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npklemm

[2023] Nebraska Preview

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Coached by: @Caesari

DC/Roster: http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/topic/27215-2023-nebraska-cornhuskers-depth-chart-rs/

 

 

Key Players on Offense:

 

QB Lucas Elizondo 6-0 205 (Fr) Episcopal (Jacksonville FL) 2.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling]

RB Hakeem Nixon 5-8 204 (Jr) Frankfort (Frankfort KS) 4.5 of 4.5 [Speed]

WR Calvin McKay 6-4 207 Jr York (York NE) 5.0 of 5.0 [Target]

 

Elizondo has to replace the departed Sean Connell, who had 2,326 Passing Yards with 17 TDs and 5 Picks in 2022 (137.98 QB Rating), and added 360 Yards with 4 TDs on the ground. Connell was a good fit for Coach Caesari's system. Connell was a much bigger guy than Elizondo (234 LBs versus 205), so the conventional though would be that Lucas would be quicker guy. Which may work better with Nixon than it would have with Riggins. Coach Caesari is clearly building towards a specific scheme, and Lucas appears to be the next cog in it. But, he's a Freshman with no experience, being thrown against B1G competition. How does he handle that? Next to him in the backfield is another first time starter in Hakeem Nixon. Nixon is taking over for Riggins (1,503 Yards with 17 TDs) and has big shoes to fill. Nixon's OL will be a little worse than Riggins, but if Nixon can get the ball to the outside and get up the sideline, it may not matter as much. With a freshman QB, the ground game will be emphasized very heavily, so Nixon will have a big role in the offense. If he can maintain Riggins's Efficiency, the Cornhuskers will be in business. What helps a young QB? Great weapons to throw to. And that's just what McKay is. A tall Target guy, McKay will give Elizondo a big and reliable target to throw to. McKay had 950 yards with 10 TDs (4 Drops) in 2022. He'll need to get that over 1K this year. Although he's not the only target, he'll be Elizondo's safety blanket.

 

Key Players on Defense:

 

DE Lawrence Everett 6-5 260 Fr Birmingham ( England) 1.5 of 4.5 [Blitz]

OLB Peter Amador Jr. 6-1 239 So Aurora (Aurora NE) 2.5 of 4.5 [Coverage]

SS Jarvis Hargrove 6-1 189 (Fr) Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey NJ) 3.0 of 4.5 [Man Coverage]

 

Lawrence Everett is the lone guy in the Front-7 designated as a [Blitz] player. Nebraska recorded 19.5 Sacks in 12 Games in 2022. Everett has to make sure they get that number over 20. Big 10 is renowned for QB play, and if you let those guys sit back there, you'll be in for a bad game. A True Freshman, Everett has a lot on his shoulders, fortunately his counterpart on the other side of the line had 7 Sacks in 2022. So it's not totally on him, but look for Everett to get double teamed in the passing game, as he's the lone true pass rushing threat on the defense. Amador Jr. was forced to start in 2022 for a pretty shallow Cornhusker defense. he finished the year with 26 Tackles. Not a great year, but a 1.5 Progression later and the departure of ILB Nicholas Quinn (4.5/4.5), Amador is the clear top guy in the LB corps. This team will have to rely on him way more than they did last season. How he responds will dictate how the rest of the defense plays (oh and Nebraska is starting another (1./45) OLB in Damiano Fiorelli). In the back of the defense, (Fr) SS Jarvis Hargrove takes over for Bryce Moore who graduated. Moore had 12 Tackles with 1 Pick and 2 PD in 2022. Not a ton of stats to match. Nebraska's FS for last year (Jadon Holmes (4.5/4.5)) also graduated, and this pairs Hargrove with FS Troy Mack (2.5/3.5). Hargrove has a much bigger burden to bear than did Moore. With a subpar CB group in front of him, and a below average FS next to him, Hargrove has a ton of pressure on his shoulders. Hargrove's play in the back of the defense is key for this defense, if he's able to make up for the guys in front of him, Nebraska can prevent big plays. If not, Nebraska may be vulnerable.

 

Team Grades:

 

Offense - 58.73

Defense - 45.88

Special Teams - 34.50

Overall - 50.52

 

Schedule:

 

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I see wins against: UCF, Rutgers, Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin

I see losses against: Auburn, Texas Tech, Purdue, Penn State, Illinois, Ohio State, Minnesota

 

For a record of: 5-7 (4-8)

 

Wins that could flip to Losses: UCF, Wisconsin

Losses that could flip to Wins: Texas Tech, Purdue

 

Nebraska replaces a lot from last year's B1G Championship team. And they didn't do enough to replace it adequately. I see 5-7 as likely, but this team could easily finish 3-9 or 7-5. It all depends on how the new players in the backfield play. The Defense is an issue as well, they're young and lack talent in lots of places.

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