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Red Report: Morrison no longer with team; Williams closer to return; more snaps for Gifford?; Frustration for Stepp

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Fordham vs. Nebraska, 9.4

Nebraska running back Sevion Morrison breaks a tackle by Fordham linebacker Ryan Greenhagen during the second half Sept. 4 at Memorial Stadium.

Parker Gabriel and Steven M. Sipple discuss Scott Frost's full plate: coaching, game prep, recruiting, transfer portal and searching for coaching replacements.

Nebraska coach Scott Frost confirmed Monday that freshman running back Sevion Morrison is no longer on the team.

"I don't expect him back," Frost said.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Tulsa, Oklahoma, native played in seven games this season but never had a prominent role as the Huskers began turning more to Rahmir Johnson and Jaquez Yant.

Morrison rushed 30 times for 116 yards and three touchdowns this year. His best games came early in the season against Fordham (nine carries for 31 yards and two touchdowns) and Buffalo (eight carries for 24 yards). 

He only had 12 carries in Big Ten play and did not play against Michigan, Purdue or Ohio State.

Morrison was a highly touted recruit out of high school where he rushed for more than 5,000 yards.

Shortly after Frost's press conference, Morrison announced on social media he was entering the transfer portal.

"I love Sev. Not everybody can play. And this is the way college football is going to be," Frost said. "I'll certainly bend over backwards to try and help anybody that's been here and does things the right way.

"We're going to lose some (and) get some back; that's how it's going to be every year."

Williams closer to return: Senior safety Deontai Williams could be back on the field Saturday after suffering a knee injury against Minnesota that has forced him to miss Nebraska's last two games.

Williams is "progressing well, so he's got a good chance (to play Saturday)," Frost said. 

Despite the games lost to injury, Williams continues to lead the Blackshirts with four interceptions, ranks second with three pass breakups, and fifth with 46 total tackles.

More snaps for Gifford?: While it remains to be seen just how the Nebraska defense will replace senior nickel JoJo Domann over the final two games of the season, there appear to be a number of ways the Huskers will approach the situation.

"Probably multiple guys, depending on what personnel group the other team is in, and it could change depending on what type of body we need in there," Frost said. "But there are several guys that are going to have to be ready to go."

One of those players could be freshman Isaac Gifford, a Lincoln Southeast graduate, who is listed as the No. 1 nickel back on this week's depth chart.

What makes Gifford a good candidate to step into Domann's rather sizeable shoes?

"He's a grownup, he's tough, he's done a good job of coming in and learning, and he's a really good athlete," Frost said. "He's got bright days ahead of him in football, and some of them are going to start now."

Parker Gabriel and Steven M. Sipple discuss job responsibilities for the Husker fill-in assistant coaches for the remainder of the season.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Gifford has played in every game this season, largely on special teams, with a few defensive snaps mixed in. He has four special teams tackles.

"He has a good mindset, just example-wise, kind of looking up to his older brother (current Dallas Cowboys linebacker Luke Gifford) and seeing good things, and then coming in here," NU defensive lineman Ben Stille said. "He knows he was being prepped for next season, what his role was going to be. And it's happening a few games earlier, a few months earlier than he probably expected.

"But he's been preparing the right way, and I'm excited to see what he does."

Frustrating stretch for Stepp: After not appearing in a game for more than a month, running back Markese Stepp found himself on the field late against Ohio State after Johnson went to the sideline with an injury and Morrison wasn't with the team.

The USC transfer had played sparingly since his 18-carry, 101-yard game against Fordham, getting just 15 carries in four appearances since.

"It’s been very frustrating, honestly, if I’m being real with you guys. But you find out who you are," Stepp said. "It’s been a dark time, but I feel like when you’re down, the only way to get you out of the position where you are is to continue to attack it the same every day and continue to work hard and continue to do the (right) things. Then it’s the coach’s decision to put you out there."

Morrison said his position on the depth chart hadn't been injury-related. And while Stepp has an idea of why he’s been down the depth chart, he said coaches wouldn’t want him discussing it.

"I don’t want to lie to you, so I don’t want to answer that," Stepp said.

Chris Basnett and Clark Grell

Nebraska tight end Austin Allen speaks at the NU athletics press conference on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez speaks at the NU athletics press conference on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Nebraska inside linebacker Luke Reimer speaks at the NU athletics press conference on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

 

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