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Portland Tribune: Nebraska To Lose Players To Suspension vs. BYU, Sam Burtch Out 2-4 Weeks

Some sobering, surprising, and off the wall news.

David McGee

To say that the Nebraska Cornhuskers Coaching Staff has been pretty wide open with communication and such is an understatement. With that, however, you can learn some things you don't want to know about.

Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune got to sit in with Mike Riley and the Nebraska staff on Monday, the day off for the Huskers players. His report is here, and it is filled with things we should probably talk about.

Riley gets a report from strength coach Mark Philipp on the players’ weightlifting progress, then one from trainer Mark Mayer on injuries. Biggest news is that senior receiver Sam Burtch will undergo surgery in the afternoon after suffering a lateral meniscus tear, which will keep him out two to four weeks. About a dozen other players are hampered by minor injuries and soreness.

Well, that's a big issue. Burtch is a Senior and was looked to seem to be a contributor. Not saying he won't, but you just don't bounce back from surgery.

Riley asks receivers coach Keith Williams about numbers.

"We started with 12, but we’re at about seven or eight with injuries," Williams says.

That could very well explain why Jordan Westerkamp and Demornay Pierson-El were held out of Tuesday's workouts.

Talk turns to bringing a couple of freshmen out of a redshirt year if they fit there. Bray says he has a freshman linebacker who is struggling with the idea of redshirting and is going to be "high maintenance."

"He feels separated from the group right now," Bray says. "If he’s redshirting, he may just go (leave school). If he can help us win at anything, it’d be good to play him. If he can’t, he can’t. But if he can play special teams, maybe we bring him out of a redshirt year. If a guy can help us win, no reason to save (a year). We need to win now."

Riley agrees.

"If one of them can start on three (special) teams, it would be worth it," he says. "Bruce, if there’s a freshman you really like on special teams and you can start him on two or three teams, we’ll do it."

Interesting statement on the Freshman Linebacker group. That would narrow it down to Mohammed Barry and Tyrin Ferguson. I do like the statement on the redshirting phase on both parts; you don't burn a RS unless the player either can really participate (and Special Teams is worthy of this) or you absolutely need them down the line.

Gunderson goes over a recruiting report he has passed out to the coaches. The Cornhuskers figure they can offer 22 scholarships for the 2016 class and have 13 verbal commits. Gundy and his staff have made a list of five potential recruits by position in the ‘16 and ‘17 classes and asks for the position coaches to watch video of them "if you have time."

Now this is VERY interesting to me in that Nebraska has 14 committed verbals on it's 247 list, and I'm pretty sure Scout & Rivals have the same. Who isn't in the fold? Do they consider Terry Wilson out due to the Oregon flirtation? Aphonso Thomas?

Riley asks Van De Riet, "Who is going to miss the first game?" He means because of suspensions. Van De Riet names five players, including one defensive starter.

"That’s the one problem," Banker notes.

With the knowledge that BYU is going to lose some folks to suspensions as well, this kinda stinks.

An interesting look into a meeting from an outsiders point of view. Hopefully it's sooner than later for Burtch, and the suspensions don't hurt depth too bad in certain spots.