the way for a unit
and the fastbreak give us an advantage, jacob lacey that allowed just 11 sacks in 13 games last
and we like that, and I think our players year, ranking third in the country in few-
like it.” involved with the offense. He said play-calling est sacks allowed. Plus, OSU has added junior
Recruiting is yet another reason Gundy likes was somewhat of a group effort by the offen- college All-American Andrew Mitchell.
OSU’s current offensive system. In February, sive coaches in the spring. Defense is the area Gundy wants to see the
the Cowboys landed their third consecutive “If you are the head coach and you aren’t most improvement in. The Cowboys allowed
top-25 recruiting class. studying enough tape to give your team an 33 or more points in eight of their 13 games
“It helps us in recruiting,” Gundy said of opportunity to have success calling plays on last season.
OSU’s offense. “I think there are players out Saturday, then it’s going to have to come from “We believe, just like a lot of other people,
there that want to be a part of it, so for those somewhere,” Gundy said. “We’ve got several that ultimately, you have to play really good
reasons, we will look very, very similar.” guys in the room that are qualified to do that.” defense to win a conference championship,”
In the spring, the biggest question for the The Cowboys return eight starters from a Gundy said. “We’re in the stage of trying to
Cowboys was who was going to call the plays? unit that finished No. 7 in the country in total improve in that area.”
When Fedora left, Gundy successfully called offense last season. The biggest shoes to fill will To that end, second-year defensive coordina-

1 0 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
tor Tim Beckman’s defense will have a college All-American impressed Gundy
much different look. The hope is that six
returning starters can meld with six junior
with his ability to make big plays and
deliver big hits in the spring.
Cowboys at a Glance
college transfers to give the Cowboys an Patrick Lavine, who led the Cowboys

Projected
instant upgrade. in tackles in his first two years in the

4 th
Gundy said he and his staff have been program, is the only returning starter at
impressed by the five incoming junior col- linebacker. Orie Lemon and Justin Gent
lege transfers who enrolled early and took
part in spring ball at OSU.
will battle for the other linebacker spot,
while Andre Sexton, a starter for the past
2008 Finish
“When you bring that many players two years at safety, is expected to start at
in at mid-term, you’re always a little con- the “star” linebacker spot. The position is a STRENGTHS
cerned about how they’re going to gel with hybrid of the linebacker/safety position in Even with the loss of second-team All-American
the team … but we’ve been very fortunate,” Beckman’s scheme. David Koenig, Oklahoma State’s offensive line could
Gundy said. At defensive end, junior Derek Burton be even better than last year when it ranked third in
The secondary is the defense’s strength and sophomore Ugo Chinasa will be the nation by allowing only 11 sacks in 13 games.
as all four starters return. Cornerbacks counted on to replace a pair of good ones Junior tackles Russell Okung and Brady Bond have
Jacob Lacey and Perrish Cox return as in Marque Fountain and Nathan Peterson, started since they were freshmen and the Cowboys
starters, but could be pressed by Terrance who was among the program’s all-time get starting center David Washington back after los-
Anderson and Al’Darius Thompson for leaders in sacks. Jeray Chatham returns as ing him to a broken leg last year in game three. First-
playing time. a starter at defensive tackle — a position team junior college All-American Andrew Mitchell
Starters Quinton Moore (free safety) that could get some additional help from also joins the fold.
and Ricky Price (strong safety) could be junior college transfers Chris Donaldson
challenged by Lucien Antoine. The junior and Swanson Miller. QUESTION MARKS
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (7-6), Big 12 Finish (3-5) Finding a replacement for 1,200-yard rusher
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 at Georgia L 14-35 Dantrell Savage is a bit of a concern, although junior
8/30/08 Washington State Seattle, Wash. 9/8 Florida Atlantic W 42-6
running back Keith Toston has shown positive signs
9/6/08 Houston Stillwater, Okla. 9/14 at Troy L 23-41
9/13/08 Missouri State Stillwater, Okla. 9/22 Texas Tech W 49-45 and sophomore Kendall Hunter rushed for 696 yards
9/27/08 Troy Stillwater, Okla. 9/29 Sam Houston State W 39-3 last year, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Beau Johnson,
10/4/08 Texas A&M Stillwater, Okla. 10/6 at Texas A&M L 23-24
the MVP in the junior college national title game,
10/11/08 at Missouri Columbia, Mo. 10/13 at Nebraska W 45-14
10/18/08 Baylor Stillwater, Okla. 10/20 Kansas State W 41-39 could also be in the mix. Another concern is the front
10/25/08 at Texas Austin, Texas 11/3 Texas L 35-38 seven where just defensive tackle Jeray Chatham and
11/1/08 Iowa State Stillwater, Okla. 11/10 Kansas L 28-43
linebacker Patrick Lavine return as starters.
11/8/08 at Texas Tech Lubbock, Texas 11/17 at Baylor W 45-14
11/15/08 at Colorado Boulder, Colo. 11/24 at Oklahoma L 17-49
11/29/08 Oklahoma Stillwater, Okla. 12/31 #vs. Indiana W 49-33 DIFFERENCE-MAKER
# at Insight Bowl
Taking over as the starting quarterback in the third

TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART game of his sophomore season, Zac Robinson quickly
developed into one of the country’s best dual-threat
Offense Defense
LT Russell Okung 6-5 300 Jr. DE Ugo Chinasa 6-6 250 So. signal-callers. He set a single-season school record
Trent Perkins 6-5 300 So. Richetti Jones 6-4 240 Fr. for total offense (3,671) and had six of the top 18
LG Michael Booker 6-3 310 So. DT Jeray Chatham 6-3 280 Sr.
Jonathan Rush 6-5 300 Fr. Tonga Tea 6-0 300 Sr. total-offense performances in OSU history. That
C Andrew Lewis 6-5 290 Jr. DT Quencey Patrick 6-3 275 So. included a 486-yard day in which Robinson passed for
Grant Garner 6-3 280 So. Shane Jarka 6-4 270 So.
RG Steve Denning 6-5 295 Sr. DE Derek Burton 6-5 265 Jr. a school-record 430 yards against Texas. His average of
Noah Franklin 6-5 310 Jr. Jamie Blatnick 6-3 255 Fr. 7.52 yards per play was second only to West Virginia’s
RT Brady Bond 6-6 290 Jr. SLB Andre Sexton 6-1 210 Jr.
Andrew Mitchell 6-5 305 Jr. Deron Fontenot 5-10 200 Fr. Pat White.
WR Dez Bryant 6-2 210 So. MLB Orie Lemon 6-1 240 Jr.
Jeremy Broadway 6-0 195 Jr. Justin Gent 6-2 235 So.
WR Damian Davis 6-5 180 So. WLB Patrick Lavine 6-3 225 Jr. A QUICK FIX?
Josh Cooper 5-11 190 Fr. Seb Clements 6-1 225 Sr.
Oklahoma State added seven junior college trans-
WR DeMarcus Conner 6-1 200 Jr. CB Terrance Anderson 6-0 180 Jr.
Hubert Anylam 6-0 185 Fr. Perrish Cox 6-1 190 Jr. fers who enrolled in classes in January. The list of
TE Brandon Pettigrew 6-6 260 Sr. FS Quinton Moore 5-11 185 Sr.
junior college newcomers includes safety Lucien An-
Wilson Youman 6-4 245 Fr. Lucien Antoine 6-1 205 Jr.
RB Kendall Hunter 5-8 190 So. SS Ricky Price 6-1 195 Sr. toine, defensive tackle Chris Donaldson, cornerback
Keith Toston 6-1 210 Jr. T.J. Bell 6-0 195 Sr.
Maurice Gray, running back Beau Johnson, offensive
FB Bryant Ward 5-11 215 So. CB Jacob Lacey 5-11 175 Sr.
John Toben 6-1 235 So. Al’Darius Thompson 5-11 180 Jr. lineman Andrew Mitchell and defensive linemen
QB Zac Robinson 6-3 205 Jr. P Matt Fodge 6-1 195 Sr.
Swanson Miller and Jeremiah Price.
Alex Cate 6-1 195 So. Dan Bailey 6-0 205 So.
PK Dan Bailey 6-0 205 So.
Patrick Kollars 6-0 200 Jr.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1 0 1
Big12 Conference

