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early Dec signing day update

13 December 2019 - 08:06 AM

well, the early Dec signing day is fast approaching, Wed next week Dec 18


right now I think all of NU's current commits are expected to sign next week, that list includes:


QB Logan Smothers

RB Sevion Morrison

RB Marvin Scott III

WR Zavier Betts

WR William Nixon

OT Turner Corcoran

OG/OT Alex Conn

NT Nash Hutmacher

DT/DE Marquis Back

OLB Blaise Gunnerson

OLB Junior Aho

ILB Eteva Mauga-Clements

DB Henry Gray

DB Ronald Delancy III

DB Tamon Lynum


that's 15 total commits thus far.  


This class can be 20-25 depending on who else wants to be N but I expect it to not climb much higher than 22/23 to save a couple spots for the transfer portal and graduate transfers


so, let's see who may still be on the board for NU


it looks like the staff is done recruiting QB, RB, TE, and OL.  That leaves WR, OLB, ILB, DL, and DB.  So basically any spot on defense plus WR


WR targets:


JUCO WR Omar Manning - it's been stated that he will be a Feb signing day decision, so his recruitment will continue.  It had appeared that NU was the leader for quite some time but he's going to be a top target for many schools after the early signing date


WR Justin Robinson - a Georgia commit who has visited NU, it's unlikely NU flips him imo


WR Alante Brown - appears to be another fast slot receiver, I think NU is in good position here


WR Marcus Fleming - runs a 10.4 100m, I think NU is good here as well


WR Javian Hester - just decommitted from Mizzou, a teammate of NU commit Sevion Morrison (I think) who is a taller WR that NU needs.  Not sure but I think he'll take more visits and make a Feb signing day decision



I suppose the big question is if NU lands Brown and Fleming, do they still take more WRs in Feb?  My guess is yes, since both Manning and Hester are bigger WRs that NU needs/wants, plus NU graduates Noa/Williams/Woodyard and loses Hunt, plus it's obvious WR needs help.  


now, for defense, where the fans would like to see some upgrades at both ILB and OLB




NU is in decent shape here with the commits they have on board right now, but they're still looking at some other additions:


JUCO DE Julius Coates - just decommitted from Colorado, I think NU is in good shape here


JUCO DL Jordan Riley, JUCO DL Pheldarius Payne - are these backup options?  not sure


DL Nusi Malani - the staff has been working on him for a while, I still think it's a tough pull to get those west coast poly kids to turn down local schools plus Utah, BYU, etc


DL Tuli Tuipulotu - see above.  





NU picked up a JUCO commit but would also like to add a prep LB as well.  


ILB Keyshawn Greene - recent FSU decommit, NU is after him hard but it's going to be tough to pull him out of the state of Florida


and that's probably it for ILB




OLB - Kaden Johnson - a longtime NU target I think NU is the leader here


OLB Jimari Butler - 50/50 for NU right now I think





Fisher has done a good job mostly under the radar with his recruiting since his arrival in Lincoln.  He's already got 3 commits for the class and is looking to add at least one more, 2 would also be taken if they're top kids who you make room for



DB Jaden Francois - probably NU's best chance of these three, and would be a good addition


DB Darion Green-Warren - NU is still in the running but this has always been an uphill battle, he seems like to sign with Michigan


DB Myles Slusher - current Oregon commit who has visited, and I think is teammates with NU commit Morrison, but in the end I think he sticks with Oregon



If I had to guess in order of likelihood of committing, based on extremely limited information (as in barely any other than reading the bs that others write):


OLB Kaden Johnson

JUCO DE Julius Coates

WR Marcus Fleming

WR Alante Brown

DB Jaden Francois

OLB Jimari Butler


I think NU has a less than 50% chance with everyone else (ignoring the Feb signees Manning and Hester)


but, then again, who knows?  



NU football 2020 roster analysis

02 December 2019 - 10:34 AM

now that another disappointing season is in the books, let's take a look at the roster of returning players for next year



QB - Martinez, Vedral, McCaffrey, Bunch 


between those 3 returning players the QB position should be decent for next year.  I'm hoping that AM was battling some undisclosed injury all season to explain his inaccuracy and hesitancy, but then again it's not like the OL and WRs did him any favors, either.  most likely we'll see incoming frosh Smothers as well but he will almost certainly redshirt.  I expect AM to be the starter again but this time around I think that McCaffrey will push him a bit in the spring and fall.  I fully expect McCaffrey to pass Vedral as the #2 QB soon.  


