Published Thursday, August 30, 2012 AT 6:30 PM / Updated at 7:31 PM
Practice report: Pelini says Westerkamp could help NU, but…
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

True freshman receiver Jordan Westerkamp has emerged as a potential contributor for Nebraska during his short time with the Huskers. But it may not be in his best interest to play this fall, NU coach Bo Pelini said Thursday.

Pelini stressed that no decision has been made on the status of Westerkamp, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder who’s earned praise this month for his reliability as a pass-catcher.

The dilemma, according to Pelini: “Sometimes you have to play a guy out of necessity. Other times you have a guy who, you look at and say, ‘Yeah, he could play now, but how much would he benefit down the line?’ What you don’t want to do is end up after four years, both as a coach and a player, is saying, ‘I wish I would have had that fifth year.’”

Redshirt freshman Taariq Allen was in a similar spot last year. He could have played, but didn’t. The result?

“(Allen) is a heck of a lot more prepared physically, mentally, maturity wise to help us right now,” Pelini said.

So we’ll have to wait on Westerkamp. For a few weeks, Pelini said.

He did confirm Thursday that three true freshmen — defensive end Avery Moss, defensive tackle Aaron Curry and running back Imani Cross — are expected to make their debuts. There will likely be others (Charles Jackson and Andy Janovich).

To play or redshirt a true freshman? Pelini said it’s never a decision he makes on his own.

“You have to balance that whole thing,” Pelini said. “It’s not just about us and our program, it’s about that kid individually and what’s in his best long-term interest.”

Below are other noteworthy items to pass along from Pelini’s five-minute conversation with reporters after Thursday’s practice…

>> Pelini made it pretty clear that he’s unsure what kinds of looks to expect from the Southern Miss offense. So the Husker defense has worked on everything. And the players responded well this week, Pelini said. He expects to make lots of adjustments Saturday. But, as he puts it, “at the end of the day, it’s about playing hard, flying to the football and playing with an attitude. I think our guys understand that.”

>> Senior Justin Jackson will “most likely” start at center for Nebraska on Saturday, Pelini said.

>> Sophomore Corey Cooper has “done a good job” as a dime back so far, Pelini said. Junior Zaire Anderson and senior Jase Dean are the other two players who’ve been taking reps at that spot lately.

>> Asked specifically about Moss, the true freshman D-end, Pelini said this: “I think he’s gonna be special.”

>> Pelini spoke pretty confidently about his offensive line and the depth that’s been developed during fall camp. But considering the group’s inexperience, he will be watching closely to see how those players react on Saturday. “There’s one thing about them performing in practice,” Pelini said. “It’s how they’re going to be when they get out there in front of 85,000.”

>> There are no injury concerns at this time, according to Pelini.

* * *

>> Audio: Listen to Bo Pelini’s post-practice session with the media (Length: 3 minutes, 41 seconds):


About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: jon.nyatawa@owh.com. He welcomes feedback.

Comments

  1. I EAT BADGER says:

    Thanks, Jon. Nice update.

  2. Scott says:

    We have plenty of depth at WR this year. No need to burn his redshirt unless we have some injuries.

  3. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    “a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder who’s earned praise this month for his reliability as a pass-catcher.”
    God forbid, can’t have that on the field.

    ” He expects to make lots of adjustments Saturday.”
    I think Bo meant to say: “Our DC John Papuchis expects to be making a lot of adjustments Saturday.”

    Who in the NCAA Football coaching world can use the words ‘Depth’ and ‘Inexperience’ when describing his Offensive Line? ‘Pelini spoke pretty confidently about his offensive line and the depth that’s been developed during fall camp. But considering the group’s inexperience, he will be watching closely to see how those players react on Saturday.’ “There’s one thing about them performing in practice,” Pelini said. “It’s how they’re going to be when they get out there in front of 85,000.”…………………………..Seriously?!!!

    The O-Line depth from last year is starting this year, there is no ‘depth’ this year, it’s starting.

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      “It’s how they’re going to be when they get out there in front of 85,000.” This is a big coaching revelation for Mr. Pelini, something we all have known since 7th grade, I’m really happy he pointed that out. Now all the six graders are up to speed.

  4. mark says:

    I thought we were suppose to have depth on the O-line this year. Now this article says they are inexperienced. So, which is it? I’d say besides Martinez the O-line is the key to what happens this year with the Huskers. Hopefully the false starts and inconsistent play by the O-line will be reduced significantly. However, if we see more of the same as with past Husker O-lines I’d say it would be time to take a hard look at Barney Cotton’s tenure with the Huskers. I am hoping for big improvement in this area but now here comes the “inexperienced” comment right before the first game of the season. That gives me this uncomfortable feeling that they are already setting up the fallback plan of excuses just in case the O-line under performs again as in the past.

    1. A Fan says:

      3 walk-ons starting on the OL. That’s troubling. The center is a former DL guy. The right side of the line with Long and Rodriguez (RG and RT) should be decent. Center, and the left side… question marks. Sirles will try and move as a backup between RT and LT.

      I don’t think the OL is going to be much better than last year. Too many bandaids this late in the game. Plus, you have Cotton coaching them.

      1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

        You are not being ‘A Fan’ questioning ‘Official’ statements by the coaching staff, that is considered ‘Blasphemy.’
        just put the blinders on, pray, have faith in Bo, and we will magically win Championships……….

  5. socalhusker says:

    When I look at our offensive personnel, it seems to me that we are built more for a power option “I” formation than a spread option. In my opinion we should be firing off the ball straight ahead instead of sideways. The Qb wuld have to lower the shoulder instead of standing up when hit. With Rex’s patience and vision, the holes would develop. Mix in the bruising I back and fullbacks and you have a potent running attack that is simpler and less confusing for our “inexperienced” line. When we pass, keep Martinez behind center and play fake the option. Use more vertical routes with tight ends and drag a fast wide out across the middle. Don’ forget the slot receiver reverses. I know in the past I have asked for the “Vince Young” sized Qb but that Russell Wilson was very impressive and players of his stature are much easier to find and can be just as effective.Just my 2 cents worth of “living in the past/glory days.”