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Monday, September 08, 2008

NU Football: Is Helu Huskers' answer?

LINCOLN — As with any good I-back, Roy Helu Jr. was elusive and making people miss Saturday.

And that was as much the case in Nebraska postgame interviews as during the 35-12 win over San Jose State.

Does he like the NU I-back rotation, or would he mind seeing one emerge? "I'm just here to play ball," Helu said.

How's the rotation determined and explained to you? "You'd have to ask coach," Helu said. "I couldn't give you an answer."

Helu at least has been an answer at times for an unproductive Nebraska running game. In two wins, however, the sophomore has been the last of three I-backs to play and gotten the majority of his carries after halftime.

Sophomore I-back Roy Helu Jr. has averaged 6.9 yards per carry in two games for NU this season, including 59 yards on nine carries with a score against San Jose State on Saturday.
The 6-foot, 215-pounder from Danville, Calif., was banged up late in preseason camp but has run for 111 yards on 16 attempts (6.9 per carry) against Western Michigan and San Jose State.

"I think he's coming back," NU coach Bo Pelini said Sunday. "He just needed to get back to 100 percent. He's feeling good. I think you saw it out there Saturday."

Helu carried nine times for 59 yards against San Jose State, including a 14-yard touchdown where he bounced outside and made safety Devin Newsome whiff in the open field. NU assistant coach Tim Beck was looking for somebody to offset the Spartans' pursuit and Helu was able to do it with runs of 17, 12 and 7 yards before his TD.

"I think the thing I liked the most was he was making people miss and he was breaking tackles," Beck said. "He was getting some extra yards for us at a time when yards were tough. So we kept riding him."

Beck wouldn't say where that might take Helu in coming weeks. Senior I-back Marlon Lucky has been starting with sophomore Quentin Castille the first backup to play.


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