We have the full staff on hand to answer your Husker questions this week. Let’s get right to it.
Who is more likely to make the HOF: Rex Burkhead or Ndamukong Suh? (@OUupdatedSB)
Erin Sorensen: Ndamukong Suh.
Mike Babcock: Second that, Big Suh. Eventually both will be in the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, though.
Recently there was a “Top 10 CFB coaches” released by ESPN. Scott Frost wasn’t on it. Where is Frost compared to those coaches? Is he almost deserving of a top 10 spot? (@ApolloSolace)
MB: I’ll let Brandon address that, he keeps track of such rankings. You’ve got to figure Scott’s just getting started, not enough evidence to support his inclusion, I’d say. One remarkable season isn’t enough, right?
Jacob Padilla: He’s still pretty early in his career to earn that kind of respect and he’s coming off a 4-8 season. A guy like Lincoln Riley jumped toward the front of the line because he took over a current power and elevated it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name on the list down the road, but he’s got to put together more of a track record first.
Brandon Vogel: I missed ESPN’s list and for some reason can’t find it, but that’s not that important. Point is he’s not in the top 10 and I think it would be more of a surprise if he were. Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman recently released their lists and Frost came in at 25 and 22 respectively. That feels reasonable. The guys who land on this list quickly—Lincoln Riley, Kirby Smart—get there by winning right away at Power 5 programs. Frost’s rapid ascent was remarkable, but it happened at a G5 school. Rightly or wrongly, the latter in my mind, that gets discounted some in these discussions. Overall, I think Frost is right where he should be on these lists for now. Everyone sees the ability and is just waiting for irrefutable proof in the form of Big Ten wins to move him up. Those will come soon enough.
Greg Smith: I’m with the group here. I think Frost isn’t there yet because he hasn’t won enough at Nebraska. I do think he gets there though and probably within 5 years.
How has the situation with Washington affected team chemistry? How do the other legal issues Nebraska football players have been involved with factor into the perception of Frost and the team? (@PowersWilliamA)
MB: Don’t see team chemistry being affected at this point. National perception is another matter, particularly in recruiting I’d guess, though Greg could address that. Scott has said the right things. Ultimately, the California legal system will determine what happens. But perception is a toughie for a program trying to regain national status.
GS: I can’t see this affecting team chemistry or perception in recruiting at all. Are you developing players on the field and are you winning? Those are the two most important things in recruiting even if you have some players get in trouble off the field. There are many programs to point to as examples of this somewhat unfortunate truth.
Derek Peterson: Only thing I’ll add on the matter is until there’s some kind of resolution to the legal case, the team as a whole probably isn’t going to make any hard judgments on him. They talk about brotherhood. I’d be shocked if this split any factions in the team.
How long until Nebraska football has another First-Team All-American? (@BreazileJeremy)
MB: Team success, or lack thereof, will have something to do with that. The most noteworthy Husker right now, of course, is Adrian Martinez, who shared freshman All-America honors with Trevor Lawrence (who has a bit of a public relations issue right now). But to be a regular All-American, particularly for a quarterback, would take some national relevancy for the Huskers, or just mind-numbing numbers, and certainly a winning record. I’m not including a time frame, only the need to win and get some national attention on the field.
JP: Mike is right in that generally postseason individual honors follow in the wake of team success. Nebraska first has to enter into the national discussion from a conference contending standpoint at the least. I’m expecting a jump in year two, but probably not a big enough jump to make 2019 the answer. Give me one more season and then I’ll say Martinez will have a legitimate shot at it as a junior.
DP: If Trevor Lawrence is around, Martinez has stiff competition, and national perception favors Lawrence. That’s the only issue. But let’s say Nebraska has the kind of season most are predicting, 8-4 maybe? Which sets them up for a run at real prizes in 2020. I could see J.D. Spielman (if he returns) or Wandale Robinson getting an All-American nod then.
Will Jaylin Bradley have a breakout spring?? (@PBlak69)
MB: He’ll certainly have an opportunity. He seemed a good fit for Frost’s offense but had some personal issues that hampered him last season. He wasn’t suiting up for home games for a time, I think, but was out there at the end and earned a letter. He’s someone on whom to keep an eye this spring for sure.
JP: As someone who watched him play in high school, I truly hope so. As Ryan Held even admitted, it’s likely a now or never situation with the amount of talent that is arriving this summer and we all know Held is going to bring in really good players every year. Maurice Washington will likely miss some time in the spring which leaves Bradley and Wyatt Mazour as the only other scholarship backs on campus. He should be given every opportunity to show the talent and skill set that had Scott Frost interested in him while he was at Central Florida and I hope he can take advantage of it.
GS: He kind of has to if he wants any shot of contributing at Nebraska. The competition he is facing will only get more difficult as soon as this summer.
DP: Early bold prediction: yes.
Is RB the most undecided spot on the field? Will Thompkins and Mills be ready for fall? (@Huskerfan5904)
MB: Uncertainty regarding Washington clouds things even more, certainly. I’d add Rahmir Johnson to your list in the fall, right? So there’s Bradley, Wyatt Mazour and some walk-ons right now.
