Ameer Abdullah in Rare Territory

When you glance at some of the statistics accumulated by Rex Burkhead in his time at Nebraska, you almost wonder if the affection for him is out of proportion to his achievements.  Until you look at one statistic - touchdowns.  Only a handful of players in Husker history have gotten in the end zone more times than Burkhead.  They are Eric Crouch, Mike Rozier, Ahman Green, Johnny Rodgers, Calvin Jones, and Tommie Frazier.  That's three Heisman winners (and what should have been a fourth) and two second-team All-Americans who headed early to the NFL.  Guess who's ahead of Burkhead's scoring pace heading into his junior year?

 

If you guessed Taylor Martinez, you'd be right.  If you guessed Ameer Abdullah, you'd also be right.  With 31 career touchdowns in three seasons, Martinez is on pace to top Burkhead and Frazier.  Abdullah's 15 career touchdowns after two seasons put him ahead of Burkhead's 11 after his sophomore campaign.  If Abdullah were to duplicate his own production as a sophomore, he'd tally another 22 touchdowns over the next two seasons.  That would push him past Burkhead and Frazier as well.  That would be no small feat since Abdullah's sophomore season is the sixth best ever rushing season at Nebraska.  Duplicating such a season twice over would also make him the third most prolific rusher in NU history behind only Rozier and Green.

That's the real trick.  As Burkhead learned a year ago, it's hard to maintain your productivity as a starting running back.  Getting hit so often takes its toll.  For that matter, it could be Imani Cross to consider as a force for the future.  His rookie campaign was one of the ten best ever by a true freshman.  With more opportunities, he could find himself in the end zone a lot.  He managed a touchdown for every 8 carries.  Imagine what that might mean after 400 or so.  For that matter, Terrell Newby and/or Adam Taylor could be poised for great things as freshmen themselves.  

So nothing can be taken for granted where Abdullah is concerned.  Still, he's shown that he's got the tools to have a rare and special career at Nebraska.  Hopefully, he can stay healthy enough for that to happen.

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Comments 15 comments so far

This is the best backfield the Huskers have had in quite a few years. We’ve always had a great one here and there but top to bottom, scholarship to walk on, this group could be something really great for NU.
Add to that the best we’ve seen at receiver, some unity on the OLine, a senior QB and some youth to push and challenge the entire group. Wow. Really looking forward to August. Of course at 50+ years of looking forward to August….Go Big Red!!

Abdullah’s got skills, but if he keeps putting the ball on the turf at the most inopportune times, he’s going to find the bench more and more as time goes along.  The dude has a problem with momentum-turning fumbles.  I can think of three games that shifted completely in the other team’s favor after one of his fumbles at a critical moment.  TD’s will come with our RB’s because we have enough talent (though we could use a better homerun threat)...what I’m most worried about is people hanging onto the ball!  Seems like I’m always hearing about RB’s on the other teams and their 500th consecutive carry or 25th game without a fumble…do we have anyone who can do anything close to that?  As great as he can be, we all know Martinez is a turnover machine so we need more ball security at RB.  That and the seemingly lack of homerun threat with Abdullah and Cross are the big reasons I was so sad, and bewildered, to see Heard go.  I guess if I averaged 7 yds per carry and didn’t fumble, while the other guy was inconsistent, I’d probably consider leaving too after I got all of 3 touches a game.  Hopefully one of the new guys can step up.

Mase: “That and the seemingly lack of homerun threat with Abdullah and Cross are the big reasons I was so sad, and bewildered, to see Heard go.”

Lack of a homerun threat? Really?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DCaDhvN7a0

I like Heard and hope he finds success wherever he goes.  Having said that, the reason that he didn’t see the field more had to do (most likely) with his lack of blocking.  If he had been better at blitz pickup he would amost surely have seen more time on the field.  If ya can’t block, ya can’t play.

I think Ameer will be surpassed by one of the youngsters coming in.  Either Taylor or Newby.  Possibly not this year, but in 2014 I don’t see Ameer being our number 1 back.  Sorry to say.  I think Ameer has some great qualities but I don’t think that he is incredibly great.  Also as mentioned, he fumbles to much. 

When I look at a RB and his true potential, I look at his probability to reach the NFL.  As a RB it is different than comparing a QB’s potential of reaching the NFL.  Just because QB’s have so many intagibles that limit their chances of playing their position in the NFL.  For example, Martinez.  He could be a very good QB next year but he still has a very, very, slim chance of playing QB in the NFL.  However when you see a RB with talent you know they are going to play in the NFL.  It just stands out more. 

