football Edit

Sizing up Nebraska's situation at kicker

There's been so much attention on Nebraska's offense and defense this spring, that there honestly hasn't been a lot of attention put on special teams.

However, as we approach Saturday's Red-White spring game, the Huskers still must find a starting kicker for the 2018 season.

Most assume that incoming scholarship freshman Barret Pickering has the leg up since he's here this spring, but don't count out redshirt freshman walk-on Cole Frahm from Omaha Burke either.

The 6-foot-5, 200 pound Frahm is one of the better kickers to come out of the state in recent years, and special teams and outside linebackers coach Javon DeWitt said he continues to battle with Pickering this spring.

Nate Clouse

“I’m actually really, really happy,” DeWitt said of his kickers. “I’m really pleased with what I’ve seen. Last year we didn’t have a very good touchback percentage (at UCF), probably one of the lowest ones around. We had a really good place kicker, but he wasn’t good at kicking the ball deep. We were more target practice in terms of where we wanted to place the football from the standpoint.

“I am really pleased, especially with our kickoffs, they’ve been dynamic throughout the course of spring football to date. We haven’t had as many field goals throughout spring football, because we’ve been installing so much stuff, but those guys have done a really good job in terms of working pre and post-practice kicks.”

As for the notion that the job is automatically Pickering's because he entered school on scholarship, DeWitt said that isn't necessarily the case.

“Our program philosophy is whoever the best is going to play,” DeWitt said. “I’m going to be honest with you, some of the guys on our team, I don’t know who’s on scholarship and who’s not. I’m just going to try to evaluate who has the ability. In the perfect world, yeah you’d like to say your scholarship kicker is better, but truth be told, if the other guy is doing a better job at it, we are going to play that guy.”

NU also only has one punter on their spring roster, and with long snapper Jordan Ober's knee injury, as they are fairly limted there as well.

It's been an adventure at times for DeWitt, as former Navy SEAL Damion Jackson has been able to take more reps at snapper this spring with Ober's injury.

Ober will be entering his senior season in 2018, and after that DeWitt would like to develop walk-on snappers in-house and have a rotating scholarship that goes to the starting snapper in the future while others work and develop to be the next guy to get the scholarship.

The Huskers signed two walk-on snappers this year in their recruiting class to learn and develop for the future.

“I think in a perfect world what you would have is one guy on scholarship, then spaced out a couple of years that when that scholarship guy graduates, he’s the guy you groom so you’ve always got one or two in the bank in case of injury and things like that,” DeWitt said. “I believe that you can have a guy on scholarship at long snapper, then groom the next one, so when that guy graduates you have another guy ready to go. It’s kind of constant cycle of your guys.”