The weekly rundown: Final spring football thoughts
Here are some final thoughts and takes following Nebraska's Red-White spring game this past Saturday.
You have to feel pretty good about these things right now:
Nebraska fans - Does anything surprise you about Nebraska fans anymore? The third-largest crowd in the nation assembled in Memorial Stadium since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think the only surprise is it wasn't more than 36,406, but when you put it into context the number is pretty spectacular.
A game in Lincoln on Sept. 4 - I think it's inevitable the Huskers will be playing a Week 1 game now on Sept. 4 in Lincoln. My guess is we could hear something this week on that. NU Athletic Director Bill Moos has hinted that is their hope and plan.
No transfer portal QBs - I believe there was a time that this seemed more likely than not. Today, I don't think it happens. The main reason? Heinrich Haarberg. He's much further along than they could've thought and they like what he's added to the QB room.
The Blackshirts - This is far and away the deepest the defense has been under head coach Scott Frost. The 2021 Blackshirts have the ability to keep NU in a lot of games this season. It's arguably Nebraska's strength coming out of the spring.
Drew Christo - The 2021 Husker baseball recruit out of Elkhorn threw a no-hitter on Saturday over five innings, striking out 11 batters. The bigger question is will he ever play a game in a Husker uniform, or will he go right to the pros?
Kate Smith - Nebraska's first women's conference golf champion since Sarah Sasse in 2003. Now she's off to the NCAA tournament to represent the Big Red.
These were my surprises of the week:
The push to get $80 million over the pandemic - I hinted over the last couple of months things were going down to the wire on the fundraising for Nebraska's new $156 million football facility project. To hear both Moos and Matt Davison say they were over $10 million short with around two months to go really got my attention. It was not easy to raise that money. If the Mar. 31 goal of $80 million was not met, who knows where things would've turned next.
2022 TE target Max Whisner - Our own Robin Washut picked up some football recruiting scoop at a basketball tournament on Sunday in Lincoln. Lee's Summit (Mo.) tight end Max Whisner is highly considering Nebraska right now, despite the fact he's still a commit to Missouri. Stay tuned on that one.
Two draft picks - I know I called for it in my 3-2-1, but I think most people were pleasantly surprised to see the Huskers have two NFL draft picks this past weekend in offensive linemen Brenden Jaimes and Matt Farniok.
Husker baseball being swept by Rutgers - Nobody could've seen this coming. A series loss was always possible against red-hot Rutgers, but a sweep in Lincoln sure caught everyone by surprise. The margin for error on being named a regional host is very small. You sure hope this past weekend won't end up costing the Big Red.
The jury is still out
Questions still surround these players/position groups:
Punter - What I want to know is can Daniel Cerni be the guy they thought he was? The wind was so strong on Saturday, it was very hard to judge the punters. Cerni's 61-yard punt did get my attention though. He needs a big summer.
Running back - My Day 1 starter today would be freshman Gabe Ervin. After that, questions surround Marekese Stepp's foot. Marvin Scott got the start with the Red offense in the spring game. Jaquez Yant also continues to make a push. It's very hard to gauge where this position group is heading. The only thing I feel good about today is saying Ervin will be a factor in 2021.
2022 quarterback recruiting - When will Nebraska land their 2022 quarterback recruit? It's a key moment for every recruiting class, and you wonder what direction things will go with four-star MJ Morris out of Atlanta after his visit this weekend.
This has my attention
Moving forward, this has my attention:
Season ticket renewals - Once Nebraska's Sept. 4 game gets announced, expect season ticket invoices and renewal notices to go out shortly after. What will that number look like? Is the sellout streak in jeopardy? Will Memorial Stadium be at 100 percent capacity in 2021? If it is, what will renewal numbers look like?
The transfer portal - Spring ball is over. Final exams in Lincoln start today. Expect some exit meetings and transfer portal news to happen. It's just part of the deal.
Spring knee injuries - Losing both tight end Thomas Fidone and linebacker Will Honas to knee injuries this spring was a big blow. You really feel for Honas, who suffered his third major knee injury over his football career. Both injuries to Honas and Fidone happened in non-contact situations.
Jaren Kanak and Brent Venables - Nebraska appeared to be in very good shape at one point with Hays (Kan.) prospect Jaren Kanak. However, when you run 10.66 in the 100, 22.07 in the 200 and go 22 5 1/4 in the long jump, you are going to garner some national attention. Unfortunately for the Huskers, Kansas native and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is kicking the tires on Kanak now. If the Tigers offer, it's going to be Isaiah Simmons potentially all over again.