OK, plenty to talk about. Fire away.
@TO: Gabe Rahn at slot receiver behind only Jordan Westerkamp. Rahn is a junior and hasn't played a snap the past two years. He's made a big move.
@NewportRed: LOL. Nice one, Newport. In our preseason football edition, I predicted a 9-3 regular season, with Iowa winning the division.
@Buster: Definitely in the eye of the beholder. I don't think I would want to be the guy who has to tell Mark Philipp he lacks toughness in his approach.
@Pipeline: That definitely caught my eye. Tre Bryant, the true freshman, is listed at No. 3. I think it's more of a matter of what Bryant is doing (as opposed to what Wilbon isn't). Bryant picked up pass-blocking quickly. He catches the ball well. He had several sizable gains on rushes in the Aug. 13 scrimmage (although he was bottled up in the Aug. 20 scrimmage). Bryant also has shown flashes as a kick-off return man. Reggie Davis recruited him and obviously likes his game a lot.
@TO: 1. Armstrong; 2. Lee; 3. Fyfe; 4. O'Brien
@Renaldt: Jordan Westerkamp is listed as the No. 2 punt-return man. My guess is the coaches would not burn Spielman's redshirt if something were to happen to Pierson-El.
@Pete: We are in the process of receiving applications for Brian's position. He obviously will be difficult to replace. He routinely broke news on the basketball beat, and his contributions on football game coverage ... he wrote very fast and very well, and covered a lot of ground. His report card was extremely popular. I like to say he is a professional writer.
@Pipeline: I don't think in Wilbon's case is about fit. He got passed by an excellent player in Bryant. Wilbon could still move up the chart. I'm not counting him out. As for your question, I don't think you can paint it with a broad brush. Sure, in some cases it's fit. In others, it's just about a good player (Peyton Newell) getting passed up by a better one (Carlos Davis). Injuries can be a factor. Grades can be a factor. A lot of things can become factors.
@TO: I think you make a good point. He does get sort of forgotten in that receiver group. But maybe now we know why. Riley told the media today that going into the Aug. 20 scrimmage, DPE's playing status for this season was still in the balance. DPE had a good scrimmage that day, and the parties went forward with plans to play him this year.
@NewportRed: Such matters typically remain confidential. I can't say I know for sure.
@Renaldt: I don't think coaches will make that determination until later in the week -- the way players practice may be one of the factors that go into the decision.
@Pipeline: The audit is a factor, and probably a major factor. Whatever the reason, it's been great to be able to get to know Shawn better personally, and get a better feel for his management style and philosophies. That said, I actually appreciate the fact he wants the athletes to have the limelight. I find it sort of unsightly when an AD seeks media attention.
@Renaldt: O'Brien is listed third on the depth chart -- there's only three QBs eligible to play (not counting Zack Darlington, who's listed fourth at QB and could be used in an emergency). O'Brien is behind two seniors. Fyfe is legit. I say that all the time. I haven't seen anything from POB that suggests he's ready to overtake Ryker.
@CDS: Thanks for the compliment, CDS. You hit the two most crucial areas. In fact, you perhaps hit the only significant areas. He is lacking nothing in terms of physical ability. He is battle-tested. He is a willing leader. But until he improves his decision-making -- for instance, not forcing throws downfield -- you can't say he's fulfilled his potential.
@Pete: Yes, it surprised me to hear that the coaches and DPE were unsure whether he would play this year right up until the Aug. 20 scrimmage. I had no idea it was that close of a call.
@FLhusker: The key, of course, will be the quarterback position. That's always the key, right? There will be a first-year starter, but I think that guy -- be it O'Brien or Tanner Lee -- will be more naturally suited for Riley's system. On the other hand, the quarterback will be throwing to a receiver corps that loses a lot of firepower. Another key: Nebraska could be better in the trenches next season, on both sides of the ball. I think NU is OK in that regard now. But a lot of relatively young faces need some seasoning.
@NewportRed: I would have to read the column to comment on it.
@Pipeline: I think Nebraska definitely has to reduce its turnover total -- and yes, much of that has to do with Armstrong improving. I also think a consistent pass rush is an important element for any team with any sort of championship aspirations. I think the lack of proven pass-rushers is more concerning than Armstrong. I think Armstrong has a world of potential.
@Pipeline: It would be hard to read every Husker article -- there are now about 73 web sites that cover the team.
@Pete: I have mixed feelings. Miles obviously wasn't concerned about the PR aspect. But at some point, a coach can't concern himself with PR. It's time for Miles to push the program to a higher level. A third straight losing season seems very possible. So he needs more difference-makers, obviously. Arop hasn't shown, in my opinion, that he can come in and make any sort of immediate impact.
@TO: Here's the good news: The season begins Saturday. That's a great thing because we can better make those type of judgments. If you watch what happens between the lines closely, it often tells you almost all you need to know about a program -- not everything, mind you, but awfully close to it.
@Pipeline: I'm surprised how many Nebraska fans chalk up a win at Northwestern -- which, of course, defeated Nebraska in Lincoln last year and returns quite of bit of strength in the trenches. Also, I think Nebraska will have to score 35-plus to win at Indiana. Scoring that many points against the Hoosiers is doable, obviously, but if the Huskers' turnover issue crops up ... it could turn into a difficult game very quickly.
@Zadi: Jacobson definitely did. So, your suggestion is to add more players who probably won't make significant contributions, for the sake of PR?
@Pipeline: I do follow it. I look forward this year to writing about it more often. And yes, I mean it when I say I look forward to it. The Final Four in Omaha was memorable -- one of the most memorable events I've covered in 25 years on the job. Definitely top 25.
@TO: I need to scan the games first. But the good news is ... the season's arrived!!.