Brandon Vogel, Jacob Padilla, Jake Jensen and Erin Sorensen answer your question’s in this week’s Hail Varsity mailbag.
Q: What is your favorite Husker football away game memory? – M.S., Cook/Tecumseh, Neb.
JJ: The comeback against Texas A&M in 2002. That was a ray of light in a dark season. And Jammal Lord was one of my favorite Huskers ever and he played great that game.
JP: Well, the only road games I’ve covered over the last two years have been Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, Wisconsin and Iowa. Not a lot of great memories from that bunch. Maybe I shouldn’t be taken on the road?
BV: At Notre Dame in 2000. Great game, great atmosphere, great road trip to Indiana (which I don’t find myself saying that often). I still remember walking into the stadium and getting the first glimpse of the field. It was everything college football should be.
ES: I just realized most Nebraska away games that I’ve attended have ended in a loss. The 2002 Rose Bowl, the 2006 Big 12 championship game, the 2013 Capital One Bowl… Yeah. Much like Jacob, maybe I just need to not travel for Nebraska. With that said, see y’all in Nashville!
Q: What’s your upset pick for bowl games this year? – K.B., Omaha, Neb.
JJ: I’ll go Miami (FL) over West Virginia. Kaaya finally puts it all together and the ‘Canes put up 50 on the Mountaineers.
BV: I don’t know that it would be as big an upset as the current line indicates, but give me Memphis over Western Kentucky.
ES: I’d like to pick either Ohio State or Clemson over Alabama, but I’m not settled on that yet. It would be enough chaos for me though, so here’s hoping.
Q: Who will start at QB for the bowl game? – J., Worthington, Ohio
JJ: Ryker. #RunRykerRun #RykerLegStrong #SoftCastStudmuffin
JP: At this point, the Huskers are preparing for Ryker Fyfe to start and it will take a surprise recovery by Tommy Armstrong Jr. to change that. Playing in the Iowa game set him back.
ES: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Armstrong will start. I have no reason to believe this. I’m probably going to be wrong, however if the kid can even hobble along, he’ll get himself in that game. Ask me again in a week though. We’ll see how confident I’m feeling then.
Q: Can NU win the bowl game with Ryker? Guessing we’d have a run-heavy game-plan. Looks like Ozigbo will be healthy finally? – D., Colorado Springs, Colo.
JJ: I think they can, but it’s unlikely. NU’s offense was limited when Tommy is QB, and it becomes even more limited with Ryker in. Now put that limited offense in a game where they will probably have to score 28 points to outscore a good UT offense. Don’t like those odds.
Q: How much practice time is Darlington getting at QB for the bowl game? – K.P.
JJ: I would expect him to get a decent amount of reps with the twos. I’ll just say that I’m going to be very happy when O’Brien and Lee are eligible. Relying on a backup slot receiver to be our backup QB is stressful.
ES: I’m still firmly on the team that wants Darlington to have a shot. I’ll just keep chanting, “Wildcat!” over here until someone listens.
Q: What’s the pre-season status of possible roommate combos next year? – S.S., Adams, Neb.
ES: Well, if you could get Tanner Lee bunking with a wide receiver, that’d be a good start. I wonder if Keyshawn Johnson Jr. and Tristan Gebbia will be roommates. I’d assume so. This is probably going to be my offseason project.
BV: Could Zack Darlington move into the special teams house? If we could get a Ober-Darlington-Brown cohabitation situation, we’d be able to use #roommates on every placekick.
Q: Carlos showed he is going to be a good interior lineman. If Khalil does the same in spring, who could get moved to defensive end to help? – T.
JJ: Nebraska’s defensive tackle situation looks to be in good shape going forward, especially if Parrella can land Damion Daniels to fill out his class. At D-End, NU will have Ben Stille and Collin Miller coming off redshirts, which will help their depth. I’d also watch for the Husker coaches to think hard about moving Quayshon Alexander from outside linebacker down to defensive end.
Q: Sometimes I get a shy bladder. There’s no way I could play for the Huskers volleyball team is there? – B.S.
JJ: I don’t know how to answer this question, so no.
ES: Are you saying because you’d get too nervous to handle the pressure? If so, then Nebraska volleyball probably isn’t your calling. Those women are some of the toughest out there. To come back from being down 0-2 to Penn State and winning? That takes nerves of steel, or a confident bladder in your case.
Q: Who do you think will emerge next year as RB1, Ozigbo or Bryant? – B.B.
JJ: Bryant, he can just do everything Nebraska needs of him. Bryant is number one, Ozigbo is two and recruiting gods willing CJ Verdell will be the number three back.
JP: It looks like Bryant has already passed up Ozigbo, as the latter has been at least somewhat healthy recently and hasn’t seen much playing time. Bryant brings a more dynamic style of play than does Ozigbo, and while Ozigbo is more skilled than the typical big back, he hasn’t really developed all that much as a blocker.
Q: In recruiting, have we forgotten about the 500 mile radius? – C.B., Minn.
JJ: No. Jaevon McQuitty, Austin Allen, Deontre Thomas, Reese Leitao and Broc Bando are all radius guys.
It’s just not a great year for talent in Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas. Other than Trevor Kent and maybe Mark Kallenberger there just weren’t a lot of radius guys that they wanted that badly other than the five they’ve already got.
Q: Do you think people need to lay off Jack McVeigh?
JP: McVeigh is in a tough spot. With the late defection of Andrew White, he was thrust into a role that he’s probably not ready for. If he’s not hitting 3s, there really isn’t anybody to space the floor, which makes it difficult for Tai Webster and Glynn Watson Jr. to attack the basket. McVeigh clearly isn’t ready to be a consistent knock-down shooter, but that’s what Nebraska needs from him. That being said, he hasn’t played well against any opponent with a pulse. He played seven minutes in the first half at Kansas, recorded one steal and nothing else, and never returned to the game. After the game, when asked about the change in the starting five to start the second half, he cited that he played his toughest guys, and McVeigh wasn’t included. Miles also said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference that a change in the starting lineup might be coming. Regardless, if McVeigh can’t start hitting shots against good teams, Nebraska is not going to win.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.