The long wait is now a short wait.
There’s less than one week before Nebraska football kicks off its season on Saturday against Florida Atlantic University.
Last season, the Owls finished the season on a four game winning streak to notch a 6-6 record, but the team didn’t make a bowl game.
The Owls are returning a few key starters on both sides of the ball including: quarterback Jaquez Johnson, defensive back D’Joun Smith and wide receiver William Dukes.
The Huskers were confident after fall camp finished. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said he liked what he saw in the fall camp, but there’s still work to be done.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, but I think we still need to make a lot of progress,” Pelini said.
For the Huskers, the defensive side of the ball is still young, but the players seem ready to get on the field for a game.
“I’m pretty darn excited,” sophomore Greg McMullen said. “I get to fill my role now, and I get to go out there and just have some fun.”
The defense just needs to keep things simple and do what they have practiced all fall camp.
“We all know our defense,” he said. “We just got to execute the little details, and go out there week one against Florida Atlantic and have a blast.”
With the youth on the defensive side of the ball, Pelini said a group of leaders have emerged such as senior safety Corey Cooper, sophomore linebacker Josh Banderas and sophomore defensive back Nate Gerry.
“We’ve got some guys that have some experience, who have kind of been through it that do a nice job of leading that group,” Pelini said.
The wait comes to an end this Saturday, and college football is officially back in session. McMullen and the rest of the Huskers are anxious to play week one.
“I think we all are going to make some noise next Saturday,” McMullen said.
QB Jaquez Johnson- The dual threat, redshirt junior stepped into the spotlight in his first season with Florida Atlantic last year. Johnson threw for 1,876 yards while rushing for 772. He set a school record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season, by rushing in for the score 10 times last season. He scored a total of 22 touchdowns a year ago. Johnson’s performance on the field yielded him both FAU’s and the Conference USA’s Newcomer of the Year award.
DB D’Joun (DJ) Smith- The Owl’s defense is commanded by D’Joun Smith. He’s not only highly regarded by his team and Conference USA, but Smith has also garnered national attention. He was ranked No. 2 in the nation in passes defended with 20, and No. 3 nationally in interceptions with seven. Both earned him the top rank in the conference. Smith’s play earned the team’s Most Valuable Player award last season. Keep an eye out for him to give Nebraska quarterbacks trouble.
WR William Dukes- The 6-foot-4 wide receiver jumped into the top spot on the depth chart after Daniel McKinney joined the NFL. He will continue to be a big target for Johnson. Dukes is more than capable of fulfilling the No. 1 wide receiver role. Dukes grabbed six touchdowns last season and 553 yards. He was eighth in the Conference USA in touchdowns. When the ball was thrown to Dukes, it typically resulted in a first down as he averaged 15.8 yards per catch.