April 17, 2009

Your complete breakdown of the White squad

For the second year in a row, the Nebraska football team conducted a draft to pick the squads for this weekend's Red-White game in Lincoln.

HuskersIllustrated.com will break down the strengths and weaknesses of the Red and White squads leading into Saturday's Red-White game. Here, we have a complete breakdown of the White squad. Arguably a more defensive-oriented roster, the White team will be led by senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT THE WHITE OFFENSE

While there are several players on the White offense that have shown plenty of promise over the course of the spring, it's a relatively unproven unit with lots of question marks. Just take a look at three of the skill positions at quarterback, running back and wide receiver to see what we mean.

Leading the offense will be true freshman Cody Green and junior Latravis Washington, who's only played the position at NU for about three weeks now. Green will likely get the start for the White squad, but is listed on the red roster .

At running back, redshirt freshman Lester Ward comes in as the likely starter, as he emerged as the No. 3 back behind juniors Roy Helu (out) and Quentin Castille (Red team). At receiver, junior Will Henry and true freshman Antonio Bell have shown flashes this spring, but other than senior Chris Brooks, no receiver on the White team has caught a pass in a regular-season game.

WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT THE WHITE DEFENSE

Little question here, as Suh and fifth-year senior defensive end Barry Turner highlight the strength of the White defense on the defensive line. Along with boasting one of the best players in the country in Suh at defensive tackle, the White squad also gets Turner in his first live action since being lost for the season last year with a leg injury. Redshirt freshman Baker Steinkuhler will line up at tackle next to Suh, and fellow redshirt freshman Josh Williams will likely be the other end.

Behind them is a linebacker corps loaded with talent but not much experience. Sophomore Matt Holt is the only linebacker with any game experience under his belt, but redshirt freshmen Will Compton and Alonzo Whaley will finally get to showcase their much-hyped abilities. Redshirt freshman Micah Kreikemeier is also coming off a season-ending injury last year and will be looking to show what he can do.

In the secondary, safety Larry Asante and cornerback Anthony West lead another young but talented unit. Asante has been a lock at strong safety the past two years, and West returns after starting 11 games last year at right cornerback.
Next to Asante at free safety is junior Eric Hagg, who moved from corner to safety this offseason. Sophomore cornerback Anthony Blue is another player who sat out last year due to injury, and Saturday will be his first live action since the 2007 season.

SLEEPER ON THE WHITE DEFENSE

My sleeper for the white defense has to be Hagg, who is arguably one of the best overall athletes on Nebraska's defense. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Hagg has the perfect size and speed to make an immediate impact at safety this season. He showed glimpses of what he can do - especially with his back-to-back crucial plays late in the Gator Bowl - and now with a chance to roam the field more and better utilize his athletic ability, he has a chance to be even more effective.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE WHITE

For the White to have any chance to win this game, its going to have to find a way to score some points. They have guys who have shown promise so far this offseason, but that inexperience could certainly be a factor in front of the expected 81,000 fans on Saturday.

The biggest question is how Washington and Green will be able to run an offense not necessarily loaded with help at running back and receiver. Tight end Dreu Young could see a lot of looks early on as the check down option on pass plays, but the White team will have to find other players to step up and make some plays to make this game competitive.

PROJECTED WHITE OFFENSIVE DEPTH CHART

Quarterback
Cody Green (6-4, 215), Fr.
Latravis Washington (6-3, 225), Jr.

Running back
Lester Ward (6-3, 215), RFr.
Austin Jones (5-10, 210), So.

Fullback
Justin Makovicka (6-1, 230), Jr.
Kevin Thompson (6-2, 235), So.

Wide Receiver
Will Henry (6-6, 215), Jr.
Chris Brooks (6-2, 215), Sr.
Antonio Bell (6-2, 180), Fr.
Steven Osborne (6-4, 195), RFr.
Adam Watson (6-0, 195), Jr.
Taylor Dixon (5-11, 190), RFr.

Tight end
Dreu Young (6-4, 245), Jr.
Ryan Hill (6-3, 250), So.
Kyler Reed (6-3, 225), RFr.

Offensive line starters
LT - Brandon Thompson (6-6, 300), RFr.
LG - Keith Williams (6-5, 320), Jr.
C - Mike Caputo (6-1, 275), So.
RG - D.J. Jones (6-5, 315), Jr.
RT - Marcel Jones (6-7, 310), So.

Offensive line reserves
Cruz Barrett (6-4, 310), Jr.
[db]Max McShane (6-6, 305), So.

PROJECTED WHITE DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART

Defensive End
Barry Turner (6-3, 265), Sr.
Josh Williams (6-4, 245), RFr.
David Harvey (6-4, 275), Sr.
Kenny Anderson (6-2, 240), RFr.

Defensive Tackle
Ndamukong Suh (6-4, 300), Sr.
Baker Steinkuhler (6-6, 295), RFr.
Josh Molek (6-4, 245), RFr.
[db]Faron Klingelhoefer (6-2, 255), So.

Linebacker
WLB - Alonzo Whaley (6-1, 225), RFr.
MLB - Will Compton (6-2, 220), RFr.
SLB - Micah Kreikemeier (6-3, 215), RFr.

Reserve linebackers
Matt Holt (6-0, 200), So.
Joseph Camarata (5-10, 225), So.
Matt Manninger (6-1, 220), RFr.

Cornerback
Anthony West (6-0, 205), Jr.
Anthony Blue (5-10, 185), So.
Dejon Gomes (6-0, 190), Jr.
Justin Blatchford (6-1, 195), RFr.

Safety
Larry Asante (6-1, 210), Sr.
Eric Hagg (6-2, 205), Jr.
Rickey Thenarse (6-0, 205), Sr.
Austin Cassidy (6-1, 210), So.

Special Teams
Kicker - Adi Kunalic (6-0, 185), Jr.
Punter - Jonathon Damkroger (6-1, 185), So. -OR- [db]Brett Maher (6-0, 170), RFr.
Long Snapper - Sam Meginnis (6-2, 220), RFr.

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