texas a&m
Aggies
Time is ticking away at 11 starters, including just four on offense from leading the Aggies in rushing with 899 yards
Texas A&M – or at least a team that finished a disappointing 7-6 last and five TDs.
that’s the message that first- year as former head coach Dennis Franchione The most noteworthy backfield news was
year coach Mike Sherman was forced out at the end of the regular season. that Sherman has ended the tailback platoon
is trying to get across to the “I think transition is difficult in any business, between senior Jorvorskie Lane and Mike
Aggies as the program starts in a new direction. even in football, particularly at the collegiate Goodson. The 6-foot, 285-pound Lane will be
The importance Sherman places on time level,” Sherman said. “You come into a place making the switch to fullback while Goodson
became evident when the former NFL coach and you ask players to trust you and give a leap is expected to be the feature back in Sherman’s
had digital clocks installed throughout the of faith almost immediately to get done what pro-style offense.
A&M football facilities. Sherman, who had you need to get done. It’s difficult.” “He’s a very dangerous weapon,” Sherman
been an offensive line coach for the Aggies Trust, Sherman said, is essential for the said of Goodson. “He’s certainly a guy who
under R.C. Slocum, said there was a distinct Aggies to move ahead as quickly as possible. needs the ball in his hands.”
reason for the change. “As I told them, ‘You can trust us now or Goodson, who is more of a true breakaway
“I hit them over the head a lot about time you can trust us later … but if you trust us threat, finished with 711 yards and four TDs
and how it’s constantly ticking,” Sherman said. now, we’ll be able to get through this a little bit as both he and Lane averaged 4.6 yards per
“The clock is ticking on your football career, as faster,’ and I think they’ve done that,” Sherman carry. Splitting time last season, Lane rushed
a student and as an athlete, so I think the for 780 yards and 16 TDs – 44 scores for
digital clocks are a reminder, functionally, his career.
to get them to meetings on time.” Essential to the success of A&M’s
Sherman added that digital clocks also offense is the emergence of an offensive
remove any arguments about whether or line that lost four full-time starters.
not someone is late. Robbie Frost played well enough in the
“If it’s a digital clock and it says 6 spring to possibly win the starting left
o’clock, it’s 6 o’clock,” Sherman said. tackle spot, while senior Travis Schneider
“I don’t want to argue if the hand was is a returning starter and should man the
a fraction of a millimeter to the left of other tackle position.
6 o’clock. It kind of sends the message Sherman seems equally concerned
that way.” about the receiving positions after
For Sherman, being on time not only losing starting wideouts Kerry Franks
teaches discipline, but also respect. and Earvin Taylor as well as talented
“You respect your teammates, your tight end Martellus Bennett to the NFL
coaches, your school and yourself and I draft. In the A&M spring game, McGee
think the initial element of respect from completed just five passes – none of them
a football player’s standpoint is to be on to a wide receiver.
time for meetings,” Sherman said. “If Pierre Brown and E.J. Shankle look to
you have 110 players in a meeting and be two of the top receiving prospects for
one guy is late for one minute, that’s 110 stephen mcgee the Aggies. Redshirt freshman Jeff Fuller
minutes that you’ve wasted.” said. “I think our spring was evident of that as also impressed during the spring.
Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee they really put forth a very good effort.” “There are a lot of numbers in the group,
said Sherman’s approach has made a definite Offensively, the good news for A&M is that but we really haven’t found anybody who has
impression on the Aggies. there’s plenty of returning experience in the just separated themselves as the guy,” Sherman
“Just the way he takes care of business, backfield. said. “Certain days, certain players will step up,
he gets everybody to buy in and make sure If McGee wins the starting job in fall camp – but I’m looking for consistency at that position.
they are doing what they are supposed to do,” Sherman has left the competition open between “I think we dropped more balls the first day
McGee said in an interview with the Houston McGee and sophomore Jerrod Johnson – he’ll of practice than I have had before in a whole
Chronicle. “He did that from day one.” be a third-year starter. As a junior, the fiery 6-3, season, but that part of it has improved and
With the difficult chore that lies ahead for 207-pound McGee completed 211 of 364 pass continued to improve.”
the Aggies, Sherman said there’s no time to attempts (58 percent) for 2,311 yards and 12 Sherman said he attributed many of the
waste. A&M returns a Big 12 Conference-low touchdowns with eight interceptions, while also problems to players trying to learn a new offense,

1 0 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
saying that he and his coaching staff threw the base scheme the Aggies used last year.
an awful lot at the Aggies in the spring.
“The volume that they had to learn
“I always thought that defense was
never meant to be played defensively,”
Aggies at a Glance
– it takes away sometimes from your Obiozor told reporters after the spring

Projected
effectiveness,” Sherman said. “I do think, game. “You want to play aggressively. We

