Nebraska Cornhuskers Preseason Fact or Fiction

Brandon Cavanaugh@ IAugust 6, 2010

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 30:  Offensive Player of the Game wide receiver Niles Paul #24 of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers hoists the Offensive Player MVP trophy after defeating the University of Arizona Wildcats in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, on December 30, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Cornhuskers defeated the Wildcats 33-0. (Photo By Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

By Brandon Cavanaugh

- Nebraska will finally have a 1,000 yard receiver

FACT – Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers’ 942 yards has been the bar for Cornhusker receivers to beat for a while now. Few have come close as Nebraska has traditionally featured a ground-based attack, but with Niles Paul as a member of the 2010 receiving corps the record books will be re-written. Paul ties Rodgers and formers Husker Nate Swift and Maurice Purify with four 100-yard receiving game performances in a season. Of those, only Rodgers can claim accomplishing the feat twice.

Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson knows that a strong receiver set is crucial to success in 2010. Paul’s flashes of greatness in 2009, an MVP performance in the 2009 Holiday Bowl and a spring in which he has become a vocal leader of the offense and team combine to make Paul a dangerous threat, regardless of who will be throwing the ball his way.

- Zac Lee will start the entire 2010 season at quarterback

FACT – Lee’s 2009 season was far from stellar. However, his effort can be attributed to, and somewhat forgiven due to what was later revealed as a wrist injury. Facing competition from true sophomore Cody Green and red shirt freshman Taylor Martinez for the starting role, Lee’s experience should prove to be the difference. Green struggled during brief showings in 2009 and Martinez looks to be utilized in special packages specifically designed to take advantage of his speed.

While last year’s offensive unit has been looked down upon by fans both of Nebraska and not, Lee’s second year transition may resemble that of recent Cornhusker quarterback Joe Ganz. Ganz stepped into the starting role in 2008 after backing up Sam Keller the year prior and produced a 153.62 quarterback rating throwing for 3568 yards and 25 touchdowns.  Lee also has the good fortune of playing behind one of the deepest offensive lines that Nebraska has produced in recent memory.

- Roy Helu, Jr. will be the main Nebraska rushing threat

FICTION – While Helu will likely be named the starter against Western Kentucky, this doesn’t necessarily mean that, while immensely talented, he will be the “go-to guy” in Nebraska’s rushing scheme. True sophomore Rex Burkhead looks to be utilized as a power threat in multiple sets. However, as the Nebraska’s 2009 bowl performance showed us, Burkhead isn’t just a threat to punish defenders toting the rock.

I would be remiss in not mentioning true sophomore Dontrayevous Robinson. “Tray” showed impressive power and quickness for his size in 2009. However, his limited duty didn’t really give Cornhusker fans a true look at what he is capable of. Despite that, past Cornhusker success has usually been aided with a strong bunch of running backs and 2010 looks to be no different with these three athletes.

For more Nebraska analysis, visit