Many are saying next year will be just as tough as this year for us. Similar rough schedule, Urban Meyer's takeover at tOSU, Player transfer rumors, "Pelini on hot seat rumors", "Pelini leaving for ______ rumors"... BLAH BLAH BLAH etc...
We lose 3 All-Americans on defense..... I just don't see it as big of an issue as everyone is making it out to be. Yeah, you could argue by saying losing Lavonte David is equivalent to losing 2 or 3 players, although the way he came in and accomplished what he did as a 6 ft 210 lb JuCo linebacker in the short amount of time he was given gives me confidence we will find a replacement for him. At the beginning of the year I remember Pelini saying he was confident in his defense and for once he felt we've built a trustworthy 2-deep of depth and I would agree. They are still young and developing which means they can only get better.
Nebraska has 6 starters graduating after this year. Kinnie doesn't count as he didn't start many games and unfortunately isn't a big loss for us.
Nebraska (2 Offense, 4 Defense) OT Jamarcus Hardrick, C Mike Caputo, S Austin Cassidy, CB Alfonzo Dennard, LB Lavonte David, DT Jered Crick
Now look at the rest of the conference:
Ohio State (4 Offense, 0 Defense) (Head Coaching Change after recruiting scandal) RB Dan Herron, C Michael Brewster, OT Mike Adams, OT J.B. Shugarts
Penn State (7 Offense, 6 Defense) (Head Coaching change after sex abuse scandal) WR Derek Moye, FB Joe Suhey, OT Quinn Barham, OG Johnnie Troutman, OG DeOn'Tae Pannell, OT Chima Okoli, TE Andrew Sczcerba, DE Jack Crawford, CB D'Anton Lynn, CB Chaz Powell, S Nick Sukay, S Drew Astorino, DT Devon Still
Wisconsin (7 Offense, 5 Defense, 2 Special Teams) QB Russell Wilson, G Kevin Zeitler, FB Bradie Ewing, K Philip Welch, P Brad Nortman, WR Nick Toon, TE Jake Byrne, T Jake Ogelsby, G Kevin Zeitler, DE Louis Nzegwu, DT Patrick Butrym, LB Kevin Claxton, CB Antonio Fenelus, S Aaron Henry
Michigan State (6 Offense, 1 Defense) QB Kirk Cousins, FB Todd Anderson, WR B.J. Cunningham, WR Keshawn Martin, G Joel Forman, S Trenton Robinson, QB/WR Keith Nichol*
Michigan (6 Offense, 4 Defense, 1 Special Teams) (2nd year Head Coach) C David Molk, RB Michael Shaw, FB John McColgen, WR Junior Hemmingway, TE Kevin Koger, OT Mark Huyge, DE Will Heininger, DT Mike Martin, DT Ryan Van Bergen, CB Troy Woofork, LS Tom Pomarico
Illinois (4 Offense, 3 Defense, 1 Special Teams) OT Jeff Allen, K Derek Dimke, RB Jason Ford, WR A.J. Jenkins, G Jack Cornell, LB Trulon Henry, LB Ian Thomas, CB Tavon Wilson
Northwestern (6 Offense, 6 Defense) QB Dan Persa, DE Vince Browne, RB Jacob Schmidt, WR Jeremy Ebert, HB Drake Dunsmore, OT Al Netter, G Ben Burkett, DT Mike Mafuli, DT Jack DiNardo, CB Jordan Mabin, CB Jaravin Matthews, S Brian Peters
Iowa (3 Offense, 6 Defense, 1 Special Teams) CB Shaun Prater, WR Marvin McNutt, OT Markus Zusevics, G Adam Gettis, DE Broderick Binns, DT Mike Daniels, DT Thomas Nardo, LB Tyler Nielsen, S Jordan Bernstine, P Eric Guthrie
Minnesota (7 Offense, 6 Defense) (Second Year Head Coach) RB Duane Bennett, WR Da'Jon McKnight, FB Eric Lair, TE Colin McGarry, G Chris Bunders, G Ryan Orton, C Ryan Wynn, DT Anthony Jacobs, DT Brandon Kirksey, LB Gary Tinsley, CB Troy Staudermire, S Shady Salamon, S Kim Royston
Indiana (3 Offense, 2 Defense, 3 Special Teams) (Second Year Head Coach) TE Max Dedmond, OT Andrew McDonald, OT Justin Pagan, LB Leon Beckum, LB Jeff Thomas, LS John Finch, K Carson Wiggs, PR W. Gravesande
Purdue (3 Offense, 4 Defense) WR Justin Siller, OT Dennis Kelly, G Nick Mondek, DE Gerald Gooden, LB Joe Holland, S Albert Evans, S Logan Link
IMO, I think Nebraska has an advantage over every team in the B1G when it comes to returning starters. Throw in the fact that our bench players are getting more and more hungry for playing time. Our Redshirt Sophomore QB is starting to develop as a game manager and with the amount of playing time he has gotten this year, can you imagine him next year!? And that Rex Burkhead guy. I know he wants to win more than anyone. Having him as a leader/role model to all of the younger players will only ignite the fire even more. Everyone will want to emulate the way he played the game with a "Never Give Up" attitude. The only other B1G school with more returning starters than us will be Ohio State... But will they be able to keep their heads high after a disappointing 6-6 regular season and a new head coach? It won't be a cakewalk for us but from the way it looks to me, we should be more optimistic of our team... I foresee great results next year.
2nd times a charm?