'skers start practice today.
Here's a nice article from USATODAY.
Revolution nearly complete at Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. — The evolution at Nebraska is now bordering on a revolution.
Two years removed from a painful 5-6 season that marked the debut of coach Bill Callahan, the Cornhuskers hope to build on the momentum of a season-ending three-game winning streak last year, including a victory against Michigan in the Alamo Bowl that punctuated an 8-4 season.
Moreover, the Huskers are becoming more familiar and comfortable with the pro-style West Coast offense Callahan installed after arriving from the Oakland Raiders. And thus the Cornhuskers are becoming more dangerous.
The Big 12 North Division title is there for the taking and would be a legitimate first step toward getting the Huskers, who begin practice Thursday, back in the national picture. Nebraska is the preseason pick by conference media to win the North.
"I don't think we're that far away at all," says senior quarterback Zac Taylor, who set school season records last year for passing yards (2,653), completions (237) and attempts (430). "We feel if we take care of business, we'll be playing in some big games."
Taylor might best represent the new look of the Cornhuskers. A transfer from Butler County (Kan.) Community College, Taylor was being recruited by Memphis and Marshall two years ago when an unexpected call from Nebraska offensive coordinator Jay Norvell just before Butler County's season ended sent him north to Nebraska.
It took awhile for him to grasp the offense. But once he did, the records started to fall. That's how fast things can change these days for one of the nation's legendary programs. "I wasn't even sure they were looking at me," Taylor says.
Taylor, from Norman, Okla., started his career at Wake Forest but transferred to Butler County after two years, realizing the Demon Deacons' offense wasn't for him.
"He just took off last year; he just absorbed another level of the offense and was capable of taking us to new levels," says Callahan.
The changes have come with head-spinning frequency the past couple of years for the Cornhuskers and their fans, who were used to decades of rushing records and earth-moving offensive lines under former coaches Tom Osborne and Frank Solich.
At the same time Taylor was putting up record numbers through the air, the program that for decades personified the running game with a long legacy of great I-backs, finished last in the Big 12 in rushing at 96 yards a game.
That might not be exactly what Callahan wants, but there's a process to go through, he says.
"When you change a system and you change a culture, you're changing a whole profile of what you look for in talent," says Callahan. "Our emphasis (coming in) was a pro-style player, skill players, receivers, running backs, tight ends that would fit a pro-style attack.
"The receivers we had our first year were primarily blockers in the option system. Now we have kids catching 40-45 balls a year, and that's still not where we want it to be, but that (speaks to) the transition of personnel that goes with a change in systems."
The team's improvement last year was not limited to the passing game. Nebraska's defense also started coming into its own. Seven starters return to a unit that led the nation with 50 sacks and also had 140 tackles for loss.
Among the returnees are senior ends Adam Carriker and Jay Moore, who give the Huskers a potentially dominant pair of pass rushers. Carriker had 9½ sacks last season and Moore 14 tackles for loss.
"We've got athletes and a lot of players who can go out there and really play," Moore says. "And we have players who can really shut a lot of teams down if we play up to our abilities."
Both started their careers under Solich and have lived through the transition.
"We're on the same defense for our third year now, and it's amazing how much better you can get if you run the same things three years in a row," Moore says.
"You can see the painting starting to get finalized here. Earlier on, you weren't really sure what he was doing. It was like watching (the late painter) Bob Ross on TV. You'd say 'What exactly is he doing here?' Then it was, 'Wow! You can see what he's doing.' "
Moore, a lifelong Huskers fan from Elkhorn, Neb., would like nothing more than to be remembered for rekindling title dreams around a state crazy for the team.
"I lived those (championship) moments," Moore says. "I was watching all the games, celebrating with friends and family. You want to get that taste and feeling back and get the state back to a winning attitude. Things are starting to come around again."