Published Wednesday, August 22, 2012 AT 8:37 PM / Updated at 10:37 PM
Pelini talks Cross, defensive depth and Martinez
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

In his monthly “Sports Nightly” radio show appearance Wednesday night, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini talked for an hour about his team’s depth and true freshmen who could potentially contribute early. Remember: Ten days remain before kickoff vs. Southern Mississippi, so stuff can change. But Pelini gave a decent snapshot.

Here are highlights:

>>At defensive tackle, the top three are senior Baker Steinkuhler, sophomore Chase Rome and junior Thad Randle, whom Pelini said is “getting healthier” after missing parts of fall camp. True freshman Aaron Curry and redshirt freshman Kevin Williams are battling in the fourth and fifth spots.

>>At end, the top three remains seniors Cameron Meredith and Eric Martin and junior Jason Ankrah. True freshman Avery Moss and senior Joe Carter battle for that No. 4 spot.

>>At linebacker, the status quo: Seniors Will Compton, Sean Fisher and Alonzo Whaley are the top three. Redshirt freshman David Santos has had a strong camp, Pelini said, while junior-college transfer Zaire Anderson is work at Will (behind Whaley) and in the dime backer spot. The dime responsibilities were Dejon Gomes’ domain in 2009 and 2010.

>>Whaley, Santos and sophomore Corey Cooper are working the dime spot, as well.

>>The nickel back spot is junior Ciante Evans, followed by true freshman Charles Jackson, whom Pelini praised for his raw physical ability.

“He’s explosive,” Pelini said. “The high end on him is really, really high. He moves so easy.”

>>At safety, senior Daimion Stafford has all but locked down one spot, while senior P.J. Smith and sophomore Harvey Jackson battle for the other.

>>Corner remains wide open, although Pelini hinted junior Andrew Green will “probably” be one of the starters. Junior college transfer Mo Seisay has been slowed by an injury.

To the offense.

>>Quarterback Taylor Martinez has grown as a game manager, “his mechanics look good” and is “very confident in how to use the offense.”

“I really like where he is right now, if he can eliminate that bonehead throw every now and then, which is going to happen in camp,” Pelini said. “You realize that’s going to happen sometimes, because we’re just throwing a lot of different coverages at him. He sees new things almost every day in training camp. That’s a challenge.”

>>True freshman running back Imani Cross should play.

“I don’t envision redshirting him,” Pelini said.

Cross has impressed coaches, Pelini said, not only with his physical ability, but his work ethic and attention to detail early in camp.

“He’s turned out to be faster, more elusive and athletic than we imagined he would be at this point in his career,” Pelini said. Cross could play some special teams, too.

>>Wide receiver is another ongoing battle, but Pelini listed junior Qunicy Enunwa, sophomores Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner and senior Tim Marlowe as four guys having good camps. Redshirt freshman Taariq Allen was having a good camp until a hip injury sidelined him for several practices. Pelini said Tyler Evans has improved since last year, as well.

>>Along the offensive line, Pelini said battles continue, but junior Cole Pensick is working some at guard because sophomore Jake Cotton sustained a concussion. At tackle, Pelini said he feels good about his top three – juniors Jeremiah Sirles, Andrew Rodriguez and Brent Qvale – with Sirles “playing his “best football.”

>>Wide receiver Tyler Evans is the backup holder behind Jase Dean.

>>Pelini said NU’s had fewer “soft-tissue injuries” – like hamstring pulls – because of a tough summer conditioning regimen.

>>Pelini praised the freshman group as a whole, calling it “mature” and able to adjust to the team’s goals and culture quickly.

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.


  1. That’s all well and good, Sam, but I know that the rest of the Husker fan base, along with myself, is really concerned about who will be handling kicking and punting duties for the Huskers.
    Kidding. Great work, as usual, Sam.

  2. doug hemke says:

    any mention of Mary Tyler Moore?

    1. Rick Rantz says:

      Wow Doug Hemke the internet tough guy, picking on a college kid with his keyboard.

      1. Nick says:

        Wow Rick Rantz the blog comment police, chastising a commenter! Keep an eye out for the can he throw comment guy so you can catch yourself another meanie! Good work sir!!

        1. Bill says:

          Can she throw?

        2. Nick Sucks says:

          Wow, Nick, the blog comment police for the blog comment police using petty sarcasm to make fun of other commenters for making fun of other commenters. Keep an eye out for guys making fun of other guys making fun other guys so you can chastise commenters that are catching other commenters being mean. You are quite the vigilante!

          1. Husker Dave says:

            Nick, crawl out from under the covers and go do something with your life.

  3. Jarod L says:

    Hhhmmm….. so what’s happened to Todd Pete? No mention of the 4* blue chipper. Unless he’s injured (again) this doesn’t bode well…

    1. Steve says:

      He would have only had 2 practices max if he is back from any injury – Bo is not going to comment on a guy after 2 practices. We’re talking 2 practices. 2.

  4. joey says:

    “He’s turned out to be faster, more elusive and athletic than we imagined he would be at this point in his career,” Pelini said” Wow, if I’m not mistaken, BO said the EXACT same thing about Zac Lee. I also remember the players saying how fast he was. Then we got a dose of Zac’s running speed. He ran slow as a 300 POUND LUMBER JACK. So, I guess the guy runs no faster than Zac Lee. Never learn do you BO. Still recruiting RB’s with only the speed of a FB. That is NOT improvment by any means. RB’s with NO clear space to run because of a OL coach, who has NOT taught them better blocking techniques. Because BARNEY has NO IDEA how to teach ANY RECRUIT. 3rd & LOOOONG. I see happening quite a bit this year. Bad coaching staff, NO SPEED in RB’s, and TM still in question marks. EVERY season we read how GREAT TM is improving. 104th in the nation on pass yards last season. Wow, so where’s the improvment BO??

