What would you
like to see
NUs Burrow finally at home at middle LB
By BOB SCHALLER
For the Star-Herald
LINCOLN As the Blackshirts lined up against the Notre Dame offense, Jamie Burrow
took his place at middle linebacker.
And on his first play, his experience showed as he recovered a fumble to set up
Nebraskas first score.
As the quarterback of the defense, Burrow is responsible for making all of the
defensive calls after seeing the offensive formation.
If a tight end is uncovered, Burrow has to make sure an outside linebacker or defensive
back is aligned properly. He recognizes audibles from his hours in the film room
and gets his team to respond accordingly.
I think Im a pretty good general out there, Burrow said.
I know my way around. I know whats going on, and I have good technique.
But the question is this: How long will Burrow be the starting middle linebacker?
After three years of apprenticeship, backing up All-American Carlos Polk the last two
years, the senior from Iowa has waited a long time for his chance to run the defense.
However, true freshman Barrett Ruud, who had 15 tackles through the first two games to
lead Nebraska, has emerged as the future star of the defense. How long it takes the
future to arrive is left to be seen. But Ruuds biggest supporter is none
other than Burrow.
Barrett is going to be a great linebacker, maybe one of the best in the history of
Nebraska football, said Burrow, whose father Jimmy played for the Huskers and is now
a graduate assistant coach. Hes fast and hes strong and hes smart.
Barrett will be great. And to me, its a good thing to know there wont be any
drop-off at my position when Im gone.
Ruud is faster and is 6-foot-2, 230 pounds. Though Burrow is listed at 6-foot-1, 245
pounds, he appears to be about 20 pounds lighter he was listed at 220 to 225 pounds
last season. Ruud had 10 tackles against Troy State while Burrow saw limited playing time.
But the two did rotate each series. It just so happened that when Burrow was on the field,
the Blackshirts forced a bunch of three downs and punt. Whereas when Ruud was in, the
opponent had several long drives, allowing Ruud more opportunities which he seized
to make more tackles.
That was kind of frustrating, Burrow said. Its nice to have the
three and out, but it would have been good to see a little more playing time.
That time will come. He just hopes it doesnt come to pass, at least not too soon.