Headed to stop No. 2 on the BTN bus tour: Nebraska. We will watch an evening practice on Thursday, and our preview show will air at 10 p.m. ET Friday. I will be eager to watch the offense in Year Two under coordinator Tim Beck. I think with better familiarity and experienced personnel, the Cornhusker offense will take a big step this fall.
Watching Taylor Martinez pass will be a top priority, but I also want to see the line in action. This could be the best front since Bo Pelini took over as coach in 2008, which may be the biggest reason to be excited about this offense in 2012.
[BTN.com: Dienhart: What I learned at Iowa practice]
I also look forward to checking out the receiving corps that I think will be among the most underrated in the league. Youngsters Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner only figure to improve. How much better will they look? And are senior tight ends Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton being used in any unique ways?
The storylines on defense are more intriguing, with John Papuchis taking over as coordinator for Carl Pelini, who left to be head coach of Florida Atlantic. Yes, Bo Pelini’s fingerprints figure to be on the defense, but Papuchis will have his say, too. But more than schemes, I want to see if the Husker defenders pass the eyeball test. Are they bigger? A lack of size hindered Nebraska’s defense in 2011, as it was still mostly built to deal with speedy spread offenses in the Big 12.
Nebraska needs to be bigger and stronger to deal with more physical Big Ten offenses.
I also hope coaches let kicker Brett Maher try to boom some field goals from 60-plus yards. Is there a better kicker in America? Of course not.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.
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