JP: I think running back is pretty clearly the most undecided for so many different reasons. How does Washington’s case play out? Can Jaylin Bradley earn his way back into the rotation this spring? Will Mills arrive on campus and be ready to go right away? What kind of a load will Rahmir Johnson be ready for as a true freshman and what role will the coaches ask him to play? When will Ronald Thompkins be fully healthy? Nothing but questions at that position right now.
Give me a bold prediction (it’s ok if it’s wrong) for the football team coming out of spring practice. Mine would be McCaffrey wins the QB2 spot. (@Sal_Vasta3)
ES: That all of Nebraska quarterbacks are still on the roster by the start of fall camp. Shout out to the question two below for the inspiration.
MB: I like both predictions. Mine is that Garret Nelson is solidly in the mix at outside linebacker. If Cam Jurgens were healthy, I’d predict he’d be No. 1 at center.
BV: Nick Henrich will insert himself into the discussion at inside linebacker. Nobody will be penciling him in as a starter after spring ball, but with Will Honas “limited” Henrich has an opening here to get good reps and make an impression. Inside linebacker in the Big Ten is not for the faint of heart and you could eliminate most freshman from the conversation on that alone, but I think Henrich knows the opportunity in front of him.
GS: Brandon stole my answer! I’ll go with my second choice which is that Trent Hixson is a starter on the offensive line coming out of spring ball.
DP: Matt Farniok doesn’t move, despite seemingly all of Twitter wanting him to.
Who will take the first snaps following Martinez against South Alabama? (@Corn_Huskers)
ES: As in who will be QB2? While the question above gave the bold prediction of it being McCaffrey, I’m going to say Noah Vedral.
MB: I agree with Erin, which is not to say McCaffrey won’t win the No. 2 job at some point (maybe with three games and a bowl remaining). But Vedral knows what he’s doing.
JP: I may be something of a homer because I know the kid and know what kind of a competitor and athlete he is, but I’m sticking with Noah Vedral as well. McCaffrey would have to blow Vedral out of the water in the spring and fall to make it worth burning the redshirt and leaving just one year of separation between Martinez and McCaffrey. Mario Verduzco even mentioned there were some mechanical things McCaffrey needs to clean up and that’s what we expected all along – that he was somewhat raw and could use a redshirt year to learn from Verduzco and polish up his skills. He only started one year at quarterback in high school, after all.
How many QBs do you expect to be on the team at the start of the first game? Do we lose Bunch or Vedral if McCaffrey is that good? (@Cty2CtyLyle)
ES: Vedral isn’t going to transfer. Bunch put his name in the transfer portal (ThE tRaNsFeR pOrTaL… idk) but decided to stay at Nebraska. Could he change his mind and still depart? Sure, but I’m not convinced he would (because wouldn’t he have just made that choice after going into the portal?). I think there will be six quarterbacks on the roster come fall (which includes redshirt freshman Matt Masker and freshman Brayden Miller).
MB: Erin’s got it covered. If anyone goes, probably Masker.
JP: What Erin said. I don’t see anyone from that room departing.
GS: I agree that the room stays intact this year.
It seems like ever since Coach Frost got to Lincoln, he’s been wearing gear that features the “Huskers” script, but it isn’t available anywhere online. Why hasn’t adidas released this to the public? Nike schools seem to have a much better selection of gear for fans! (@brooks_layne)
ES: Coaches and players do get first dibs on these designs, and often they aren’t available for fan purchase right away. However, the script Nebraska is out there. Fanatics, for example, has a pretty cool hat version of it. Best of Big Red seems to have a nice selection of shirts that feature it as well. I don’t really understand why adidas isn’t placing these items on their own website, but they are out there for fans to get. Not all, but most. So, I’d check some other retailers if the script is what you’re looking for.
DP: Just here to say Nike FTW. Nike gets you Jordan, no better argument.
Why is adidas always so spot on with men’s basketball alternate uniforms and so hot and cold with football? (@JEREIH)
MB: I can’t answer this because I don’t like alternate uniforms. Stick to tradition.
BV: Reusing my answer from a couple of weeks ago:
I think there are two reasons the basketball alternates are usually better. One, Tim Miles tends to lean retro. He’s been wearing basketball-Herbie polos for a few years and that’s not something off-the-rack (much to the chagrin of many fans who would like to buy one). No, Miles has to have someone make him all that retro-leaning gear, that’s a special request, and that preference shows up in the alternates like the most recent retro logo collage uniform and the new red uniforms this year with script ‘Nebraska.’ Miles, like a lot of people, seems to like old logos.
Two, basketball is much more of a blank canvas than football. There’s more history with the football uniform and thus more resistance to change. Even with a uniform that’s meant to be a one-time change. Except for this last one, all of NU’s football alternates have featured the basic helmet, just in different colors. The Huskers’ history with their regular uniform has—though I don’t think it has to—limited the scope of the football alternates to this point. You don’t have any of those concerns with basketball.
