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Nebraska Spring Game: Observations and Thoughts as White Beats Red 21-20

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It was good to see something resembling football and a crowd in the stadium. But some old bugaboos showed up.

An unknown Nebraska back runs for positive yardage at the 2021 Spring Game!
Jon Johnston

There is no live tackling in the first half. Most people will be watching personnel groupings and trying to get clues at to the likely depth chart going into summer. There won’t be much shown in the way of offensive plays, but hopefully some great individual efforts.

First Quarter

  • The top offensive line was Corcoran, Pieper, Jurgens, Sichterman and Benhart.
  • Marvin Scott was called on first to carry the ball.
  • Logan Smothers is fast.
  • Quinton Newsome was Cam Taylor-Bitt’s running mate at cornerback for the Red team.
  • There is a concerted effort to get Omar Manning involved. He made an early appearance with a nice catch and almost another huge one, but bobbled it at the last second.
  • Adrian looks slimmer and faster and it looks like he and Samori Toure already have a good connection.
  • Blaise Gunnnerson registered a sack on Adrian Martinez and was disruptive on other plays for the White defense.
  • Freshman RB Gabe Ervin is getting some carries in relief of Scott and looks impressive.

Second Quarter

  • Heinrich Haarberg’s athleticism and arm strength appear to be every bit as good as we’ve heard. He is still pretty raw though.
  • Jaquez Yant looks like a DUDE.
  • Oliver Martin is going to be a big part of the offense.
  • Nash Hutmacher is going to be difficult for offensive linemen to move as he gets bigger and stronger. (Hint: he’s already big and strong)
  • If Will Przystrup wants to uncork a 70 yard punt during the season too - I’ll allow it.
  • Another linebacker on the White team, Issac Gifford, was disruptive. He and Gunnerson give the Huskers a pair of athletic young guys to work with.
  • The Red offense did have to settle for a couple of field goals despite going up against the second team defense. Red zone issues from 2020 linger in the back of one’s mind...
  • That INT thrown by Adrian at the end of the half is going to linger in one’s mind...of course, the wind made it really difficult and there was no real pressure (throwaway play) so I should probably not put much more thought into that.

Second Half

  • When the tackling went live...Jaq Yant went Beast Mode. My goodness.
  • Good for you Marvin Scott! There are some worries about who will step up at the running back position, but Nebraska does appear to have guys who can get the job done. Now, we just need enough of them to stay healthy.
  • Oliver Martin’s fumble is going to linger in one’s mind for a while...
  • Seeing RB Sevion Morrison limp off the field. Sigh.
  • Haarberg to Nixon seems like a good connection
  • Good for you Isaiah Harris! A great highlight touchdown for a hometown kid at RB.
  • Ronald Thompkins had limited carries but looked decent. His injury issues made it unlikely he would get a lot of work, but it was good to see him knock off some rust.
  • I’m not as worried about the RB position as I was before today. Worst case scenario seems like running back by committee, although Jaq Yant could decide otherwise. (Stepp’s health is a big X factor here too).
  • Please Adrian, don’t get hurt and miss any time this seaon. Smothers and Haarberg each have some athletic traits that make them interesting prospects but I’m not sure they are ready to process the action quite yet.
  • The wind also made it incredibly difficult on the quarterbacks, so some aspects of the game need to be evaluated with a grain of salt.
  • It was good to see Husker Nation back in the seats.
  • Will Nixon - we see you! When your sixth catch of the day is a one-handed grab in 20+ mph wind...that will get you an attaboy.
  • Wyatt Liewer may have waited until the last two plays to register catches - but great catches they were!

So Corn Nation - what are your thoughts? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What do you think of what you saw today?


Jon - I did an interview with Yoshi after the spring game: