Nebraska Football: 5 Players to Watch in Cornhuskers' Spring Game

Patrick Runge@@patrickrungeCorrespondent IApril 9, 2014

Nebraska Football: 5 Players to Watch in Cornhuskers' Spring Game

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Nebraska football fans can be forgiven if they are a little overwhelmed at this Saturday’s spring game. Trying to keep an eye on both sides of the ball and get a handle on what Nebraska’s strengths and weaknesses in the upcoming season might be as a result is a daunting task.

    So, as a public service, here are five players whom fans should be keeping an eye on during the course of the spring game.

RB Terrell Newby

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    Associated Press

    As a smart and particularly handsome analyst has already noted, Nebraska has a very full backfield. But sophomore Terrell Newby does stand out from the pack with his blazing, game-changing speed. And according to Steven Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star, Newby is being pushed in his second season by Ameer Abdullah to learn the offensive playbook and become a bigger part of the offense.

    Newby has a lot of competition for touches with Abdullah, Adam Taylor and Imani Cross in the backfield. But if Newby is able to get a better grasp on the offense—and the football, given his turnover issues—he could be a much bigger weapon in Nebraska’s offense. The spring game could be a fascinating insight into his potential role.

LB Marcus Newby

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    Nati Harnik

    The Newby on the other side of the ball might be worth some attention as well. Nebraska’s depth at linebacker is amazing, which is why reports from the Lincoln Journal Star about redshirt freshman Marcus Newby getting looks at defensive end were eye-catching.

    Depth at defensive end for Nebraska is nowhere near as strong. Randy Gregory will be a mainstay on one side of the line, and Greg McMullen looks fairly solid as a starter opposite Gregory. But behind those two are unproven talents such as A.J. Natter and Joe Keels. It may be why defensive tackle Maliek Collins—and now linebacker Newby—are also getting looks at defensive end.

    Keep an eye on this Newby, and see where he plays in the spring game.

OL Alex Lewis

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    Jack Dempsey

    At the start of spring practice, most assumed that the left tackle position would be David Knevel’s to lose. Alex Lewis, a transfer from Colorado, needed to address his pending legal issues as well as get up to speed in Nebraska’s offense.

    Fast-forward to today, and it looks like Lewis has surpassed Knevel. Eric Olson of The Associated Press reports that it has been Lewis having the epic battles with defensive end Randy Gregory in practice. So watching how that tackle spot plays out at the spring game could give some real insight into what the depth chart in the fall may look like.

DB Charles Jackson

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    Nati Harnik

    The athleticism of Charles Jackson has always been a bit of a legend for Nebraska fans. But now it appears that athleticism may be translating into production on the field. Josh Kelly of the Daily Nebraskan reports that Jackson is starting to stand out at practice, to the point where he may be a threat to start.

    Jackson’s best position remains to be determined, although don’t be surprised to see him vie for the nickel position vacated by the graduation of Ciante Evans. So seeing where Jackson ends up playing during the spring game could be a fascinating insight into how he will be deployed in the autumn.

QB Ryker Fyfe

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    Nati Harnik

    Apparently, it’s no fluke. Not only has Tommy Armstrong apparently sealed up the starting quarterback job, but Johnny Stanton also appears to be in a real battle with Ryker Fyfe for the backup role. According to Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star, Fyfe continues to impress with his knowledge of the offense, footwork and decision-making, and has the athleticism to compete with Stanton.

    This is not necessarily an indictment of Stanton’s future, as Steven Sipple discussed on KOZN-1620 AM’s Unsportsmanlike Conduct, but instead reflective of the fact that Fyfe has had a full year to learn Nebraska’s offense, while Stanton is getting to run it for the first time this spring. But that doesn’t change the dynamic that Fyfe has a real shot to earn the backup role this season.

    Seeing how he performs in the spring game will give fans some insight into what that might mean for Nebraska.

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