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2016 Nebraska Spring Football: Fullbacks

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Our look ahead is really just a look back... at Andy Janovich.

Andy Janovich (#35) exemplified what Husker fans want from their fullback.
Andy Janovich (#35) exemplified what Husker fans want from their fullback.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

I would hate to be a fullback this season. It will be a tough act for any one of them, no matter how good they are, to follow Andy Janovich. It wasn't just how Janovich played that made him one of the most lovable Huskers of 2015. It was his good looks, manly nature, and native Nebraskan toughness that will be difficult for someone else to duplicate.

On second thought, maybe it'll be a better season for Nebraska fullbacks now that Janovich isn't around to steal the hearts of Husker-loving females everywhere around the globe.

Gone:

Andy Janovich: Graduation.

Returning:

No Player Position Height Weight Year Hometown
49 Austin Hemphill FB 6-0 220 RFr. Gretna, Neb. (Gretna)
38 Harrison Jordan FB 5-10 230 Jr. Omaha, Neb. (Westside)
30 Bo Kitrell FB 6-1 225 So. Ashland, Neb. (Ashland-Greenwood)
44 Mitch McCann FB 6-0 235 Sr. Omaha, Neb. (Burke)

Newcomer:

Player Position Height Weight Year Hometown
Spencer Jordan FB 6-2 215 Fr. Omaha, Neb. (Westside)

Nebraska fullback Andy Janovich Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

2016 Outlook:

We had a short debate about whether we should have entitled this section "H-Backs" if for no other reason than to yank the chains of those insisting that no Nebraska roster will ever be complete without someone labelled as "fullback", but I decided against it fearing that it could cause brain aneurysms and the death or disablement of a devout Husker fan somewhere.

Note that only Nebraskans occupy the roster slot labeled "fullback" in this season's roster, indicating that the coaches have recognized the importance of such lest they bring on a recreation of the Great Lotus Plague of 1875.

Look at that. No one wants that. Not even our opponents.

Therefore it will continue on, this role of fullback in Nebraska's offense. Some may argue it's used too much, some too little, but those who are wise will say "it should only be used when it is effective".

The fullback remains as a lead blocker in the middle, a component in pass protection, a blocker on power to the outside, and as a deceptive ball carrier in the trap and a receiver in play action. It was easy to see the fullback as an active component in Nebraska's offense when you had Janovich; he was too good a player to keep off the field.

Will the fullback play as big a part in 2016? If someone can come close to replacing Janovich, the answer is yes. If not, then that position might be better occupied by a receiver or a tight-end who can perform the role of a fullback shifting into position dependent what is needed on any given play call... you know.. kind of like an.. H-back.