The Hail Varsity staff is back for another week to answer all your Huskers questions. Let’s get to it.
You have escaped to an uninhabited island and are going to start a cult. You are able to command people to leave their life and join. The catch, they must come from the following walks of life: actor/actress, author, musician, cook, and one of your choosing. Who joins your cult? (@Corn_Huskers)
Erin Sorensen: I appreciate where this question came from, which is this tweet that’s apparently from an old story but was re-shared yesterday. I saw it on my timeline and just shrugged as it went by. What a time we live in. However, I’d probably just want to bring all of my favorite women to hang out. Chrissy Tiegen, Carrie Underwood (I’m cheating and counting her as an author because her book DID just come out), Britney Spears, Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman!) and Kacey Musgraves. I’d also like to bring Beyonce, but she’d probably lead the cult. I’m also fine with that. And if I could add any women sports reporters, sign me up with Erin Andrews or Sam Ponder. If I can add two more, I’ll also bring Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama along because why not. Basically I’m putting together my personal woman superhero club and I’m expanding the cult beyond your guidelines. Just try and stop me.
Greg Smith: What a question. For my actor I’m going with The Rock. Eventually he might lose muscle mass but he’d be helpful until he did. Plus he’s funny and that helps. My author would be J.K. Rowling. She’s super sharp and we could talk Harry Potter theories. For musician give me Bruno Mars. He can make a party anywhere and hanging with him could eventually teach me to dance. Robert Irvine is my pick for chef. He can obviously yell at us when we need to not be lazy, he’s a great chef and again another person with some muscle. My wildcard pick is Barack Obama. I’ve got a solid group!
Brandon Vogel: I will call my group the Cult of Complete Curiosity, which is to say that while you have given me fairly strict categories from which to choose, I’m going to look for people who do at least one other thing outside those categories thus increasing diversity and intrigue on my now-inhabited island. In the acting category, Daniel Day-Lewis, perhaps our finest actor but also a guy who left for a while to be a cobbler. French author Virginie Despentes is also a filmmaker and, uh, had quite the interesting life before that. Terry Allen, an art professor and visual artist, is also the house musician. Give me David Chang for the cooking category. He’s very passionate about food, but “Ugly Delicious” (and before that Lucky Peach, RIP) show his interests range far and wide. (He’s also a sports fan, so that helps.) For my last one, I’m torn between two Davids—Lynch and Byrne. Maybe they can rotate.
Was really looking forward to position battles during the spring football practices. Do you think with the stoppage coaches will go with the “safer” proven options (or O-Line changes and others) or go with the option that will work best in the long run? Combo or both? (@Sal_Vasta3)
Jacob Padilla: If Nebraska has a “safe” option at a position, I think it’s pretty likely that the “safe” option would be the one winning the battle even if Nebraska had gone through spring uninterrupted. Brenden Jaimes is starting at left tackle. Dicaprio Bootle is starting in the secondary. I could go through several more. But there are a lot of positions without proven, highly productive options, so the coaches are going to have to figure something out there. Scott Frost proved last season with Cam Jurgens that he’s willing to go with his gut if he believes a player possess special upside, even without a ton of practice reps to back up the feeling.
ES: The lack of spring ball is definitely going to throw a wrench in some plans. As Jacob said, a lot of spots probably would have defaulted to the safer option but it does make other spots more interesting. Frost was on Sports Nightly last night and talked about how guys can stay in shape right now and that’s going to be key. Who uses this time best? Who finds a way to continue to make gains despite not having everything mapped out for them? This time could end up being big for those that use it to their advantage. It also levels the playing field a bit between the early enrollees and those that were set to arrive in the summer. For that reason, I think your skill positions could be interesting to watch when the team eventually gets back to practice/working out.
BV: This could be interesting. As Erin alludes to, I think things have the potential to get noisy. If players are on their own for an extended amount of time, those that get the most done and stay on task probably have an edge and there’s no guarantee that those players are the guys we’d pencil in atop the depth chart right now. I think this whole college football season will be exceptionally noisy and hard-to-predict.
Come fall, do you think Ronald Thompkins will see some time on the field or in the running back rotation? (@Go_Big_Red)
Mike Babcock: If healthy, yes.
GS: No. I still think we are a year away from him being fully healthy. He has a ton of talent but it’s probably wise not to expect anything too soon.
Derek Peterson: I would go with no as well. He’s got to stay healthy and beat out two guys already ahead of him and at least one guy coming this summer.
Could Lil’ Red’s power belt be re-engineered to rid our air of the novel coronavirus? Asking for many friends. (@HeavenOverHeels)
ES: Lil’ Red seems like a mascot with superpowers none of us know about so I wouldn't be surprised if he could somehow save the world.
Could any player on last year's team have played in the national championship game? Any on this year's team? (@dshafe55)
JP: Watching the CFP is one way for it to really sink in how far Nebraska still has to go in order to compete with the best of the best. I haven’t studied the full depth chart for either LSU or Clemson, so I don’t know for certain how tough it would have been for Nebraska’s best players to see the field for either of those teams. I think Wan’Dale Robinson and JD Spielman could have carved out roles on those teams. Although they’re both stacked at the receiver position so maybe not. Maybe Lamar Jackson could have snagged one of the cornerback spots for one of the teams. Maybe Khalil Davis could have carved out a rotational role on one of the defensive lines, and ditto for Darrion Daniels. As for this year’s team, I think the coaching staff has big expectations for Brenden Jaimes. Deontai Williams is a complete wildcard. If Omar Manning lives up to the hype, he could be an answer. Maybe Dicaprio Bootle or Cam Taylor-Britt makes a leap. After tossing out all these names, however, I don’t know that I feel confident saying any of them would be a lock to start for a title-worthy team.
MB: Jacob identified the two I’d pick, Robinson and Spielman. Khalil Davis showed speed that any program would take in a defensive lineman.
GS: Considering Wan’Dale Robinson could have gone to any school in the country as a recruit, he’s a safe pick. I think the pick of Brenden Jaimes is a sneaky good one. There’s always room to improve an offensive line and I think Jaimes could have played for either team. Other than those two I wouldn’t count on anyone else.
DP: Once more for the people in the back: Deontai Williams. Dude’s good. He’ll stay a “sleeper” through this summer with everything going on.