Mailbag: Potential Storylines for a Husker Football Hard Knocks?
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Mailbag: Potential Storylines for a Husker Football Hard Knocks?

June 19, 2019

It’s time for another mailbag. Let’s dive in.

The Huskers Football team has been forced to change their uniforms for the 2019 season. Which team do you choose to use as a template for the new uniform or do you go in a different direction? (@Corn_Huskers) 

Derek Peterson: This is my kind of question. I’ve been driving the “Update the uniforms!” bus since I got here, but my stance has sort of mellowed out. If I’m getting to design the new look, I’m not going to change too much, just make a few tweaks.

  • Home look: Red jersey with current striping pattern on the shoulders, red pants with no stripe and white N, white socks, white shoes, matte white helmet with red facemask and matte red N on sides but no stipe on top.  
  • Road look: White jersey with current red striping on shoulders, white pants with no stripe and red N, white socks, white shoes, matte white helmet with white facemask and matte red N on sides but no stripe on top. 
  • Alternate: An all-black look. Black pants with no stripe and white N, black socks, black shoes. Jersey has white numbering with red outlining. (The number font on all these is just a normal font you see on the uniforms now. The biggest mistake adidas has made with alternates through the years is doing weird fonts with the numbers.) Black matte helmet, black facemask and an oversized Blackshirts logo on the sides.  

How many recruits does Nebraska Football plan to take this cycle? I am confused on the numbers from last year how scholarships have been accounted for differing seasons. (@Sal_Vasta3) 

Greg Smith: The exact number is always a moving target but look for 20-25 to come on board again. As for the counting scholarships back, you can count 5 back which is why you’ll see Nebraska take 30 new players from the 2019 cycle including transfers.  

Now that we've seen Moos hire new coaches for the three biggest male sports, it's become obvious that he loves coaches with SUPER strong Nebraska ties. What are possible reasons for that besides just familiarity with the culture and university? (@InDaWilderness) 

DP: The Nebraska connection has been sort of an ironically random tie between the three new hires. Scott Frost was one of the top names on the market. He just happened to have a tie to the state. Same goes for Fred Hoiberg and Will Bolt. Now, I think Moos places a lot of value on a guy who knows the state, knows the people and knows what it takes to win here at Nebraska, because it is a little different than at other places and requires a different kind of person, but I also think there’s an element of this that’s simply Moos is going to try and hire the best guy on the market because he thinks that’s the pedigree Nebraska has. 

Jacob Padilla: Part of the reason is I think it’s easier to get those guys to say yes if they truly care about the state or the university as opposed to some other quality coach who’s never even been to Lincoln. I don’t think either one of Scott Frost or Fred Hoiberg takes the job if they don’t have Nebraska ties. In that way, things actually played out perfectly for Moos to get the guys he needed. 

Which of the current football assistant coaches will be the first to be a head coach at a power 5 conference team? (@dmhusker1) 

GS: Troy Walters is the clearest answer because he’s interviewed the most for head jobs of the current guys on staff. The guy that I think is a dark horse here is offensive line coach Greg Austin. He is just so highly-thought of in coaching circles and among his peers on staff. 

Erin Sorensen: I’d take Walters as my first pick too. With that said, I would keep an eye on running backs coach Ryan Held. He has the experience to be a head coach at a Power 5 program at some point, and maybe he doesn’t get there before Walters, but he’ll get there as long as that’s what he wants. 

How is Jamie Nance looking? Will he play this fall? (@SoonerBV) 

DP: I think Jamie has a real chance to play in the fall. The safest bet to make is that he redshirts, as he still needs to add some weight to his frame, though he hit the weight room pretty hard this spring and summer, but Nebraska only has one solidified receiver entering fall camp and there will be opportunity for every guy in the room. He’s also a darkhorse guy in the return game. 

JP: I really don’t know what to make of the return situation. Perhaps that’s one way for him to get on the field. Unless things click for all of the upperclassmen, I think at least one of the three true freshman receivers (non-Wan’Dale Robinson division) will have a chance to get on the field and play a bit on offense. 

Let's say the Huskers Football team was filming a six-episode version of Hard Knocks leading up to the first game of the season. What storylines would you want to see? Which two or three players/staff members would you want to see on camera the most? Which player would be the star? (@Corn_Huskers) 

GS: This is a great question. Who will play center is a good on-field storyline. How the staff is preparing and adjusting for Year 2 of the Big Ten is a good one too. Mario Verduzco would need his own segment each episode. Travis Fisher would be a sneaky good star of the show too. Ryan Held would be great too. For the player star, I’d go Cam Taylor as the pick there.  

