With seven extra weeks to prepare for the 2020 football season than originally planned, we collaborated with each of the Big Ten sites across SB Nation’s platform to get some in depth analysis on what to expect for the upcoming season. As each game approaches, we’ll share those insights from the weekly opponent in their own team site’s words.
After a miserable start to the season, the Hawkeyes are officially rolling. They’ve won three straight while scoring at least 35 points in each of the last three games. The defense is racking up sacks and turning opponents over. In Lincoln, however, things are heading in a different direction. The Huskers, fresh off their lone win of the season against Penn State, were demolished last week by a not great Illinois team. It’s safe to say optimism in Nebraska is running into some headwinds.
While much of this is now changing due to the poor start, here’s a look back at what was expected out of the Nebraska Cornhuskers this season, in their own words.
Editor’s Note: Reminder that these were submitted before the season and obviously without the insight we gain with each passing week.
- JD Spielman, WR (transferred to TCU)
- Mohamed Barry, ILB (top tackler)
- Lamar Jackson, CB
- The entire defensive line – Carlos Davis, Khalil Davis, Darrion Daniels
- Adrian Martinez, QB
- Luke McCaffrey, QB (A McCaffrey who will take over if Adrian falters)
- Wan’Dale Robinson, WR (all-around explosion better than Rondale Moore)
- Cameron Jurgens, C
- Dedrick Mills, RB
Instant Impact Freshmen or Transfers
- Kickers – Nebraska had to rely on a kicker from the soccer club who tried out to finish out the season last year. Any kicker who can kick will win games this season. We brought in about 30 of them.
- Omar Manning – JUCO Wide Receiver – big bodied, 6’4, 225 lb. Ranked best JUCO receiver in 2019.
- Blaise Gunnerson, OLB – Nebraska needs OLBs like the country needs a Covid vaccine.
- A receiver who has a pulse. Wan’Dale Robinson is the only returning receiver, so we will need to find pass catchers and how!
2020 Team Overview
I don’t see this year as being as much about athleticism as about will. Who lead the fight to bring back Big Ten football?
Nebraska wants to play this season more than anyone else besides Ohio State. That will go a lot further than most people think. It takes will to win. Nebraska has that will.
As a team, a group of athletes, Nebraska still needs to get more depth and a few more playmakers.
Despite the lack of a proven receiving corps, the offense will rise to be one of the best in the nation. The offensive line is much improved and finally has some depth. The quarterback position has great potential, as do the running backs.
The defense needs to find some more playmakers and add some depth. Those pieces are slowing coming together, but they’re not close to being a championship-caliber defense. Hell, they’re not very close to being an average defense, but one can hope.
We need OLBs’ pretty badly, and we need defensive linemen. A good rush end or OLB would go a long ways to making this lousy defense average.
Fanbase View of Coaching Staff
Everyone who calls themselves a Husker fan knows that Scott Frost is the right head coach for this program. Those that don’t are social media trolls and angry people whom no one loves. They are being hunted down and dealt with as I speak.
Fans have some problems with the defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. The defense must improve. First, we need better players. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then we’ll need a better defensive coordinator.
2020 Team MVP
Adrian Martinez will return to his freshman season form, proving that 2019 was the fluke performance as he rises once again to Heisman hype in 2021.
A rational person might say 5-3. I am not a rational person. I see us at 8-1 with a lone loss to Ohio State to begin the season. The Buckeyes will annihilate everything in their path as they are the only team comparable to Nebraska with regards to will. The first week will look awful, then my beloved Huskers will bounce back, knocking off Wisconsin, then get some much-needed experience against Northwestern before surprising Penn State in Lincoln. The rest of the season will be more of the same, with predictions all around that Nebraska falls back into the losing column. It won’t happen.
Everyone expects Nebraska to lose now, so there is no such thing as an unexpected loss.
What else should we know about your team this year?
50% of the 155-man roster are freshmen and redshirt freshmen. There is a lot of youth, which is indicative of how badly Nebraska needed to turn over the roster. The Huskers are slowly rebuilding, but I expect them to surprise people this season.
Did I mention will?
It will be interesting to see now in these final few weeks, just how much will the Huskers still have after starting the year 1-3. The schedule certainly lightens up a bit after starting the year with Ohio State, Wisconsin and Northwestern. But a sixth straight loss to Iowa this week to send the Huskers into their 17th consecutive year with at least 4 losses might just be enough to break the will of players, staff and fans alike.
We’ll follow up with the folks at CornNation later this week to get updated thoughts on what to expect in this week’s matchup now that they’ve had four games to learn about this team.