Nebraska Football Wide Receiver Oliver Martin Running Against Illinois
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Big Red Recon: Huskers Leaning on Depth as Final Week of Spring Football Approaches

April 01, 2022

The Huskers are nearing the end of spring football.

It flew by, but we are about to enter the final week of spring ball. The team has had to lean heavily on depth at key spots this spring. There are players still limited or missing spring altogether at many positions. The good news is many young players are getting an opportunity to improve by getting on-field reps instead of mental reps. There is plenty of football and recruiting news to dive into.

Let’s get to the Recon.

2023 Commits

Dwight Bootle, Defensive Back, Miami, Florida

Benjamin Brahmer, Tight End, Pierce, Nebraska

Gunnar Gottula, Offensive Lineman, Lincoln, Nebraska

Sam Sledge, Offensive Lineman, Omaha, Nebraska

William Watson, Quarterback, Springfield, Massachusetts

2023 Needs

QB 0 DL 3
RB 0 MLB 1
WR 2 OLB 2
TE 0 DB 2
OL 2 K/P 0

The Recon:

>> When I spoke with Wisconsin offensive lineman Brandt Rice last Sunday after his visit he made an interesting comment that didn’t make the story. He enjoyed his visit quite a bit and is hoping for a Nebraska offer. He was the latest prospect to note how special the people at Nebraska are.

“Just the people there and their knowledge of the game stood out,” Rice said. “The people that they know. If you talk to them, they’ll go on all day about just football and about Nebraska. That really stuck out with the whole culture there that they’re just ready to go.”

Rice will be one to keep an eye on as he continues to add weight this offseason and has senior film.

>> The Huskers have had a steady flow of visitors this spring for practices. The team has focused on bringing in smaller groups of players to focus on them with more personal visits.

Two more players are scheduled to be in Lincoln on Friday, Apr 1. Michigan offensive lineman Amir Herring (6-5, 281) will be in on campus to check out practice. Herring visited for Junior Day earlier this year and was offered by the Huskers.

Kansas tight end Will Anciaux (6-6, 225) will also be on campus. He has a handful of scholarship offers including Nebraska, Iowa State and Kansas State. Anciaux is the first known tight end to visit Nebraska for a practice this spring.

>> The Huskers have made a hire for the vacant director of player development role. The job was previously held by Marcus Castro-Walker who fans often asked about when spotting him on the sidelines of games. William Prince is the new person in the role. He spent the previous four years in the Southern Miss program. He began his time there as the executive assistant to the head coach. In that role he oversaw athletic, education and social development for the team. He was also an assistant strength coach the last three seasons.

>> We heard from wide receiver Oliver Martin this week and he was candid about what held him back last year physically. He lost a lot of strength and explosion in his leg early in the season. Martin was even more candid about how he felt he connected with wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph right way. Joseph pulled Martin into his office one-on-one during the offseason to get to know him. That was something Martin had never experienced before.

“I feel like I’m a lot closer to him than the previous coaches I had and that’s big for me,” Martin said.

Martin can get lost in the shuffle with the new and returning pieces in the wideout room. He can be a major x-factor for the offense if he’s healthy and working hard for his coach.

>> There hasn’t been much of a competition at the starting quarterback spot. That doesn’t mean there isn’t intrigue for the backup role. Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple was complimentary of the work Logan Smothers has put in this spring. Whipple noted that he’s played well in the scrimmages so far.

Chubba Purdy had only been doing 7-on-7 work prior to this week but got team reps on Wednesday. The competition and camaraderie in the room is good.

“Everybody’s competing, but I think they’re really helping one another out. It’s a good room,” Whipple said. That’s important. If they miss something, those guys are talking about it a lot in meetings and on the field. So there’s not any animosity in the room. They’re all trying to get better at different levels, and (we’re) trying to build up a library for each of them (that) I can go over with them when they get to summer.”

Once the quarterback room is healthy we’ll have a better handle on how that backup race will shake out.

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