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Huskers feeling good about next season

The Sports Xchange
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Spring is the time for optimism, and Nebraska football players seem as optimistic as ever.

They're boasting of strong team chemistry, a desire to clean up last year's miscues and they're intent on making a national championship run.

Winning the Big Ten's Legends Division might be a good place to start.

Nebraska, in its first year in the Big Ten Conference, suffered three league losses last season, including two by lopsided scores to Wisconsin and Michigan. But with an offense that returns nearly all of its skill position players and a defense that says it's a year older and wiser, the Huskers feel they can make a run for their first conference championship since 1999.

Offensively, the Huskers return two-year starter Taylor Martinez, who's made a strong push in the offseason to improve his footwork and throwing mechanics. Oh, and there's also senior running back Rex Burkhead, who will leave as one of the most popular players in Nebraska football history, and will find his way onto some early-season Heisman Trophy watch lists.

The defense, under first-year coordinator John Papuchis, has two key holes to fill, but also returns a plethora of young players who say they're better versed with the intricacies of Nebraska's defense. Confusion and lack of attention to detail last season, especially in the secondary, led to a step back for the Blackshirts after three straight seasons of progress under head coach Bo Pelini, who's entering his fifth season.

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