Only at Nebraska is the starting running back still called the I-back. Sure, the Huskers still run occasionally out of the I formation, but in this era of shotgun spread and pistol formations, the traditional I formation is almost as dated as the veer.
2013 Previews* Quarterbacks
* Wide Receivers
* Tight Ends
* Offensive Line
* Defensive Line
* Special Teams
Returning: Ameer Abdullah, Jr; Braylon Heard, Jr; Imani Cross, So
Incoming: Terrell Newby, Verbal; Adam Taylor, Verbal
Outgoing: Rex Burkhead
Mike: I think we'll miss the intangibles of Rex Burkhead more than his contributions on the field. Abdullah put up some fine numbers this season when Burkhead was hurt. I would like to see more of Braylon Heard, though. He's always been a bit of an enigma to me; when he carries the ball, he looks like he could be the best of the bunch, but then he disappears for long stretches.
Jon Johnston: Look at the three returning backs and you can't feel anything but perty darned good about the running back position at Nebraska. I look forward to the continued development of Heard, and Cross played like an upperclassman as a freshman.
Brandon Cavanaugh: Assuming everyone signs their Letters of Intent, this would be as close to a stable of running backs as Nebraska's had in a long time. We obviously saw how Beck likes to implement Ameer, Braylon and Imani last year. While I know it's an unpopular statement, I'd like to see Heard move back to cornerback.
Last year, Imani Cross had three more carries and only 24 less yards. I understand that Beck wants a speed back out there, and personally I see that potential in Newby. Another thing to take into consideration (and I spoke about this with Brian on the podcast) is that as it stands today, Nebraska returns only three scholarship cornerbacks in 2014.
Heard has experience at the position and athleticism to settle in, plus I trust Terry Joseph's coaching ability. However, if this experiment is to take place, it needs to happen this spring or leave things alone barring injury.
Billgrip: I would like to just take a moment and reflect on how much I'll miss watching Rex Burkhead play football with a red N on his helmet. (deep sighs). He sure was something special. Life goes on, I suppose. Time to refocus here, we've got a national championship to win next year! We're loaded at running back, it's going to be okay! I can move on...nevermind, I'm not ready yet. Rex...
Salt Creek: I think we're okay here. I say we just ask Heard to go both ways at both RB and CB. He's certainly athletic enough. I mean, he basically picks up a first down every time he touches the ball. So he'll get us interceptions AND first downs. Our favorite things! He could be the first Heisman defensive player since Desmond.
Mike: Interesting idea to put Heard back on defense, Brandon. While I'm not sure that he's needed on defense, there's sure to be a logjam at I-back with four other backs. You get the vibe that Nebraska wasn't completely comfortable with Heard back on offense last fall, so if that's the case, move him back. But if Heard does move, it has to be final. I'll disagree with Salt; he needs to master a position and not bounce back and forth as a two-way player.