5 th
over the course of time as they begin to aren’t sitting back waiting for things. We’re
assimilate the information that we’ve given going after it before it happens.”
to them and they transfer it to the football
field and they become more comfortable,
Matt Featherston was a highlight at
the middle linebacker spot in the spring,
2008 Finish
they’ll become better players.” but the linebacker corps appears largely
The secondary will be counted on to be unsettled. The Aggies also got some bad STRENGTHS
the strength of the defense. Several position news in late May when highly touted The backfield stands out as Texas A&M features
changes were made in the spring, but four freshman linebacker prospect Derrick the 1-2 punch of 285-pound senior bruiser Jorvorskie
defensive backs with starting experience re- Stephens was told that he had to give up Lane and junior speedster Mike Goodson, who
turn in seniors Arkeith Brown, Devin Gregg football due to multiple concussions. is one of the top break-away threats in the Big
and Alton Dixon and junior Jordan Pugh. “We’re still a work in progress,” 12 Conference. Lane, who has scored 44 career
The front seven is largely inexperienced Sherman said. “We’ve got a lot of work to touchdowns and rushed for 780 yards and 16 TDs a
as defensive end Cyril Obiozor is do, as evidenced by our spring game, but year ago, has made the move to fullback. Goodson
essentially the only full-time returning some days this past spring we took baby will now move into the starting lineup at tailback
starter. However, Obiozor said he and his steps. Other days, we took great strides and after finishing last year with 711 yards rushing and
teammates have enjoyed new defensive a couple of times, we might have taken a four TDs
coordinator Joe Kines’ philosophy, which step or two backwards, but as a long as we
is based on more of an attacking style than keep working, I think we’ll move forward.” QUESTION MARKS
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (7-6), Big 12 Finish (4-4) The offensive line went from a major strength in
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 Montana St. W 38-7 2007 to a source of concern for the upcoming season
8/30/08 Arkansas State College Station, TX 9/8 Fresno St. W 47-43 (3OT) as Texas A&M lost four starters, including a trio of
9/6/08 at New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. 9/15 La.-Monroe W 54-14
9/20/08 Miami College Station, TX 9/20 at Miami (Fla.) L 17-34 three-year starters to graduation. Senior tackle Travis
9/27/08 Army College Station, TX 9/29 Baylor W 34-10 Schneider is the only full-time returning starter for
10/4/08 at Oklahoma State Stillwater, Okla. 10/6 Oklahoma St. W 24-23 the Aggies on the offensive line, while guard Michael
10/11/08 Kansas State College Station, TX 10/13 at Texas Tech L 7-35
10/18/08 Texas Tech College Station, TX 10/20 at Nebraska W 36-14 Shumard also returns with past starting experience.
10/25/08 at Iowa State Ames, Iowa 10/27 Kansas L 11-19 Coaches were impressed with tackle Robbie Frost in
11/1/08 Colorado College Station, TX 11/3 at Oklahoma L 14-42 the spring.
11/8/08 Oklahoma College Station, TX 11/10 at Missouri L 26-40
11/15/08 at Baylor Waco, TX 11/23 Texas W 38-30
11/27/08 at Texas Austin, TX 12/29 vs. Penn St.-* L 17-24 DIFFERENCE-MAKER
*-Alamo Bowl at San Antonio Aggies senior quarterback Stephen McGee rushed
back for spring practice after undergoing surgery to
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART his left (non-throwing) shoulder in January. McGee
Offense Defense brings the experience of being a two-year starter and
WR Pierre Brown 6-2 193 Sr. DE Michael Bennett 6-4 265 Sr.
E.J. Shankle 5-11 179 Jr. Amos Gbunblee 6-5 250 Sr. is coming off a year when he led the Aggies in both
T Travis Schneider 6-8 303 Sr. DT Chris Smith 6-4 270 Sr. rushing and passing. In 2007, McGee completed
Yemi Babalola 6-4 315 Sr. -or- Lucas Patterson 6-5 299 So. 211-of-364 pass attempts for 2,311 yards and 12
G Lee Grimes 6-6 339 Jr. NT Kellen Heard 6-6 345 Jr.
Corey Clark 6-6 326 Sr. -or- David Tufuga 6-1 295 Jr. touchdowns with eight interceptions. He also rushed
C Kevin Matthews 6-4 300 Jr. DE Cyril Obiozor 6-5 266 Sr. for 899 yards and five TDs.
Chris Yoder 6-4 314 Sr. Ben Bass 6-5 268 Fr.
G Vincent Williams 6-4 306 Jr. SLB Von Miller 6-3 214 So.
Michael Shumard 6-5 309 Jr. Billy Chavis 6-4 233 So. nebraska flavor
T Robbie Frost 6-6 302 Jr. MLB Matt Featherston 6-3 233 Jr. First-year Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman’s staff
Cody Wallace 6-4 296 Sr. Anthony Lewis 6-2 205 So.
is littered with names recognizable to many Nebraska
TE Terrence McCoy 6-4 198 So. WLB Garrick Williams 6-2 217 Fr.
Ryan Vaughan 6-4 228 Sr. Kenny Brown 6-2 205 So. Cornhusker football fans. Two coaches, running
WR Cody Beyer 6-1 182 Jr. CB Arkeith Brown 6-0 173 Sr. backs coach Randy Jordan and defensive line coach
Jeff Fuller 6-4 209 Fr. Danny Gorrer 6-0 173 Sr.
QB Stephen McGee 6-3 220 Sr. FS Devin Gregg 6-0 191 Sr. Buddy Wyatt, were on Bill Callahan’s staff at last
Jerrod Johnson 6-6 232 So. Jordan Peterson 5-11 184 Jr. year Nebraska. Also making the trek from Lincoln to
FB Jorvorskie Lane 6-0 285 Sr. SS Alton Dixon 5-11 196 Sr. College Station, were football operations director Tim
Nick LaMantia 6-1 226 Sr. Chevar Bryson 6-0 188 Jr.
TB Mike Goodson 6-0 206 Jr. CB Jordan Pugh 6-0 185 Jr. Cassidy, who had previously worked at A&M, and
Cornell Tarrant 5-10 190 So. Johnathan Batson 6-1 195 Sr. strength and conditioning coach Dave Kennedy.
PK Matt Szymanski 6-1 194 Jr. P Justin Brantly 6-4 245 Sr.
Richie Bean 6-0 171 Sr. Matt Szymanski 6-1 194 Jr.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1 0 3
Big12 Conference

baylor Oct. 25 at Lincoln, Neb.


Bears
Art Briles accepted the While the Bears have obviously yet to play it in the rugged Big 12 South, most college
head coaching position at a game under their new coaching staff, Briles football analysts believe that the Bears did
Baylor with his eyes wide said that he believes Baylor’s players have fully make progress under Morriss. Baylor produced
open. Despite inheriting a bought into his system. its first Big 12 road victory in 2005 at Iowa
college football program “It’s not tough to get anybody to believe State and recorded its first three-win Big 12
that has become a perennial Big 12 Conference that they need to do well and that they need to season in 2006.
doormat, the 52-year-old Texas native didn’t work hard to be successful,” said Briles, who After what he labeled a successful spring
shy away from the challenge. received a seven-year contract that will pay practice season and with some highly regarded
Baylor hasn’t had a winning season for the him up to $1.8 million per season, including all recruits on the way, Briles said his program is
past 12 years — the entire lifespan of the Big incentives. “That’s human nature.” not without talent.
12 — and takes a 12-game conference losing Plus, as Baylor junior linebacker Joe “I like the guys we have on campus. I like
streak into the 2008 season. Since Chuck Pawelek points out, Briles’ track record speaks the guys we recruited and we’re going to go to
Reedy led the Bears to a 7-4 record in 1995, the for itself. After winning four state titles and war with them,” Briles said. “We’ve got people
program is 35-101 overall and 11-85 in league going 136-29-2 in 12 seasons at Stephenville here to win football games for us. That’s a good
play, only once managing to not finish in the (Texas) High School, Briles served as the step in the right direction.”
South Division cellar, tying for fifth In fall camp, the focus will likely
in 2005. be on the quarterback competition.
Starting in 1997, three previous Returning starter Blake Szymanski,
coaches have tried and failed to who completed 57.3 percent of
turn Baylor’s football program his pass attempts for 2,844 yards
around. The list includes Dave and 22 touchdowns last year, is
Roberts, Kevin Steele and Guy battling Miami (Fla.) transfer
Morriss, who was fired last Kirby Freeman as well as surprise
November after a 3-9 season that freshman Robert Griffin for the No.
left him with a five-year record of 1 job.
18-40. “We’ve got some guys that can
But unlike Baylor’s previous do that, no doubt,” Briles said.
three choices, Briles has a proven “That’s my job is to put somebody
track record when it comes to on the field who will produce in that
turning a program around. In his capacity. I really feel good about our
most recent job at Houston, Briles QBs on campus … they’re going to
inherited a Cougars team that was compete, they’re going to play hard
two years removed from finishing and they’re going to be intelligent
0-11 and led them to a 34-28 record with the football.”
in five seasons, which included Baylor returns nine players with
three bowl bids and a Conference- starting experience on an offensive
USA title in 2006. unit that ranked No. 85 in the
For Briles, the first step in the country last season in total offense
rebuilding project is eliminating (351.3 yards per game) and No. 111
joe pawelek
all memories and perceptions of in scoring offense (18.2 points per
Baylor’s troubled recent history. The key, he running backs coach at Texas Tech under coach game). While the Bears were 27th nationally in
says, is to always look ahead. Mike Leach from 2000-03 before taking the passing offense (273.4), they were just 113th in
“We live in the present,” Briles said. “We Houston job in 2003. rushing offense (77.8).
live right now. That’s what matters. What “He’s a guy that has obviously had success At Houston, Briles’ offense ranked No. 10
happened four years ago with me or them, it everywhere he has been at and he is a down in the country in rushing yards with an average
makes no difference. to earth football coach,” Pawelek said. “We’re of 223.9 per game. With four returning starters
“We’re going to be judged by what we do from excited that we are going to be able to play for a back on the offensive line that allowed just
this day forward, so that’s what we’re preparing guy like that.” 21 sacks in a school-record 561 pass attempts
for and that’s where our energy is going.” While the record may not necessarily reflect last year, including two of the Big 12’s better

1 0 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
returning tackles in Jason Smith and Dan second on the squad with 99 tackles from
Gay, the Bears will look to beef up their
ground game, although they’ll lose leading
his middle linebacker position.
Briles said the secondary is his largest
Bears at a Glance
rusher Brandon Whitaker (488 yards). concern as Baylor will have to break in a

Projected
Outside of Whitaker, who caught a pair of new starting cornerbacks. Senior

