Mailbag: Ranking Positions
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Mailbag: Ranking Positions, Predictions at Running Back & More

August 08, 2017

What’s on the mind of Husker Nation this week? Running backs, silent commits, position rankings and Alan Parsons. No, siriusly.

Mike Babcock, Jacob Padilla, Derek Peterson, Chris Schmidt and Brandon Vogel offer their answers below.

A HV 1-10 rating on each position based solely on your perceived level of confidence in overall performance. E.g. RB = 7, OL = 3. (@3rdLargestCity)

CS: The highest rating I would hand out is probably an 8 at Safety, I’m separating that from CB (5) followed by Linebackers at 7. Wide receivers are a right there in the 7-to-8 range. Questions I have are with offensive line (5) and defensive line, not talent per se, but the see-it-to-believe-it mind set. I do have faith in Tanner Lee at quarterback being successful in this offense.

MB: I’m too wait-and-see on this with the changes in systems. My highest on defense would be like Chris, S (7), CB (6) LB (7), DL (5), OL (5), WR (7), RB (6), QB (7). So much of the rating depends on what happens up front, on both sides of the ball.

DP: I agree with Chris, safety is probably the position I’m the most confident in right now. I’ll go 9 there because Joshua Kalu appears to be the next hottest thing since sliced bread and I don’t want to argue with Bob Diaco. Going on down the list is probably something like this: quarterback (8), linebackers and wide receivers (7), offensive line and cornerbacks (5) followed by running backs and the defensive line (4) just because I have no idea what to expect from either of those groups.

JP: Safety 8, Linebackers 7 (boundary outside linebacker is keeping this below an 8), quarterbacks 6, offensive line 6, running backs 6, defensive line 6, wide receivers 6, tight ends 6, cornerbacks 5. That’s a lot of 6s, but I think Nebraska is above average most places with upside for any one of them to swell to a 7 or 8 once they prove themselves. I’m just trying to not buy into too much offseason hype this year. I think Nebraska has a lot of good players, but I’m not going to give them too much credit until they prove it when it matters.

Is Alan Parsons alive and will he be performing live before the ’97 tribute. (@AaronWade308)

MB: He’s alive. He has a website and apparently performs some at age 68. But the Alan Parsons Project no longer exists, as far as I can see, and hasn’t for a while.

BV: I’ve heard “Sirius” is more of a studio song anyway.

Take on starting RB this year?  Mine is Ozigbo then Bryant.  Tight race!! (@rcas2104)

CS: I was leaning Ziggy too, but after further review I’m concerned about a potential lingering injury. Give me Bryant. His speed is big time and he can do a lot of things very well to stay on the field all three downs.

MB: Bryant, Wilbon, Ozigbo in that order, a change from what I thought coming out of spring, when I had Wilbon and Bryant reversed. Nothing against Ozigbo; I don’t think he’s as versatile as the other two in this system.

JP: Mike explained my thoughts on the position pretty well. I think Tre Bryant gives them the best combination of breakaway speed and between-the-tackles running they want, so long as he can hold onto the football. I think he’s probably the best in pass protection as well despite his youth as the other two have struggled in that area. Ozigbo is solid, but I think the others offer a little more upside on an every-down basis. Ozigbo will still handle some short-yardage stuff I believe.

DP: Not to beat a dead horse, but I think Bryant will be the dude. Like everyone else has said, it comes down to being able to diversify what they’re going to get out of that starting tailback spot. Watch out for Jaylin Bradley though. He might be a threat to steal some touches as the season wears on and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s jumped one of or both of Ozigbo and Wilbon on the depth chart by the time the season ends. Everyone loves him and we just keep hearing about the fact that he “just doesn’t look like a freshman.”

BV: One more vote for Bryant. But I think Wilbon will carve out a nice little “play-maker” role for himself back there in 2017. Won’t have as many snaps as the others, but you’ll notice when he’s out there.

Bookie indicated during the Opening that there 5 or 6 silent commits I believe. If u had to pick, who do u think those are? (@lxachillesxl)

DP: See, I just don’t know if you can even trust that. I’m so skeptical anymore of commitments during the recruiting process. Whether it’s guys decommitting and then recommitting by shooting people with paintballs or guys saying one thing and doing another. I think the kid has truly made up his mind to give a “silent commit,” it’d be a verbal commit. Why keep quiet about it?

What kind of defensive/blitz packages have we normally seen in the B1G with our mobile QBs, and what will we expect to see with General Lee? (@TheWeeksy)

CS: Typically, there is outside linebacker or safety pressure. That’s what I think of with Northwestern and Wisconsin. Last year Ohio State and Wisconsin would have a guy get to a spot and try and tip the ball, too. It’s a totally different game with Lee and his ability to read and get rid of the ball with short passes. Nebraska may utilize bubble screens, slants, and 3-step drops to counter pressure. If the tackles can’t keep guys off the edge, teams may not need to blitz.

BV: Good breakdown by Chris. It’s a little hard to say until we see how the offensive line does in terms of protection, and, yes, how Lee’s technique might help the line protect him. Assuming that is all at least decent — and I think it will be — you might see teams have to get a little more exotic with their pressures. If Lee is as good at getting through his progression as everyone says he is, defenses will have to try and disguise some things. Nebraska will counter with some changes of its own (one thing I’m supremely comfortable with is the Huskers’ passing game conceptually) and we should have a nice little chess match in some of these games. In short, I think it’s going to be a little bit of elevated football theory in this specific area. Which teams on Nebraska’s schedule are capable of doing that? Northwestern, certainly. Ohio State, of course. Wisconsin, probably, but it is the Badgers’ third defensive coordinator in as many years. And Iowa. Nebraska might have an edge against the teams breaking in new defensive coordinators like Oregon, Minnesota and Purdue.

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