football Edit

Final take: We didn't learn a lot about Nebraska on Saturday

The Nebraska defense (White squad) won Saturday's spring game 43-39.
The Nebraska defense (White squad) won Saturday's spring game 43-39. (Associated Press)

If anyone thought they were going to have Nebraska all figured out after Saturday's Red-White spring game, think again.

The Huskers had around 50 available scholarship players on Saturday, and head coach Scott Frost made the decision there would be no live to the ground tackling for any of his upper unit players.

At that point, it's pretty hard to walk away with very many takes when 230 pound running back Jaquez Yant is called down with an arm tackle.

"I just wanted to see some guys have a chance to play in front of the fans and what an awesome fan base we have for them," Frost said. "We have people show up early in the spring like this and watch and the environment. It is great being back around them and I just want to get off the field healthy. I think we did that too.

"We have seen 14 practices of guys doing what they need to do and the schemes that we are running today was just about showcasing some of that to the fans and finishing spring ball the right way.”

Talking quarterbacks

Junior Casey Thompson saw three series of action on Saturday. He was 3-of-4 for 31 yards passing, he fell down once and took a sack from Garrett Nelson off the edge.

Nothing about Thompson's day really moved the needle, but then again they really didn't let him open things up.

On the other hand, Chubba Purdy was a pleasant surprise. This was the first week he's practiced full all spring, and there's no question he showed some flashes of both speed and arm talent on Saturday.

Later in the game, it was also good to see Henrich Haarberg turn it loose and go live. He made a couple of nice throws in the game, and you could see the big picture potential.

The offensive line is still very much an incomplete picture 

The bottom line is until Teddy Prochazka and Turner Corcoran return to the mix, it's hard to make any drastic takes about the offensive line after Saturday.

I do think it's notable though that Frost gave center Trent Hixson some nice compliments about his play this spring.

That's big because there's been speculation that Corcoran could move to the center.

The unknown though remains the transfer portal and if the Huskers will bring in another tackle body between now and June.

TCU transfer portal target Ochaun Mathis.
TCU transfer portal target Ochaun Mathis. (Sean Callahan)

Ochaun Mathis passes the eye test 

Speaking of the transfer portal, the Huskers had arguably the No. 1 ranked player in the portal on campus Saturday in TCU's Ochaun Mathis.

Mathis got the VIP treatment. He was one of the first people on the field, and he had his own group giving him a tour.

I noticed former Husker All-American Jason Peter go right up to Mathis and talk to him on the field, along with many other Husker coaches and players.

It will be interesting to see where this one heads, but NU is all-in on Mathis and getting him on campus this weekend gives the Huskers their best chance of landing him.

Getting ready for Ireland 

There was this narrative out there that maybe Nebraska's game in Ireland vs. Northwestern would once again be in jeopardy because of events happening around the world.

Athletic Director Trev Alberts was asked about the trip on Saturday, and "when he felt comfortable" moving forward with things. The reality is the Huskers really have no say. This is Northwestern's home game and they have an agreement in place to play in Dublin.

"We have a signed contract on that," Alberts said. 'We are thrilled about the opportunity, and that will be directed by the folks around Ireland.

"Let me just tell you this, Husker fans have shown up in a strong way, and we are looking forward to playing in that game."

And just like last year's Week Zero game vs. Illinois, the Huskers' trip to Dublin in 2022 looms large in the big picture.

"The reality is with where we are as a program and an institution, I don't think you can think of a more important game," Alberts said. "You add all of that up in Ireland, in a unique environment with everything that's going on in the world, playing against a great team in Northwestern with a tremendous coach, who is a personal friend of mine and is going to be looking forward to giving a response to last year's game in Memorial Stadium.

"It's going to be a really important game for our team with a bunch of new coaches and new players. It will be a significant challenge."