6 th
team-high 58 passes out of the backfield, Dwain Crawford has moved from rover to
Baylor returns its top four receivers in cornerback and sophomore Krys Buerck
terms of receptions. Tight end Justin
Akers had 43 catches last year, while tight
has switched from receiver to corner in
hopes of addressing the situation.
2008 Finish
end Brad Taylor (35) and wide receivers The Bears do return some experience
Thomas White and David Gettis (31) also on the defensive line, led by defensive ends STRENGTHS
topped the 30-catch mark. Leon Freeman, who led Baylor in tackles Baylor’s offensive line will be anchored by
Defensively, Baylor is switching to a for loss (9.5), and Jason Lamb as well as arguably one of the Big 12 Conference’s top tackle
4-3 alignment after playing a 4-2-5 scheme defensive tackle Vincent Rhodes and nose tandems in seniors Jason Smith (6-5, 298) and Dan
Gay (6-5, 290). Regarded as the best pro prospect for
under Morriss. A change was probably tackle Trey Bryant.
the Bears since cornerback Gary Baxter was selected
in order as the Bears ranked No. 112 “We’ve got speed on defense. Were not
in the second round of the 2001 NFL draft, Smith
nationally in scoring defense (37 points per inventing that, everyone is doing it,” Briles
heads into the season with 29 career starts. New
game) and No. 110 in total defense (461.6 said. “We’re going to pack some guys on
coach Art Briles said Smith, Gay and junior center
yards per game) in 2007. the field and make the field look small.
J.D. Walton are going to be “the heart and soul” of
Junior safety Jordan Lake is one of five That’s what our key is and we’ve got some
BU’s offense.
defensive starters returning, leading the guys who are playing with a high tempo
team with 120 tackles last season, tying and a fast motor and that is what they’ve
QUESTION MARKS
him for third in the Big 12. Pawelek was got to do.” While repair work is needed in the secondary
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (3-9), Big 12 Finish (0-8) where two new starting cornerbacks need to be
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 at TCU L 0-27
identified, the results of the quarterback competition
8/30/08 Wake Forest Waco, Texas 9/8 Rice W 42-17
9/6/08 Northwestern State Waco, Texas 9/15 Texas St. W 34-27 will obviously have a huge impact on Baylor’s
9/13/08 Washington State Waco, Texas 9/22 at Buffalo W 34-21 season. Junior Blake Szymanski started nine games
9/19/08 at Connecticut Storrs, Conn. 9/29 at Texas A&M L 10-34 and passed for 2,844 yards and 22 touchdowns last
10/4/08 Oklahoma Waco, Texas 10/6 Colorado L 23-43
10/13 at Kansas L 10-58
year, but was inconsistent at times. Miami (Fla.)
10/11/08 Iowa State Waco, Texas
10/18/08 at Oklahoma State Stillwater, Okla. 10/20 Texas L 10-31 transfer Kirby Freeman will also get a look while true
10/25/08 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 10/27 at Kansas St. L 13-51 freshman Robert Griffin opened some eyes with his
11/1/08 Missouri Waco, Texas 11/3 Texas Tech L 7-38
spring performance.
11/8/08 at Texas Austin, Texas 11/10 at Oklahoma L 21-52
11/15/08 Texas A&M Waco, Texas 11/17 Oklahoma St. L 14-45
11/29/08 at Texas Tech Lubbock, Texas DIFFERENCE-MAKER
It appears highly touted wide receiver David
Gettis might finally be ready to live up to the hype.
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART While the 6-4, 213-pound junior from Los Angeles
Offense Defense
WR David Gettis 6-4 206 Jr. DE Leon Freeman 6-2 241 Sr. has been blessed with all the physical tools, he was
Luke La Mar 6-2 191 So. Jameon Hardeman 6-1 238 So. fifth on the team with 31 receptions for 402 yards
LT Jason Smith 6-5 298 Sr. DT Vincent Rhodes 6-2 305 Sr. last year. In the spring, however, Briles said Gettis
Jordan Hearvey 6-4 281 Jr. Sam Sledge 6-2 266 Jr.
LG Chris Griesenbeck 6-6 268 Jr. NT Trey Bryant 6-3 321 Jr. flashed plenty of promise. “We’re in the process of
Courtney Green 6-4 287 Fr. Nicolas Jean-Baptiste 6-2 317 Fr. showing him how to play with power and speed,”
C J.D. Walton 6-3 302 Jr. DE Jason Lamb 6-6 260 Jr.
Briles said. “And once he figures that out … he’ll be
Hunter Hightower 6-5 268 Fr. Zac Scotton 6-6 259 Fr.
RG James Barnard 6-4 286 Jr. SLB Antonio Jones 6-2 218 Jr. a dominant receiver. Dominant.”
John Jones 6-5 305 Fr. Earl Patin 6-2 220 So.
RT Dan Gay 6-5 288 Sr. MLB Joe Pawelek 6-3 233 Jr.
Larry Bradley 6-5 291 Fr. Chris Francis 5-11 225 So.
FEELING LEFT OUT
TE Justin Akers 6-5 231 Jr. WLB Antonio Johnson 6-1 206 So. Baylor is the lone Big 12 Conference team that has
Brad Taylor 6-3 233 So. Elliot Coffey 6-0 206 Fr. failed to make a bowl appearance since the league’s
QB Robert Griffin 6-3 200 Fr. CB Dwain Crawford 6-0 197 Sr.
-or- Kirby Freeman 6-3 210 Sr. Antareis Bryan 6-1 180 So.
inception in 1996. In fact, the only BCS conference
-or- Blake Szymansky 6-4 205 Jr. FS Jordan Lake 6-2 203 Jr. team with a longer bowl drought is Vanderbilt, which
RB Jay Finley 5-11 202 So. Jake La Mar 6-0 193 Sr. finished 5-7 last year to extend its bowless streak to
Jacoby Jones 5-11 227 Sr. SS Jeremy Williams 5-10 205 Jr.
WR Ernest Smith 6-3 187 Jr. Marlon Price 6-2 194 Sr. 25 years. The last time the Bears appeared in a bowl
Kyle Mitchell 6-2 224 Jr. CB Krys Buerck 6-1 174 So. game was in 1994 when they finished 7-5 after a 10-3
WR Thomas White 6-2 204 Sr. Cliff Odom 5-11 194 So. Alamo Bowl loss to Washington State under coach
Justin Fenty 5-10 178 Jr. P Derek Epperson 6-3 212 So.
PK Shea Brewster 6-0 167 So. Shea Brewster 6-0 167 So. Chuck Reedy.
Derek Epperson 6-3 212 So.

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Non-Conference Opponent

western michigan Aug. 30 at Lincoln, Neb.


Broncos
Western Michigan head themselves. Their 5-7 record wasn’t up to the throw for over 3,000 yards (3,021) and added
coach Bill Cubit has some standards of the 7-4 mark in 2005 or the 8-5 20 touchdowns to boot.
idea what his team will be record in 2006 when Western Michigan went “This is really his fourth year in the system,”
facing when he brings the to the International Bowl where it dropped a Cubit said of Hiller. “He should have a good
Broncos into Lincoln to 27-24 decision to Cincinnati. grasp of it by now. He’s a tall guy at about 6-5,
face the Huskers on Aug. 30. “Last year, we lost four games in the last and he doesn’t have great arm strength, but his
Cubit remembers Memorial Stadium two minutes,” Cubit said. “The year before, accuracy has gotten a lot better.”
from back in 2000 when he was offensive we won four games in the last two minutes. It Hiller’s statistics look pretty good, at least
coordinator at Missouri. The Tigers came to goes back to how they handle adversity. They until you see the 15 interceptions he threw.
Lincoln that year and absorbed a 42-24 defeat. didn’t do that really well last year. It goes back “He didn’t play real well last year even
But Cubit said he loved though he threw for over
the atmosphere at Memorial 3,000 yards,” Cubit said.
Stadium. “He would admit the same
“When I was at Missouri, thing. He’s No. 1 going into
it was one of my favorite fall camp unless something
places to play in the drastic happens.”
country,” Cubit said. “I’m Junior Brandon West is a
sure it will be a lot more solid No. 1 at running back as
electric now than when I was well, even though he missed
back there.” the spring game with a slight
That’s because that Aug. knee injury. West rushed for
30 game will be the season 848 yards on 183 carries (4.4
opener for the Huskers and per attempt) a year ago and
new head coach Bo Pelini. set a school record with 2,119
Cubit said that will give the all-purpose yards.
atmosphere an extra shot of Cubit also likes back-ups
adrenaline. like Kirk Elsworth and Glenis
Cubit said the Broncos Thompson. Thompson
haven’t experienced anything gained 127 yards on 36
like they will face in Lincoln, carries.
even though they have “We’re probably about as
experience playing in large deep as we’ve been at running
venues. back since I’ve been here,”
The Broncos went into Cubit said.
Iowa City and beat the The wide receiving corps
Hawkeyes 28-19 last year is led by Jamarko Simmons.
to keep Iowa out of a bowl The 6-2, 234-pound junior,
game. In 2006, Western who was a first-team
Michigan won 17-10 at jamarko simmons All-MAC selection as a
Virginia and lost a tough sophomore, caught 84 passes
28-20 decision at Florida State. to senior leadership. They have to understand for 980 yards and six touchdowns in 2007.
“We went on the road and we beat Virginia how hard it is. Hopefully we got through that “He has had some success here,” Cubit said.
and we beat Iowa,” Cubit said. “We went to last year.” “He’s a pretty good player. I wouldn’t say he’s a
Florida State and we were close. But this is The Broncos have a proven leader at burner, but he does some nice things.”
going to be a different deal. I think it will be quarterback in Tim Hiller. The redshirt junior The offensive line is a work in progress. The
pretty electric with Bo back. You can see the started all 12 games a year ago. He completed Broncos lost three starters from a year ago, but
hunger in them.” 267-of-421 passes (63.4 percent) and became return Anthony Parker who is moving from
But the Broncos may be a little hungry the first Western Michigan quarterback to right tackle to left tackle and Phillip Swanson

