Wide receiver has been an adventure for Nebraska under Coach Scott Frost. Through Frost’s time in Lincoln, his best wideout group so far was the one he inherited. That group featured Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman back in the 2018 season. The pair combined for 1,822 yards and 15 touchdowns on 136 receptions that season.
The 2019 season saw wide receiver production drop significantly. Spielman led the team with 49 catches for 898 yards and five touchdowns. The next closest wideout was Wan’Dale Robinson, who tallied 453 yards. Three games into the 2020 campaign, Robinson leads the team in receptions with 15 but for only total 92 yards. No one on the Huskers’ roster has 100 yards receiving yet. There has been just one passing touchdown on the season.
The biggest reason for the slow start to the passing game this season has been uneven wide receiver play. The Huskers’ playmakers at the position are young and learning. Time for growth is understandable. The problem is that everyone wants to see this offense take off as soon as possible.
Each player has also missed key time during camp for one reason or another, according to Frost. Naturally, the topic of wide receivers came up during Monday’s press conference.
“I just got done with a unit meeting with the offense, and we reviewed the game and I think the guys were able to see little things that we could do and should be able to do fixing some things to sustain a few more drives,” Frost said. “I think we’re on the right track but you’re never completely happy. I think as coaches you get frustrated because you want it perfect right now, and I mentioned this, but I think we counted 10 first-year players that played a significant amount for us.”
Frost is happy with the recruiting that the staff has done to try to help the skill positions. To him, it just feels like the they’ve been young for three years in a row because of turnover at the position. The Huskers did announce good news on Monday though. Frost shared that Oliver Martin, the transfer from Iowa, has been declared eligible to play.
“We’ll start letting him compete for some time,” Frost said. “He’s a talented kid. We’re glad to have him. He just hasn’t gotten a lot of reps because he wasn’t eligible.”
It would help Nebraska to get a full and clear picture of who was working at the wide receiver positions. That has been a challenge on a week-to-week basis. Now that Martin is in the mix, there is another player to potentially work in. That’s great but some consistency is needed to boost the struggling passing attack.
At some point the Huskers would also like to get prized junior college recruit Omar Manning up and running in the offense. Manning did not suit up for Nebraska’s game against Penn State. Frost gave a small update on the 6-foot-4, 220-pound pass catcher.
“We can’t just seem to get Omar healthy,” Frost said. “We’ve got our fingers crossed, but he just hasn’t been healthy.”
The Huskers’ young pieces on the outside seem to be rounding a corner. Their natural talent paired with increasing snaps the last two games helps. Now the group needs consistency to help unlock the offense for the rest of the season.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.