Nebraska spring practice preview

Spring practice kicks off in Lincoln on Saturday as Nebraska begins preparations for its second season in the Big Ten.

Let's take a look at some of the storylines that will play out over 15 practices as the Cornhuskers work towards their spring game in April.

2011 Record: 9-4, 5-3 Big Ten

Third-year magic

Taylor MartinezICONTaylor Martinez has been working to improve his footwork throughout the offseason.

Taylor Martinez improved as a passer and as a game manager in 2011, but the dual-threat still has a long ways to go to make this offense more balanced. He acknowledged that improper footwork led to his unconventional throwing motion, and he has been working on that issue throughout the offseason. His teammates will get an up-close look at Martinez during spring drills as he continues to refine his technique with live reps. This is a big offseason for the junior, who will enter his second season in coordinator Tim Beck's offense. His career completion percentage is 59.5, and that has to be higher if the Huskers want to develop a sound passing attack to complement an always dangerous ground game led by running back Rex Burkhead. Specifically, Martinez needs work on his deep ball throws. In terms of his running ability, he always poses as a threat. However, he did look a little tentative running the Huskers' zone read game last fall. Can he put it all together in his third year as a starter?

A Blackshirts revival?

With Alfonzo Dennard, Lavonte David and Jared Crick gone, Nebraska needs some playmakers to emerge on the defensive side of the ball. Their secondary should be a strength, but can they generate a better pass rush? For a closer look at the Cornhuskers' defense, check out my post from earlier in the week.

Coaching changes

The Cornhuskers should be solid in the defensive backfield, but the players will have to adjust to a new secondary coach, as Terry Joseph takes over for the recently departed Corey Raymond. Meanwhile, new defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski will have a chance to work with his front four and try to generate more pressure, something the team lacked on a consistent basis in 2011.

Other notes

Head coach Bo Pelini said that the competition for the starting job at center will include Cole Pensick, Justin Jackson, Mark Pelini and Ryne Reeves. Alonzo Whaley and David Santos will try to win the starting linebacker job vacated by Lavonte David. Meanwhile, linemen Chase Rome, Todd Peat and Jake Cotton will miss spring drills due to injuries.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Upcoming Games

Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Carolina +3.5 -110

Minnesota -3.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Tennessee +3 -120

Indianapolis -3 -120

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Arizona -1.5 -110

New England +1.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Cleveland -6.5 -110

Jacksonville +6.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Miami -7 -110

NY Jets +7 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

Las Vegas -3 -110

Atlanta +3 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

NY Giants -6 -110

Cincinnati +6 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:00 PM

LA Chargers +5.5 -110

Buffalo -5.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 1:15 PM

Baltimore +4.5 -110

Pittsburgh -4.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 4:05 PM

San Francisco +6.5 -110

LA Rams -6.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 4:05 PM

New Orleans -6 -110

Denver +6 -110

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Nov 29th, 4:25 PM

Kansas City -3.5 -110

Tampa Bay +3.5 -110

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Nov 29th, 8:20 PM

Chicago +8.5 -110

Green Bay -8.5 -110

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Nov 30th, 8:15 PM

Seattle -5 -110

Philadelphia +5 -110

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Dec 3rd, 8:20 PM

Dallas +7 -110

Baltimore -7 -110

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Dec 6th, 1:00 PM

Cleveland +3 -120

Tennessee -3 -120

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Dec 6th, 1:00 PM

Indianapolis -3.5 -110

Houston +3.5 -110

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Dec 6th, 1:00 PM

Detroit +5.5 -105

Chicago -5.5 -105

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Dec 6th, 1:00 PM

Jacksonville +9 -110

Minnesota -9 -110

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Dec 6th, 1:00 PM

Las Vegas -8 -110

NY Jets +8 -110

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Dec 6th, 1:00 PM

New Orleans -3.5 -120

Atlanta +3.5 -120

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Dec 6th, 1:00 PM

Washington +10.5 -110

Pittsburgh -10.5 -110

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Dec 6th, 1:00 PM

Cincinnati +10.5 -110

Miami -10.5 -110

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Dec 6th, 4:05 PM

NY Giants +7.5 +100

Seattle -7.5 +100

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Dec 6th, 4:05 PM

LA Rams -1.5 -110

Arizona +1.5 -110

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Dec 6th, 4:25 PM

New England +2.5 -110

LA Chargers -2.5 -110

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Dec 6th, 4:25 PM

Philadelphia +7 -110

Green Bay -7 -110

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Dec 6th, 8:20 PM

Denver +13 -110

Kansas City -13 -110

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