RB - Mills, Rhamir Johnson, Ronald Tompkins, Brody Belt, Jaylin Bradley


I wouldnt be surprised if Bradley is no longer on the team come spring ball.  He saw less touches than walkons Belt and Mazour.  Tompkins has reportedly had a setback with his knee recovery so hopefully that was only a minor deal but at this point after 2 knee surgeries in 3 years you probably have to figure that anything you can get out of him before his career is done is a bonus.  I dont want to count the kid out and I hope he fully recovers and is still the same player or better, but history for knee surgeries and RBs isnt good.  Hopefully with a year in S&C Johnson can hold up a bit better.  I fully expect Mo Washington to never return.  I think we'll see next year's incoming frosh RBs get a shot at playing time but most likely the staff will try to use them in 4 games and save their redshirts.  I think that Mills can be an every down back for sure and Johnson is a great change of pace back right now but it would be nice to see a bit more depth (and experience)


WR - Wandale Robinson, Spielman, Nance, McQuitty, Houston, Darien Chase, Kade Warner, Woodyard? (I thought I had read Woodyard might be able to use this year as a redshirt year but if so I'm guessing he may grad transfer elsewhere for more playing time)


so, this is an interesting position group.  my issue heading into the season was that they had recruited all short slot WRs and nobody to play outside.  Noa was a slot guy at Cal, Spielman has been in the slot his entire career, Robinson is a slot WR, etc.  anyway it's also an extreme disappointment that not a single player stepped up at WR this season (maybe Hunt was that guy before he was dimissed).  none of Nance, Houston, Chase could see the field?  hell the staff moved true frosh TE Hickman to WR to get a big body out there for blocking.  Anyway, this is a group where any newcomers could step in and immediately earn a starting job on the outside (maybe omaha's Betts?  or maybe JUCO Manning?, let's hope).  expect Robinson and Spielman to have their reps limited in the spring to get healed, which will hopefully allow an opportunity for some other WRs to get more practice time and maybe someone, anyone, can do something.  


TE - Stoll, Allen, Rafdal, Vokalek, Hickman


It's a disappointment that the TEs werent used more, but I understand considering the limitations of the offense this year.  Still, considering how shitty the WR production was outside of 2 players, it would have been nice to see the TEs pick up the slack.  All 3 TEs return that were productive last year, and Hickman returns as well although I wonder if the staff will leave him at WR for spring ball?  Also dont sleep on Rutgers transfer Vokalek, he's probably the most physically and athletically gifted of all of the TEs on the roster but he had to sit out last season.  I think this is a deep and talented group.  


OL - Jaimes, Farniok, Farniok, Wilson, Jurgens, Hixson, Raridon, Bando, Benhart, Piper, Sichterman, Matt Anderson, Micael Lynn, Jimmy Fritzsche, Brant Banks, Gaylord? (could apply for a 6th year and would likely get one, and I think there will be room on the roster for a 6th year senior OT)


here is where things get interesting, and while the OL was a major, major source of NU's offensive struggles this past season, the list above looks good on paper.  The interesting thing to watch in spring and more likely fall camp is to see how much the youngsters push the veterans.  Right now all 5 starting OL return but if I were a betting man I'd bet the starting lineup in the first game will be significantly different.  I could easily see Benhart or Gaylord (if he recovers and gets back to game speed soon enough) become the starter at RT allowing Farniok to move inside to OG.  I also think that between Bando and Piper that Hixson's days are numbered as a starting OG.  Jurgens improved by the end of the season and should only continue to get better.  There is a lot of young talent in this group and hopefully some of them like Banks, W Farniok, can push for backup jobs.  Considering how many frosh and soph there are in this group a lot can happen in the weight room and the training table in the offseason we may see one of these kids work himself into the two deep or we could see one or more of them eat themselves out of a scholarship.  