1 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
who started all 12 games last year as a time or another. They have a lot of game
redshirt freshmen at left guard.
Nick Mitchell and Paul Wasikowski,
experience.”
The Broncos will feature four-year
Broncos at a Glance
who started three games at guard last starter Zach Davidson at one defensive end affiliation
season, are the front runners at center. with two-year starter Greg Marshall at the Mid-American Conference
Cubit said Nick Clemens and Lee Pethan other. Davidson and Marshall led Western
are battling it out at right guard. Andy Michigan with 6.5 sacks apiece in 2007. STRENGTHS
Laue, who started 11 games last year, and Tackle Nick Varcadipane and tackle With a load of experience returning, the defense
Rob Johnson are the top two at right tackle. Cory Flom are also four-year starters. would appear to be a strength for the Broncos. With
“What I like is they’re young but eager,” Weakside linebacker Boston McCornell Zach Davidson and Greg Marshall crashing from
Cubit said of the offensive line. “There’s a led the Broncos with 99 tackles, including their defensive end spots, the Broncos should be able
hunger there with them that I really like. eight for losses. Middle linebacker Dustin to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Davidson
They’re young kids who want to get better Duclo was third a year ago with 74 tackles. and Marshall combined for 13 of the team’s 28 sacks
every day.” Austin Pritchard started the first game in 2008.
Tight end Brandon Ledbetter caught 38 a year ago at strongside linebacker and led
passes for 550 yards a year ago. the team with 11 tackles, but missed the QUESTION MARKS
Cubit expects good things from his remainder of the season with an injury. The offensive line needs to be reworked this sea-
defense this season. The Broncos return a C.J. Wilson is another four-year starter son. Coach Bill Cubit thinks Anthony Parker, who is
number of players who have been starters in the defensive backfield. Londen Fryar , moving from right tackle to left, will be able to handle
since their freshman season. the son of former Nebraska All-American those important duties on the other side of the line.
“We’re really old on defense,” Cubit Irving Fryar, is a three-year starter at Still, with players being added and moved, it may
said. “We played 34 freshmen the first year cornerback with four-year starter E.J. take a little time for the Broncos to develop chemistry
I was here. Fourteen of them started at one Biggers at the other corner. up front.
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (5-7), MAC Finish (3-4)
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 @ West Virginia L 24-62 DIFFERENCE-MAKERs
8/30/08 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 9/8 Indiana L 27-37
9/6/08 Northern Illinois Kalamazoo, Mich. 9/15 @ Missouri L 24-52 Quarterback Tim Hiller will be a key player the of-
9/13/08 at Idaho Moscow, Idaho 9/22 Cen. Conn. St. W 51-14 fensive side of the ball as he tries to cut down on his
9/20/08 Tennessee Tech Kalamazoo, Mich. 9/29 @ Toledo W 42-28 15 interceptions from a year ago. Cornerback Londen
9/27/08 at Temple Philadelphia, Pa. 10/6 Akron L 38-39
10/4/08 Ohio Kalamazoo, Mich. 10/13 at N. Illinois W 17-13 Fryar led the team with 16 pass breakups last season.
10/11/08 at Buffalo Buffalo, N.Y. 10/20 Ball State L 23-27
10/18/08 at Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, Mich. 10/27 @ Eastern Michigan L 2-19 kicking questions
11/1/08 Eastern Michigan Kalamazoo, Mich. 11/6 Central Michigan L 31-34
11/8/08 Illinois Detroit, Mich. 11/17 @ Iowa W 28-19  Junior Chris Kelly is listed as the Broncos’ kicker
11/15/08 Toledo Kalamazoo, Mich. 11/24 Temple W 16-3 for next season, but Cubit said things could change in
11/25/08 at Ball State Muncie, Ind. the fall. He said incoming freshman John Potter was
the No. 1-rated punter in Michigan and No. 2 in the
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART Midwest. As of now, redshirt freshman Ben Armer
will handle the punting duties.
Offense Defense
LT Anthony Parker 6-5 305 Fr. LDE Greg Marshall 6-0 245 Sr.
Steve Elingsen 6-4 307 Sr. Fernand Kashama 6-3 221 Sr. tough schedule
LG Phillip Swanson 6-4 307 So. NG Cody Cielenski 6-2 290 Jr.
The Broncos’ 5-7 mark last year may not seem too
Josh Droppers 6-3 295 Fr. Cory Flom 6-4 276 Sr.
C Nick Mitchell 6-1 290 So. DT Nick Varcadipane 6-2 285 Sr. impressive at first glance. However, Western Michi-
Paul Wasikowski 6-3 291 Jr. Chris Pyant 6-3 269 So. gan had the 10th toughest schedule among non-Bowl
RG Nick Clemens 6-5 307 So. RDE Zach Davidson 6-2 239 Sr.
Championship Series teams in 2007. The Broncos
Lee Pethan 6-4 295 Fr. Justin Braska 6-4 234 Jr.
RT Rob Johnson 6-5 338 Sr. WLB Boston McCornell 6-1 233 played five teams that participated in bowl games,
Andy Laue 6-4 295 Jr. Harrison Porter 6-0 220 So. including Cotton Bowl winner Missouri.
WR X Jordan White 6-0 206 So. SLB Austin Pritchard 6-4 233 Jr.
Deshon Lawrence 6-0 175 Fr. Scott Gajos 6-0 233 Jr.
WR T Jamarko Simmons 6-2 234 Sr. HB E.J. Biggers 6-0 180 Sr.
Jamelle Murray 5-8 167 So. David Lewis 5-10 170 So.
TE Braden Ledbetter 6-5 230 Sr. FS Louis Deimas 5-11 196 Sr.
Anthony Middleton 6-4 215 So. Andy Dorcely 6-0 194 Jr.
WR Z Schneider Julien 5-10 175 Sr. SS C.J. Wilson 6-2 206 Sr.
Juan Nunez 6-0 172 So. Mario Armstrong 6-0 188 So.
QB Tm Hiller 6-5 228 Jr. CB Londen Fryar 5-11 192 Sr.
Robert Amheim 6-2 180 Fr. Desman Stephen 6-0 190 Sr.
RB Brandon West 5-10 169 Jr.
Glenis Thompson 5-8 210 J

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Non-Conference Opponent

san jose state Sept. 6 at Lincoln, Neb.


