Coach: Frank Solich
42-9-0, 4 years
2001 Record: 11-2
WON 21-7
at Missouri WON 36-3
at Baylor WON 48-7
at Kansas WON 51-7
at Colorado LOST 36-62
Miami FL LOST 14-37

2001 Final Rankings
AP-8, Coaches-7, BCS-2

Can Dahrran Diedrick help carry on the great Nebraska power tradition?
2002 Outlook

Yes, we know Nebraska loses a large number of players and some might question such a high ranking. Some of the Preseason Polls show Nebraska as low as #16. Don't get too worn out on old clichés, but this is Big Red Football with its 33 year tradition of nine win seasons. No one is quite sure how to analyze the "Eric Crouch" replacement thing. Jammal Lord has secured the positions but none of the NU quarterbacks have logged large amounts of playing time over the course of the Crouch era. Some big names will depart from the offense. However the power running game looks super with a starting fullback and both leading rushers at the famous I-back spot returning. The headway made by the relatively inexperienced offensive line, coupled with quarterback Jammal Lord's solid spring, should help alleviate fears that the Big Red Empire is crumbling. But the Big 12 has caught up with the Huskers with the massive size of its conference linemen. Nebraska isn't going to be able to just line up and pound the football as easily as it has in the past unless the QB can open a few areas. On defense, the Huskers are going to need some linebackers and a continual improvement in the pass defense department, but some big guns up front should make life a little easier for Coach Solich defensively. The secondary got torched in the Rose Bowl game. Either someone will have to step up, or Coach Solich will have to try another philosophy when attempting to cover a passing opponent. WHAT? No Oklahoma/Nebraska game next year? That's OK; there are plenty of others, including a special game up in Happy Valley in just the third week of the season. This year will be a monstrous test for Nebraska. The teams that dominated the 1990's are not the same as what exists now for 2002. The thought shared by a few is that Nebraska is a diamond in the rough, waiting quietly to surprise those who think a major drop-off in imminent. Nebraska is capable of reaching double-digits in the win column and getting back to the Conference Championship Game. Nebraska has the horses to be a top-10 team.

Projected 2002 record: 10-4

Willie Amos' knee injury was the most serious of the spring for the Huskers. Chris Kelsay and most of the other players who had to sit out of spring practice while recovering from offseason operations should be ready in time for the start of preseason camp.
QB - 3 DL - 4.5
RB - 5 LB - 3
WR - 2.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Jammal Lord, 5-8-1, 65 Yards, 0 TD's

Rushing: Dahrran Diedrick, 233 att., 1299 yds., 15 TD's

Receiving: Wilson Thomas, 37 rec., 616 yds., 3 TD's

Scoring: Dahrran Diedrick, 15 TD's, 92 pts.

Punting: Kyle Larson, 56 punts, 42.5 avg.

Kicking: Josh Brown, 10-14 FG, 34-37 PAT, 64 pts.

Tackles: Scott Shanle, 56 tot., 26 solo

Sacks: Demoine Adams, 5.5 sacks

Interceptions: Willie Amos, 4 for 70 yds.

Kickoff returns: Josh Davis, 33 ret., 27.0 avg.

Punt returns: DeJuan Groce, 33 ret., 14.2 avg.


OFFENSE: Eric Crouch-QB, John Gibson-WB, Tracey Wistrom-TE, Dave Volk-OT, Kyle Kollmorgen-OT, Jon Rutherford-OG, Toniu Fonoti-OG (NFL)
DEFENSE: Jason Lohr-NT, Jeremy Slechta-DT, Casey Nelson-DT, Jamie Burrow-MLB, Mark Vedral-WLB, Keyuo Craver-CB, Erwin Swiney-CB, Dion Booker-FS

STRENGTHS: The best challenge for the coaching staff may be creating ways to involve numerous, talented running backs. Senior Dahrran Diedrick is returning as the Big 12 rushing leader from last season and he will partner with another senior, Thunder Collins, to give the offensive your typical power game. Collins sat out most of spring practice with a shoulder injury, but newcomer Marques Simmons has really turned some heads. But Diedrick will again get the bulk of the carries next season, as he will be one of the premier backs in the county. Needless to say, there is a stockpile of talent at the I-back position. Junior fullback Judd Davies is another back that looks to become more involved in the offense. Aside from the running backs carrying a huge burden of proving that Husker dominance is still alive and well, the offensive line will continue to be a major part of the equation. Generally when an offense loses five players from the front line of a year ago, the prognosis turns out negative. So the search begins for those new five incumbents. The reload analogy still applies, so what else is new in Lincoln? As a group, they are stronger and more physical than the past has shown, but stronger doesn't always translate into victories. The spring showed some headway for this inexperienced unit. There are no super stars and lacking is an obvious All American. With three easy games to start out the season, there should be ample time to gel. On a good special teams note, senior kicker Josh Brown has been named a captain for the upcoming season.


