Off-Season Reads - August 20, 2012

July 26, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers tight end Kyler Reed talks to reporters during the Big Ten media day at the McCormick Place Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-US PRESSWIRE

A run-down of sporting stories from the weekend covering Nebraska athletics, the Big Ten and around the world.

Five walk-ons earn scholarships, Nebraska players chat up the press and the Irish win the "Maryland Uniform Tribute Award" for this fall. Those stories and more below.

12 days to kickoff!

(Sites indicated by the double asterix (**) may have a limited number of views per 30 day/month period.)

Football

Choi Leads Four Other Walk-On ‘Dreams Come True’ - Huskers.com - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site

Head Coach Bo Pelini announced Saturday that five walk-on teammates will go on scholarship - Brett Maher, Spencer Long, Justin Jackson, Justin Blatchford and Seung Hoon Choi...

Congratulations and well-earned!

No. 16 Nebraska - Pre-Snap Read

And for Nebraska, improvement in these areas – passing, blocking, stopping the run, rushing the passer – would mean the difference between another 9-4 season and a Rose Bowl berth. Listen: Nebraska’s not that far off. This team is one of four teams with a realistic shot at winning the Big Ten...

Pre-Snap Read is definitely favoring Michigan State but they aren't ruling out Nebraska.

Hail Varsity: McBride on Cover 2

A very interesting discussion of the possible shifts in coverage we may observe as a result of Nebraska's experience in the defensive backfield.

More Nebraska football and other stories after the Jump!

Huskers need Martinez sharp as passer and runner - College Football News | FOX Sports on MSN

Curious - when players and coaches talk about a so-called "balanced" offense, they're referring to called plays, right?

(**) Fanfare, criticism a part of being a Husker lineman - Omaha.com

Asked to pick an example of a player who gets it, Cotton selected Spencer Long. The son of a brain surgeon, Long began his NU career as a skinny walk-on defensive lineman.

Apparently Barney can coach them. But they need to be smart to start with. I'm sure they're working on trying to figure out where they're being too cute but damn, Cotton is one bad game away from a fully negative storm of public opinion. And that'll only trickle down to the players.

(**) Q&A: Nebraska receiver Jamal Turner - Omaha.com

Q: You ever sneak a peek at the quarterbacks?

A: I'll still be watching them, but those dreams are long gone. I've progressed so much at wide receiver it wouldn't make sense for me to go back to quarterback.

Glad that's settled. Also, sounds like Tommy Armstrong is making a push to be Nebraska QB #1 in the future.

(**) Steven M. Sipple: It's 'go-time' for Norris graduate Jackson : Husker Extra

Best of luck to him on making the starting lineup.

(**) NU's Bell thinks big, and coach concurs - Omaha.com

He'll be an important part of Martinez' quest for 70.

(**) Martin pushing to bring more noise this fall : Husker Extra

Martin, of any of our defensive linemen, seems to be the one most primed to fit in with Kaczenski's "attack" mantra.

(**) Team-first Kreikemeier eagerly awaits turn : Husker Extra

It's a special kind of player that stays with the team despite fate's cruel jokes.

(**) Coaches counsel DE Ankrah to let talent shine through - Omaha.com

Hopefully Jason can find the balance between reckless abandon and sound fundamentals.

(**) NU's Stafford gets past bumps on road to success - Omaha.com

Stafford is my pick for a breakout season.

Hail Varsity: Fisher moves forward

With the weight of one of the most grueling tests an undergraduate can take off his mind, with the injury troubles finally behind him, Fisher’s had a rare opportunity to focus squarely on football this fall.

I think a sixth year depends on how his MCAT went.

Position rankings: Specialists (individual) - Big Ten Blog - ESPN

1. Brett Maher, P/K, Nebraska, senior: Maher led the Big Ten in punting average (44.5 yards per attempt) and tied for first in most field goals made (19, out of 23 attempts). He was named the Big Ten's punter and kicker of the year. Yeah, he's pretty good.

