Memorial Stadium will be packed as usual for Husker games but of course this game it is the season opener, and the beginning of the Scott Frost era. Nebraska will face off against Akron at 7:00 P.M.
For Nebraska, it will be new schemes on each side of the ball as an entire new coaching staff is in Lincoln. On the offensive side, it will be an offense ran by true freshman Adrian Martinez. Martinez will look to manage the game and rely on his big play wide receivers to help him out as much as possible. Also, another unknown player on the field will be JUCO transfer Greg Bell. Bell is a talented running back who ran for over 1,000 yards at Arizona Western CC. Sharing carries with him in the backfield will be senior Devine Ozigbo. Ozigbo will be used in certain short yardage situations.
As mentioned, the wide receivers will need to have help out Martinez. Stanley Morgan, the senior, had 61 catches for 986 yards and 10 scores last season. He will be a focal point of the offense for NU. Sophomore JD Spielman will be utilized a lot as well. Spielman last year had 830 yards on 55 catches. Sophomore Tyjon Lindsey will be used in both the pass and run game as he has shown he can be a big play threat. JUCO transfer Mike Williams had 669 yards receiving last season and he will look to make an impact as well on the offensive side.
On defense, watch for an attacking defense. Moving sophomore Ben Stille to defensive end shows that the Huskers want to apply pressure on the quarterback. At the linebacker spot, there will be familiar faces and some new ones. Senior Dedrick Young II will be the anchor of that defense as he had 80 tackles last season and will look to continue his strong effort. Luke Gifford will look to stay healthy as he will play outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. Gifford had 47 tackles last season and will look to continue that strong play this season. Some new faces at the linebacker spot to watch are Caeb Tannor a true freshman linebacker and Will Honas a coveted JUCO player at the same position.
Akron is a team that hasn’t had a lot of success in the past when scoring the football as last season they only averaged 22 points per game. But this team had a solid season last year posting a 7-7 record. Van Edwards will be one of their leading offensive players from a season ago as he had 343 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Kato Nelson will take the snaps for the Zips and he is true dual threat quarterback. Last season he was just shy of 1,000 yards passing and 200 yards rushing on the season.
Akron will run a 4-3 defense. Their main playmaker will be Ulysees Gilbert III. He had 65 tackles last season at his linebacker spot. Don’t be surprised to see this defense throw the kitchen sink at the Huskers in hopes of ruining the Scott Frost homecoming.
Other things to watch for is the youth Coach Frost will play. With the new red shirt rule, this allows players like Caleb Tannor at linebacker to play and then maybe redshirt him after the fourth game of the season. Other freshmen that will see time are defensive backs Braxton Clark and Cam Taylor and running backs Maurice Washington and Miles Jones.
The Big Red opens today under a new regime and new era. Catch the game on the Rural Radio Network including Nebraska’s longest running affiliate 880 KRVN and 106.9 FM.