The Nebraska football spring game has sold more than 68,000 tickets. At 1 p.m. on Saturday fans will be able to see coach Mike Riley come out of the Memorial Stadium tunnel for the first time. With the new coaching staff, many players have been adjusting to the systems. Here are five players you should look out for Saturday afternoon:
1. Redshirt freshman quarterback AJ Bush
Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf left the New York Giants after being the quarterbacks coach for a season, which brings a certain amount of excitement to the signal-callers on the team. One player who has stuck out at the position is Bush. There was a lot of opportunity with Tommy Armstrong missing a few practices due to back spasms and Bush has impressed coaches since. While, he most likely won’t be the starter this season, the left-handed passer has been making crisp passes this spring, which is what this staff is looking for.
2. Junior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey
One of the lacking groups on this team has been the linebackers. The last staff had a difficult time grabbing players who were able to cover passes and stop runs. This staff has been looking for more speed and Rose fits that mold more than most on the team. He has good size and has been fighting hard since coming back from his knee injury. No. 15 is definitely someone to look out for on Saturday.
3. Redshirt freshman defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun
This player is probably one of the more intriguing ones to watch this spring because of his own transition. He came in as a tight end prospect, but has made the switch over to the defensive line. The line is stacked with solid starters, but there’s a big drop off after that and Akinmoladun can be a viable option to work into the rotation this upcoming this season. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker didn’t know what to expect from the freshman, which has been a pleasant surprise because of how hard he’s worked this spring.
4. Junior wide receiver Brandon Reilly
Last year, a lot of people were thrilled to see what Reilly could do after he made four grabs for 92 yards, which made the 2014 season a bit of disappointment for the wideout. It hurt him that he missed the first six games of the season, which he never really bounced back from. In 17 games, he’s made nine catches for 109 yards. No touchdowns. He’s been healthy this spring and coaches hope he can be a viable target this fall.
5. Redshirt freshman running back Mikale Wilbon
The running back situation is still up in the air with many players fighting for playing time. Ameer Abdullah definitely left a hole on this team and many players will be combining their efforts to fill that role. One back who has stuck out has been Wilbon. He’s not much of a physical threat, but he has great vision and explosive speed. Look for him to break out a few big runs on Saturday, especially because he won’t be lining up with the starters.