DP: The center question would be a storyline of interest to follow, the growth of Adrian Martinez in Year 2 is an obvious one as well, and I think the defensive line would always be a must-follow for the camera. As for individual guys that would need the most camera time, I would go with corner Cam Taylor, quarterback coach Mario Verduzco and tight end Jack Stoll. 

JP: I think the defensive line would be a good one to focus on, especially with the pairs of brothers in that room. Sounds like there’s been some pretty entertaining banter between the Daniels brothers, for example. Like Greg and Derek said, Mario Verduzco is a must. It would be a cool to have a segment on Jovan Dewitt as well and his return to doing what he loves after the cancer battle.  

At this point last year, were there any clear-cut leaders yet? (@Bjork57) 

JP: I don’t quite know the exact dynamic between the leaders and the rest of the team – as Derek detailed in the Yearbook (order a copy now if you haven’t already) the leadership certainly evolved as the season went on – but I think guys like Luke Gifford, Mick Stoltenberg and Jerald Foster were all very obvious captain candidates as vocal, fifth-year, in-state seniors that had been through a lot during their careers, and then of course you had Stanley Morgan Jr. As the best player on the team with a pretty outgoing personality. 

Explain the rationale behind the travel roster restrictions. You’re going to war with another team, why would you not bring everyone? The home team has its 85-plus guys. Why can't the visitors bring 85? (@lxachillesxl) 

ES: Money. If it was a free-for-all and teams could bring as many players as they want with no restrictions, some teams would bring every player they could and others wouldn’t because of finances. Not every program’s finances are equal, and capping the travel roster puts teams on a little bit of equal playing ground when it comes to that. Honestly, most questions I’m asked about why the NCAA does this or a conference does that comes back to that one big thing: money. 

If you could make a sitcom with any Husker coaches or players, who would you want and what style of sitcom would it be? (@InDaWilderness) 

GS: Give me a buddy-cop comedy with Verduzco and Chinander. 

DP: Okay, Greg’s suggestion would be incredible. I would vote for an Office-style comedy based in Tony Tuioti’s room with the defensive linemen as the main characters. I’m not saying Tuioti is Michael Scott, but please tweet me which Husker you think would be each of the characters.  

How does Bolt being hired change things for Nebraska kids committed to other schools? Are they back in play? (@korupteddonkey) 


Now that Will Bolt is assembling his staff, how's everything shaping up? What do you think he and his staff will do to bring/keep top talent to Nebraska baseball? (@Sal_Vasta3) 

Kyle Kardell: I don’t know if Bolt alone swings many in-state recruits. Most of the time these kids commit to a school more than a coach. When Nebraska kids come to the program they are committing because they love the state and have grown up wanting to be a Husker. Regarding the second question, I think Bolt will combine his SEC and Big Ten connections to bring in a variety of talent. Look for more of a recruiting focus in the state of Texas.   

What's your favorite Diane Keaton movie? (@Moostakes) 

DP: Any answer that isn’t The Godfather is the wrong answer. 

GS: The Family Stone. Sorry Derek. 

Is Nebraska gonna be good? (@GeorgeStoia) 

DP: Amy Williams’ group played 14 of its 30 games last season to two-possessions-or-less results and went 4-10 in those games. It was the classic case of a crazy young team showing it's a year away from being pretty good. All but one rotation piece should return for the 2019-20 season, including two freshmen who looked like future All-Big Ten players in their first year. I think they’re gonna be quite good.   

GS: Volleyball does have a lot to replace but I’d never count out John Cook’s ability to field a competitive team. They will need more consistency from Stivrins and Sweet but they have a clear star in Nicklin Hames. They’ll be good. 

JP: The bowling team is good every year, so I think it’s a safe assumption to say they will be so again this coming season. They made a deep run in the 2019 NCAA Tournament and only had one senior on the roster, so I expect to see them back in the mix for a national title once again. 

ES: I think it’ll be a year of adjustment for Fred Hoiberg and his Nebraska team, but it won’t be a disaster by any means. The nonconference schedule may not be the most difficult lineup around but it’ll give the Huskers a chance to get their footing before conference play. “Good” feels like it could mean a number of things here, so I’ll leave it at this: Will Nebraska be NCAA Tournament good? Probably not. But they’ll be good enough in the first year of the Hoiberg era and I think fans will have fun watching the whole thing build. 

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