The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
No. 44: Nebraska Cornhuskers
Spring Practice Starts: March 12
Spring Game: April 21
Nebraska Cornhuskers Spring Status
Nebraska has the coach it’s wanted for a long, long time – at least someone of Scott Frost’s type – and the fan base couldn’t be more ready for the program to be a powerhouse again.
But just how fast can he really turn this whole thing around, if he can?
The stadium will be full in the spring game, the buzz about the Huskers is a national thing, and the hype will start fast.
He’s got to get the right pieces in place to do what he wants. That starts with finding a quarterback who can be a quick decision-maker, and it would be nice if he could bring in more speed, speed and speed for everywhere else.
The O line needs to be nastier, the defense has to come up with a positive identity, and he and the staff will need the entire offseason to fill in a whole lot of gaps.
The coaching change will matter, and so will the schemes, but this is still a team that went 4-8 last season and gave up 54 points or more in four of their last six games.
Lincoln won’t be rebuilt in a day.
Nebraska Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. This is everything. The Huskers need a few new good defensive backs to replace CB Chris Jones and S Josh Kalu, and offensive tackle is a concern, but the improvement of the team – and to do what Frost will want – all starts with finding the right quarterback.
Tanner Lee left early for the NFL, but he likely wouldn’t have started, anyway. Tristan Gebbia and Patrick O’Brien are good options, but it’s recruit Adrian Martinez – who’s already on campus – who might just be the star of the show right out of the gate.
Nebraska Biggest Issue
Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander has to generate a pass rush. Frost’s DC at UCF doesn’t have a Shaquem Griffin on the Husker roster, but he has to take what’s in place to find a pass rush from a group that came up with just 14 sacks on the year – and five of them against Illinois. Worse yet, only East Carolina came up with fewer tackles for loss.
Nebraska Biggest Positive
The receivers are in place. De’Mornay Pierson-El is gone, and losing tight end Tyler Hoppes hurts, but the combination of Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman is one of the best in the Big Ten. More options need to emerge, but combine the top receivers with a decent group of running backs, and there are pieces to work with.
Really, Why Are The Nebraska Cornhuskers Ranked Here?
It’s going to take a little while. Yeah, Frost turned a winless UCF team into a 6-6 squad two years ago, but this situation is a bit different – that was a total aberration of a 2015 Golden Knight team – but this is the year to get everything in place to potentially blow up in 2019 and beyond.
A great spring and offseason would mean the staff has its quarterback pecking order, it has a few defensive playmakers, and the offense style can start to work as each practice goes on.