Nebraska’s spring game rosters have been set. They can be seen in their entirety here.
Adrian Martinez and Tristan Gebbia will be the quarterbacks on the white squad, while Noah Vedral and Andrew Bunch will be under center for the red.
Offensive coordinator Troy Walters didn’t have a specific reason for these groupings.
“We’ve got two quarterbacks on each squad, so they’ll each go 50-50,” Walters said. “They’ll all get a lot of action, a lot of work, and we’ll evaluate them afterwards.”
The No. 1 QB won’t be known for months to come, but it sounds like they all had a productive spring. Quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco counted only six interceptions total from that entire group through a dozen spring practices.
“They just have to make certain that we carry that into the game as well and take care of the football,” Verduzco said. “You guys know as well as anybody how critical turnovers are, and they’ve been really good that way.”
One player on offense that’s questionable is sophomore receiver J.D. Spielman. Head coach Scott Frost relayed Tuesday that a number of players on the team have had to miss a practice or two due to illness. Spielman has missed at least two practices, and if he misses Saturday, Walters isn’t overly worried.
“J.D. has proven himself last year,” Walters said. “We know what he can do, so we’re not going to rush him back. It’ll allow some other receivers to get some more reps if he doesn’t play.”
Coach Ryan Held still hasn’t given an inclination of which back has separated from the pack. Mikale Wilbon and Greg Bell will be the ones to watch on the red team, while Devine Ozigbo and Jaylin Bradley will wear white jerseys.
This battle, like the one at QB, is long from decided. Nebraska will add freshmen Maurice Washington and Miles Jones in the fall and will get junior Tre Bryant back from injury.
“What we’re trying to do is create competition at every spot,” Held said. “So then, the guy that goes out there everyday and is consistent, that’s going to be the guy. So, you can’t ever think you’ve ever got it made. If you ever think you’ve got it made, you’re going to digress and we can’t have that.”
Inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud confirmed that Dedrick Young, Will Honas and Mohamed Barry have done the best job in spring of understanding their role and embracing the defense. Young, who’s Nebraska’s lead returning tackler from last season, has set the standard for his position group this spring.
“He’s probably done the best job of learning the defense and correcting mistakes,” Ruud said. “It’s probably too early to say who’s been my best linebacker. I think (Young) has done as good of a job as anybody in my group, though.”
Special teams coach Jovan Dewitt said this position has been approached with a “by committee” philosophy so far, but Spielman, Stanley Morgan, and Jaylin Bradley are the three most notable names that will see turns at running kicks back.
Morgan has tried to make himself available at other roles on special teams other than returner.
“He’s said, ‘Coach, wherever you need me I’m going to go,'” Dewitt said. “So, we may have him blitzing the punter, we may have him covering a guy down on punt return. He’s taken a huge role on special teams.”
The spring game has been sold out for over two months, but the coaching staff is still as enthusiastic as ever at the prospect of playing a scrimmage in front of more than 90,000 spectators.
“They said, ‘how many tickets do you need?’ I said, how many can I get?” defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said. “I’ve got (family) coming in from Arizona, and I got people coming in from Illinois. There’s probably nobody happier than me to run out there on that field and to experience this crowd and this stadium. I might be in shock a little bit.”
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