Being a head coach at a major college football program isn’t the easiest job in the world. Nebraska’s Bo Pelini has a lot on his plate, and a lot to worry through the summer months as we wait for fall practice and the start of the 2012 season.
Here are five things that could be causing some sleepless nights for Pelini.
Much of the offseason discussion about Nebraska centered around Taylor Martinez working with national quarterback coaches in an attempt to improve his mechanics and be a more efficient passer.
Given the offensive struggles Nebraska has gone through, Bo Pelini needs Martinez to make a breakthrough in the passing game to give NU's offense more balance and make it more of a consistent threat.
Last year, Bo Pelini promoted from within by hiring Tim Beck as his offensive coordinator. This year, when the defensive coordinator position became available, Pelini promoted from within again by hiring John Papuchis from his staff.
While the defensive coordinator position probably isn’t as crucial to Nebraska as the offensive coordinator, given the level of Pelini’s involvement in the defense, it is still a risk to install a defensive coordinator who has never held the role before.
You can point to two games (Ohio State and Penn State) that Nebraska almost certainly would have lost had Lavonte David not made a critical play. Couple that knack for timely performance with the consistent level David displayed on the field, and it is clear that David’s graduation will cause problems for the Blackshirts.
While no one person is likely to fill David’s shoes, trying to figure out how to replace his production is enough to keep anyone awake at night.
As 2011 wore on, it became clearer and clearer that Rex Burkhead was the critical cog in Nebraska’s offense. Thankfully for Nebraska, Burkhead remained healthy and did not miss any appreciable playing time.
But there’s no guarantee that will hold true in 2012. And the transfer of Aaron Green creates a bit of a depth issue at running back that was not present, should Burkhead miss significant playing time.
This year will be a bit of a dry run for the B1G, with Urban Meyer’s Ohio State being ineligible for postseason play. But make no mistake, Meyer’s arrival in Columbus means he will be bringing his national celebrity and remarkable recruiting prowess to bear in an attempt to return the Buckeyes to national prominence.
Even with all the upheaval, Ohio State was rated sixth in ESPN’s top 25 rankings of recruiting classes for 2012. Meyer’s arrival in Columbus raised the bar in terms of talent Nebraska will need to recruit if it wants to be a legitimate contender for the B1G title on a regular basis.
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