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Tag:Bo Pelini
Posted on: September 12, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Nebraska CB Dennard still out with muscle pull

Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was rated by some scouts as the elite senior prospect in the country heading into the 2011 season.

He won't be able to maintain that lofty grade if he doesn't recover soon from the pulled leg muscle that has kept him out of the first two games.

Dennard pulled the muscle in mid August and despite head coach Bo Pelini characterizing his star cornerback as "getting a lot closer" last week, Dennard did not play in Nebraska's victory Saturday over Fresno State.

Dennard, according to a report from Husker Extra, will not practice Monday. His status for Nebraska's first real test this weekend against the University of Washington is once again in doubt.

Asked if Dennard would be able to suit up against a Washington team that upset Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, Pelini was noncommittal, offering only a "We'll see."

Steve Sipple, the author of the article for Husker Extra predicted that Dennard would sit Saturday.

Dennard, a shade under 5-10 at 205 pounds, boasts a terrific combination of agility, speed, instincts and physicality when healthy. He earned All Big-12 accolades last season with 30 tackles, seven passes broken up and four interceptions -- including one against Washington in their first meeting last year.

Dennard is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior cornerback and currently ranks No. 8 on my Big Board.

The Nebraska defense has been a stifling one throughout much of Pelini's tenure, but the unit struggled, at times, last week against a typically feisty Fresno State team. The Bulldogs, known for their head coach Pat Hill's mantra of playing "Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere" led at the half 17-14 and was down only 28-26 early in the fourth quarter before Nebraska pulled away with a big kick return and run to extend their lead and make the game appear lopsided. Fresno entered the contest a four touchdown underdog.

Washington, on the other hand, has demonstrated a surprisingly efficient offense given the graduation of Jake Locker to the NFL. True sophomore quarterback Keith Price has actually been a statistical upgrade over Locker thus far, completing 70% of his passes with seven touchdowns against only one interception. Of course, these numbers were posted at home against Eastern Washington and Hawaii.


Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:40 pm
 

Top-rated CB Dennard out indefinitely

Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard has strained a leg muscle and his return date is unknown, according to head coach Bo Pelini, who announced the news to media following Wednesday's practice.

The 5-10, 205 pound Dennard is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior cornerback and was the highest graded senior prospect at any position for some pro scouts. NFLDraftScout.com currently rated him second behind Alabama junior Dre Kirkpatrick among all potentially eligible cornerbacks for the 2012 NFL draft.

Despite being a bit overshadowed last year by teammate Prince Amukamara (the New York Giants' first round pick), Dennard received First Team All Big-12 accolades after posting 30 tackles, 11 passes broken up and four interceptions. I've had scouts theorize that some of the reason why Amukamara "slid" to the 19th pick last April was that teams were surprised to see on tape that Dennard was actually the more consistent player among the two.

The injury isn't thought to be serious, so there remains the possibility that Dennard will be able to return in time for Nebraska's opener against Chattanooga September 3.

Dennard can't afford to miss too much time, however. While physicality and toughness are considered two of his strongest suits, the reality is some teams are going to have a hard time giving a first round grade for a player who technically measured in at little more than 5-09 and a 1/2" despite the fact that Dennard is a rock-solid 205 pounds. Dennard missed most of the Missouri game and the entire Iowa State contest last year with a concussion.
Posted on: September 18, 2010 11:22 pm
 

Question isn't if Locker slips, but how much?

Following a mediocre performance in his Huskies' season opening loss at BYU, I argued that whatever gap there may have been in the pro grades of Washington's Jake Locker and Florida State's Christian Ponder as the top senior quarterback was narrowing .

With a historically poor performance at home Saturday against Nebraska, Ponder will overtake Locker on most boards.

In all fairness to Locker, Nebraska may have the country's best secondary. The Cornhuskers' Prince Amukamara was rated by NFL scouts as the elite senior prospect in the country heading into this season. His counterpart, junior Alfonzo Dennard, has been characterized by Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini as being every bit as good as Amukamara. Dennard certainly looked worthy of his coach's high praise with stready coverage, including an interception and 33-yard return for a touchdown.

Locker completed only 4 of 20 passes for 71 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Cornhuskers. His QB rating of 46.3% -- his worst in 31 career games -- is the third lowest QB-rating by a FBS quarterback since 2003.

Take away the 45-yard touchdown pass thrown to receiver Jermaine Kearse in the third quarter and Locker threw for only 26 yards in a game in which the Huskies trailed for all but the first two minutes (technically, 2:11).

But, forget the final statistics for a moment.

Locker's first throw of the game demonstrated exactly why scouts will be dropping him.

Dropping back, Locker surveyed the field and with solid protection he calmly lofted a deep pass over the middle into double coverage. The throw was easily intercepted by safety Eric Hagg.

It was a throw that never should have been made. Not by a fifth-year senior. Certainly not by one projected to be the first pick of the 2011 NFL draft.

Unless Locker turns around his season -- and quickly -- he won't have to worry about being the first pick.

He'll need to show improvement just to make the first round.
Posted on: December 30, 2009 1:54 pm
 

Suh dominant, but may not be today

Let's be real clear about this from the start -- NFLDraftScout.com rated Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh as the number one senior prospect in August. He's been atop every one of the many mock drafts I've penned already this year. I see no reason why he won't be atop every other 2010 mock draft I write. I don't know of anyone who touted him as a Heisman candidate before I did.

In fact, Bo Pelini and Suh's family might be the only ones higher on this young man's ability than I am.

And yet, I think he's going to struggle to make his typically dominant impact against Arizona today in the Holiday Bowl.

The Wildcats feature a true spread offense. Rarely does quarterback Nick Foles hang on to the ball for long, one of the reasons why Arizona has allowed only 11 sacks on the year (tied for 10th fewest in the FCS).

One could make the point that many of the offenses Suh faced in the Big 12 also feature the spread offense, including Texas, who Suh so infamously ravaged in the Big 12 Championship. Those teams, however, didn't have a month to prepare.

Against top teams with more typical pro-style offenses (Virginia Tech, Colorado, Kansas State, Iowa State), Suh averaged an eye-popping 7.5 tackles, a sack, 2 PBUs and .75 blocked kicks per game.

The two Big 12 teams using a true spread offense as wide as the one the Wildcats will use today were Kansas and Texas Tech. In those two contests Suh was held relatively in check, averaging only 3.5 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.

The spread offense was designed to get the ball out of the hands of the quarterback quickly to combat dominant penetrating defensive linemen just like Suh.

If he isn't as dominant today as he has been in the past, don't chalk it up to a lack of effort or his being overrated. NFL scouts certainly be.

 
 
 
 
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