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Two Reasons Nebraska Fans Will Love Mike Riley’s 2016 Offense

Sam Cotton

Sam Cotton

Many fans don’t look into the background of a 5-6 record and that’s understandable. While Nebraska’s offense isn’t quite the Greatest Show on Turf, look for it to be moving back towards an attack that upsets defensive coordinators with the best of them thanks to a pair of players.

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The Huskers have struggled with getting out of their own way at times during a season that doesn’t look how many (including myself) thought it would. Despite the record, offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf still put a group together that sticks 34 points on the scoreboard on average. That number should generally give the Huskers ample opportunity to shout “Hip Hip Hooray!” in the locker room after 60 minutes of football.

In 2016, there will be a number of players to fall in love with per usual, but there are two tight ends in particular that I can see becoming household names. Well, one becoming. One you already know.

Cethan Carter has been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2015. After opening his season fresh off suspension, he’s turned into one of the most reliable run blockers that the Cornhuskers have. He’s as tough as fullback Andy Janovich when it comes to escorting defenders out of the way.

Carter returns for his senior season next year, but he won’t be the only tight end that folks sporting scarlet in Nebraska will likely be raving about.

There’s a freshman by the name of Matt Snyder who has everything it takes to be part of what Langsdorf has in store the Friday after Thanksgiving for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury during fall camp that made yanking a redshirt not worth the expense by the time a choice had to be made.

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One thing you’ll love about him is his ability to cradle the football like a newborn baby just smacked on its rear.

We’ve seen several Big Ten teams utilize tight ends lately. Minnesota put Maxx Williams into the NFL thanks to his duties as a workhorse in 2014 and Jake Butt’s been helping Michigan over the span of forever and a day. Despite what former Nebraska offensive coordinator and current Ohio State Buckeye Tim Beck believes,the tight end can be a nightmare to plan for on game day and head coach Mike Riley loves ‘em in his offensive system.

Another offseason with coaches Tavita Thompson and Keith Williams could soften Carter’s hands and help his routes get even crisper. What we know for a fact is that Nebraska has at least one enforcer (let alone a guy who’s speedy on a sweep) in Carter and an excellent pass-catching threat in Snyder that can be used as teams across the nation already do. We'll see how the youngster's blocking takes to the college level soon enough.

Just how good could this one-two punch of Carter and Snyder be?

Well, a Nebraska wide receiver breaking 1,000 yards up to this point is... odd. It’s like cooking a turkey for every Thanksgiving and then serving up savory prime rib or seeing a peacock working a power drill.

My point being: check out the records for Nebraska tight ends. This dynamic duo has the potential to take a comically oversized mallet to them like something straight out of Looney Tunes. They’re ready to set a new trend.

Carter’s made his presence known whether it’s snagging 18 balls for 221 yards and two scores or locking up and steering someone who’d do his running back harm way off course, but he can do so much more. Snyder's athleticism and blocking ability made both Cal's Sonny Dykes and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh work hard for his services. That speaks volumes.

The traditional turkey that is the 2015 season still is full of flavor and may go down far easier than thought only a couple weeks ago. However, there’s no reason you can’t look forward to prime rib today.

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and like his Facebook page.