DL - Keem Green, Mosai Newsome, Chris Walker, Wildeman, Damion Daniels, Stille, Deontre Thomas, Casey Rogers, Ty Robinson


DL was probably the deepest group on the team this past season and considering NU is graduating all 3 starters there is bound to be somewhat of a dropoff.  However, there is quite a bit of experience returning, the difference will be how far along the younger players have come to at least be decent enough backups to spell the starters.  That was one of the big reasons the DL performed well at times last season and that was because they could sub in Stille/Thomas/Daniels and not really have much of a dropoff if any.  Right now it looks like we'll see Damion Daniels and Ty Robinson manning the NT spot although I think we'll see Green slide there on occasion as well.  Your most likely starters at DE are Stille and Thomas who both have plenty of experience.  The story here will be which of the younger players earns the backup jobs between Newsom, Wildeman, Rogers, Walker


ILB - Honas, Miller, Nick Heinrich, Garret Snodgrass, Jackson Hannah, Luke Reimer


so, it was quite obvious in several games this season that our ILBs lack altheticism and speed and coverage skills in general.  Honas I thought improved steadily throughout the season, and same for Miller.  It sounds like Hrinrich and Hannah were banged up.  Reimer was a great surprise as a walkon.  If the commit sticks, there will be at least one JUCO being thrown into the mix as well, which is a very good thing here.  Anyway, right now Honas and Miller are at the front of the line to be your starters, and considering all the rest of the group will be redshirt frosh, I expect it to stay that way.  But, I'm hoping that one or two of the young guys will stand out as a backup to those top two, or maybe even develop or be used as a third down ILB.  keep an eye on walkon Reimer, as he seemed to have the best instincts of all of them, he probably just needs time in S&C.  but yeah, right now on paper this group scares me a little bit considering how abused our ILBs were in pass coverage and in run fits most of the season


OLB - Domann, Nelson, Tannor, David Alston, Jamin Graham



Nelson improved by the end of the season and if he doesnt grow into a DE I could see him being a better version of Gifford already in his second year.  We dont have another big body OLB right now, though.  If he sticks there is a very interesting JUCO OLB prospect that may join the group as well.  Domann is one of our better LBs if not the best, he'll probably be a starter next year unless he pisses off the staff by skipping some of fall camp again.  Tannor I thought was improved but it seems like he needs to put on some weight.  there's also a chance that some of the DBs from last year could grow into an OLB, like Myles Farmer, at some point.  I'm not sure Alston saw the field as a redshirt frosh and Graham redshirted with an injury, I believe.  Need more depth and more talent here, and it's obvious to everyone they need a better pass rush from the OLB.  Maybe Nelson can become that.  


S - Deontai Williams, Dismuke, Pola-Gates, Farmer, Sullivan, Stalbird


I think the loss of Williams in the first game of the season really messed up the secondary, but I think they patched things together pretty well.  Williams should be back and healthy and he and Dismuke should make for a great S pair.  walkons Sullivan and Stalbird provide depth and great special teams play.  Taylor-Brit can always play S as well if needed as can Bootle.  Hopefully Pola-Gates recovers from his injury quickly to get into the mix as a backup safety because there's no experienced depth behind the projected starters


CB - Bootle, Taylor-Brit, Clark, Newsome, Tony Butler, Javin Wright


pretty decent returning group here with Bootle and Cam having plenty of starting experience.  Clark got a lot of time as a backup CB this year and should improve as well.  Newsome played all season on special teams and will probably battle for the other backup CB spot.  Butler has been on a milk carton his entire career here and Wright was a frosh who I think got dinged up and redshirted.  pretty solid group here as long as most of them stay healthy.  


special special teams


not even sure I want to go into this.  I am hopeful that Damion Jackson (former navy seal just in case you didnt catch that the first 27,000 times it's been mentioned the past 3-4 years, continues to learn to be a long snapper and can win the job.  


we need a new punter, maybe we can use one of the 17 kickers we used this past season?  ah fuck it, let Frost find his punter from the rugby club team.  



Frost criticism

02 December 2019 - 09:01 AM

I'm absolutely not saying SF or any of his staff should be fired, and I think most understand that no major staff changes will take place this offseason.


anyway, I just wanted to point out that this is only SF's 4th year as a head coach, and only his second at a P5 program.  he's certainly deserving of criticism in a number of areas in regards to how he's handled this team, the roster, the S&C, the playcalling, the clock and game management, the redshirts, etc


my guess is that some of the best improvements in the offseason will be how SF and staff evaluate themselves.  


Mo Washington not with the team

22 October 2019 - 01:43 PM

not booted from the team yet, but apparantly didnt practice last week or this week and isnt part of the team right now


dumbass kid.


SF is at least showing how long the leash is and maintaining the proper culture.  


