Nebraska Football: Spring Practice Position Battle Tracker

Patrick RungeCorrespondent IApril 2, 2014

Nebraska Football: Spring Practice Position Battle Tracker

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    Nati Harnik

    Nebraska football fans know that one of the best parts of spring is watching position battles, trying to get an idea of who will be starting in the fall and leading the Cornhuskers (hopefully) to gridiron glory.

    While the starters at some positions are relatively obvious, there are a number of ongoing battles. Make no mistake, starting jobs will be won by performances in spring and fall practice.

    Here are five position battles that are still in various stages of play. 

Quarterback

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    Contestants: Tommy Armstrong, Johnny Stanton, Ryker Fyfe

    Currently In The Lead: Armstrong, by some distance

    Many expected the quarterback race to rage throughout the spring. However, according to Steven M. Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star, Armstrong has all but sewn up the job.

    Indeed, the competition now is between Stanton and Fyfe for the backup role behind Armstrong. 

Left Tackle

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    Contestants: Alex Lewis, David Knevel

    Currently In The Lead: Lewis

    Knevel looked to have the inside track on the starting left tackle position as spring practice opened, simply because Lewis’ legal situation stemming from the assault prior to his departure from Colorado had yet to be resolved.

    With that issue now dealt with (45 days in jail, according Sipple), Lewis has been able to join the battle with Knevel in full for the left tackle position.

    As it turns out, according to a seperate Sipple report, Lewis has been consistently winning that battle. 

Center

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    Contestants: Paul Thurston, Mark Pelini, Ryne Reeves

    Currently In The Lead: Pelini, by a nose

    The dynamic of this race may have been changed with Reeves’ scary neck injury that sent him to the hospital and has kept him out of practice for the remainder of the spring.

    With that, according to Rich Kaipust and Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald, it appears that Mark Pelini has edged out Paul Thurston in the race for starting center. 

Non-Randy-Gregory Defensive End

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    Contestants: Greg McMullen, Joe Keels, A.J. Natter, Maliek Collins

    Currently In The Lead: McMullen

    Everyone knows that Gregory will be one starter at defensive end. The question is, with the departure of Jason Ankrah, who will start on the other end of the defensive line?

    According to Rich Kaipust and Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald, McMullen looks to have won the spot at this stage.

    Junior college transfer Keels and untested Natter have plenty of opportunity to earn playing time, too. Meanwhile, according to the Lincoln Journal Star, the debate as to whether Collins should shift at least partially from defensive tackle to defensive end has continued. 

Cornerback

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    Contestants: Josh Mitchell, Jonathan Rose, Byerson Cockrell, Daniel Davie, Boaz Joseph

    Currently In The Lead: Mitchell, with Rose and Cockrell tied for the second spot

    Mitchell, a senior and one of the leaders of the defensive unit, looks to have one of the cornerback positions locked up coming out of spring practice.

    Who will be starting at corner opposite Mitchell?

    According to Rich Kaipust and Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald, Rose (an Auburn transfer) finally looks ready to claim a starting spot.

    Meanwhile, the Lincoln Journal Star reports that junior college transfer Cockrell is making a strong case for the starting cornerback position opposite Mitchell.

     

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