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Portals and Trenches


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We've all seen how the transfer portal has dramatically affected recruiting and roster management for college football.  It has fundamentally changed the collegiate football landscape.

 

Nebraska has been one of 2022's prime benefactors from the portal and I hope we can keep that momentum in the future.

 

My specific question is, should the transfer portal completely change the way (and timeframe) we recruit offensive and defensive linemen?  I've read that the lines, especially o line, is the most challenging recruiting task due to the guess work in recruiting 18 year old prospects, still growing and developing, and trying to project the 20 year old version of that same young man.  Would it be better to simply recruit 20 year olds from the portal who have shown promise?  Use lower levels of football, or lower level programs, to develop these players until their most useful age/physical development.  It seems like there would be far less "misses" in choosing from 20 year olds than 18.  

OR, is it more critical to have these young men in OUR program, learning OUR style and plays as well as OUR S&C for multiple years in order to have the most productive lines?

 

Thoughts?

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You need both imo.  But, long term I’d build my guys, not rely on older transfers.  This must be a MAJOR priority.  Use as many scholarships and walkon spots as it takes. No discussion. Cut RBs and WRs etc. Lose the line of scrimmage and you lose the games.  Great lines are the missing link over the past two decades imo.  

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9 minutes ago, 84HuskerLaw said:

Great lines are the missing link over the past two decades imo.  

so true. I wonder how we got into this spot - Remmington Trophy and the Pipeline  and all to our current situation.  Seems like multiple coaches losing the vision of what made Nebraska football what it was. Those great running backs from the 80s and 90s were so because of a great OL in front of them.  

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4 minutes ago, runningblind said:

The issue becomes once they have played at another school and have shown promise, it becomes a much tougher battle to get them here as most schools would like to have guys like that (maybe if we would start winning at a good clip that changes).   

Which comes first - O line or wins?   I think the answer is fairly obvious.  

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10 minutes ago, runningblind said:

The issue becomes once they have played at another school and have shown promise, it becomes a much tougher battle to get them here as most schools would like to have guys like that (maybe if we would start winning at a good clip that changes).   

Yes.  If you get an O linemen in the portal, typically, it's going to be someone sitting 2nd or 3rd on the depth chart. Not someone who is starting.  Is that really better than someone we can develop from within if we have good coaching?

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1 minute ago, BigRedBuster said:

Yes.  If you get an O linemen in the portal, typically, it's going to be someone sitting 2nd or 3rd on the depth chart. Not someone who is starting.  Is that really better than someone we can develop from within if we have good coaching?

 

Sometimes yes, and that's not the only group of guys in the portal. Minnesota got a home state kid back from ND where he wasn't starting - he'll probably be just fine for the Gophers. And there are a lot of lower division and G5 guys who have started and proven they are good enough to play at bigger schools. I definitely don't think we should exclusively target the portal for OL, but it's really nice to be able to pull a talented kid who needs a fresh start or an overlooked one who has earned a better opportunity at a bigger school.

 

We don't need to get back into whether the portal is good for the college football as a whole or anything, but it's more good than bad for P5 schools IMO including us. Everyone will lose kids, but it's the G5 and lower divisions that lose their best players.

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16 minutes ago, Husker in WI said:

 

Sometimes yes, and that's not the only group of guys in the portal. Minnesota got a home state kid back from ND where he wasn't starting - he'll probably be just fine for the Gophers. And there are a lot of lower division and G5 guys who have started and proven they are good enough to play at bigger schools. I definitely don't think we should exclusively target the portal for OL, but it's really nice to be able to pull a talented kid who needs a fresh start or an overlooked one who has earned a better opportunity at a bigger school.

 

We don't need to get back into whether the portal is good for the college football as a whole or anything, but it's more good than bad for P5 schools IMO including us. Everyone will lose kids, but it's the G5 and lower divisions that lose their best players.

Yes, I agree that it's different for a guy at a lower level that's proved himself at that level and now wants to prove himself at a major P5 program.

