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08.29.2011 / Keep your eyes on some talented Husker freshmen this weekend. Blog posting by Mike Babcock, Huskers Illustrated Magazine.

Tyler Moore will almost certainly see action at offensive tackle when Nebraska opens the football season against Tennessee at Chattanooga on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. He could even start. Moore is a true freshman, and true freshman offensive linemen rarely play at Nebraska.

"Since the NCAA restored freshman eligibility in the early 1970s, only eight true freshman Husker offensive linemen have played enough to earn a letter"

How rarely? Since the NCAA restored freshman eligibility in the early 1970s, only eight true freshman Husker offensive linemen have played enough to earn a letter.  Andrew Rodriguez was the eighth last season. Moore would be the ninth.  None of the previous eight has ever started an opener.

“We thought he was rare when we recruited him,” Bo Pelini said. “I’m not trying to anoint him to be Anthony Munoz or anything like that yet. He’s got a lot to learn. But he’s a good football player, and he’s earned the right to be in the position he’s in right now.

If you’re not up on NFL history, Munoz is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  That Moore figures to play on Saturday reflects not only his ability and hard work but also an opportunity resulting from injuries in the offensive line during fall camp. As a result, the son of former Husker tight end Brian Moore was practicing with the first team last week.

“He’s playing pretty solid football right now,” said Pelini. “He’s got a long way to go, as you’d expect anybody would. But he’s done well, and I think he’ll keep getting better.” Seeing which newcomers play is always an interesting sidelight of the opening game, particularly against what would seem to be an overmatched opponent, as will be the case on Saturday.

Nebraska will use several, in a group that includes running backs Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard and Aaron Green, wide receiver Jamal Turner and kicker Mauro Bondi, all true freshmen; wide receiver Kenny Bell, offensive lineman Jake Cotton and quarterback Brion Carnes, redshirted freshmen; and defensive end Joe Carter and safety Daimion Stafford, transfers from Chaffey (Calif.) College.

Turner, a converted quarterback who, like Moore, enrolled in January and went through spring practice, was the most discussed true freshman during fall camp for his big-play ability.

There will be other redshirted freshmen, of course, as well as another true freshman or two, perhaps.  “You’ve got some guys who are going to be out there for the first time, and you’re going to have some growing pains and that type of thing,” Pelini said.  “But I think they’re pretty well prepared. I think they’ll be ready to go come Saturday.” Moore will be wearing a No. 73 jersey, Turner a No. 10.  Watch for them.

For more great content on the Huskers, check out Huskers Illustrated Magazine and www.huskersillustrated

Posted at 10:47 AM | Permalink
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