They’re still feeling their way around, and the substitutions haven’t always been for the reasons Ross Els would like, but the Nebraska assistant coach remains upbeat about his linebacking corps.
Especially the depth.
David Santos, Josh Banderas and Nathan Gerry have all started games, and Zaire Anderson has played a decent chunk of snaps at different times. Michael Rose and Jared Afalava also have gotten on the field at least some.
“You’ll probably continue to see all six guys,” Els said Friday at the Big Red Breakfast. “I love the depth. I did not like last year where Compton, Whaley and Fisher had to play every single snap. That was too many. If the same people are taking 60, 70 snaps a game, that’s too many.”
Of the six, Anderson is the only upperclassman, but the junior is relatively inexperienced at the FBS level. Santos is a sophomore, Rose and Afalava are redshirt freshmen and Banderas and Gerry are true freshmen.
“I like the room,” Els said. “I love the focus. We’re getting to the point now where we’re getting more confident in what we’re doing. You can see it in their eyes.”
Some of the mystery remains as far as who plays when, although Els said this week that Santos will start at the middle linebacker position against Illinois.
From week to week, however …
“I don’t know who’s going to end up starting,” Els said. “I don’t know who’s going to end up finishing games.”
We’ll have more from Els at the Big Red Breakfast later on Omaha.com and in our Metro edition.