Swift, Peterson thrive at Nebraska Print
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Tuesday, 09 September 2008 11:23
NCAAF Headline News

 LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -When Nate Swift and Todd Peterson were recruited to Nebraska, Frank Solich was the head coach and the I-back was the identity of the offense.
It's turned out that the two fifth-year seniors have had a pretty good run as receivers in a system that came to rely more on the pass than the ground game.
``It's kind of weird, thinking back, how different it could have been,'' Peterson said Tuesday.
Swift, who leads the Huskers (2-0) with 11 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, needs 30 more receptions to replace 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers as the school's all-time leader.
Peterson, who has seven catches for 93 yards, is closing in on 1,000 yards for his career and is positioned to end up among the school's top 10 in receptions and touchdowns.
Though both have made their mark as pass-catchers, they surely could have thrived in the old-school triple-option offense employed by Tom Osborne and Solich.
g ability.
What's old is new again with the Huskers, trying to re-establish the run with coordinator Shawn Watson fully in charge of the offense after deferring to former head coach Bill Callahan the previous two years.
``Not only are they catching the ball and running good routes, but they're blocking on the perimeter extremely well,'' coach Bo Pelini said. ``I can think of very few times the first two games - only one instance - where we missed a block on the perimeter that hurt us.''
Swift said receivers coach Ted Gilmore emphasizes toughness among the receivers and challenges his charges to achieve a certain number of knockdowns each game.
Swift isn't averse to mixing it up with defenders. He was, after all, a running back his senior year at Hutchinson High in Minnesota and led the state with 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Swift was recruited to Nebraska as a receiver, but Solich made no promises about what role he would fill. After Solich was fired, Callahan honored the scholarship offer to Swift, and Swift's future as a receiver was solidified after he sat out his first year as a redshirt.
``It was kind of a blessing getting Callahan as coach, bringing the West Coast and all the passing that comes along with it, and keeping it here after he left and Pelini came in, and keeping Watson and Gilmore around,'' Swift said.
on worked well in tandem to get a stagnant offense moving in the second half. Swift lined up just inside Peterson on the left side, with San Jose using one cornerback but no linebacker to cover them.
Peterson blocked the cornerback, and Ganz threw two straight bubble screen passes to Swift for 12-yard gains. A turnover ended the drive, but the offense seemed to get jump-started from the plays.
``Me, Nate and Joe have been playing together going on five years now, and Nate and I have our communication worked out where we know what to expect from each other, how we need to talk to each other and get things squared away so we're on the same page,'' Peterson said. ``Same thing with Joe. We know what kind of throws he's good at making.''
Peterson was a recruited walk-on. He said he figured he would be one of those blocking receivers after watching the Huskers as a kid growing up in Grand Island. And that was fine with him.
``I'm kind of a hometown guy - you could say a mama's boy who didn't want to stray too far,'' he said. ``I could never see myself playing Division I anywhere but here.''
Peterson, who was put on football scholarship in 2006, said the evolution of the offense has been a bonus for him.
``What receiver wouldn't want to come in and play in a pass-happy offense like that where you get a chance to catch balls and make plays,'' he said.
 

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