Spartans
The bad news for San McClymonds High School in Oakland, Calif., Conference play.
Jose State coach Dick when he committed to Cal in 2004. Reed was “This is the first time that San Jose State has
Tomey is that the Spartans redshirted his first year at Cal, then didn’t had two .500-or-better seasons in the conference
will enter fall practice see any playing time in 2006. He decided to back-to-back,” Tomey said. “Sometimes the
still looking for a No. 1 transfer to San Jose State last August when most gratifying seasons are not the ones where
quarterback. the Bears named Nate Longshore as the No. 2 you have the most wins, necessarily.”
The good news is Tomey has some good quarterback. The Spartans are hoping for even more
quarterbacks to choose from to replace the “What we have to do is make some tough this season even though they will have to do it
graduated Adam Tafralis. decisions in the fall about who gets the reps,” without Tafralis, who finished his career with
The top candidates are returners Myles Tomey said. “Certainly Kyle will get his school records for career total offense, passing
Eden and sophomore Jordan La Secla along opportunity, because he deserves that and his yards and completions.
with Kyle Reed, a transfer Whoever ends up as his
from Cal. replacement will have a
None of the San Jose couple of experienced wide
State quarterbacks lit things receivers to throw to. Kevin
up in the spring game. Reed Jurovich caught 86 passes
missed the spring game with for 1,183 yards and nine
a foot injury while Eden, touchdowns last year while
La Secla and senior Sean David Richmond caught 55
Flynn combined to complete passes for 852 yards and 3
11-of-28 passes for 108 yards touchdowns.
in a game dominated by the Both players showed
Spartans’ defense. great promise in their first
Eden completed 7-of-15 action at receiver last year.
passes for 30 yards while Jurovich played as a
La Secla was 8 for 18 for 64 defensive back his first two
yards and Flynn 10 for 17 for years at San Jose State before
56 yards in the spring game. moving to receiver prior
Eden has a head start in to last season. Richmond
the competition. He had didn’t take up football until
seven carries for 33 yards enrolling at Santa Ana
in the Spartans’ 34-14 loss Community College and
to Kansas State early in caught one pass in his only
the season. He completed game there.
his first three passes in that “Kevin was an amazing
game, all three to Tafralis competitor for a young man
who lined up as a wide that never caught a pass
receiver. until (last) year,” Tomey
“I would say Myles Eden said. “He was kind of like
is ahead,” Tomey said. “He David Richmond. If you
did a wonderful job for us look at David two years ago
kevin jurovich
last year. He’s a consistent as a receiver, he caught one
playmaker. Last year, he did a great job against injury was unfortunate. There’s no question pass or something his freshman year of junior
Kansas State. When we put him in, he did a that Myles is No. 1 right now, but that doesn’t college. Kevin didn’t catch a pass (in 2007)
great job throughout the year. mean anything beyond that.” obviously since he was playing defense.”
“He’s doing what we ask him to do. His Tomey said Eden picked up some big The Spartans must replace both starting
running ability was a major factor in our last yards for the Spartans in their 27-24 win over running backs from last year. Former safety
game against Nevada.” Nevada that allowed the Spartans to finish the Dominique Hunsucker, Chris Reese and
Reed was a highly sought prospect out of season 5-7 overall and 4-4 in Western Athletic Cameron Island are the leading contenders

1 1 0 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
heading into the season. “None of those guys practiced this
“The picture in the fall, hopefully,
will look a lot different,” Tomey said.
spring,” he said. “Those guys will all be in
the mix.”
Spartans at a Glance
“I’ve been pleased with Dom Hunsucker. The Spartans return six players on the affiliation
Chris Reese has done some good things. defensive side of the ball, including four Western Athletic Conference
Cameron Island played better in the spring on the defensive line in Jarron Gilbert
than since he’s been here. and Adonis Davis inside and ends Carl
QUESTION MARKS
“I think we have a chance to have a Ihenacho and Justin Cole.
Who is going to replace Adam Tafralis at quar-
good situation, but we’re counting on Ihenacho led San Jose State with five
terback is the most important question the Spartans
several guys. If none of that works out, sacks a year ago.
must answer this fall. It appears either Myles Eden or
with the guys we have now, we’ll still be Cornerback Christopher Owens and
functional.” safety Duke Ihenacho return in the Cal transfer Kyle Reed are the most likely candidates.

San Jose State returns three starters up defensive backfield. The Spartans must also replace their top two running
front in tackle Fred Koloto, guard Isaac Tomey liked what he saw from former backs.
Leatiota and center Ronnie Castillo. running back turned linebacker Mohamed
The Spartans were short handed up Marah, defensive end Liam Smith and DIFFERENCE-MAKERs
front during spring practice because of defensive tackle Kalvin Cressel. Wide receivers Kevin Jurovich and David
injuries to players like Justin Paysinger, Jon “He (Marah) moved to linebacker and Richmond, the top two pass catchers from last year,
Moreno, Bradis McGriff amd Jon Konye. lost 40 pounds,” Tomey said. “He’s really are both back. Place-kicker Jared Strubeck was a
Tomey said he expects Moreno to be shown some good stuff. Liam Smith was
perfect 22-for-22 in extra-point tries a year ago and
a starter at one tackle, while McGriff and not a major contributor last year, but has
stands second all-time on the school’s career field
Konye will battle for a starting spot at the really done a nice job. Kalvin Cressel – the
goal list with 30. Defensive back Coye Francies, a
other tackle. same way.”
transfer from Oregon State, returned 22 kickoffs for
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (5-7), WAC Finish (4-4)
Date Opponent / Event Location 9/1 at Arizona St. L 3-45 453 yards for the Beavers in 2006.
8/30/08 UC Davis San Jose, Calif. 9/8 at Kansas St. L 14-34
9/6/08 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 9/15 at Stanford L 0-37
9/13/08 San Diego State San Jose, Calif. 9/22 at Utah St. W 23-20 short on scholarships
9/20/08 at Stanford Palo Alto, Calif. 9/29 UC Davis W 34-14 The Spartans were hurt by the NCAA’s new Aca-
9/27/08 at Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii 10/6 Idaho W 28-20
demic Progress Report. The NCAA took away seven
10/11/08 Utah State San Jose, Calif. 10/12 Hawaii L 35-42
10/18/08 at New Mexico State Las Cruces, N.M. 10/20 at Fresno St. L 0-30 scholarships because of poor academic performances.
10/24/08 Boise State San Jose, Calif. 11/3 at Boise St. L 7-42
That means the Spartans, who brought in 18 players
11/1/08 at Idaho Moscow, Idaho 11/10 NMSU W 51-17
11/8/08 Louisiana Tech San Jose, Calif. 11/17 at La. Tech L 23-27 in this year’s recruiting class, may be hurting for
11/15/08 at Nevada Reno, Nev. 11/24 Nevada W 27-24 depth in the next couple of years.
11/21/08 Fresno State San Jose, Calif.

