The first week of fall camp wasn't perfect for the Nebraska football team. By the time the second week rolled around, the Huskers faced three season-ending injuries and one suspension.
Both junior defensive back Charles Jackson and sophomore linebacker Michael Rose suffered knee injuries. Redshirt freshman Adam Taylor, on the other hand, broke his ankle. As for sophomore safety LeRoy Alexander, he was suspended from the team with no explanation.
Are you worried about the injuries and suspension?
That's enough to have any Nebraska fan's head reeling. Some may even be wondering how the Huskers survive this.
While a definite blow to the depth, Nebraska is still in a decent position. The defense took the hardest hit, but there's still no reason to panic yet.
For Jackson, he was expected to start at nickelback this season. While he mostly excelled on special teams in 2012 and 2013, the offseason was beneficial for him on defense. Bo Pelini and the team expected a lot from the junior.
“That’s a huge loss right there. We needed Charles this year," said sophomore defensive tackle Maliek Collins, as reported by Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star. "We just have to stay strong and be good teammates to him and help him get back for next year.”
Who will replace Jackson? Pelini is confident the job will now belong to junior college transfer Byerson Cockrell, as per Huskers.com: “I love Byerson Cockrell, he is a really good player,” Pelini said. “He is a very smart and very intelligent football player.”
However, the secondary didn't just take a hit with the loss of Jackson. Alexander's suspension also stings at the safety position. Per The Associated Press (via DetroitNews.com), Nate Gerry looks to be the likely replacement to start opposite of Corey Cooper. The job wasn't Alexander's yet, which makes the loss a little easier to deal with.
As for Rose, the linebacker position does have depth. In his absence, sophomore Josh Banderas will move into the top middle linebacker spot. Per Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald, senior Trevor Roach will back up Banderas at the middle linebacker spot: "Trevor's played a lot of Mike linebacker for us," Pelini said. "He's a good football player."
The defense may have taken the biggest hit, but the offense did face one season-ending injury during Saturday's practice. Pelini confirmed that Taylor suffered a broken ankle that would keep him out indefinitely.
While the loss of Taylor is not ideal, it's not a major concern for the offense.
“I feel bad for Adam,” offensive coordinator Tim Beck said, per Jon Nyatawa, Rich Kaipust and McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald. “He had a great spring and was really playing well in the fall. My heart goes out to him. He’s worked extremely hard. But on the same token, it’s a very loaded position for us.”
For a group stacked with Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross and Terrell Newby, there is little concern after the loss of Taylor. The depth at I-back is just fine for the 2014 season.
When it comes to the defense, it's not all bad news. The defense line, for example, is still very healthy. As McKewon said, the line is "young, but not necessarily inexperienced." They're the ones that will ultimately lead the charge in 2014.
Plus, the team itself doesn't seem too worried. As Christopherson tweeted, senior wide receiver Kenny Bell doesn't think it's an issue.
Kenny Bell downplayed the injury topic. "We're fine. A lot of people are seeing these injuries and acting like the world is ending" #Huskers— Brian Christopherson (@HuskerExtraBC) August 11, 2014
Injuries and suspensions aren't ideal. For Nebraska, it's truly not the end of the world at this point though. In fact, the Huskers are still in a good position.
It all depends on if the rest of the team can stay healthy from this point forward.