Spring in Nebraska may not be able to make up its mind, but the Huskers seem to know exactly what direction they want to head this during spring practice. With over fifty percent of the roster being underclassmen Matt Rhule has his guys and a direction to take them. As Husker fans we have grown accustomed over the past few years to losing games in a close manner. With double digit games in the last two years being within a touchdown and most of those being by 3 points or less, Nebraska has developed a “Chasing 3” motto this off season. Ingraining in players that with a small change here or there the outcome could have been much different in 2023. In fact, if the Huskers could’ve just overcome that miniscule 3 point margin it would have placed Nebraska at 9 wins this past year. So let’s look into our spring outlook and see what is needed to catch those 3 points. 

Everyone understands that the Huskers quarterback room was a hindrance in 2023 so I wont go into too much depth on that subject. With 2 outstanding freshmen and a veteran presence with Haarberg, the QB room is already in better shape just based on the ceiling of these athletes and the ability to go three deep if necessary due to the toll a Big Ten schedule takes on a quarterback. Our defense is another one of those areas that I will skirt past just due to its player retention and outstanding performance in 2023. With room to improve and a few new parts I do believe business will continue as usual for the Blackshirts. Improvements on the defensive line will make up for the loss at linebacker and transfers will help fill in the necessary holes on the defensive side of the ball in 2024.

The receivers room looks imposing for the first time in a while at Nebraska. With the addition of transfer portal veterans Jahmal Banks at 6’4 and Isaiah Neyor standing at 6’3 these two will add much needed size to the receiving core, giving quarterbacks the ability to target them in short yardage and red zone situations. Also bring a veteran presence to this otherwise young room will be of immense help. With Malachi Coleman, Jaylen Lloyd and Alex Bullock all seeming to use this offseason to gain size and strength while maintaining speed there will be depth at the wideout position which is something we lacked greatly in 2023. If you include a tight end room that has Nate Boerkircher, Thomas Fidone II, Luke Lindenmeyer and possibly the occasional use of Haarberg as a flex. Nebraska stands not only to be able to stretch the field but also work the middle of the field and turn short west coast style passes into big gains. 

In 2023 the Runningbacks room was decimated by injury. A team in which at near the midseason point led the Big Ten in rushing yards seemed to be riddled with injuries and relied heavily on designed quarterback runs as its main source of offense, shall now have a bit more breathing room. With the addition of former Oregon, sophomore running back Donte Dowdell who adds size and depth to the running back room and current experienced backs such as Gabe Ervin Jr and Rahmir Johnson the depth will finally match the talent level at this position. With Dowdell possibly starting this fall in a three back heavy rotation, keeping fresh legs on the field will be less of a chore for the coaching staff this season.  

Now onto possibly the most important position group in my eyes for this upcoming season, the Offensive Line. A group which graded in the mid-level tier in 2023 will need to improve greatly with this different style of offense in 2024, and a lessened ability to scramble for QB1. The right side of our line will be strong with veteran tackle Bryce Benhart, and Florida transfer Michah Mazzccua at guard. Center will be the most stable position on the line with Ben Scott hopefully continuing or even improving play from last year. Then over on the left side of the line are guards Evans-Jenkins, and Buckly. Both have had valuable playing time and just need to put in the work this spring and hopefully we will have two solid options at the left guard position. At left tackle sits our two offensive linemen with the highest ceiling that neither has seemed to fully reach yet, and that is Turner Corcoran and Teddy Prochazka. Two very highly recruited lineman coming out of high school that just haven’t seemed to catch their stride yet at Nebraska, but could be very close.

With a solid off-season and a great spring practice, this team in totality has the ability to look completely different than we saw in 2023. Our quarterbacks have the skills, but can they keep themselves mentally stable in tough times? Our Receiver room is flush with talent but will the chemistry be there?  Running backs can march their way down the field, if they can stay healthy. And our offensive line looks unbalanced, but will it come along? This season sure will be a fun one to watch. I just hope catching three is a phrase that we can phase out quickly.