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It is true the portal is or may be a game changer in Frost’s effort to get things going up.  Four years ago, I hoped he would save as many years by red shirting the best and play the twos and threes a lot.  Even if wins were sacrificed.  We needed massive depth built.  Still do. He made the team young which is good.  But it’s still very young in too many positions.  The defense has some depth but could have been even better.  There is great pressure to win games, even in year one.  But fans were aware of the lack of depth, going back to Solich firing.  It never has really improved beyond having a good second and decent third string. We now have quite a bit of raw talent.  I expect more newbies to get real PT this fall.  Go young where true starter caliber are not available. Hope to see about 70 “lettermen” in ‘22. (Do they even keep that stat anymore?  I am 63 years young.). lol. 

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As for the original question, I think the plan should still be to recruit and develop OL out of high school. But the portal is a good supplementary resource to fill spots and depth for the recruiting/development misses that also must be utilized. It’s not one or the other or some predetermined ratio.

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It's not just a matter of how O-linemen develop physically that's a challenge. You also need time for them to gel as a unit, more than any other group. So I would say keep recruiting them out of HS primarily.

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13 hours ago, 84HuskerLaw said:

It is true the portal is or may be a game changer in Frost’s effort to get things going up.  Four years ago, I hoped he would save as many years by red shirting the best and play the twos and threes a lot.  Even if wins were sacrificed.  We needed massive depth built.  Still do. He made the team young which is good.  But it’s still very young in too many positions.  The defense has some depth but could have been even better.  There is great pressure to win games, even in year one.  But fans were aware of the lack of depth, going back to Solich firing.  It never has really improved beyond having a good second and decent third string. We now have quite a bit of raw talent.  I expect more newbies to get real PT this fall.  Go young where true starter caliber are not available. Hope to see about 70 “lettermen” in ‘22. (Do they even keep that stat anymore?  I am 63 years young.). lol. 

Scholarship limits changed the game.  We can't go back to the way it was, no matter how many times you type it.  The "lack of depth" isn't the past coaches faults, it's the NCAAs.  

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3 hours ago, Hilltop said:

Scholarship limits changed the game.  We can't go back to the way it was, no matter how many times you type it.  The "lack of depth" isn't the past coaches faults, it's the NCAAs.  

The 85 limit has been around a long time.  Even at 85, that’d still give them 3 deep scholarships at every position.  We don’t have that on the O line. I believe we have about 10 on five positions.  Have half that at QB and three will likely never play.  In four years, how many scholarships has Frost used for O line total?   The most important part of the offense.  Maybe I’ve miscounted when I checked the ‘21 roster.  

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4 hours ago, 84HuskerLaw said:

The 85 limit has been around a long time.  Even at 85, that’d still give them 3 deep scholarships at every position.  We don’t have that on the O line. I believe we have about 10 on five positions.  Have half that at QB and three will likely never play.  In four years, how many scholarships has Frost used for O line total?   The most important part of the offense.  Maybe I’ve miscounted when I checked the ‘21 roster.  

Scholarships were limited during the last few years TO coached.  Solich was the first coach here who dealt with the limit his entire head coaching career. 

 

Not sure how else to say this to you.  If you have a good player, capable of contributing, that is 3rd on the depth chart, he will be transferring to start somewhere else.

We currently have 10 scholarship D linemen, 19 scholarship linebackers, and 14 scholarship O-Linemen.  I included the linebackers because of how Nebraska uses them.  Our scholarship numbers line up with the schemes we run.       

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3 hours ago, Hilltop said:

Scholarships were limited during the last few years TO coached.  Solich was the first coach here who dealt with the limit his entire head coaching career. 

 

Not sure how else to say this to you.  If you have a good player, capable of contributing, that is 3rd on the depth chart, he will be transferring to start somewhere else.

We currently have 10 scholarship D linemen, 19 scholarship linebackers, and 14 scholarship O-Linemen.  I included the linebackers because of how Nebraska uses them.  Our scholarship numbers line up with the schemes we run.       

No. Most won’t leave IF they are contributing.  That’s been the problem.  Frost and staff haven’t played back ups in several places.  Yet we are still losing.  How many scholarships given to WRs?  30?  Seems like it.  5 in this class. Too many. 
14 O line?  Is that current roster as of today?  I counted 20 O line total on the team 8-1-21.  We’ve lost a couple. Added a couple. I compared roster to scholarship signees on the HB. 
14 is better BUT not enough with the lack of quality line play.  Still need 4 more imo.  
But you may be right - we will see this fall - year 5. 
Not one real solid line yet imo. 

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