Nebraska Cornhuskers 2016 Spring Football Preview
There are a lot of moments from the 2015 football season that Nebraska fans would just as soon forget, as the Cornhuskers finished the regular season 5-7, with just three Big Ten wins. It was just the third losing season in Lincoln since 1962.
But there were a few bright spots, especially late in the year, as Nebraska won three of the final four games, including a victory over #7 Michigan State, and a Foster Farms Bowl win over UCLA.
Head coach Mike Reilly is looking to build off of those positive vibes as he begins his second season at Nebraska. Fans in Lincoln get their first look at the 2016 Cornhuskers in Saturday's Red-White Spring Game at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is 1:00 PM. More than 60,000 tickets have been sold.
Things to watch:
- It's still quarterback Tommy Armstrong's team, but fellow senior Ryker Fyfe will be ready just in case.
- The offensive line lost four seniors, but has come together in spring practice with Nick Gates shifting to left tackle this season. He and Jerald Foster will anchor the left side. The right side is still a work in progress.
- Running behind that line will be a trio of main ball carriers. Senior Terrell Newby rushed for 765 last season. Sophomore Devine Ozigbo came on strong at the end of 2015. Mikale Wilbon is a big-play threat.
- The Cornhuskers return six of their top seven receivers, but there are some question marks. Senior Jordan Westerkamp has been limited this spring and De'Mornay Pierson-El still hasn't been cleared to play after missing eight games to injuries last season. Brandon Reilly, Stanley Morgan Jr., and Alonzo Moore will get plenty of catches. Tight end Cethan Carter should be a big key to the passing game after a big 2015 season.
- The Huskers defensive line is the biggest area of concern heading into 2016. There are some big shoes to fill up front with the departures of Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine, and with Greg McMullen taking a leave of absence to address some academic issues. Freedom Akinmoladun is back and looking to regain the form that saw him lead the Cornhuskers with 4 1/2 sacks last season, but his production diminished after a mid-season knee injury. Redshirt freshmen Carlos and Khalil Davis (twin brothers) hope to make an impact in their first seasons on the field.
- The linebacking group is solid with returners Josh Banderas, Marcus Newby, Michael Rose-Ivey, Dedrick Young, and Chris Weber.
- The secondary is trying to bounce back from a 121st ranking nationally against the pass in 2015. Sioux Falls native Nate Gerry is in his senior season. Fellow senior Charles Jackson is trying to bounce back from injury issues. Sophomores Aaron Williams and Antonio are missing spring practice because of injuries. Redshirt freshmen Eric Lee and Avery Anderson and true freshman Lamar Jackson could be the starts of the future.
- Nebraska returns first-team All-Big Ten punter Sam Foltz and second-team all-league kicker Drew Brown, but with injuries to Westerkamp and Pierson-El, the return game is a question mark.
This week, I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers', Greg Sharpe, about what he's seen from this team so far this Spring, heading into Saturday's Red - White Game:
Once again, ESPN 99.1 will be your home for Nebraska Cornhuskers football, starting with the season opener, Saturday, September 3, 2016, with Fresno State.
2016 Nebraska Football Schedule
- 9/3 - vs. Fresno State
- 9/10 - vs. Wyoming
- 9/17 - vs. Oregon
- 9/24 - at Northwestern
- 10/1 - vs. Illinois
- 10/15 - at Indiana
- 10/22 - vs. Purdue
- 10/29 - at Wisconsin
- 11/5 - at Ohio State
- 11/12 - vs. Minnesota
- 11/19 - vs. Maryland
- 11/25 - at Iowa