Nebraska Cornhuskers Football 2011: Bo's Foundation Is Taking Shape

Mark BrunswigContributor IAugust 27, 2011

Top five defensive tackle tandem
Top five defensive tackle tandem

Hello Husker nation and sports fans around the world.

Less then a week till kickoff and other then injuries up front for the offense, it sounds like the Cornhuskers have had a solid camp.  Head coach Bo Pelini's foundation he began laying January 2008 has clearly taken shape. 

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are sizable with above average, if not great speed at all positions on the field.  There is not a position on the depth chart you don't see a guy with good speed for his spot.  The speed is the concrete in the foundation, I believe, with the athletes up front being the re-bar that gives that concrete a chance to look good. 

Coach Pelini knows football, he knows that all games start up front and to that he and his staff have built phenomenal depth up front on both sides. The defensive side is with out a doubt the deeper of the two lines this year due the amount of experience and upperclassmen on that particular side of the ball.  Not that the offensive line is without some experience.  The youth of the O-line is what comes to the forefront.  Barney Cotton, OL coach, has a large pantry, full of kids who have the ability and potential to be great. 

For Husker historian and fans alike, the dominance of the defensive front takes us back to the days of Jacobson and Glover to glory of the Peter Brothers.  All-American Jared Crick anchors this years defensive front.  D-line coach John Papuchis has at least four players to rotate at DT.  If young players like Jay Guy, Chase Rome, Kevin Williams, and Todd Peat step up you could see as many as six different DTs in any given game.  Rome is a player in the middle that Big Red nation should expect to hear this year.

Coach Papuchis has seen steady improvement at the DE position over the past few years.  This year should be no different, the depth at defensive end starts with Cameron Meredith.  Cameron has the ability to line up on the end in a 4-3 or 3-4 alike.  Meredith also showed last year against Missouri plus others that he can also play standing up.  Behind him and on the opposite side should comfort those who miss the days of Winstrom and Tomich.  Josh Williams, Eric Martin, Jason Ankrah, Joseph Carter and Kevin Thomsen are the names at this point Nebraska will look to all step up and create a unreal monster at DE.

That defensive front is backed up by a fast athletic line backing group, and possibly one of the deepest most athletic defensive back fields in the nation.

Looking at the offensive line there is reason for optimism.  Knowing there will be mental breakdowns and stupid penalties due to youth.  Coach Cotton and all those Husker fans out there should be looking at senior center Mike Caputo, If you can see him standing 6'1" and weighing  275 lbs, everyone else standing at least 6'5" and over 290 lbs this season.  Caputo is a ox in the middle, he is also the anchor of that line surrounded by young mammoth human beings. 

The Huskers look to start sophomore Andrew Rodriguez and either junior Brandon Thompson, or redshirt freshman Jake Cotton.  Coaches say Cotton is on the upswing, he got here playing defense, then moved to tackle in the spring, and now pushing to start at tackle. 

On the outside true freshman Tyler Moore is playing well enough to be looking at definite spot in the rotation if not the starter at right tackle, due to injuries.  With those injuries to Marcel Jones and last year's starting left tackle sophomore Jeremiah Sirles, coaches moved the biggest of them all  sophomore Brent Qvale from guard to tackle.  Yoshi Hardrich is the only constantly contributing senior with Caputo.  Hardrich is a junior college transfer though.

This line will only continue to improve this year and into the future.  The speed on offense will be the feature for Nebraska this year and likely deservedly so.  The Big Red pipeline is on the way back though.     

We all know what the defense can do even if it is Carl Pelini instead of Bo Pelini running it,  plug and chug to a top ten ranking.  The offense is heading in a new direction, finally, as head coach Bo Pelini hired a new offensive coordinator.  Tim Beck is in his first year as the head offensive man.  Beck along with the other offseason coaching moves will likely be the final pieces to the Pelini championship foundation.