When people talk about Nebraska these days, one can hardly go a few minutes without the name Rex Burkhead coming up. He was the workhorse of the offense last season, putting the team on his shoulders and willing his team to victory more than once. He also made huge impacts on the field during his freshmen and sophomore years. He is an all around great guy, also contributing off the field to help someone near and dear to his heart.
Unfortunately, after the upcoming season, Nebraska will have to prepare for life without him. Currently behind Burkhead sit three capable sophomores, Ameer Abdullah, Aaron Green, and Braylon Heard. Husker fans are more than familiar with Abdullah, as he became an electrifying returner. The three sophomores all played approximately the same amount of snaps last season, excluding Abdullah’s special teams plays.
What Nebraska got was a mixed bag of results from the trio. Some games were good, and others not so good. The Huskers trio are now sophomores, and each will be looking to earn more playing on the field than his counterpart, while also holding off the incoming freshmen and redshirt freshmen. So who can emerge from the pile?
First person that immediately comes to mind is Abdullah. He is faster than the other two, while also featured the most plays out of them. In Tim Beck’s scheme, his speed is what sets him apart. Beck likes the speed option, and with defenses having to play both Martinez and Abdullah, that is a nightmare to cover. Throw in the trick play with Burkhead (see Michigan game) and good luck.
Both Aaron Green and Braylon Heard played well early in the season, having great games against the Washington Huskies. As the season progressed, both had their playing time decrease. Aaron is better out in space, while Braylon is better between the tackles. Tim Beck has a lot of options with these two, and must implement them more to not only give Rex a rest, but also get these boys ready for their junior seasons when someone will have to take over the starting role.
As spring practice is just around the corner, things are only going to get murkier as to who the true backup is. It is time for one of these three to step up their game and take that spot.
Follow Paul Troupe on Twitter @gamin4HIM