With spring ball in the rearview mirror, Nebraska rolls into the summer having answered some questions over the course of its 15 spring practices and with some still remaining.
The Journal Star is looking at each position to recap what's been learned, what hasn't and who stood out this spring.
Today, we turn our attention to the Husker inside linebackers.
Today: Inside linebacker
Saturday: Defensive depth chart projection
What we learned: Northern Iowa graduate transfer Chris Kolarevic is going to be a key piece of the puzzle. He started out by finishing as one of NU’s top performers in the index and strength testing, then seemed to fit right in with the top group in the middle of the defense. Now he’ll be even more important with sixth-year senior Will Honas down indefinitely (and perhaps for the entire season) with a knee injury suffered at the end of spring ball.
What we didn’t: Similar to the outside backers yesterday, it’s still unclear just how far down the list Barrett Ruud will be comfortable going on gamedays. That list is one player shorter without Honas in the mix, which would seem to slide Garrett Snodgrass up into the No. 4 spot. After him, the best candidates are Jackson Hannah, Eteva Mauga-Clements or perhaps a walk-on.
Standout player: Could give the nod to Kolarevic again here, and with only a “thud” half of the spring game for the top group, there really is very little live work on which to base a choice this spring from the outside. In a mid-spring conversation with reporters, Reimer said he felt comfortable and faster and primed to build on a breakout 2020 in which he finished fifth on the team in tackles despite missing two games.
Stock-riser: Less of a stock status, but freshmen Randolph Kpai and Seth Malcom each have really nice length for the position. Both, though, will need to fill out considerably over their careers, which NU knew when they signed the pair. Still, intriguing young players on the defensive side.
Summer to-do list: A reliable fourth to replace Honas would be ideal, considering Reimer, Kolarevic and Nick Henrich are a good top trio but also that all three have dealt with injuries in their careers. It’s not impossible that NU might consider a ready-made transfer if one presents himself, but mostly it’ll be about the top three growing together and who might jump up into that mix along with them.
A look at the 2021 Nebraska football schedule
Aug. 28: vs. IllinoisUpdated
Sept. 11: vs. BuffaloUpdated
Sept. 25: at Michigan StateUpdated
Oct. 2: vs. NorthwesternUpdated
Oct. 9: vs. MichiganUpdated
Oct 16: at MinnesotaUpdated
Oct. 30: vs. PurdueUpdated
Nov. 6: vs. Ohio StateUpdated
Nov. 20: at WisconsinUpdated
Nov. 26: vs. IowaUpdated
Sept. 18: at OklahomaUpdated
Week 11 /// Southeastern LouisianaUpdated
When: Nov. 13
Where: Memorial Stadium
Southeastern Louisiana in 2020: 2-2 (split-schedule concludes in April)
The last time the Huskers and Lions met: No previous matchups