Big Red Buzz: Nebraska running game still evolving
NEBRASKA CITY – Husker Radio Network analyst Damon Benning told the Big Red Buzz audience at Valentino’s Restaurant in Nebraska City Thursday that he is troubled by this Saturday’s game with Michigan State, but his confidence in the Nebraska offense led by Coordinator Marcus Satterfield continues to grow.
Nebraska’s run game leads the Big 10 in yardage and yards per carry, but Benning said defensive coordinators are starting to get plenty of tape on Nebraska quarterback Heinrich Haarberg.
Haarberg, whose 838 passing yards on the season places him in 12th place among Big 10 quarterbacks, attempted only 11 passes against Purdue but carried it 19 times.
Benning: “They’ve got to get some guys healthy. It starts with Haarberg. I mean he’s taken some … and now he’s just a little tentative … there’s some guys from Northwestern and Purdue that can put some of those hits on their highlight reel.”
Benning said just as injuries and available skills sets appear to have Satterfield continuously installing a new offense, Haarberg is still learning the option game. He said Haarberg may soon realize the value of pitching it to a back in the lane. Likewise, he said, Haarberg can continue to expand his game beyond what defenses are already seeing on film.
Since the pre-season Benning has talked to the Big Red Buzz crowd about the fullback’s role in the game and Thursday was no different.
Benning: “Bonner is the guy. We see slowly, are they going to give it to the fullback here? We see slowly they are actually handing it to the fullback. It’s not a ton but twice last week was more than the once the week before and more than the zero before that.”
Benning said he believes the Nebraska team he saw at postgame of the victory over Purdue is not satisfied and neither is coach Matt Rhule.
Benning: “He’s talking to his guys about not just wanting one more win for a bowl game, he wants them all.” Benning said Coach Rhule is waiting for someone to have the courage to pick Nebraska to win the West division, where Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska are all tied with 3-2 records.
Benning: “Not that they can win the West, not that they are in the hunt but that they will win the West.”
He said it begins in East Lansing with the Michigan State team that is expected to give Katin Houser his second start of the season. The Spartan’s running back Nate Carter is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and 76 yards per game for third in the Big 10.