The Nebraska football team is hoping variety is not only the spice of life, but also an ingredient in a successful game plan as the Huskers have increased reps throughout the breadth and depth of their roster in preparation for Texas A&M this Saturday.

The Huskers are zeroing in on the depth available at several positions and looking to utilize some of the younger talent to provide options on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

“All the way back in training camp, we talked about how we were going to develop the young players so that when this time of the season hit, we would be able to use them,” Head Coach Bill Callahan said following Thursday’s practice. “We’re going to get to do that this weekend. We’re going to try and use as many of those guys as we can to help us.” 

Callahan spoke at length about the possibility of freshman running back Marcus Mendoza stepping into the lineup this weekend. If Mendoza, who joined the Husker roster last January, is added to the ground game, Nebraska would again feature a four-back attack as it did in 2006 by utilizing junior Marlon Lucky, freshmen Quentin Castille and Roy Helu, along with Mendoza. However, Callahan says Mendoza brings a completely different style of play than any of these other runners.

“We think that Marcus gives us a spark. He gives us a different style of back,” Callahan said. “He’s a quick guy and a fast guy and kind of a change-of-direction guy with very good speed.”  

The Huskers were again forced indoors due to inclement weather to finish their practice week with a 2 1/2 hour workout inside the Hawks Championship Center. Nebraska has been indoors every day this week, but forecasts call for better weather for game day.

Announced prior to Thursday’s practice, Nebraska junior offensive lineman Andy Christensen was selected as this year’s recipient of the Jake Young Memorial Scholarship. Christensen will be honored on the field prior to the start of Saturday’s game against Texas A&M. 

A native of Bennington, Neb., Christensen started six games on the Husker offensive line last season as a sophomore. He started the first three games of 2007 at offensive guard, before suffering a season-ending knee injury against USC.

In addition to his on-field talents, Christensen is a standout performer in the classroom, carrying a 3.651 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in construction management. He was a 2006 First-Team Academic All-Big 12 pick and a CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-District VII selection. Christensen has also been named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll each of his first six semesters on campus. 

The Jake Young Memorial Scholarship was made possible by generous donations from friends and family, Husker fans across the nation and by a generous donation from Lynn and Dana Roper. The Roper’s were Young’s Lincoln parents. The scholarship is given annually to a Cornhusker offensive lineman who has distinguished himself both on the field and in the classroom in a similar fashion as the late Husker All-American.

Nebraska and Texas A&M will both have a walk-through inside Memorial Stadium on Friday afternoon before Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. kickoff. Weather for the afternoon is expected to be much drier and warmer than the rest of this week, with temperatures anticipated in the mid-70s.