IRVING, Texas -The Big 12 Media Days will kick off this afternoon here in Dallas and the Nebraska Cornhuskers will be the first team to meet the media on Monday at 1 p.m.
As NU gets ready to meet the press, here are some of the top Husker storylines we'll be covering today in Dallas.
Meeting the expectations
Nebraska will enter today's media days in a position they haven't been in for a while. NU will begin the 2009 season as the Big 12 North favorites for the first time since the 2006 season-also the last time Nebraska won the Big 12 North.
The big question NU will face today in Dallas is can they meet these expectations. Head coach Bo Pelini and the Huskers have gotten quite a bit of love coming off their 9-4 season, but the expectations weren't near as high for NU in 2008. It will be interesting to see how this team handles the position of being the "favorite."
Is Suh the Big 12's best?
Some people initially questioned senior Ndamukong Suh's decision to come back for his senior season, but it's pretty clear when you look at things now he made the right move.
Suh will enter the 2009 season as the preseason Big 12 defensive player of the year and a top 10 pick on nearly every experts NFL draft board. The way Suh finished the 2008 season has raised his stock immensely heading into this fall and now he's a household name throughout the conference. The question now is can he raise his game another level from what he did down the stretch last season.
Can Lee carry the load?
With names like Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Texas's Colt McCoy leading the pack at quarterback in this league, Nebraska's Zac Lee will go into Big 12 Media Days as somewhat of an afterthought.
Lee has never started a game for the Huskers, but he will undoubtedly face as much pressure as any quarterback in the conference trying to meet the high expectations set in front of him by Husker nation.
Replacing Joe Ganz will be no easy task for Lee, but offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has already said Lee has as much talent and potential as any quarterback he has coached in 28 years.
Summer roster update
Heading into the 2009 season there are still a few roster and team related questions Pelini must answer at Big 12 Media Days.
What's the status of junior offensive lineman Jaivorio Burkes and his undisclosed medical condition? What type of summer did junior running back Quentin Castille have? There have been several different rumors floating around the web about Castille…it will be nice to hear Pelini clear the air on this subject.
What's the status of the 2009 recruiting class? Is everybody on campus? Watson already addressed this Wednesday at Mary our Queen church in Omaha, but you still would like to hear it from Pelini.
And finally, what walk-on players will be put on scholarship this August? NU should be under the NCAA scholarship limit by five or six when camp opens up August. You can pretty much assume that both junior kicker Alex Henery and junior tight end Dreu Young will be put on scholarship this fall. Some other upper classmen that could be in contention are linebacker Colton Koehler, offensive lineman Derek Meyer and wide receiver Wes Cammack.
Can the Blackshirts take the next step?
If Nebraska wants to take the next step in the Big 12 Conference, they are going to have to turn their defense into an elite unit. With Pelini leading the way, this could very well happen in 2009.
NU returns one of the top defensive lines in the Big 12 and they also return quite a bit of depth and experience in the secondary. The big question on defense is at linebacker, where the Huskers will be playing several underclassmen. Can Pelini groom these young linebackers and get them ready for the Big 12?