CONCERNS: Eric Crouch is gone, what more can be said? It remains to be seen whether his replacement Jammal Lord, can pass the ball consistently when he takes over as the starter. Lord did rise to the occasion in the spring, but most fans will have to wait until August to see if the not so battle tested junior can respond. Obviously, this unanswered question is the big key. The depth at quarterback is non-existent. This should be the biggest concern in Corn Country. If Lord suffers and injury and one of the youngsters is called up for duty, things could get messy. But the word on Jammal is that he will get the job done. At 6-2 and 215 pounds, he is the strong runner that the Nebraska coaches seem to thrive upon every season. He only attempted 41 passes as a senior in high school, and so the jury will still be out on his ability to be an adequate passer. Sounds very familiar. Leading receiver Wilson Thomas returns, but there were still some key losses to note in the Husker passing arsenal. The luxury Crouch had at quarterback with big tight end Tracey Wistrom for so many seasons is no longer available.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB Jammal Lord-Jr Joe Chrisman-Sr
FB Judd Davies-Jr Steve Kriewald-So
IB Dahrran Diedrick-Sr Thunder Collins-Sr
WB Troy Hassebroek-Sr ..
SE Wilson Thomas-Sr Ben Zajicek-So
TE Aaron Golliday-Sr Phil Peetz-Jr
OT Scott Koethe-Sr ..
OG Mike Erickson-So ..
C John Garrison-Sr ..
OG Wes Cody-Sr Junior Tagoa'i-Jr
OT Dan Vili Waldrop-Jr Nate Kolterman-Sr
K Josh Brown-Sr ..



STRENGTHS: The defense struggled in big games last year, equating to lopsided losses against Colorado and Miami to end the season. Nebraska will be stronger up front with some heavy hitters dotting the starting lineup. Chris Kelsay leads the group from his defensive end position and Patrick Kabongo looks to be the next great Cornhusker linemen from the inside. Jon Clanton is another one of five standout tackles that will be unveiled next fall. A few defensive surprises from the spring include five-star JUCO transfer Demorrio Williams, who just dominated the spring game from his weakside linebacker position. Leading the team in tackles, terrorizing the offense, and causing massive problems for the offense was all people could talk about. The other newfound gift comes by the name of defensive tackle Seppo Evwaraye who made quite an initial impression in the spring. Some of the faces may be new at linebacker, however the depth is at a quite comfortable level with competition for starting spots becoming more difficult. DeJuan Groce is one of the mainstays from last season's defensive backfield. His play will be crucial.


CONCERNS: The worst news for the defense was cornerback Willie Amos' knee injury from the spring, which may force Nebraska's fastest player into a redshirt season. Without a doubt, it looks like Amos is finished for the first part of the season, if not the entire year. Outside DeJuan Groce, the Huskers lack a speedy corner with the ability to lock on to a reciever. The answers may have to lie in a true freshman or untested sophomore. So many new faces dot the linebacker unit that speculations run rampant as nobody really has an idea on who will be the starters. Only five returning starters are listed on the roster so it is quite evident that inexperience will play a large role in 2002. Some of the newcomers are rich in talent but raw on playing time.


Returning Starters in Bold
DE Chris Kelsay-Sr Justin Smith-Sr
NT Jon Clanton-Sr Ryon Bingham-Jr
DT Patrick Kabongo-Jr Seppo Evwaraye-Fr
DE Demoine Adams-Sr Trevor Johnson-Jr
SLB Scott Shanle-Sr Ira Cooper-So
MLB Barrett Ruud-So Tony Tata-Sr
WLB T.J. Hollowell-Jr Demorrio Williams-Jr
CB Willie Amos-Jr Lornell McPherson-So
CB DeJuan Groce-Sr Pat Ricketts-Jr
ROV Philip Bland-So Aaron Terpening-Sr
FS Jerrell Pippens-Jr Philip Bland-So
P Kyle Larson-Jr ..
Both cornerbacks, Amos and Groce, looked to be the strength of the defense until a spring knee injury possibly split the two apart.