The Nebraska Huskers Spring Game is Saturday, only three days away. It’s sold out and will easily be the most attended spring game this season. Memorial Stadium is projected to have an 85,000-person crowd, while the next highest is Florida State at 60,934. Ohio State, who holds the top three spots for most-attended spring games ever, only had 47,803.
I was originally planning on doing players to watch, but that could easily have become just a list of the top three quarterbacks, so instead I’m only letting the signal-callers take one spot. Anyway, let’s get into it.
I already said it would be here, so I’ll start with the obvious. While it didn’t come as a shock, the transfer of former Elite 11 QB Patrick O’Brien has cleared the Huskers’ arms race. It now comes down to three: Tristan Gebbia, Adrian Martinez and Andrew Bunch.
Gebbia has a leg up on the competition due to his experience and his passing skills. While not as natural of a runner, he has proven throughout practice that he can handle it. Gebbia lit up the Spring Game a year ago, and I expect him to do the same this year.
Martinez, a true freshman, has the feeling of a freshman phenom, or the “next big thing.” While he very much could still be a star, his inexperience and potential rust are keeping him at arm’s length from Gebbia. That said, I expect an exciting spring game from him.
Bunch, the surprise of spring camp, looks like a capable runner and is much more talented than many, including myself, thought. He has positioned himself squarely in the competition. While he still is a longshot to win, he should be solid on Saturday and could be in position to be the primary back-up.
Linebacker is an interesting position for the Huskers. They lose Chris Weber and Marcus Newby. Obvious starter and standout Luke Gifford is still hurt. Alex Davis never played up to the level we all thought he could.
Then there’s Dedrick Young. He’s been a major player at linebacker since his freshman season. We’re coming on his final year and I’m not sure he’s become as good as he could have. He is going to get pushed because of a lot of depth and newcomers behind him.
Will Honas is a JUCO transfer and came here instead of Iowa and Wisconsin. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of player he’s going to be, then I don’t know what does. He should play a lot and play very well on Saturday.
Then there’s the guys who have been here and improved a lot in spring ball: Guy Thomas, Mohamed Barry and Tyrin Ferguson. Both have gotten in better shape are standing out thus far at spring practice.
Finally, last season’s break out star, Ben Stille, should continue to grow and become a big-time player for Erik Chinander and his defense. The next Barrett Ruud? So much depth at this position will be fun to watch. Look for someone to have a good game on Saturday, and they just might separate themselves.
I know it’s boring to have QB and RB both on here, but based on position battles, these are two of the biggest. Especially with Tre Bryant still hampered with an injury, running back is wide open.
Greg Bell is a JUCO transfer and has looked the best out of the backs. He is in the best shape and the best all-around at spring practices. He may have a lingering back issue, but we don’t need to worry about that until it comes up.
Devine Ozigbo has lost weight and looks to be in the best shape of his life. He is going to make a strong push for the starting position and should have a good day on Saturday.
Mikale Wilbon might benefit most from the change in offense, but we haven’t heard a lot from him in practices so far. We have heard about Jaylin Bradley, however. He looks super comfortable in coach Frost’s offense. He has gotten bigger and, if possible, faster. Watch out for him. He’s going to be a gamer on Saturday.
Cornerback (Honorable Mention)
Lamar Jackson, DiCaprio Bootle and Eric Lee, Jr are all coming back, but with a lot of JUCO and freshmen talent coming in, their jobs are not secure. They better hope those quarterbacks mentioned previously don’t burn them too bad.
It’s going to be a fun game on Saturday. While players’ seasons and position on the depth chart won’t be affected too seriously from it, don’t think coach Frost discounts what they do in front of the 85,000 in Memorial this weekend.