Way too early depth charts - Offense
Burkhead is the biggest sure thing on offense
Burkhead is the biggest sure thing on offense

Posted Mar 22, 2011


Three days of Spring practice is enough to accomplish almost nothing outside of giving us an inch, which we happily take the mile in assuming a whole heck of a lot. So, why not look at a potential depth chart for both sides of the ball? Why not, indeed. Let's start with the offense.

Just a note: Players like Jeremiah Sirles, last year’s starting left tackle, will be omitted from this group as he will be out for the entire Spring. It doesn’t have a thing to do with the Fall depth chart, only how we see these units looking coming out of Spring.

Quarterback

1 – Taylor Martinez (So.)
2 – Cody Green (Jr.)

Tim Beck said as much himself, indicating the experience these two have gives them an automatic leg up. Turner is a heck of an athlete, but we’ll see how far he can come in Spring. If he can’t break the three-deep, though, I bet you see him on the field this year as a wide receiver or as an athlete.

Running Back

1 – Rex Burkhead (Jr.)
2 – Collins Okafor (Jr.)

Rex is obvious, but the main reason for putting Oakfor second is that Ron Brown has said in no clearly defined terms that he’s going to ride him like Secretariat. Either he’ll break out or he won't. If he does break out, I think he could be a seriously strong addition to this group. We have all been waiting awhile to see what he can do. Maybe this year we’ll see it

Fullback

1 – Tyler Legate (Sr.)
2 – C.J. Zimmerer (So.)

Tyler is the shoo-in, but my feeling on Zimmerer is that he’s been just on the edge of breaking out, but at this position, if there is already an established guy, it’s difficult. And Legate is legit.

Wide Receiver (X or Y)

1 – Brandon Kinnie (Sr)
2 – Stanley Jean-Baptiste (So.)

First, the reason I indicated X or Y was simply because I don’t know what Rich Fisher, the new receiver coach, does. And I don’t know that we can clearly say what Tim Beck does now that the offense is officially his. So, I’m indicating the two deep, based on a side versus a position.

Now, Kinnie is the guy, but I think fellow former JUCO wideout Jean-Baptiste is getting enough praise early on that I think he could fit in well here. Both are similar in size as Stanley only goes about five pounds under Kinnie’s 225 lbs. frame. Part of this is me buying in a bit to the hype, but let’s face it, outside of Kinnie this entire position is wide open.

Wide Receiver (X or Y)

1 – Curenski Gilleylen (Sr.)
2 – Quincy Enunwa (So.)

This might be the kind of change Gilleylen needs, but I can already here you saying that his problem was catching the ball. Not sure if you noticed, but everyone else had that problem, too. But he does have the speed. That’s always been a constant. With his experience, surely that has to count for something. As for Enunwa, my first inclination would be to put Khiry Cooper here, due to his length of time on the team. But he doesn’t practice during the Spring, because of obligations to baseball. So, it’s hard to put him on the two-deep right now, and I think Enunwa can be such a dangerous playmaker, because he has size as well as explosiveness.

Ben Cotton is hands down, the most versatile tight end the Huskers have right now.

Tight End

1 – Ben Cotton (Jr.)
2 – Kyler Reed (Jr.)

I don’t know how this position is going to work itself out. Cotton and Reed are obviously very different in regard to what they do. So, it basically comes down to the situation. Reed is the obvious deep threat at the position, while Cotton gives you solid play at the line and as a mid-field threat catching the ball. The tight end position is pretty thin right now, even with the addition of Lester Ward. Look for him also to be a Reed type, because I think more than not doing all that much at running back, it seems obvious to me that the staff feels like they need another legit receiver at this position.

Left Tackle

1 – Tyler Moore (Fr.)
2 – Jermarcus Hardrick (Sr.)

I will say that I think Hardrick might have a slight edge on overall athleticism for his size. I say this, because I think if Hardrick was a bit trimmer, perhaps more lean like Moore, he would be an athletic freak. He already is, but I’d say that he’s probably carrying around 20 to 25 extra pounds that I am sure the S&C department would like to convert to muscle. Moore is so gifted, though, and he’s obviously a smart kid, otherwise he wouldn’t be here already versus waiting for the regular graduation date at high school. There is just nothing I don’t like about that kid, and he has already been repping with the ones. Not that, that means much, because I think the coaches intentionally get everyone time with the top units. But I just think the kid is a stud, flat out.

Left Guard

1 – Andrew Rodriguez (So.)
2 – Brandon Thompson (Jr.)

This competition is going to be great, and I wouldn’t rule out Mike Moudy perhaps taking a stab at this side, versus the right side. But I like Rodriguez to take this spot, because I think he’s versatile everywhere, and boy, he takes up some space. He’s quicker now than I ever saw him be on his film from Aurora. He always said he liked a good fight, which is what you have to have in you if you are going to start and play well at this level. Thompson has been kind of mystery since he arrived, and was slotted in at left tackle. He’s moved inside, but we’ll see if he can make strides to be a starter. He certainly has a lot of time in the program, and he’s always looked the part.

Center

1 – Mike Caputo (Sr.)
2 – Cole Pensick (So.)

Call this dynamic duo. Both are great kids with really enthusiastic and passionate dads. As you know, Cole’s dad (Dan) played line for the Huskers. Caputo seems to have recovered nicely from off season surgery, and with his experience I don’t see him losing his spot. Both he and Cole are either two of or the two strongest players on the team. They both have pretty short arms to go with their just over six-foot frames. But they both love that fight down in the trenches. Nick Ash was tried out here last year, and I would guess he’ll have a chance this Spring. But I don’t see anyone cracking that top two.

Right Guard

1 – Brent Qvale (So.)
2 – Mike Moudy (RsFr.)

If Qvale can be half as intense as Ricky Henry was, defensive linemen are going to have a lot to fear.

Barney Cotton said Ricky Henry was by far the toughest player he’s ever coached, and he was looking to find that in someone else. He hasn’t found it yet. Can Qvale be that guy? My theory on this is that when you are as much of a giant as he is, and also as good of an athlete, you were never really tested in high school. Sometimes that takes awhile to wear off, so you can find that inner-Ricky Henry, so to speak. But Ricky was not a typical player in how he played. Not everyone is fanatical about playing this game as hard as it can be played. But Qvale has the experience and everyone knows he has the size. If he can develop even a modicum of Ricky’s intensity, he’s going to be a nightmare for defensive linemen. As for Moudy, this is his time to crack the two deep. He has had a redshirt year to get ready, and I fully expect him to be part of the mix this year.

 

Right Tackle

1 – Marcel Jones (Sr.)
2 – Jake Cotton (Fr.)

If Jesse Coffey was available for Spring, I’d put him here. Not that I don’t think Jake won’t be able to crack that two deep, but he just moved over from defensive line. I don’t know who else would make it here. Brodrick Nickens and Adam Kucera both have the size, as they both are listed at 6-6 or above. But Cotton is the scholarship guy, even if that ship came for a position on the other side of the line. What ultimately tips the scale in his favor is his position coach. And no, I don’t mean Barney would slot him into a position he didn’t deserve. I don’t think for a second Barney would do that. As seems to often be the case, the kids who get ridden the hardest are often those who find themselves in the situation of being coached by their dad. Also, you’d have to think that all those years have taught him something about blocking. It sure worked with Ben.



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