College football never ends, and during the next few weeks teams will be getting ready for the 2013 season in their spring practice sessions. Here's a look at the Nebraska Cornhuskers and what they'll be working on this spring.
|Ameer Abdullah could emerge as the best running back in the Big Ten. (USATSI)|
Spring practice begins: March 2
Spring game: April 6
2012 record: 10-4
Returning starters: 13 (nine offense, four defense)
The Least You Should Know About Nebraska This Spring
-- There's a lot of work to be done on defense. It's not that Nebraska's defense was terrible in 2012, though it's run defense certainly left a lot to be desired; it's more the fact that there are a lot of spots open. Only four starters return, the losses including six of Nebraska's seven leading tacklers. Spring practices will be key in finding out which players are ready to step up and fill spots.
-- The secondary took the hardest hit. Which is bad news considering Nebraska's pass defense was its strength in 2012 (first in the Big Ten in yards against per game, second in defensive pass efficiency and first in completion percentage against). Not only does Nebraska lose both of its starting safeties in Daimion Stafford and P.J. Smith, but their backups are gone, too. Which means the position is wide open this spring, and a few good practices can go a long way.
-- New blood in the backfield. While Ameer Abdullah is no doubt the top running back on the roster and will get the bulk of the carries, Imani Cross will see his workload increase after an impressive freshman season now that Rex Burkhead has moved on to the NFL. However, this is a position that could become even more interesting to follow when incoming freshmen Adam Taylor and Terrell Newby show up in the summer.
-- Can Taylor Martinez improve further? This might be hard to believe, but Taylor Martinez led the Big Ten in passing efficiency last season, throwing for 23 touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his passes. It was a big step forward for Martinez, but he still threw 12 interceptions and made some questionable decisions at times. While he'll never be a picture-perfect passer, if he can head into his final season making better decisions than in the past then this Nebraska team will be a force to be reckoned with and Martinez could possibly find himself in New York for the Heisman ceremony next winter.
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