Well, here we are for practice #15 of the 2013 spring session. You know, the "Spring Game"? Where both sides divvy up players and coaches, they open the doors of the grand building on North 10th Street and legends are made (and as quickly forgotten) by something that Allen Iverson himself called "practice".
What are we all looking for on Saturday? A big walk up crowd to make the stadium look packed as others watch on BTN? A defense that looks like it has a general idea of what to do? Specific players?
What I’ll be looking for won’t change much from a regular game. I typically watch the line play and I’ll be watching that again Saturday. It may be a televised practice, but the impression the lines leave will stick with the fan base for months to come. If the offensive line has its way with the defense, or the other way around, fans will be barking nonstop if only because there’s nothing else to bark about. Obviously you’d like to see a stand out in line play, whether it’s Vincent Valentine, Greg McMullen, Avery Moss on the defensive line; Ryne Reeves, Zach Sterup on the offensive line, or one of the upperclassmen on either.
Most people voted that they wanted to see an outstanding play by a linebacker in an obvious nod to the defense.
Unfortunately, Ameer Abdullah, David Santos, Daniel Davie and probably wide receiver Alonzo Moore will be out.
We’ll be having a game thread so y’all be sure and stop by and let us know how you’re doing!
Since it’s Huskers vs. Huskers, I generally look for individuals making plays. It’s tougher to get a read on the lines in these games because the playbook is so stripped down in these games. I want to see linebackers wrap up and make tackles. I want to see cornerbacks locking up on Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner and fighting for the ball.
I want to see Tommy Armstrong flushed from the pocket and show poise.
And most of all, I want to see blue skies and sunshine.
Since things are going to be so vanilla in terms of playcalling, I’ll probably be watching very similar things to Jon and Mike.
Line play’s at the top as I want to see if the basics have been stressed. There’s been issues with footwork, discipline before the snap, going whistle to whistle, the stuff we’ve all seen for a while now. Essentially, I want to see if Garrison’s had an impact on these guys being their main overlord.
Mike mentioned linebackers wrapping up and making tackles, I’ll be watching for every defensive player doing this. One of my pet peeves is when defenders try to sling their man down and it ends up being a whiff which happens far too often. If we’re seeing guys drive through their man, that’ll be very encouraging.
I also want to see what the quarterbacks are capable of. I know what Nebraska’s backs can do, and there’s a stable of them. Under center you’ve got Taylor Martinez and...well, Tommy Armstrong hopefully if anything happened to Martinez (knock on wood).
Obviously everyone’s going to be looking for No. 4, but it’s important to see what Ron Kellogg III still has in the tank. I encourage folks to keep an eye out for walk-ons Tyson Broekemeier and Ryker Fyfe. Both have great potential, one might be knocked over by a stiff breeze.
The opportunity to have this game shown on BTN is huge. It’s supposed to be a gorgeous day as opposed to Thor’s Revenge of 2012. While not many recruits are going to be there, this gives the nation an opportunity to see Nebraska’s football culture when the college football world’s mostly at a standstill.
You’d like to see a full stadium again, but considering the last numbers released were 40,000, I’d say 42,000 would be a good number and represent the program well.
Also, if you can’t make the game thread or want an eye in the sky courtesy of Corn Nation, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@eightlaces) as I’ll be both taking pictures and live-tweeting from Memorial Stadium.
Oh, and if everyone could walk back into the tunnel in one piece? That’d be awesome.
I’m going to be running for a t-shirt and GOOD beer during the Spring Game. Maybe that makes me the fakest Cornhusker of them all (INSERT BORN AND RAISED IN ACC JOKE HERE) but I can’t say I’m terribly sorry about that. I mean, I’m a graduate student. These are things that we do. The beer is on the house and I only have to run four miles? Well, alright. If you insist.
Anywho, back to the topic at hand, I honestly don’t know what to expect here. I’ll echo Brandon’s sentiment that everyone makes it back to North Stadium with all of their ligaments and limbs intact. As far as the actual practice goes, I honestly hope there are moments for legitimate optimism. A brilliant tackle on Kenny Bell in space. A fantastic read by Martinez. The offensive line letting Taylor Martinez actually sit in the pocket for more than two seconds.
All in all, I want to see a return to optimism. It’s the off-season and so far, it’s been doom and gloom. I don’t know if it has been a long winter in the Midwest or what, but we’re all on edge. There’s a discontent in our fan base (somewhat understandable) and well, it’s spring time. Time for optimism, time for hope and time to believe in Nebraska football.
So enjoy the game, find a reason for confidence and let the disappointments of last season wash away. It’s 2013 and it’s our last bit of football until August.
Let’s all be on #teamsunshine, if only for a couple of days.
Go Big Red! (As in the Red Team. Because White Team, you’re going down.)
EDIT: This was written before the rosters came out. RK3 is on the White Team, so LET'S GO WHITE, BEAT RED. - Salt Creek
I just ask that people take this for what it is: a practice. You’ll see vanilla in both plays and effort by some players, and others will become heroes that won’t be seen or heard much in the regular season (Curenski Gilleylen, anyone?).
Enjoy the day, have fun watching the players and such in the sun, and take the hype afterwards with a grain of salt. This isn’t August, and much more questions and answers will come then.