When I look at Ameer I don’t see him playing RB at the next level.  Or at least not much.  Because he isn’t super fast.  Which isn’t a big deal, but when you are 185 lbs….you either need to be lightning fast or super tough.  Which I don’t think Ameer is either of those.  Possibly why he fumbles a lot.  When in traffic he isn’t strong enough to hold the ball.  Defenitely a good college back and brings a lot to the table for our offense, but I don’t see him as an NFL back.  Or at least not a full time back.  Could be a lot like Danny Woodhead, only not as fast.

So anyhow, when looking at it from that perspective I don’t think it is unrealistic that one of these FR could beat him out this year, or for sure next season.  In my opinion Tyrell Newby is the same as Ameer Abdullah.  Only Newby looks to be faster and more decisive with his cuts.  Newby looks more explosive already.  And then there is Adam Taylor.  Whom already looks to have the makings of an NFL back.  Got the complete package of size and speed.  I think he will be the guy to keep your eye on.  Whether or not these two will be great, remains to be see, but I definitely don’t think Ameer is so talented that he couldn’t be beat out.  Either way we should have a strong set of backs!  Looks promising.  GBR

Tadedge,

And Ameer is what?  An excellent blocker?  Ameer isn’t a very good blocker at all either.

Bill K:
If you’re going to use that return as evidence of homerun threat, we should have given the ball to Niles Paul a lot more.  Except, he had trouble holding the ball, too.

Niles Paul was also a homerun threat.
Yes, he had fumble issues (amongst other issues).

That wasn’t the point of my post.
Mase said he wasn’t a homerun threat. Nobody was talking about dropping the pill on the turf.

The most loyal (and the most negative) fanbase in college football.
I think the crappy winter weather and lack of fresh food in N makes a lot of you cranky.

It is officially spring. Time for optimism.

Bill K…since I live in Austin, I would blame the crankiness more on our last two games and the bad taste in my mouth from that, not the food. :)  I think Abdullah is a really good back, as evidenced from last year, but let’s face it…his long run all of last year was 45 yards.  Contrast that with the limited action Burkhead saw, who with 4.7-40 speed had a long of 73, with at least one other 60+ yd carry on the year.  I’m sorry, I just didn’t see that threat last year from AA or the breakaway speed.  I don’t mean to be too picky about awesome play, but you see that in the return video where he has to cut back at the 10 and gets tackled at the goal line from getting caught from behind.  Again, I’m not saying trade him for Heard or anyone else or that he doesn’t exhibit some great skills…and I would say he is tough for his size, but a homerun threat at RB he is not.  I think you can make up for some speed, like Burkhead, with great vision and acceleration, that ability to cut once at the line and get up field.  I think Heard had that, along with some pretty good top-end speed.  That’s why I’m saying hopefully one of the new guys can step in and deliver, or AA can improve in a few areas remembering that he’ll only be a JR.  I guess I’m still mad that Heard left the team and now Abdullah is hurt, so until I see some live action I’m going to be a bit uneasy.

Rex wasn’t a home run threat until this season either. His long as a frosh was 34 yards and as a sophomore it was 33 yards. His junior year he had a 57 yard run but it wasn’t a TD. That’s only 12 yards farther than Ameer’s 45 yard run as a sophomore. You guys are all crazy if you don’t think Ameer is a great back. There’s a reason he beat out Aaron Green and Braylon Heard. He will be the best back in the B1G this season and his stats will show it if he is healthy all season long.

On his 100 yard return, he didn’t get caught because he’s not fast, he had to slow down to set up that last block and then cut back to his left another 10-15 yards to get into the endzone. Any defender trailing the play is going to have a chance to make a tackle on that.

+1 for NodakHuskerFan

Home run threat for sure. Hope he stays healthy. I thought they should have stuck with him against Georgia. That late fumble should have been reviewed, but it wasn’t. He was moving the ball very well and the offence went stale once they took him out of that game.

He is awesome and still has room for improvement. Who could ask for more? His senior season I believe will have Heisman potential. If he fully recovers from this injury.

Faith is something that you believe than has no foundation in fact or history.  All things being equal, faith is the better way to go.

Cross.  Abdullah.  Bell, and Martinez.  There is faith in you.  Take this not upon your shoulders individually.  But spread it out amongst all that is NEBRASKA!!!

GOOOOOOOO
BIIIIIII11111G
RRREEEEDDDD!

Go B1G Red!!!!!

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