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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is careful to say that developing a program is "a process," cautioning Cornhusker fans not to get too overly excited about last season's 9-4 record and Gator Bowl triumph over Clemson.
But there's no doubt the Cornhuskers' quick finish after Pelini's first season has provided a boost of enthusiasm heading into the offseason.
The loss of starting offensive linemen Lydon Murtha, Mike Huff, Matt Slauson has made finding depth and some new starters along the front one of the Cornhuskers' two primary offensive needs.
Nebraska also needs to find two starting receivers after Nate Swift and Todd Peterson had their eligibility expire. Swift and Peterson combined for 125 receptions and 14 touchdowns last season.
The Cornhuskers lose starter Joe Ganz at quarterback, but appear to have replacements either inside the program or already a part of their recruiting class. Zac Lee, Patrick Witt, Kody Spano and maybe even incoming freshman Cody Green all could battle for playing time in the spring. It will be one of the most highly scrutinized quarterback battles in the nation during the off-season.
Even with All-Big 12 Ndamukong Suh coming back at defensive tackle, the Cornhuskers need to find more players to build depth in the trenches. The loss of Zach Potter and Clayton Sievers at defensive end makes it imperative that more players are found in case Barry Turner's recovery from a broken bone in his left leg is protracted.
The loss of starters Tyler Wortman and Cody Glenn at linebacker has caused depth to be a concern there. But the Cornhuskers also need to add numbers in the secondary to enable them to play the nickel and dime pass packages that Pelini prefers to play against the heavy passing attacks in the conference.
Another season of strong recruiting should enable Pelini to put more of his stamp on the program. And if his first season is any indication, the Cornhuskers certainly are headed in the right direction.