Following the conclusion of Nebraska football’s spring practice season, The Daily Nebraskan is breaking down each position group and evaluating which players might make an impact in 2019. This is the final installment.
The 2018 season was not without its ups and downs for Nebraska’s special teams unit, but consistent improvement has set up the group for success in 2019.
Nebraska entered last year uncertain about the ability of its kicking game, as the Huskers aimed to replace four-year starter Drew Brown. Barret Pickering joined the team and started immediately as a true freshman. His Husker career got off to a slow start with two missed field goals in his first two games and three misses in his first four, but Pickering found his form over the course of the season.
Pickering made his last 10 field goal attempts, including three makes in windy and snowy conditions in a 9-6 victory over Michigan State. Pickering only missed one extra point all season, and ended 12-13 on field goals inside 40 yards. The Alabama native will look to carry that strong finish into his sophomore season and continue improving.
Last year’s backup at kicker, Cole Frahm, transferred to South Dakota State in January, leaving the Huskers with two freshman backups. Dylan Jorgensen and Noah McCashland, both Lincoln natives and walk-ons, will be behind Pickering.
While Pickering was a consistent starter at kicker, the team’s punter underwent a mid-season change. Junior Caleb Lightbourn began the year as the team’s starter, but averaged 41.6 yards per punt and had no punts inside the 20-yard line before being benched for walk-on senior Isaac Armstrong.
Armstrong quickly took the role and ran with it, solidifying his role as the team’s starter with an average of 43.6 yards per punt. Lightbourn announced his decision to transfer away from the team on April 10 and is yet to find a landing spot. Armstrong will face competition from William Przystup, a sophomore transfer from Michigan State.
At long snapper, senior Jordan Ober began the year as the starter, but his role faded over the course of the season as he was replaced by Chase Urbach. A senior this season, Urbach will start at long snapper and is backed up by two redshirt freshman walk-ons Cameron Pieper and Cade Mueller.