Can't argue.

Position rankings: Specialists (units) - Big Ten Blog - ESPN

1. Nebraska: The obvious and really only pick for the top spot, as the Huskers bring back star kicker/punter Brett Maher and return ace Ameer Abdullah. Special teams should once again be a strength in Lincoln.

Hopefully they'll be matched with a punt/kickoff coverage team to match.

(**) KFAB takes over Big Red Breakfast - Omaha.com
For those of you who may be interested or able.

Volleyball

Huskers Snag Top Spot in Preseason Big Ten Poll - Huskers.com - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site

Well-deserved. Hopefully they can pull off the repeat.

Huskers Battle in Red/White Scrimmage - Huskers.com - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site

Hopefully a preview of an exciting season for Nebraska volleyball!

Non-conference Opponent Update

UCLA Football: Craig Lee, Elite Running Back, Commits To Bruins - SBNation.com

He held, and considered, offers from 10 Pac-12 member schools, as well as Notre Dame and Nebraska, before finally deciding to play in Westwood.

Might change his mind after we play UCLA.

Jim Mora Puts UCLA Football Team In Timeout - From Our Editors - SBNation.com

Think maybe he'll do this in Week 2?

Big Ten

No. 18 Michigan - Pre-Snap Read

Can Michigan maintain the same success with such a putrid special teams unit? Doubt it. (I also am mystified that Pre-Snap Read is going to rank Wisconsin high. Why are we ignoring the fact that DOB isn't Wilson? The offensive coaching staff departures? Mystifying.)

Danny O'Brien to start opener for Badgers - Big Ten Blog - ESPN

Well, glad we settled that. I still don't buy Wisconsin just reloading. They may win the East but only because the other two contenders aren't eligible.

Big Ten preview: Postseason bans for Ohio State, Penn State removes some luster from race - Yahoo! Sports

Toughest schedule: Nebraska. There's a relatively challenging non-conference schedule, which includes games against Southern Miss, Arkansas State and UCLA. The Big Ten crossover opponents that the Huskers miss are Illinois, Indiana and Purdue (i.e., three eminently winnable games); the crossover foes include Ohio State (road) and Wisconsin, the two best teams in the Leaders Division. There also are Legends Division road games against Michigan State, Iowa and Northwestern, which won in Lincoln last season. The one positive: Division foe Michigan visits Lincoln.

A fair review - not once did they make a remark about Taylor's throwing motion!

Other Stories

College Football’s Top 25 Competing for ‘Food Coaches’ to Gain Performance Edge

Thirty years after then head football coach Tom Osborne created the first specialized role for "performance nutrition" at the University of Nebraska, Sports RDs, or "food coaches" as football coaches often refer to them, are finally part and parcel of a well-rounded athletic program, relied upon now to deliver the same level of day-to-day support for athletes that athletic trainers and strength coaches have been providing for decades.

And people say we're backwards?

USC brushes off sanctions to be No. 1 in AP Top 25 - Yahoo! Sports

Nebraska rings in at No. 17. Seems to agree with most of our opinions - we're not top 15 until we see it earned on the field. (A little annoyed that Ohio State is ranked.)

Husker N Side, Crouch Well Trained to be Fox Color Analyst

Good luck.

Auburn Football: RB Jovon Robinson Ruled Ineligible Due To High School Transcript - SBNation.com

Oops.

Notes From Saturday's College Football Scrimmages - SBNation.com

The mothership gets caught up with football from around the BCS.

Hail Varsity: Hot Reads: Special Ops

The Irish have evidently won the "Oregon" award for uniform absurdity this fall.

Notre Dame Reveals Special Uniforms For Soldier Field Game - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Seriously.

***

Join me every morning Monday to Friday for a round-up of the day's stories. Comments, rants and cat pictures are welcome below! (Not a member of CornNation? Join today and take part in the conversation!)

Have a great Thursday!
-Salt Creek and Stadium

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