Who are your number 1 seeds going into Selection Sunday? Who are your first four out? (@_LilBigRed12_)
MB: Here’s where Jacob and Derek will have the insight. My No. 1s are: Virginia, Gonzaga, Tennessee (I know, Joe Lunardi, Kentucky) . . . well, I’ll let Jacob and Derek sort it out. Duke, presumably with Zion Williamson, still has to play North Carolina.
DP: I don’t know about first four out but I’d say No. 1s are Virginia, Gonzaga, Tennessee and North Carolina. Duke still has to play Carolina and it has to do so without Zion Williamson. I’m picking the upset knowing I’m usually always wrong.
Which football coach could rescue Nebraska basketball? (@SaltCreekGBR)
JP: John Cook. He wanted to be a football coach, so he counts.
BV: Seconded. And Cook played college basketball until and injury curtailed his career and started him on a coaching/playing beach volleyball/coaching volleyball path.
If you had to do reporting for any other university which would you want to cover? (@InDaWilderness)
ES: I have to start by saying we are very fortunate at Nebraska to have the access that we do. The sports information directors are great, and I know we get more availability than most. I don’t take it for granted for that reason. With that said, I wonder what it would be like to cover Alabama for a season. I’ve heard stories, but snarky Nick Saban could be entertaining. I also wonder a bit about the Ivy League schools. What would it be like to cover Harvard or Yale? There are too many options.
MB: I’ve never wanted to be anywhere but Nebraska. If I couldn’t have covered Husker athletics and had to give up teaching, I wanted to be a film critic, sit in the dark and evaluate movies.
BV: It would be tough to replicate the pure enthusiasm Husker fans have for their program. The singular attention on college sports here is shared by only a few places, and I’d want to be in one of those places. I could do Oklahoma. Boise State, I think, would be a ton of fun and something outside the typical power structure of college football. Auburn, with Alabama looming over everything, would be fun. My top pick, despite Louisiana having pro sports, might be LSU.
GS: Alabama just for covering Saban on a daily basis. Plus, it would be really interesting covering recruiting for them considering from the outside looking in, it appears they just take who they want and turn them into first-round picks. It would be a must to find another fan base that could match Nebraska’s passion though.
DP: I think everyone expects me to say I’d go home… But I won’t. Oregon Ducks football would be tremendously interesting.
The Hail Varsity staff is competing in a combine made up of the following four events: 40-yard dash, WPM typing test, drawing and Jenga. Who wins? (@Corn_Huskers)
ES: I’m a pretty fast typer, so maybe I could take that one. I want to do a WPM typing contest now with the team to find out. As for drawing, I’m going to have to give that to Brandon Vogel. Have you seen his coaches’ ties that he’s drawn from Big Ten Media Days? They deserve an award.
MB: I would’ve finished last in all four events, even when I was young, I know that. On my high school basketball team, the coach always said, “We’re not going to quit until Babcock wins a wind sprint. And if you let him, you’ll run more.” I never won but the coach always relented. When I applied for a part-time job in the sports department at the Champaign-Urbana Courier, I was asked, “Can you type?” No. “Can you take shorthand?” No. “Do you know anything about sports?” Yes. “OK, you’re hired.”
JP: I would be last in the typing competition (I was so slow in keyboarding class that I had to give up trying to learn home row keys when the teacher wasn’t looking and had to go back to the hunt and peck method just to finish the assignments). I could maybe do well in the 40-yard dash if I cheated and tripped Derek out of the gates. I used to be a pretty good artist growing up but I haven’t drawn anything since college; give me some time to work off the rust and I think I could do well there. I can’t remember the last time I played Jenga.
BV: Derek’s winning the 40. Jenga’s a wildcard. I have an advantage in drawing in that my spouse is a college professor teaching painting and drawing, so with some prep time she can get me up to speed. If I lose the typing competition I’ll never forgive myself. I’m an excellent typist (thanks Mrs. Hucke!). An octopus, according to this typing test. And that was with no warmup. Bring it, Erin.
DP: Brandon is my new favorite. I’d smoke everyone in the 40. I’m an okay typist, certainly no octopus. Was never very great at Jenga. Little known fact though: I have something like four or five portfolios at home filled with drawings. Never great at realism when it came to people, but I’m pretty good at most other things.
Important question: is a hot dog a sandwich?
Who do you think is faster: Jamie Nance or Wan’Dale Robinson? (@ScNOTty_Frost)
MB: Yes, a hotdog is a sandwich. A hotdog bun is just a small version of the bread I typically get for sandwiches at Subway and Jimmy John’s and Goodcents.
We have folks who can answer the second question.
JP: No, a hot dog is a hot dog. As for the freshmen, from what I understand Nance is faster in terms of top-end speed but Robinson is shiftier.
GS: No it is not a sandwich, it’s a hot dog. Jamie Nance is faster but the idea of a team-wide race is becoming more interesting with each passing recruiting class. Which is by design of course.
DP: A hot dog is a sandwich, just like a Pop-Tart is a ravioli and a Runza is a Hot Pocket. Burn world burn.