Tag Archives: Eric Martin

Post-spring D-Line odds and ends

Sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Williams is at the point in his career when everything should soon start to click, and he’ll take a big jump. That’s how he sees it, anyway.

He’s had two years to pick up the scheme, learn some helpful techniques and adjust to the physicality of D-I offensive linemen. He’s settled into his role on the team and his responsibilities off the field. And, oh yeah, he’s FINALLY healthy.

When Williams started running again in February (after offseason surgery to clean up “all the nasty scar tissue” in a knee originally injured in the spring of 2011), he felt as good as he has since arriving at Nebraska. He’s a 6-foot-2, 275-pounder who ignored late recruiting interest from Ohio State to …

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New responsibility for Ankrah on NU defensive line

As Jason Ankrah looked down the defensive line Saturday, the senior saw teammates like Kevin Williams, Aaron Curry and Avery Moss with him during the first spring practice for Nebraska.

Two Husker sophomores-to-be who played a limited amount last season and a redshirt freshman. Three players who could use his help and draw from his wisdom.

Ankrah knows that changes the way he has to go about his business as he prepares for his third season as a starter at defensive end.

“I wasn’t really a vocal guy and talking this whole 3½ years I’ve been here, but I got no choice but to do it,” Ankrah said. “So I embrace it and I’m happy about it.”

Ankrah will have leadership help from Thad Randle …

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Three ex-Huskers invited to NFL combine

Running back Rex Burkhead, kicker Brett Maher and safety Daimion Stafford were the only former Nebraska players on the 333-man list of NFL combine invitees.

The scouting combine runs from Feb. 20 to 26 in Indianapolis (NFL Network will broadcast the event).

Burkhead was one of 38 running backs invited to the workout. There were 60 defensive backs invited, including Stafford. And 13 total kickers got the call.

The number of players invited at other positions (the full list is here)…

Quarterback: 16
Wide receiver: 39
Tight end: 19
Offensive line: 58
Defensive line: 54
Linebacker: 35
Long snapper: 1

Certainly there are other former NU players who have a shot at getting drafted or picked up during free agency. Eric Martin, Baker …

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Capital One Bowl: How often will Georgia’s QB run?

ORLANDO, Fla. — Georgia’s Aaron Murray hasn’t escaped the pocket with the intention of running downfield much this year. And presumably, he won’t use his legs too often against Nebraska, either.

Not including sacks, Murray’s carried the football 31 times for 83 yards (2.7 yards per carry). He has just two runs of more than 10 yards this year. His three rushing touchdowns all originated from the 1-yard line.

As defensive end Eric Martin puts it, though, there’s always a chance Murray could take off, even if film study proves otherwise — the junior quarterback would rather buy time and keep surveying the coverage. The NU defensive line can’t completely disregard the QB run game, according to Martin.

But obviously, it’s important to get pressure …

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Halftime: Wisconsin 42, Nebraska 10

Oh boy. It’s hard to completely count these comeback kids out, but the Huskers certainly have never overcome a deficit like this.

The story so far: Wisconsin’s efficient and explosive offense slicing up Nebraska’s defense without any resistance for two quarters. The Badgers have 391 offensive yards and 290 of those have come on the ground (10.7 yards per carry right now).

UW offense has the Huskers off-balance and befuddled. The game plan (get NU in space and exploit match-ups) was perfect, and the Badgers have executed almost flawlessly. Throw in some horrible tackling by NU — did you see Melvin Gordon’s final run right before the half that set up ANOTHER score? — and it’s probably the worst first-half performance by the Blackshirts under …

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Practice report: NU prepping for bruising back

Iowa’s primary offensive objective will be to establish the run game Friday, most likely by feeding its 225-pound fullback as often as possible, Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis said.

Last year’s 20-7 win against the Hawkeyes was “kind of a grind-it-out game,” Papuchis said. And because Iowa’s philosophy (run first, then play-action off that) hasn’t changed too drastically since, Papuchis is expecting much of the same again.

So NU’s game plan starts here: Designing a way to slow down sophomore Mark Weisman — who’s been battling a leg injury but was in the lineup last week. Weisman averaged 155.8 rushing yards in the four games before playing banged up against Penn State on Oct. 20.

“He’s a pounder,” Papuchis said. “He’s physical and he’s downhill. …

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Burkhead’s improvement evident in small sample size

It’s never too difficult to get an honest self-critique out of senior Rex Burkhead, whose humility is maybe the hidden source for his workmanlike approach.

Seven months ago, I asked Burkhead to identify the area of his game he was working hardest to improve.

His answer: Creating more replay-worthy, momentum-changing running plays. More flash. And less of a grind-it-out style. “Just making one cut and going,” Burkhead said in April. “Instead of making those multiple cuts. Big plays often times come when you hit the hole hard and just break arm tackles.”

Three MCL sprains have kept Burkhead from proving if he could fully translate his offseason work to the field for a full season. He’s had a couple promising glimpses, though.

During the 2010 …

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First quarter: Nebraska 7, Michigan State 7

The Huskers and Spartans are tied after one quarter of play. But as has been the common theme for this NU team, Nebraska’s hurting itself with key mistakes.

A holding penalty (on junior Cole Pensick) spoiled the momentum of a seemingly productive Nebraska possession, backing NU up into a first-and-extra-long scenario. Two plays later, Taylor Martinez threw a pick.

On the ensuing MSU drive, two pass interference penalties (one on a third down incompletion) aided the Spartans. Le’Veon Bell broke at least one tackle on his 11-yard touchdown run.

And Bell also motored around Andrew Green’s tackle attempt out in space, bursting free for a 23-yard run later in the quarter.

Nebraska needs to clean up its effort. Again. Settle down and play smarter. Other …

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Nebraska jumps out front 14-0

Nebraska made an early commitment to the running game and then burned Arkansas State deep, taking an early 14-0 as the first quarter comes to a close.

The highlight of the day so far was a 42-yard touchdown grab by sophomore Kenny Bell, who adjusted nicely to an underthrown ball and hauled it in as he fell to the turf. That touchdown, with 30 seconds left in the first, came on a play-action fake against man-to-man coverage.

Meanwhile, Arkansas State’s offense has had some success moving the football, but nothing to show for it. The Red Wolves already have 71 rushing yards in the first quarter, executing the zone read option play well enough to find holes against NU.

But an interception on a failed …

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Practice report: Pelini says Burkhead doubtful, for now

Coach Bo Pelini stopped short of making it official, but indicated after Thursday’s practice that running back Rex Burkhead is not expected to play Saturday.

Pelini characterized Burkhead’s status as “doubtful” for the Arkansas State match-up. He said Burkhead’s knee (sprained MCL) will continue to be evaluated, but the senior will not play until he’s “absolutely 100 percent.”

In other injury related news, senior defensive end Eric Martin, who hobbled off the field late in Saturday’s loss to UCLA, is “fine,” Pelini said. And actually, Martin apparently practiced quite well this week. Said Pelini: “This week he’s back to the same Eric we know. He’s comfortable.”

Also, Pelini said cornerback Mo Seisay was limping a bit in pregame last week, but the junior college transfer …

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