July 19, 2006

Fall camp preview: A building phase

It's no secret that one of the major keys to the 2006 season will be establishing a solid ground game and improving the pass protection for starting quarterback Zac Taylor.

In order to accomplish these tasks, Nebraska's offensive line must make great strides from where they were last year. Over the spring, NU head coach Bill Callahan worked hand-in-hand with offensive line coach Dennis Wagner in order to make sure these goals get accomplished.

"It's great when you have a head coach that is an offensive line coach," Wagner said. "I've been fortunate at my last two jobs to work for two guys that were former NFL offensive line coaches. We work together and two sets of eyes get a lot more done than one."

Nebraska's offensive line will enter the 2006 season with limited experience, but players such as sophomore Matt Slauson and junior Chris Patrick have shown great promise for the future.

Both Slauson and Patrick joined the starting rotation after their performance in the Kansas State game, and that's when you saw NU's run blocking and passing protection at its best in 2005.

The thing you also have to like about both Slauson and Patrick is they play the game with great fire and attitude.

"We want to get back to the classic Nebraska offensive line," Slauson said. "Just the big brut playing in the mud-just jerks.

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