Nebraska’s spring practice wrapped up with one last scrimmage in front of more than 78,000 fans in Memorial Stadium. Fans gathered to get a look at, basically, an entirely new Husker team. With two new potential quarterbacks, a new defense and plenty of new coaches, there’s a lot to be excited about for 2017.
Here’s who and what I think deserves a helmet sticker for their performance during the Red-White Spring Game:
The University of Nebraska:
During the coin flip ahead of kickoff, Staff Sergeant Matthew Hawke returned from a 10 month deployment overseas disguised as a Nebraska football player. Hawke was reunited with his family at the 50-yard line, sending chills down everyone in Memorial Stadium's spines. Well done Nebraska.
Ahead of the spring game, new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said he wouldn't show much of his new scheme during Saturday's game, and he kept his word. The Huskers ran almost an entirely 4-3 defense, unlike the new 3-4 scheme Diaco has spent all of spring ball installing.
However, Luke Gifford was one defensive player that stood out despite the vanilla playbook. Gifford finished with two tackles and an interception and covered a lot of ground when he was on the field. Gifford will be a major part in this new Blackshirt defense.
During Saturday's game, Mazour showed the potential that many members of the media saw in him during the closed spring practices. He's got wheels, and he's probably the most elusive back in the Huskers rotation. Mazour will have a chance to fight for time with Devine Ozigbo and Mikale Wilbon who both ran hard today as well.
Gebbia was probably the most impressive of the quarterbacks today, but that can be deceiving. Patrick O'Brien got the start for the Red team (most likely won by a coin toss), and switched off drives with Tanner Lee for the remainder of the game.
Gebbia on the other hand was able to get in a rhythm as he took nearly all of the snaps for the White team. The early-enrollee completed 19 of his 31 passes for 213 yards. Gebbia really only had one errant throw and showed off his arm strength and pocket presence throughout the game.
The true freshman will likely redshirt this year and both Lee and O'Brien have eligibility remaining after this season. If you thought the quarterback battle was interesting this year, just wait until next year.
Redshirt freshman tight end David Engelhaupt had an exceptional game Saturday. Things started off rocky as Engelhaupt dropped two wide-open passes from Gebbia, but caught four straight for 54 yards, including one for 31 yards. With Cethan Carter and Sam Cotton gone, this tight end corps is in dire need of someone to step up.
For more on today's spring game, tune in to 3 News Now at 10 p.m. and visit OmahaSportsInsider.com.
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