Throughout this season, it has been easy to look at the disappointments for the one time Legends favorites Nebraska Cornhuskers and overlook some of the accomplishments that have been achieved by coach Bo Pelini’s squad. It would be a shame to not shine the light on some of the positives for the Cornhuskers thus far in 2013.
The most obvious area that the Huskers have flexed their strength this season is in their rushing attack. Who would have guessed it? How about the entire state of Nebraska. Running the ball and Nebraska football have long been synonymous. Whether it was former coach Bob Devaney, whose offense often lined up with two fullbacks in the back field in an attempt to ram the ball down the throat of the Oklahoma Sooners or it was another former coach Tom Osborne, whose option offense sought to find the edge and exploit it against other Big 12 rivals like the Colorado Buffalos and Missouri Tigers.
This season, the Huskers feature Ameer Abdullah at I-back. The Junior Abdullah is arguably the best rusher in the Big Ten this season. When the Husker offense has failed at its attempts to be threatening in diverse offensive schemes, they have always been able to fall back on the reliability of Abdullah’s ability to run the ball. Abdullah has been backed up by Imani Cross. He is a very punishing back who is more than capable of picking up the slack when Abdullah is in need of a rest.
The huskers have obviously found strength in their depth. The huskers have, of course, seen senior quarterback Taylor Martinez go down and subsequently be replaced by Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg III. Both quarterbacks have been effective and Kellogg’s popularity has obviously spiked exponentially as a result of his last-second heroics in last week’s victory over the Northwestern Wildcats.
Kellogg did not win that game alone, though. The other key contributor on the other end of his game-saving heave was freshman Jordan Westerkamp, who himself is another reserve player. Westerkamp has seen increased playing time due to injuries at wide receiver for the Huskers. Along with Westerkamp, Alonzo Moore and Sam Burtch have seen playing time. Even star defensive back Stanley Jean-Baptiste was being coached up by offensive coaches near the end of the Northwestern game in preparation for some snaps at wide receiver because the wide receiving corps was so depleted.
The Huskers have also seen their big men up front suffer from injuries this season as brothers Jake and Spencer Long have battled injuries. Spencer, a starting guard, had his season end early due to a knee injury. His brother Jake, starting tight end, is only now returning to action after early-season injuries. Through all of this, the Huskers have shown depth and someone has been able to step in and fill a role for a Husker squad that has proved that its strength is in its team play, and not any individual effort.
Strengths for the Huskers: Running the football, filling holes on a team, stepping up and playing as a team. Sounds like a true throw back to Husker football.