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2011 Nebraska Football Depth Chart - Breakdown

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Nebraska is the only team in the Big Ten to not release an official depth chart, not that's anything new for Bo Pelini. It's been fairly rare that the athletic department release anything official, and even when they've released a depth chart they don't change it over the course of a season, they just include a lot of "OR's" in the list and they're covered. 

A depth chart doesn't matter much in a home opener against the UTC Mocs. I don't mean any disrespect by that -  the Mocs come into the season ranked 23rd in the FCS Coaches poll and seem to have their program going in the right direction after posting back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1990 and 1991. 

However, the Mocs have only won two games against FBS teams, both of them coming in the early 1980s and both against Louisiana-Lafeyette and the last few games the Mocs have played against good teams, things haven't exactly gone their way. (2010, loss to Auburn 62-24; 2009 loss to Alabama 45-0; 2008, a 46-7 loss to Florida State and a 57-2 loss to Oklahoma)

Bottom line - a lot of Huskers are going to get playing time this Saturday, so why get worked up about a depth chart?

The best reason - there are a lot of new faces on the team and it takes a while to figure out who's where, so it's best to have some sort of guide to begin the season - it helps in the learning process.

After the jump is an attempt to put together a depth chart, based on bits and pieces picked up through fall camp.

LT                    Jeremiah Sirles          Jermarcus "Yoshi" Hardrick

LG                    Andrew Rodriguez    Brandon Thompson

C                      Mike Caputo              Cole Pensick  

RG                   Jake Cotton                Spencer Long

RT                   Tyler Moore               Marcel Jones

That is a whole lotta youth starting on the offensive line. If Moore gets the start, he will be the first true freshman offensive lineman to get a start in a season opener in Husker history.

Some may find the youth movement exciting. I think it sucks because it doesn't say a whole lot for the guys who have been in the program for three or four years that they're being beaten out by younger guys. Or maybe I'm just cynical - maybe the young guys represent the return of the Pipeline.

QB                   Taylor Martinez         Brion Carnes

IB                    Rex Burkhead           Austin Jones  

FB                    Tyler Legate               C.J. Zimmerer

TE                   Ben Cotton                 Kyler Reed

WRX                Brandon Kinnie         Quincy Enunwa

WRZ                Tim Marlowe                         Jamal Turner

I'm listing Austin Jones ahead of the three freshman running backs (Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard, and Aaron Green) because he deserves it, but you know as well as I do we'll be watching the first game to see which of the three youngsters stands out. Any bets?

I suspect we'll see a fair number of receivers playing. Husker fans will expect to see an explosive play out of Jamal Turner, but what about Kenny Bell or Stanley Jean-Baptiste?

DE                   Jason Ankrah             Eric Martin

DT                   Jared Crick                 Terrence Moore

DT                   Baker Steinkuhler     Chase Rome
DE                   Cameron Meredith   Joe Carter

Your defensive tackle positions are pretty set, but there seems to be plenty of defensive ends that are capable of winning the starting job (and by that, I mean for the season, not against the Mocs, we already know the starter against the Mocs and that's Ankrah.) How quickly can Joe Carter come along? Does Eric Martin play in pass rush situations only?

Buck                Sean Fisher                Alonzo Whaley

Mike                Lavonte David          

Will                 Will Compton

I don't expect Nebraska to open the game in a 4-3, so the inclusion of Sean Fisher at Buck can be taken as a grain of salt. Expect to see plenty of defensive backs as the Mocs put the ball in the air.

David started most of last year at the middle linebacker position. I'd expect you'd see Compton slide into that spot against Big Ten offenses while David moves to Will. Who's behind them? Graham Stoddard, true freshman David Santos, Mathew May,

CB                   Ciante Evans              Antonio Bell

CB                   Andrew Green           Josh Mitchell

SS                    Courtney Osborne    P.J. Smith

FS                    Austin Cassidy           Daimion Stafford

Obviously, Alfonzo Dennard will be starting at corner once he returns. There is plenty of talent in the defensive secondary and fair experience. Not a lot, but I'm not worried about this group at all.

P/K                 Brett Maher               Maurio Bondi

Brett Maher is slated to handle punting and kicking duties, but again, I'd expect Bondi to get his chances this weekend. 

Returners       Jamal Turner          Kenny Bell

I'd rather not see Rex Burkhead returning punts, and while Brandon Kinnie actually did a good job with his opportunities as a kick returner last year, I'd rather see some youth here (ironic because I don't feel that way about the offensive line at all). Maybe this is where someone like Kenny Bell gets his chances. 

Feel free to pick this apart, tell me what's wrong, and who you're going to be most interested to watch.