Nebraska Recruiting: Huskers Running Back Situation Full of Intrigue
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Nebraska Recruiting: Developing the ‘Next Man Up’ Mentality

October 23, 2019

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

This has been a week about running backs. That’s not too unusual considering the running back tradition at Nebraska that contributes to the high standards the position is held to. The running game struggles were already a big topic of discussion around the state. Then it came out that Maurice Washington is no longer with the football team. 

I’ve pondered whether the Huskers need to look at adding a third running back to the 2020 class. Perhaps adding to Sevion Morrison and Marvin Scott III would be helpful given the questionable depth at the position moving forward. 

Before we find the answer out to the question, Nebraska has games to play this season. There can be a tendency to wonder and think about the “what ifs” with all that is happening. That is natural when you lose a talented player like Washington from your position group. It turns out that is not the case for running backs coach Ryan Held.

“I’ve always been with the philosophy I don’t worry who I don’t have,” Held said on Wednesday. “I work with the guys that are in my room. When I was a head coach I had that. As a position coach I’ve had that. So I’m going to deal with the guys that are in the room. I like the guys that are in the room. They’ve worked hard. They want to be out there. They want to get things done, so, you know, that’s how I deal with it. And I don’t worry about what I don’t have. 

“We can always covet something we don’t have, or not with us, we just move on. And . . . the next-guy-up mentality; we’ve got Rahmir Johnson we’ll elevate this week. Obviously, we have [Dedrick] Mills. You’ve got Wan’Dale Robinson. You’ve got Wyatt Mazour back. And you’ve got Brody Belt.”

There is quite a bit to digest from that Held quote. First, the football part. This weekend could serve as part of an audition of sorts for true freshman Rahmir Johnson. If he plays well, helping the team to victories then he could play the rest of the season. There is still enough in the running back cupboard to get the job done. Provided the blocking on the line and perimeter make strides. 

Held’s “next man up” philosophy is something that can be extended into recruiting. Every team will miss on targets they want. There is no sense in dwelling on that. Move on to the next target. At some point during your tenure, players will leave your class after they commit. That’s what you have an entire recruiting board.

Looking at the big picture, building the “next man up” mentality throughout the team is an important part of culture building. Another way to describe that is you are building a resilient football team. As Coach Scott Frost has talked about as recently as this week that culture is still developing and won’t happen overnight. 

We will get the chance to see this weekend if any steps were taken during the bye week and lead up to the Indiana game.   

Recruit Watch

>> Omarion Fa’amoe, a 2021 defensive lineman from Utah, got a cool edit from the Huskers. 

>> Fremont walk-on commit Keegan Menning will be at the game this weekend against Indiana and is hoping to see his fellow walk-on commits.

>> Outside linebacker commit Blaise Gunnerson received his All-American Game jersey on Wednesday. 


>> There is strength in simplicity (Premium) as the Huskers look to bounce back on defense. 

>> We got a heap of injury updates and more from offensive coordinator Troy Walters on Wednesday.

>> The Hail Varsity staff took your questions in the mailbag to look at exciting freshmen, running back potential and more. 

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