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Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: Mick in the Middle

February 28, 2017

Since Bob Diaco was hired by Nebraska back in January, there has been non-stop discussion of how the Huskers’ former 4-3 pegs fit into 3-4 holes. It’s been a fun thought experiment considering which guys might be best suited to the switch and which guys might benefit the most, but at some point it’s time to just see how the coaches think this all fits together.

I figured that day might be Saturday when Nebraska opens spring practice, but Huskers defensive lineman Mick Stoltenberg gave fans a preview of how the puzzle might fight together on day one on the defensive line. In an interview with former Nebraska defensive lineman Adam Carriker for his daily video series, Carriker Chronicles, Stoltenberg said he has gained 20 pounds since the end of the season and will start the spring at nose tackle.

Who will be lining up on each side of him? The two guys you might expect based on last year.

I think we kind of have a basic framework idea of what’s going on. For the three down lineman it will probably be me, Freedom [Akinmoladun], and Carlos [Davis] and then I think it will maybe they could alternate either one strong or weak but that will be the three down defensive lineman that will start off at first.

Stoltenberg mentioned that Khalil Davis is also working in the middle. He went on to give Carriker his thoughts on who might fit as outside pass rushers, winter conditioning and which newcomer has impressed him in recent months. (Hint on that last one: Based on the early results of the current poll on our home page, Husker fans are anticipating what Stoltenberg is actually seeing.)

You can watch the complete interview here.

The SEC’s Downfall columnist Stewart Mandel asked around for reasons the SEC is “no longer the king of college football.” He ends up with four reasons the conference isn’t what it once was and when you put it all together it feels like a reasonable explanation.

So if the SEC is no longer the king, where does it fall in the pecking order?

“When you don’t really have anyone to speak of in the SEC East, and now the SEC West suddenly slips, you’ve got a conference that people are saying may only be the third-best conference,” said national recruiting director Mike Farrell. “It’s 1a and 1b to me with the ACC and the Big Ten.”

The conference strength debate always feels like a bit of tail-chasing, but remember the height of the SEC’s when every pundit — at least those not from Southern states — said “things are cyclical” and someday the SEC would be usurped?

Well, according to some, the new cycle may have already started.

The Grab Bag

  • Jordan Burroughs talks about wrestling in Iran last month during the height of the controversy over President Trump’s executive order on immigration.
  • Defensive end My-King Johnson signed a letter of intent with Arizona in February and, according to, is “set to become the first active openly gay scholarship player in major-college football history.”
  • Purdue started spring practice yesterday. Here’s a good scene-setter on Jeff Brohm’s first spring in West Lafayette.
  • Chip Patterson of looks at some of the “free agent quarterbacks” in college football this year.

Today’s Song of Today

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