There's still a ways to go to establish a culture of accountability in the program, let alone a championship mindset.  


sort of mid-season ramblings

14 October 2019 - 10:12 AM

now, at this point, we've seen what this team is, which is a mediocre football team that makes a lot of mistakes.  


is it possible that we'll see some changes?  I suppose it's possible.  The team made a big stride last season after getting their asses handed to them by Michigan, but that was due to culture/buy-in imo.  


maybe it would be easiest to take a quick look at anything that's looked good this season?  


maybe Wandale Robinson?  


not the OL.  not the RBs.  not the WRs.  QB hasnt been that great either but it's tough to pin anything on one player or even one position group when they're pretty much all contributing to the mess.  


defensively maybe nobody?  



so, it seems as if the OL sucks, and the WRs cant get open.  exasperating the problem is that because the OL is struggling, defenses can stack the box to shut down the running game, and our WRs cant get open to make them pay.  then on passing downs, our OL gives up pressure vs 3 and 4 man rushes while the rest of the defense drops into coverage and nobody can get open.  


I think that AM was affected by the bad snaps but also the pressure the OL is giving up plus WRs not being where they're supposed to be.  I think he was probably trying to make the big play or the perfect play too often instead of just making a safe play.  


the OL is definitely struggling, not sure if it's because Jurgens is new and not making the correct calls or what.  remember that he's learning on the job, the kid has never played OL before in his life.  I will say that while I do see Jurgens standing around on occasion, for the most part I dont think that I've seen him get blown up with his blocking assignments.  The problem has been both of the OGs and both of the OTs.  


I also think that the playcalling isnt helping much at all, and I think that the coaching staff is having a tough year all around.  I think they're realizing that lincoln was a dumpster fire before they came in and it's going to take years to fix (as many correctly thought), and I think they're realizing that the B1G isnt quite the same as whatever shit conference they played in before.  


Talent-wise, I think NU is still a long ways off.  


Plus, it's going to take a few more years before there's solid veteran player leadership in the program.  


It's a problem when your two offensive captains are soph.  


It's also a major problem when a grad transfer gets named a captain.  yeah, great story that he came in and set a good example by working hard, but isnt this a gigantic red flag that there is a horrible lack of leadership within the program itself.  


defensively, our DL was supposed to be a strength, and it's shaping out to not be the case, although I think most of the blame has to do with the LBs.  The LBs dont seem to be doing that great a job at really anything.  They dont seem to fill the correct holes, they overrun plays and overpursue, and they dont get pressure on the QB when they rush.  The DL probably looked like world beaters in fall camp because they were going against the Husker OL every day in practice.  


The secondary started the season well, and overall I think the defense is much improved if simply because they're trying to generate turnovers when they can.  But shit the defense has got to be worn down considering the amount of time they've been on the field the first 7 games.  


the 4 game redshirt rule is also messing with the coaching staff, imo.  They're juggling the roster trying to get certain frosh onto special teams units to use their 4 games meanwhile they cant make a decision on Rhamir playing or not, they fucked up having McCaffrey run out on the field for one fucking play when Bunch could have done it, etc.  I realize they want to save eligibility for these kids and build for the future, but I think you also have to consider playing some of them more, especially considering the lack of depth at several positions.  


I do wonder a bit, though, if the staff is trying to intentionally save as many of the frosh for the final 2-4 games as possible.  


but at this point, bowl eligibility is something that this team is going to have to fight for.  Right now, they arent any better than Purdue, Maryland, Indiana, and could easily lose any or all of those games.  Right now you have to chaulk up the Iowa and Wisky games as certain losses, as those two teams will simply line up and run all over our front 7.  


I wonder if we'll see some personnel changes after the bye.  


I realize it can be difficult to bench a player who's performing better in practice, but I'm hoping they can start to work more guys into the game like they did this past game with Bando coming in at LG for Hixson.  OLB Nelson probably deserves some more time as well.  you'd like to see some young WRs get more opportunities as well.  If Mo and Wandale are still nursing injuries after the bye, I think you have to pull the redshirt off of Rhamir and get him some work.  maybe now that Kade Warners back we'll see more production from the WRs.  he blocks well and is always where he's supposed to be.  


but to some extent you have to play the hand that you're dealt, and thus far this season I think the blame is at least equal if not more so on the shoulders of the coaching staff.  It appears that they've been surprised that this team wasnt as good as they thought.  They seem to have trouble finding plays that this team can run successfully, and they have demonstrated a halfseason of shitting the bed coming out of halftime every game.  that's not on the players, that's on the coaches.  where are NU's adjustments?  


but hey, 6-6 or 7-5 and a bowl game is improvement.