OK folks, we have next a Sun Belt opponent that graduated oodles of starters, but has the benefit of some UAB talent that joined the squad after the dismantling of the UAB football program. On paper, this looks just like what the doctor ordered, but the memories of McNeese State are still too fresh for Husker fans. No team can be taken lightly.
Will the run game shift out of neutral and will we see one of the backs break out of the pack?
The run game was fairly underwhelming against BYU. To be fair, BYU has sported a run defense on par with many B1G teams. Husker fans still expect more than 126 yards per game (currently ranking 94th in FBS - Yikes!). Several backs got to show what they had - and they all had some good moments. While not the statistical standout, freshman Mikale Wilbon showed some very exciting tendencies - his footwork was especially what caught my eye - it allowed him to react quickly when the crease was there. Unfortunately, the run blocking by the line did not help any of the runners, including Tommy. The coaches have indicated a desire to narrow the field at RB and begin to lean on "the guy". I am excited to watch the competition and whether anyone in this [currently] rather evenly-matched group finds ways to stand out.
Will special teams regroup?
The BYU game was, ummm, not special for the third phase. Two missed field goals, blocking that resulted in the punter taking a cart ride to the locker room, and having to put two players back to field punts. The one bright spot was pinning BYU inside the one...only to have the Cougars need 2 plays to get close to the red zone and eventually score a touchdown. I realize that DPE is out, but with a full-time special teams coordinator, this phase should look a little more polished.
Which part of the defense will make the biggest jump from Week 1 to Week 2?
Getting Michael Rose-Ivey back will be big for the LBs. Banderas and Young played well against BYU, but having the top dog back in any position group is hopefully a big boost. The secondary may or may not get Rose back (Riley won't announce the suspended player that has to sit out a second game until later). BYU challenged this secondary, but they showed many positives as well. The line will be without Gangwish, but Freedom played well in his relief - especially considering that he is still learning the position after playing tight end.
Do you have more questions? Different points to discuss on these questions?
Let us know in the comments!