April 23, 2007

The five biggest concerns heading into the summer

As the Nebraska football team heads into summer conditioning, there are several questions that need to be answered from now until the start of the regular season.

Maybe the biggest question the Huskers still must answer is will they be able to replace three-year starters Adam Carriker and Jay Moore at defensive end. Here are the five biggest concerns NU must answer from now until the start of the season.

DE still has questions to answer

After watching spring practice, it still remains to be seen if juniors Zach Potter and Clayton Sievers will be able to get the job done at defensive end.

Both Potter and Sievers took several reps with the No. 1 defense and they showed some flashes during the Red-White game. However, it's very hard to gauge where they are at because they weren't seeing a Big 12 caliber offensive line in the Red-White game.

Not having junior Barry Turner (shoulder injury) in spring practice also made things hard to read. 2007 will be the first time Turner will be placed in an every down role, so you don't know how good he'll be against the run. Turner has only worked as an exclusive third down pass rusher the past two seasons.

Without Carriker and Moore, defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove will need to find new ways to produce a pass rush off the edge. One way we saw him do this during the spring is put senior linebacker Steve Octavien in a 3-4 outside linebacker "joker" role off the edge. This fits Octavien perfectly and puts him in a situation where he should be able to put up formidable sack numbers in 2007.

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