Nebraska Cornhuskers' 2008 Spring Game: What to Watch For

Big Red NetworkSenior Writer IApril 18, 2008

While you can choose a rooting interest in a spring scrimmage, one team or another coming out with a win would seemingly have no bearing on the future. But there are things to keep your eye on, as clues to how the team might look in the fall.

This is the catch-22. On the one hand, you don’t want to see the offense committing turnovers, on the other you want to see the defense get some. The compromise? If Joe Ganz or any player likely to see meaningful playing time in 2008 commits a turnover, that’s bad. If Beau Davis throws three picks, that’s great.

Unlike the turnovers, we don’t want to see any penalties. Not one. The least offensive might be a halo rule type penalty on a punt. The worst are the delay of game penalties on offense that should just never happen.


No matter who it is, if the ball hits a player in the chest or hands, we want to see him come down with the catch. If a defender can get his hand in and knock the ball away, that’s fine. But no drops when the ball gets to your hands and no one’s there to knock it out. The same goes for defenders, if they get their hands on a pass, they need to make the pick.

Offensive Reps
You'd think a veteran like Marlon Lucky wouldn't need a lot of reps if the offense hasn't changed much. But if they need to get these guys familiar, then we might see a Lucky play most of the game. How quickly these guys sit down might tell us how different the offense will be under Shawn Watson.

Short Yardage
The Huskers have lanky tight ends and inexperienced fullbacks. That means that when the Huskers are in short-yardage situations where a team usually uses two tight ends and a fullback they could have difficulty. Can they get it done? Will they need to use an extra lineman or two? Will they just spread the field and abandon the plow-horse philosophy?

When a defender has a ball carrier in front of him (particularly in space), can he close the deal? Sure it’s nice to know that Roy Helu can make a defender miss. It’s better to see Husker defenders bringing their man to the ground one-on-one. Better tackling seems to be the simplest and best way to improve the Husker defense. Let’s hope to see it Saturday.