tomey says
TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART Dick Tomey, now in his third season as head
Offense Defense coach, is still at San Jose State, although rumors in
WR David Richmond 6-4, 200, Sr. DE Jeff Schweiger 6-5 285 Sr.
Josh Harrison 5-11 170 Fr. Liam Smith 6-5 250 Jr. January had him headed for the University of Hawaii
LT Fred Koloto 6-3 290 So. DT Jarron Gilbert 6-6 280 Sr.
Andres Vargas 6-4 280 Fr. Aaron Gilbert 6-3 290 Jr. as a replacement for coach June Jones or possibly
LG Isaac Leatiota 6-4 295 So. DT Kalvin Cressel 6-4 282 Jr. as athletic director. Tomey, now 69, may like to try
Joe Zusin 6-5 310 Jr. Justin Willis 6-1 305 Jr.
C Ronnie Castillo 6-0 292 Jr. or Adonis Davis 6-1 295 Jr. leading a big-time program one more time before he
Robbie Reed 6-3 290 So. DE Carl Ihenacho 6-3 245 Jr.
RG Ailao Eliapo 6-2 320 So. Marcus Keli 6-2 250 Jr. retires. Tomey coached at Hawaii 1977 to 1986 and at
Steve Lightsy 6-4 350 Jr. LB Duke Ihenacho 6-1 200 So. Arizona from from 1987 to 2000.
RT Jon Moreno 6-4 280 Jr. Dimitrous Chattman 6-0 190 Sr.
Bradis McGriff 6-6 355 Sr. LB Travis Jones 6-1 220 Jr.
TE Jeff Clark 6-5 250 Sr. Jason Swisher 6-0 216 So.
Brian Elledge 6-3 230 Sr. LB Justin Cole 6-3 240 Jr. bowl bound?
QB Myles Eden 6-1 182 Jr. Mohamed Marah 6-0 242 Jr. The Spartans will be shooting for their second
Sean Flynn 6-4 220 Sr. or Kyler O’Neal 6-0 213 Fr.
or Jordan LaSecla 6-3 198 So. CB Christopher Owens 5-10 170 Sr. bowl in three years this season. They defeated New
or Kyle Reed 6-3 215 Jr. Devin Newsome 5-10 165 So.
RB James Callier 6-0 225 Sr. CB Coye Francies 6-1 185 Sr. Mexico 20-12 in the 2006 New Mexico Bowl. It may
Philip Knight 6-1 225 Jr. Austin Carter 5-10 170 Jr. be tough for San Jose State to move into the top two
RB Dominique Hunsucker 5-10 194 Jr. S Andrew Ryan 6-0 195 Sr.
Chris Reese 5-9 205 Jr. Pompey Festejo 6-0 200 So. in the conference after being outscored, 72-7, by
or Cameron Island 5-9 187 Jr. or Jay Atkins 6-0 185 So.
WR Kevin Jurovich 6-0 183 Sr. S Devin Newsome 5-10 165 So. Boise State and Fresno State last year, but a winning
Michael Avila 5-9 165 Fr. Kyle Flynn 6-2 205 Sr. record and a bowl bid certainly appear possible.
WR Jalal Beauchman 6-4 220 Jr.
Terrance Williams 6-5 225 Jr.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1 1 1
Non-Conference Opponent

new mexico state Sept. 13 at Lincoln, Neb.

Aggies
New Mexico State will Nwoko. Mumme took Kentucky to two bowl games
bring an unusual defense to Safety Derrick Richardson and defensive in six years before moving on to Southeastern
Lincoln when the Aggies face back Davon House are back to anchor the Louisiana for two seasons. He took over the
Nebraska on Sept. 13. defensive backfield. New Mexico State job in 2005 and went 0-12
Head coach Hal Mumme Mumme said he liked what he saw from his first year.
wanted something different, so when Woody both the defense and Dunn during spring The Aggies improved to 4-8 in 2006 and
Widenhofer retired after last season, Mumme practices. were 4-9 last season despite suffering a slew
hired veteran coach Joe Lee Dunn as his “He’s a veteran coach,” Mumme said. of injuries that contributed to their five-game
defensive coordinator. Dunn’s specialty is the “He’s been good everywhere. I really like his losing streak at the end of the season.
3-3-5 defense. enthusiasm. He gets guys to the football and The key returning player for the Aggies
“I’m excited about having Joe Lee Dunn they make tackles. is quarterback Chase Holbrook. The senior
as our defensive coordinator,” Mumme said. “He’s just a great coach running that 3-3-5. had a huge year in 2007 when he threw for
“I wanted to stay with an odd defense and It’s a scheme that’s hard to contend with.” 3,866 yards passing and ranked fifth in the
because of our personnel, I thought the 3-3-5 The defense may be improved, but offense nation in total offense with 322.6 yards per
would be a good fit. Who better game. Holbrook has already set
to put that in but the guy who school records for passing yards,
invented it?” touchdowns and total offense in
Dunn has had success every- a career.
where he’s been. He served as Holbrook had some big games
defensive coordinator at Memphis for the Aggies, including 47
from 1989 to 1991, and later re- completions for 473 yards and
turned to the Tigers in the spring four touchdowns in a 44-34 loss to
of 2003 after six years at Missis- New Mexico last season.
sippi State. Memphis immediately With Holbrook leading the
went from near the bottom of the way, offense wasn’t a problem for
NCAA rankings to a top 10 finish the Aggies. They were fifth in the
the next fall. nation in passing offense per game
Dunn also spent a year as de- (331.9) and 35th in total offense
fensive coordinator at Arkansas, per game (423.5).
where the Razorbacks were fifth Holbrook was injured early in
nationally against the run, and a loss to Boise State, then missed
earlier in his career was defensive the following game, a 22-21 loss to
coordinator at South Carolina. Louisiana Tech.
In 1987, the Gamecocks were in Holbrook flirted briefly with
the top three nationally in all five the NFL draft, but Mumme said
major defensive categories. he was told he would probably
Mumme said the 3-3-5 has be a fifth rounder or so. Mumme
been a big part of Dunn’s success said Holbrook should have a good
everywhere he’s been. chance to go much higher after his
“There aren’t a lot of those senior season.
guys around who know that chris williams “I think if he had stayed
defense,” Mumme said. “Our first healthy, we probably would have
goal is to get Joe Lee and his guys comfortable. has always been Mumme’s specialty. Kentucky gone to a bowl game,” Mumme said. “If that
We’re not there, but we’re getting close.” found that out when the Wildcats hired him as had happened, he might have shot up there a
The Aggies return seven defensive starters their head coach in 1997. lot higher. His only problem is we haven’t won
from last year’s team, including defensive end The next year, Kentucky went from being enough games. He’s missed four games in two
Rhyan Anderson up front along with lineback- 109th in the nation in total offense to sixth and years.
ers La’Auli Fonoti, Jamar Cotton and Chris beat Alabama for the first time in 75 years. “But he’s 6-5 and 246. He throws every ball

1 1 2 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
well. He’s really smart and he knows the Norman, Kyle Smith and Joel Buschmann
game.”
Holbrook will have plenty of targets to
are all battling for the tackle positions.
“We have some young kids who red-
Aggies at a Glance
throw at this season. Senior receiver Chris shirted around here,” Mumme said. “They affiliation
Williams returns to be one of Holbrook’s have kind of grown up. There’s a good Western Athletic Conference
top targets. Williams played in just eight battle between four of them for the two
games last season because of an injury, tackle spots.”
STRENGTHS
but was still a second-team all-conference The running back spot is up for grabs
The Aggies are loaded at wide receiver with Chris
selection and a Biletnikoff Award finalist with Tony Glynn, Seth Smith and Brandon
Williams and A.J. Harris returning from injuries. Wes
for the top receiver in the nation. Perez leading the way. Mumme said Perez
Neiman had a good 2007 season as well. Quarterback
Williams averaged 96.5 yards receiving may well play at fullback again this season.
per game and 13.8 per catch. “It’s a pretty good contest between is also a strong position for New Mexico State, at

