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'No doubt' new Husker receivers can help, but they still have more to learn
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FOOTBALL

'No doubt' new Husker receivers can help, but they still have more to learn

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Marcus Fleming

Freshman wide receiver Marcus Fleming had a team-high 75 receiving yards against Northwestern.

Nebraska and Penn State enter Saturday's game in Lincoln both winless.

Scott Frost may have had reservations about the immediate impact Nebraska’s new receivers can make, but those disappeared as soon as he re-watched the Northwestern game.

Speedy freshman Marcus Fleming. Classmate and 6-foot-2 athlete Zavier Betts. Omar Manning, the ballyhooed 6-4 junior college transfer. Alante Brown, another former high school playmaker.

Each helped Nebraska look like a better offense despite the 21-13 loss.

“Honestly there’s no doubt with those guys on the field that they help us stretch the field more,” Frost said. “We just gotta keep bringing those guys along, and for all of them it’s a matter of getting practices under their belt.”

Frost said no member of that quartet is fully up to speed understanding the offense for various reasons. None of them started and Frost said “I don’t think they were probably ready to run every play in our game plan.” But the plan all along was to get them on the field in the second half, as they were when quarterback Luke McCaffrey replaced starter Adrian Martinez.

Betts caught his first two career passes in the fourth quarter for 17 yards. Fleming made the first five catches of his career for a team-best 75 yards. Brown played 21 snaps and Manning four, according to Pro Football Focus, though neither made a catch.

Nebraska will “fast track” those players in practice, Frost said, and see how quickly they can pick everything up. The team will be better when they’re fully integrated, he added, because it can keep its best players on the field and won’t have to make substitutions during drives.

“Just because of some factors, those guys aren’t — in our opinion — ready to digest and handle the whole game plan yet,” Frost said. “And we’re working to get there.”

Kade Warner, a junior wideout and captain, said all four had prepared for an opportunity like Saturday. Some met with him the day before the game to double-check plays and ask questions. Each wants to be perfect, he said, which helps them all.

The younger receivers are in a “great spot,” he said, adding that each can still improve as blockers and in their knowledge of assignments. But now they’ve earned the chance to progress while on the field.

“I’m obviously a little envious of all those guys and the physical talents they have,” Warner said..” … I’m excited for all of them moving forward. I think they’re all going to help us.”​

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