With less than a week left until Nebraska football’s season-opener against South Alabama, it’s crunch time for the Husker offense to get ready.
That preparation was disrupted on Wednesday, as offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced that freshmen Andre Hunt and Katerian LeGrone are suspended indefinitely from all team activities. Walters declined to provide the reason for the suspension or if the players were being suspended for the same reason, as he said the team was handling the matter within.
Both Hunt and LeGrone caught the eye of their position coaches in fall camp, although neither made an appearance on the team’s week one depth chart.
For tight ends coach Sean Beckton, the loss of LeGrone means one thing: next man up.
“All those guys know that we judge kids on a daily basis here, and those guys understand that, that’s the standard in the tight end room and across the board as a football team,” he said. “Next man has been raised up.”
Beckton named two freshmen, Chris Hickman and Bryson Krull, as players who could see playing time as a result.
“I have confidence in those guys to go out there and perform on Saturday,” he said.
Likewise, Walters is confident that other wideouts will be able to step up if needed.
“I feel comfortable and confident that the guys behind and the guys that are going to suit up will be able to go out there and make plays,” Walters said.
Instead of focusing on the players he won’t be able to use on Saturday, Walters lauded a number of Huskers who will play key roles against South Alabama. Husker fans are eagerly anticipating the debut of freshman wideout Wan’Dale Robinson, a player which Walters said has made an immediate impression in practice.
“When the ball was in his hands, he made plays, and as coaches, we said ‘wow,’” Walters said. “We’ve got to get him on the field, we’ve got to get the ball in his hands because he’s dynamic.”
While Robinson will start at wide receiver, he may see some action out of the backfield as well, especially with the status of sophomore Maurice Washington still unclear. Junior Dedrick Mills will be relied upon to jump-start the run game behind an offensive line that Walters has confidence in.
“This offense all comes down to running the football and I feel confident going into this first game that we’ll be able to run the football with those guys leading the way,” he said.
In terms of his game planning, Walters mentioned that the first game of the year is difficult because there is no current film of teams, so coaches have to prepare based on last year’s results. When piecing together Nebraska’s offensive approach on Saturday, one thing was clear to Walters: the Huskers are going to run the ball.
“Guys are excited to go against another team, hit another player,” he said. “ [They’re] really excited to show the world and Nebraska fans the hard work they’ve put in over the summer.”