7 Huskers to step up for Nebraska Football this spring

Looking ahead to Nebraska football’s spring practice, here are five huskers who need to step up.

Spring football begins Monday for the Nebraska football program and new head coach Matt Rhule.

It will be an exciting time for the Huskers and their fans as they take the next step towards the 2023 season. Nebraska Football has a huge roster and there will be many new faces (most of them transfers).

Rhule recently said that Nebraska football has already released depth charts. He believes in honesty and accountability. We’ll see how these depth charts change throughout the spring. For my part, I can’t wait for next month’s spring game.

However, the work done in practice will likely be important and have a greater impact on your depth map. The Huskers have question marks all over the place — they’re coming off a 4-8 season, after all, and here are five players Nebraska football needs to strengthen this spring.

QB Jeff Sims

This is a big spring for Jeff Sims. Rhule has been vague about how much Casey Thompson will be doing this spring, and that leaves Sims with plenty of options.

We must not forget Logan Smothers, Chubba Purdy and Henrich Haaberg. The 6-foot-5 sophomore has turned some heads with his speed, and who knows, he might make some noise with a solid feather.

I’m not saying he’ll start or anything, but he could give Nebraska football a solid No. 3 and quarterback worth developing for the future. I don’t see Smothers and Purdy hanging around unless they’re determined to be backups for the rest of their careers.

If Sims wants to win the starting job, he has to start with his arm. We know what he can do as a runner. He needs to show he can take care of the ball, push it down the field and play with his arm.

Thomas Fidone

We’ve heard a lot of good things about Nebraska football’s tight end Thomas Fidone, but I want him to deliver with a really good spring. The most important thing is to stay healthy.

However, he has a challenge for Arik Gilbert’s starting job. I think Fidone can establish himself as a starter and let’s be honest there are snaps for a few tight ends. I think we’ll see these guys a lot.

If Fidone wants to be a first or second round pick, he needs a good 2023 and probably another good season in 2024. It all starts with keeping the positive momentum going (and staying healthy).

Bryce Benhart/Turner Corcoran

I’m going to talk about the two veterans in a section here. Both started a number of games during their Nebraska football careers. They didn’t live up to expectations either.

Rhule said he thinks Nebraska’s offensive line is better than people give it credit for. Part of that could have to do with bringing back two starters from injury/suspension and landing Ben Scott in the transfer portal.

Getting the most out of Benhart and Corcoran would be huge, though. Both struggled last season but with the tutelage of Donovan Raiola and Rhule there is hope the former four-star recruits can finally fulfill their potential.

If they can make a step forward this spring, it would be huge for Nebraska football and could even eliminate the need for an offensive transfer in the April transfer portal window.

Jimari Butler/Blaise Gunnerson

OK, another section for combined players. But just like Corcoran and Benhart, Jimari Butler and Blaise Gunnerson’s combo is very similar, so separating them feels wrong.

Last season, two EDGE players combined for 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses, and zero sacks. To be fair, they didn’t get many chances. Butler actually wanted to change. Then Nebraska football lost some of its frontrunners to the portal and it returned.

Both guys have potential. You have all measurable. Both have flashed before. All you have to do is assemble it, and the reps should be there this spring to do it.

MJ Sherman and Chief Borders will also have an impact on the pass rush this spring, but it would be a real help to Nebraska football if Gunnerson and Butler made a step forward this spring.

Zavier Betts

Betts has proven he can play at this level. He didn’t play last season but seems focused now. He has looked good in winter conditioning by all accounts, but this spring will be the real test. How will he look after more than a year without football?

This spring will be a great opportunity for him to earn a spot on the depth chart. Nebraska needs a big, fast receiver like Betts. He was a major recruit for a reason, and if Rhule could help him revitalize his career it would be a great thing for him and the Huskers.

It all starts with a productive spring.


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