Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:13 am
NU's Meredith takes on big challenge of moving from defensive end to tackle
Capital One Bowl
Who: Nebraska vs. Georgia
When: Noon Jan. 1
Radio: 1110 AM KFAB
Where: Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, Fla.

Sizing up Georgia

A look at how Nebraska defensive tackle Cameron Meredith measures up to the interior lineman he will face during the Capital One Bowl:

Cameron Meredith, 6-4, 260
David Andrews, 6-2, 295
Chris Burnette, 6-2, 322
Kenarious Gates, 6-5, 318
Dallas Lee, 6-4, 300

LINCOLN — Cameron Meredith played linebacker through high school, defensive end for his first 4Ĺ years at Nebraska and had pretty much topped out size-wise at 255 pounds.

But the fifth-year senior understood the circumstances and necessity behind finishing his Husker football career as a defensive tackle.

“That's what you've got to do,” Meredith said. “When Coach tells you to play tackle ... at least I'm playing football. It's better than being benched. At least I'm out there with my team and still representing the university.

“I see it as an opportunity. I'm glad I did it. It was fun.”

Meredith was asked to make one of the bigger sacrifices this season to help NU get by defensively after the rash of injuries and other setbacks at tackle. What he thought was maybe a one-game appearance at Northwestern on Oct. 20 — with Chase Rome out and Thad Randle hobbled — turned into semi-regular duty from there.

And when Nebraska lost Baker Steinkuhler at Iowa on Nov. 23, it made it pretty clear what Meredith would be doing against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game and where he would spend the month of December in Capital One Bowl practices.

“This month of preparation is definitely going to help,” he said.

Meredith understandably could have been reluctant to change at midseason. The 6-foot-4 native of Huntington Beach, Calif., is a third-year starter at end who will be playing his 56th career game against Georgia, the most in school history.

But NU defensive coordinator John Papuchis called Meredith a “real team player” for going with the move and allowing the Huskers to not pull one of their underclassmen out of a redshirt.

“It was really unselfish on his part,” Papuchis said. “Never once has he ever said, 'I wish I could have stayed at end,' or thought that his statistics might have been better if he would have stayed at end. He's a team guy, and I have a lot of respect for who he is.”

Meredith has made at least five tackles in four of the Huskers' past seven games and still takes some practice and game snaps at end.

Asking him to go inside at 255 was a tall order, Papuchis acknowledges, especially in the Big Ten.

“Cameron is a tough kid,” Papuchis said. “Probably a little bit overmatched physically inside at times, but his toughness and his technique have allowed him to survive and do some good things in there.”

Against Wisconsin, Meredith stood across from an offensive line that featured a 338-pound center and 313- and 318-pound guards. He has tried to rely on his own experience and things he's picked up from assistant coach Rick Kaczenski to counter that kind of challenge.

At times he knows that he's lost the battle.

“Playing defensive tackle at 255 pounds and taking on 600 pounds on a double-team and in a three-tech (technique) is not the easiest thing,” Meredith said. “Obviously I'll get pushed back once in a while, but I think Coach Kaz teaches some pretty good technique and things to do in there to help me out for the size disadvantage.”

Meredith will be making his 41st consecutive start in the Capital One Bowl and has 191 career tackles, which ranks as the seventh-best total in school history for a defensive lineman. He just never pictured finishing that career playing more tackle than end.

But knowing the whole defensive line so well, he said the move came easy.

“They just told me to go play tackle,” Meredith said. “It wasn't really a conversation, so I just did it.”

Contact the writer:


Contact the writer: Rich Kaipust    |   402-444-1042    |  

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and some general assignment tasks, including the College World Series and U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.



< >
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.'s Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Dr. Welbes Natural Health Clinic
$129 for 2 LipoLaser Sessions with Additional Complimentary Services ($605 value)
Buy Now
< >