Nebraska Football: Report Card Grades for Every New Starter
Nebraska football fans got to see their Cornhuskers get off to a good start, beating Florida Atlantic 55-7 in Lincoln. In that game, a number of starters got their first chance to shine under the spotlight.
A first game is always a scary time for a player, as live-game conditions are a very different thing than practice. A player's performance in that first game can tell you a lot.
On a classic A-F grading scale, here’s how Bo Pelini's new starters graded out.
Alex Lewis, LT: A+
Jake Cotton, LG: A+
Mike Moudy, RG: A
Givens Price, RT: A
With 498 yards of total offense, it’s clear that the offensive line had a good day. Watching the game, you could see that the left side of the line—led by Alex Lewis—was getting a stronger push and imposing its will more than the right side.
However, that’s all a question of degree, as both sides of the line were as imposing as a Nebraska offensive line has been in quite some time.
Alonzo Moore, WR: C
Making the starting lineup amid a jumble of receivers was quite an accomplishment for Alonzo Moore. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to cash in on the stat sheet after the game.
Moore was targeted in the red zone and would have scored had Tommy Armstrong’s pass been on target, which does increase his grade slightly.
Greg McMullen, DE: A+
Vincent Valentine, DT: A
Yes, the loss of Randy Gregory was frightening for Nebraska fans. However, at least for this game, the emergence of Greg McMullen as a nearly unstoppable force on the other end of the defensive line was an exciting thing to see.
That is, both in the backfield and at times dropping into coverage.
McMullen was the defensive standout of the game.
Vincent Valentine, while playing in a less glamorous but no less important role, was stout up the middle and was able to get into the backfield at times and disrupt the Owls offense.
Josh Banderas, middle “Mike” LB: A-
Zaire Anderson, weak-side “Will” LB: A
Nebraska’s first defensive series saw the Owls drive 75 yards down the field to tie the score at seven.
After that, FAU only gained 125 total yards, and much of that was late in the fourth quarter when the result was well in hand.
While the defense as a whole performed well—which is a good sign for the middle linebacker who helps direct everything—Josh Banderas did not have a stellar individual day. He had no individual tackles and three assists, making for 1.5 total tackles on the day.
Zaire Anderson, on the other hand, was effective in coverage and disruptive in the backfield.
Nathan Gerry, S: A
Daniel Davie, CB: A
Byerson Cockrell, NICKEL: A
Daniel Davie was a surprise start, with many (including this dope) thinking that Jonathan Rose would end up winning the starting cornerback position.
Davie came up with a great game, as did Nathan Gerry, who was all over the field making plays. Byerson Cockrell fit in well at nickelback, both in run support and pass coverage, making the sting of Charles Jackson’s injury a little less painful.
Drew Brown, PK: B+
Brown got the first chance at place-kicking, drilling a 44-yard field goal along with all extra-point duties until the fourth quarter.
Mauro Bondi did come out and kick a fourth-quarter extra point, showing that there is at least competition for the place-kicking role, which lowers Brown’s grade slightly.
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