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2018 Nebraska Position Examination - Running Backs

Where we review I-Backs? Running Backs? How ‘bout S-Backs? That sounds good.

Jon Johnston

Here’s something depressing for the last day of May...

The 2017 Nebraska football team ran for a total of 1,290 yards. To put that in perspective, Bobby Reynolds has the 10th highest season rushing yards in Nebraska history with 1,342 in 1950. The 1,290 yards from last season includes Tanner Lee’s -97 net yards, so maybe if you wanted to be positive you could say last year’s team barely beat Reynolds’ 1950 rushing yardage. Who am I to stop you, pollyanna?

1,290 yards on 368 attempts for a 3.5 yard per carry average...

Okay, so let’s not dwell on the past. It’s gone, nothing we can do about it, move on, shall we.


I think Mike labeled these guys I-Backs as some sort of sick joke. Maybe it was me. I don’t know, but lo and behold, if you look at the listing for the 2018-2019 Nebraska football roster, there are four guys - Devine Ozigbo, Mikale Wilbon, Wyatt Mazour, and Tre Bryant - still listed as “IB” for I-Back.

I say we call them “S-Backs” for “spread-backs” or maybe “Scott-Backs”, because that’s what they are. I am convinced we will begin to love them in this new offense so much that we’ll want to be on a first name basis.

S-Backs it is.

Jon: Mikale Wilbon, Greg Bell, Devine Ozigbo, Jaylin Bradley

Bell is a JUCO transfer, and you have to believe that Frost didn’t bring him to Nebraska to let him sit on the bench.

I liked what I saw from Wilbon at the spring game. He looked more powerful, a little more elusive and with more vision. Maybe spending a season running behind an offensive line that doesn’t understand the meaning of “hole” will give a guy more vision.

Vision might be the key to success this season. We’ve discussed that it will take time for a quarterback in Frost’s offense to adjust to decision-making and speed - shouldn’t that be true for running backs as well and for the offensive line that blocks for them?

The answer is yes.

Mike: Bell, Wilbon, Ozigbo, Bradley, Tre Bryant.

I think Bell is ahead of Wilbon, who I think is slated to split time between I-back and Frost’s slotback position. And I think you have to mention Bryant, in case his knee recovers.

Andy: Wilbon/Bell, Ozigbo, Bradley. Bryant career RIP courtesy of Riley & Langs

Although Wilbon may be a li’l over-muscled, I think he & Bell will be the we-backs with Ziggy being brought for new school/old school spread stuff. Bradley should get some carries. I’m losing hope Bryant plays again anytime soon if at all - I guess giving a guy with knee issues 51 carries in just over 6 quarters has that effect?

NEW GUY: Maurice Washington

There is a new guy that is not accounted for in the above listings and that is Maurice Washington. It’s a little difficult to account for him since we haven’t seen him play and his status is a little bit up in the air.

Perhaps Washington can get on the team this fall, get eligible, and get on the field.