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2017 Nebraska Spring Football Preview: Offense

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Replacing the Quarterback & a good number of your pass catchers will change the dynamic of the Husker Offense

Purdue v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Spring is just around the corner, I promise. It will come if you have some patience. After that, there’s the summer, and then just like that, it’ll be fall again. Then the 2017 football season will be over, and we’ll probably be asking the same bloody questions about Nebraska’s offense as we did the year before, and the year before that. The seasons will come and go, and this will repeat on until you’re dead. It is inevitable. Why you get so worked up over it I have no idea.

That’s the good news. I was trying to be nice, starting you off like that. The bad news?

All the quarterback expertise is gone. All of it. Nebraska will start 2017 with a brand new quarterback, whomever it is. If that’s not enough bad news, only 37% of the receiving yardage and 30% of the rushing yardage return.

Tight ends? All gone!

The 2017 Nebraska will start the season without a returning starter at quarterback, the top running back gone, and three of the top four receivers.

The biggest questions facing the 2017 Nebraska offense are:

No, I’m just kidding.

The 10 biggest questions facing the 2017 Nebraska offense are:

  • Who will start at quarterback?
  • Who will start at quarterback?
  • Who will start at quarterback?
  • I think you get the general idea...

There is a lot of potential in the 2017 offense.

Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf will finally get a quarterback that fits into the offense they want to run, and the top three candidates - Tanner Lee, Patrick O’Brien, and Tristan Gebbia - for the starting position don’t look so bad on paper.

Most of the rushing yardage belonged to Terrell Newby and Tommy Armstrong - 63% of it. Devine Ozibo and Tre Bryant look like suitable replacements for Newby, but neither may be a “feature” back, so expect 2017 to be run-by-committee yet again.

Other great questions for 2017 are - “Who Will Replace Jordan Westerkamp”, the guy who made so many catches when the Husker offense needed them, and “Who Will Replace Brandon Reilly”, the guy who stretched the field when the Husker offense needed that?

The tight ends questions are simple, really. Who will replace the tight ends? How will Nebraska use the tight ends? Who are the tight ends? Do we have any? Is Jordy Tshimanga going to play football this season?

The offensive line returns most of its experience along with some pretty good potential. Both tackles, Nick Gates and David Knevel, return, as do guards Tanner Farmer, Jerald Foster, Jalin Barnett, and Cole Conrad. Add to them new guys Matt Farniok, John Raridon, and Michael Decker, and you should see a line with a lot of depth and competition for starting jobs.

You know what’s great about this coming season’s offensive line? THERE AREN’T ANY REALLY HUGE QUESTIONS ABOUT IT! (Not real ones, anyway, but we’ll cover that in the coming “Nebraska Offensive Line Preview: WE HAVE THE MEAT” article soon.)

The 2016 Nebraska offense finished 79th in scoring offense with 26.5 points per game. That’s rather crappy.

Can the 2017 Nebraska football team offense improve on that despite having to replace most of its skill position player production?

Despite endless storylines that will be told and retold about the battle for the starting quarterback position, that, my friends, IS the question that the 2017 offense must answer in order to have a successful season.