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January 13, 2012

Year in review: Wide receiver/Tight end

Nebraska finished the 2011 season with a 9-4 record ranked No. 24 in both the AP and Coaches polls. As we start to look ahead to 2012, HuskerOnline.com will begin our year in review position recaps. Today we analyze the wide receiver and tight end positions.

The high point: Bell and Enunwa's emergence
Arguably the high point for Nebraska at the wide receiver and tight end this year was the development and emergence of young players like redshirt freshman Kenny Bell and sophomore Quincy Enunwa. Both players showed great potential and leadership for the future and had plenty of big moments, considering they are only in their second year in the program. After not seeing very many young receivers make an impact at Nebraska over the last 10 years, it was nice to see Bell and Enunwa show promise for the future.
The low point: Inconsistent play and dropped passes
Too many times on key passing downs we saw Nebraska's wide receivers drop catchable footballs. Some of the blame gets pointed at Taylor Martinez, but the receivers and position coach Rich Fisher have said this is an area that has to get cleaned up going forward. Nebraska's offense predicates on rhythm and one or two key dropped passes is all it takes to throw off the rhythm of the offense.
Most memorable moment: Bell's reverse at Minnesota
There were several memorable moments for me this year with the wide receiver and tight ends. Enunwa's touchdown in the diamond formation against Ohio State stood out, as did Kyler Reed's touchdown catch right before halftime against Iowa. However, the play that still jumps out to me the most was Bell's 82 yard touchdown run off a reverse at Minnesota. This play showed how explosive Bell truly is. Multiple Gopher defenders had the angle on him, but he outran them. It was the longest touchdown run at Nebraska since 2004 when Cory Ross went for 86 yards against Missouri.
What the future holds: Plenty of build on going forward
Really the only guy Nebraska loses is Brandon Kinnie, who had a disappointing senior season and lost his starting job to Bell. What I would like to see going forward is more development from Bell, Enunwa and Tim Marlowe. I'd also like to see Jamal Turner jump back into the mix. At the start of the year you could make a case he was Nebraska's best wide receiver, but he fell off once Marlowe beat him out. At tight end, Nebraska has two pretty good one's returning in Reed and Ben Cotton. What they need to do now is develop some younger guys to replace them for 2013.

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