Senior AJ Harris caught 81 passes for Brandon Perez and Seth Smith,” Mumme least as long as senior Chase Holbrook stays healthy.
611 yards in 2007 and broke the school said “Tony was a starter last year but Holbrook was projected as a fifth-round selection this
record for receptions in a career with 191. missed five games. He had a good season spring if he had entered the NFL draft. He’ll likely go
Sophomore Wes Neiman caught 44 as a sophomore but he got injured.” much higher if he has a good senior season.
passes for 423 yards last year as a redshirt Mumme said the Aggies worked hard
freshman. during spring practice to improve their QUESTION MARKS
The Aggies return three of their starting depth on offense. There are plenty of questions with Rhyan
offensive linemen from last year in right “Offensively, we wanted to work on our
Anderson, who began his college career at Miami,
guard Polo Gutierrez, left guard Chuck depth,” Mumme said. “We were pretty
returning on the defensive line. The Aggies return
Taylor and center Richie Bolin. good last year until we got hurt. Then we
three starters on the offensive line, but have to replace
Mumme said Patrick Blount, David kind of struggled.”
both tackles, including the all-important left tackle
2008 Schedule 2007 Record (4-9), WAC Finish (1-7)
Date Opponent / Event Location 8/30 SE Louisiana W 35-14 spot where a pair of redshirt sophomores are leading
9/4/08 Nicholls State Las Cruces, N.M. 9/8 at New Mexico L 34-44 the way in Kyle Smith and Joel Buschmann.
9/13/08 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 9/15 UTEP W 29-24
9/20/08 at UTEP El Paso, Texas 9/22 at Auburn L 20-55
9/27/08 New Mexico Las Cruces, N.M. 9/29 Arkansas PB W 20-17 unusual defense
10/11/08 at Nevada Reno, Nev. 10/7 at Boise St. L 0-58
The Aggies may be much improved on defense
10/18/08 San Jose State Las Cruces, N.M. 10/13 at La.Tech L 21-22
10/25/08 at Idaho Moscow, Idaho 10/20 Idaho W 45-31 with veteran coach Joe Lee Dunn taking over, but
11/1/08 Boise State Las Cruces, N.M. 10/27 at Hawaii L 13-50
the players must first learn the unusual 3-3-5 Dunn
11/8/08 Hawaii Las Cruces, N.M. 11/2 Nevada L 38-40
11/15/08 at Fresno State Fresno, Calif. 11/10 @ San Jose St. L 17-51 teaches. Its a defense opponents don’t see very often,
11/22/08 Louisiana Tech Las Cruces, N.M. 11/17 Utah St. L 17-35 and that should work to the advantage of the Aggies.
11/29/08 at Utah State Logan, Utah 11/30 Fresno St. L 23-30

coach on the hot seat?


TENTATIVE DEPTH CHART Coach Hal Mumme’s program has certainly
Offense Defense improved since the 0-12 record in his first season back
QB Chase Holbrook 6-5 240 Sr. LT Rhyan Anderson 6-4 280 Sr.
J.J. McDermott 6-5 220 So. Sioeli Fakalata 6-3 312 Jr. in 2005. But eight wins in two years isn’t what New
RB Tony Glynn 5-8 190 Jr. NG E.J.Cannon 6-0 305 Jr. Mexico State fans or the administration expected
Seth Smith 5-9 200 Jr. Justen Alford 6-1 221 Jr.
FB Brandon Perez 5-9 233 Jr. RT Oren Long 6-2 245 Sr.
when Mumme was hired. The Aggies had a couple
FL Chris Williams 5-8 157 Sr. Chris Romero 6-4 257 Jr. of tough losses to Nevada (40-38) and Fresno State
LaVorick Williams 6-3 178 Fr. MLB Nick Paden 6-3 235 Jr.
(30-23) last year as well as a bunch of injuries that
SE A.J. Harris 6-0 208 Sr. Chris Nwoko 6-1 230 Sr.
Julius Fleming 5-8 170 Fr. LOB La’Auli Fonoti 6-4 253 Sr. helped slow the team’s progress.
SLT Marcus Anderson 5-7 170 Jr. Jason Scott 5-10 200 Jr.
Wes Neiman 5-10 185 So. ROB Ross Conner 5-10 215 Jr.
TE Kyle Nelson 6-4 228 So. Jamar Cotton 6-0 216 Jr. running men
Ryan Franzoy 6-4 238 So. RCB Marvin Betts 5-9 170 Sr. The Aggies are known as a passing team, but
RT Patrick Blount 6-3 270 So. Ben Bradley 5-10 180 Fr.
David Norman 6-5 300 Jr. LCB Davon House 6-0 168 So. Mumme is looking to improve the running game. He
LT Kyle Smith 6-6 323 So. Marc Waters 5-10 180 Fr. lost Justine Buries, one of the team’s leading rushers
Joel Buschmann 6-3 286 So. LB Brennan Baiamonte 6-0 204 Sr.
LG Joe Suder 6-6 330 Jr. Baer Philipbar 5-10 194 So.
the past two years, after he transferred to Hofstra.
Chuck Taylor 6-3 345 So. RB Alfonso Powell 5-9 176 So. But Tony Glynn, who missed time late last year with
C Richard Bolin 6-1 291 Sr. Vince Butler 5-10 177 Sr.
a broken ankle, returns and junior college transfers
Joe Palmer 6-3 313 Jr. FS Derrick Richardson 5-11 190 Sr.
RG Polo Gutierrez 6-2 304 Sr. Kenny Evora 6-4 218 So. Marquell Colston and Seth Smith could push for
Michael Grady 6-3 320 Fr. playing time as well.

w w w.husk ersillustrated.com J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D 1 1 3
Non-Conference Opponent

virginia tech Sept. 27 at Lincoln, Neb.


Hokies
Virginia Tech has disappointed if we rotated. If that’s the case, on incoming freshman Ryan Williams, who
no clear-cut No. 1 I’ll do what I can to help this team win.” was rated the No. 4 running back prospect by
quarterback heading The Hokies are still looking for answers at ESPN.com/Scouts, Inc.
into fall practice, but running back after last year’s leading rusher “We’re going to give him a shot in there,”
there is definitely a top two. Branden Ore (287 carries for 992 yards) was Beamer said. “Before it’s over, I think we’ll be
When the Hokies visit Lincoln on Sept. dismissed from the team during the offseason. OK. There are still question marks of who is
27, either senior Sean Glennon or sophomore Things got even tougher for Beamer when where and who’s going to be one, who’s going
Tyrod Taylor will be behind center. junior Kenny Lewis, who was listed No. 1 on to be two, who’s going to be three. But we’re
Or, possibly both. the depth chart, was lost for four to six months dealing with some good kids and some good
That’s what veteran coach Frank Beamer did with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. talent.”
in 2007. Glennon was a more affective passer That was followed by junior Jahre The Hokies, who rebuilt their offensive line
(143-of-225, 1,796 yards, 12 TDs) than Taylor Cheeseman’s broken leg later in spring practice. a year ago, appear to be strong up front this
(72-of-136, 927 yards, 5 season. They return both
TDs), but Taylor could do it offensive guards in Sergio
on the ground. Render and Nick Marshmann
Taylor was the team’s along with tackle Ed Wang
second leading rusher with and center Ryan Shuman
429 yards on 102 carries who missed spring practice
(4.2 per try). with a knee injury.
Although Glennon Beamer said the offensive
outperformed Taylor in the line had a good spring as a
spring game, Beamer said whole.
no decision would be made “Overall, the effort was
until the fall. good,” Beamer said. “I think
“We feel like we have the offensive line got a little
two good quarterbacks, two tougher. I think we showed
really good quarterbacks,” better as a group. We know
Beamer said. “What we’re we have to continue to
going to do with them is work.”
yet to be determined. We’re The Hokies also must
going to carry that battle replace every receiver that
over into the fall, but we feel caught a pass last year.
good about that. Beamer said junior Brandon
“We are fortunate. Dillard showed a lot during
We have two really good spring drills.
quarterbacks. We’re going “Brandon Dillard had a
to let them continue to really good spring practice,”
compete and see what’s best Beamer said. “He’s a walk-
for them and what’s best for on, but he’s a fast walk-on.
our football team.” He was probably the guy
Glennon won the sean glennon who did the most things you
starting job as a sophomore noticed in the spring game.”
and threw for more than 2,000 yards and 11 “Both Cheeseman and Lewis ended up Beamer also likes junior Ike Whitaker, a
touchdowns that season. Glennon said he getting surgery at the end of spring practice,” converted quarterback.
definitely wants to be the starter again this year. Beamer said. “Cheeseman we feel like will “I’m really pulling for Ike Whitaker,”
“Obviously, I think any quarterback be back fairly quickly. Kenny Lewis’ injury is Beamer said. “He really came on at the end of
would be lying if he said he didn’t want the going to be a little bit longer.” the spring. He was a quarterback. He has a big
job,” Glennon said. “That’s part of being a Beamer said some other younger backs body. He made a really tough catch at the end
competitor. At the same time, I would not be performed well in the spring, and he’s also high of the spring game.”

1 1 4 H U S K E R S I L L U S T R AT E D J U N E / J U LY 2 0 0 8
Virginia Tech has two tight ends back “Our first two linebackers, Warren and
with some starting experience from last
season. Greg Boone caught 11 passes for
Sturdivant I