2008 Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Preview
Nebraska 2007 Record: (5-7, 2-6 Big 12)
2007 Bowl: none
Nebraska Head Coach: Bo Pelini (1-0 at Nebraska, 1-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Shawn Watson
Defensive Coordinator: Carl Pelini
Other Key Returnees: G Mike Huff, CB Armando Murillo, OT Lydon Murtha, G Matt Slauson, DT Ndamukong Suh, WR Nate Swift, DE Barry Turner
Key Losses: S Tierre Green, QB Sam Keller, LB Corey McKeon, OT Carl Nicks, WR Terrence Nunn, LB Steve Octavien, WR Maurice Purify, LB Bo Ruud
Nebraska was supposed to win the Big XII North and even give a run to Oklahoma or Texas in the conference championship game. After going 2-6 in conference, the Bill Callahan experiment is over and new Coach Bo Pelini will try to instill something that at least resembles the tough Husker defense of the glory days. Pelini, who earned a win with Nebraska as an interim coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl, has successfully been a defensive leader at Oklahoma and LSU since his one year stint in Lincoln and the Cornhuskers hope that it will continue as a head coach.
On the offensive side of the ball the Big Red has some weapons to work with. Quarterback Joe Ganz looked impressive at the end of last season and at times the offense was extremely difficult to stop. Running back Marlon Lucky returns to the starting job after rushing for over 1,000 yards and being a big threat to catch the ball out of the backfield last season. When Lucky needs a break, Roy Helu and Quentin Castille give the Huskers plenty of options on the ground. The biggest problem on offense will be replacing wide receivers Maurice Purify and Terrence Nunn. Nate Swift is a solid playmaker, but the team will need a player like 6-4 senior Todd Peterson to step up and have a big year.
The offense should be fine, but improving the defense is Coach Pelini’s obvious goal. Last year the team gave up over 232 yards per game on the ground and ranked 112th in the nation, and last in the conference, in total defense. That will not happen under Coach Pelini, but just how much better will the defense be right away? Just about everybody who played on the defensive line returns and that should help with the run defense, but all three starting linebackers need replaced. Phillip Dillard started a couple games last year and will anchor the line, but it is time for sophomores Blake Lawrence and Latravis Washington to move from special teams to a big role in the defense.
The Bottom Line for the Cornhuskers:
There is enough talent on defense to turn things around quickly. This is not a unit that will remind anybody of the good old days, but Coach Pelini will at least give people hope that it is a step in that direction. If the defense can improve and the offense plays as well as they did last year, then Nebraska will not miss out on two bowl games in a row. If the new staff can work miracles, the Cornhuskers will be in the mix for a North Championship.
2007 Nebraska Cornhuskers Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 144.42 (66th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 323.83 (7, 2)
Total Offense: 468.25 (9, 5)
Scoring Offense: 33.42 (28, 8)
Rushing Defense: 232.17 (116, 12)
Pass Defense: 244.67 (84, 4)
Total Defense: 476. 83 (112, 12)
Scoring Defense: 37.92 (114, 12)
Turnover Margin: -1.42 (117, 11)
Sacks: 1.08 (112, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 1.50 (31, 8)
By Joel Welser
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