Our series continues looking at a player or a group of players from each Big Ten team who needs a home-run type of summer before preseason camp begins. Who needs to hit it out of the park in preparation for the season?
For previous entries, click here.
In the batter's box: Nebraska
Who needs to step it up: The young defensive tackles
Big Ten defenses are typically only as good as their lines. Nebraska has two proven veterans in end Cameron Meredith and tackle Baker Steinkuhler, who have combined for 53 starts the past two seasons. Eric Martin, Jason Ankrah and Joe Carter add depth at defensive end, which could emerge into a strong point for the Huskers this fall. But the tackle position, where Nebraska had plenty of star power earlier in coach Bo Pelini's tenure (some dude named Suh), needs several players to make strides during the summer. The Huskers were thin at tackle during spring practice as injuries limited or sidelined Chase Rome, Thaddeus Randle, Todd Peat Jr. and Kevin Williams. Rome logged significant time last fall after Jared Crick's injury, and he should be a big part of the plan this fall. The other three certainly have an opportunity to be in the rotation. As I've written several times during the offseason, Nebraska can survive the loss of star power on defense by fostering better overall depth. While all three defensive units have some question marks, the easiest solution, particularly in this conference, is to have a solid front that can go two or three deep. Solidifying the interior line before Sept. 1 is a huge priority for Big Red.