    1. jerry says:

      Joey: Just shut up and go away- positive attitude would do you wonders. Try to think like a true fan, and not some wannabe negative nellie….

      1. KeepCalm says:

        Yes, that’s it! If we all just think them to victory it will surely happen. What have we been thinking the last 15 years? Duh, all those SEC fans are just so darn positive, that’s why their teams have won 6 in a row. Come’on pal.

    2. steve says:

      this may seem stupid but, is there any way we can get this guy to take over team? this guy has direction. its just not fair

      1. billy says:

        joey is not a true fan, never has been, never is, never will be. joey is a troll, that’s all. A lousy stinking troll, and that is all he ever will be and I am sure that is the best that anyone, anywhere could ever say about him/

    3. Teddy says:

      Exactly what I was thinking…

  5. TexasHusker says:


    If you’d just take a laxative, that pressure on your neck would ease enormously.

  6. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    This has to be the most depleted D-Line, O-Line, and LB corp’s ever assembled in the history of Husker football.

    1. Mike Caramba says:

      [Citation Needed]

      1. Viking Husker says:

        Ha ha ha ha ha

    2. Butch says:

      I agree 100% – those positions are flat out embarrassments compared to the talent we used to have and it’s not even close. Potential is one thing, putting it on the field and executing is another. Offensive line is just a flat out joke – Barney’s favorite game as a child must have been ‘musical chairs’.

      1. A Fan says:

        Think 2012 is make or break it for the OL coach. If we have one more year of substandard performance, I think Cotton is outta of here.

      2. NUCORNDEVIL says:

        Thank you Butch

  7. ohiohusker says:

    Joey, forward you resume to Dr Tom at the NU athletics office. I see a bright future for you. If you would fail at football, a political adviser would also be a possibilty. Thanks for teaching us all.

    1. TonyD says:

      BOTH Joey and Crndevil need to submit resumes – they both seem to KNOW ALL the talent there is in the nation and how to get them to NU. PLUS, the BOTH seem to know how to coach each and every position. I am sure Dr. Tom will then fire Bo and hire them!!! Geeez!

  8. terry darnall says:

    With freshmen D-line making strides into the depth chart, what happened to Donovan Vestal and Walker Ashburn? Others we aren’t hearing about. Mike Moudy in the OL? Courtney Osborne, who started 2 years ago? Is he a head case or a discipline problem? Just curious to what happened to these guys.

    1. huskerfanaz says:

      They suck thats why you dont hear about them, and boy does NUCORN for get about the Bill callagahn days the whole damn defense was depleted. This year group is not just alot of young guys, im not concerned about the D it will be fine more concerned about the O-line Barney sucks and BO needs to fire his sorry no good coaching but no one else wants him has to be a reason for that.

      1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

        No i havent forgotten, but somehow i dont seem to think it corrects the current situation, maybe you have forgotten about how dismal it was when Biff Jones was the Nebraska HC, it’s kind of irrelevant.
        Not one D-Line player, or LB, would start for any other big slow school.
        Andrew Rodriguez would possibly start for another big slow school, although i sure would like to point out our solid collection of DB’s.

        1. Viking Husker says:

          You said “the most depleted D-Line, O-Line, and LB corp’s ever assembled in the history of Husker football.”

          That’s how the Callahan reference is relevant.

      2. Butch says:

        Callhan’s defenses were far from depleted, they were just coached horribly. The talent was there, there was by far more talent on those rosters as what we have on the defensive side of the ball currently. See anyone even remotely close to Suh or Prince Amukumarah that Pelini has recruited? I don’t.

        1. A Fan says:

          Well, David was really good. Stafford looks to be pretty good too. But it appears we’re plugging holes, versus developing players out of high school.

          I think it’s a learning curve issue for the staff. Hopefully they get better.

          1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

            David and Stafford, are they not Juco players?

          2. A Fan says:

            Agree, CORNDEVIL. Nebraska is plugging holes with JUCOs. We used to rag Kansas State about doing this in the 1990s… and now we’re doing it.

        2. NUCORNDEVIL says:

          Thanks for spreading the knowledge Butch.

      3. A Fan says:

        Callahan was 5 years ago. If your standard is… as long as Nebraska is better than the crappiest head coach in 50 years of Cornhusker football… welcome to mediocrity.

  9. george says:

    interesting that people cry when bo does not comment about the football program, and they still cry when he makes post practise remarks. don’t make blog comments until you have watched the games- especially negative comments about the players. keep you heads up husker nation!

  10. kevin says:

    Joey. Plz don’t ever go away…with you I can always say the cup is half full. U give it to Bo no mater what he doest. He just can’t recruit to your satisfaction…. Brother when you wake up in the morning the sun is never up, over your house…. sits a dark rain cloud EVERY single day… Get that Hugh boulder off your shoulder, your still breathing right ?

  11. CornJunkie says:

    My only true concern is the O-Line. Is it random coincidence that Klacko and Moore are suddenly gone? What was the deal with Klacko? My understanding is that Moore got homesick and missed his Florida honey. Are there personality conflicts between B Cotton and his recruits? The O-Line has been clearly the most unstable component across the rest of the team since the beginning of the Bo era and that clearly reflects poorly on Cotton. I’m guessing this is his make or break season even if several of his own boys are now on the team.

  12. bob says:

    Go Big Reddddddddddd!!!!!!!!!!! Bo Knows remember boys there is no place you would rather be than watching the skers in sept!!!!!!!!!