With Crouch out, Husker frosh shines at Red-White game
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- It's tough for Nebraska coach Frank Solich to get a good read on the Cornhuskers' annual spring game.
On one hand, it was encouraging to see the top defense stifle the top offense several times in Saturday's game. On the other, the offense wasn't moving the ball very effectively.
In the end, the top offense and Sandro DeAngelis' three field goals led the Red team to a 16-7 win over the White. With several players missing the game because of injuries, the lineups will be different this fall, so Solich was neither concerned nor excited.
"This certainly is not a true test for us in terms of where we're at offensively or defensively," Solich said. "We have certainly a lot of work to do before our first ball game. But on the other side of it we have 29 practices to get ready."
Dahrran Diedrick, the likely choice for No. 1 I-back next fall, led the Red with 52 yards and scored the team's only touchdown. DeAngelis added two 37-yard field goals and a 47-yarder.
Jammal Lord, who will return to backup duties when starting quarterback Eric Crouch recovers from shoulder surgery, had 46 yards on 11 carries for the Red team and broke several big plays.
Lord, wearing the protective green jersey, was also 7-for-11 for 71 yards passing.
"He's got the ability to really escape a pass rush and make things happen -- whether it's throwing off of a scramble or just scrambling making first downs," Solich said. "He's really produced big plays throughout the spring. He's very imaginative in that way. Things just seem to fall in place well for Jammal."
Defensively, the White team got four sacks and held the Red to 156 rushing yards.
Scott Shanle and T.J. Hollowell, who moved to from outside to middle linebacker this spring because of injuries, each had six tackles for the White.
"Our first-team defense, we knew we were going to come out and swarm the football," said Dion Booker, who played safety and rover this spring.
"If you're going to run, you're not going to get anything outside. If you're brave enough to run inside, you're only going to get one or two yards -- and that's when the offensive linemen are holding."
The Red team took a 7-0 lead on its second drive of the game, which went 77 yards on 11 plays. Lord helped set up Diedrick's 6-yard run with a 12-yard pass to Tracey Wistrom at the White 15-yard line. Lord play-faked to Diedrick, rolled to his right and hit a wide-open Wistrom in the middle.
"I took the snaps all spring. I just got more confident and more comfortable back there," Lord said. "It gave me a very good chance to show what I've got."
The White team tied it early in the second quarter on an 8-yard run by Robin Miller, but that was it offensively for the White.
DeAngelis, who will be a redshirt freshman in the fall, put the Red in front again with 37-yarder midway through the second, then booted one from 47 out with 23 seconds left before halftime. DeAngelis' 37-yarder with about 12 minutes left was the game's final scoring.
"I feel I have improved dramatically as a kicker," DeAngelis said. "The balls are going farther, the balls are looking nicer, the balls are going straight down the pipe more. I'm getting more confident."
Josh Brown, the Huskers' kicker for the past two seasons, also worked out at receiver this spring and was a wide-out, punter and kicker for the White on Saturday. He missed a 47-yarder on his only field goal attempt
Solich said he will discuss the kicking and all other positions with his staff before the fall, but that did not mean Brown has dropped to No. 2 as a kicker.
"We'll get together as a staff and talk to our players before anything is brought forward in terms of a depth chart," Solich said. "It won't be hard to do because we don't have to do it [right away]. We've got plenty of time."