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“Obviously, one player doesn’t make up an entire unit,” Fisher said. “It’s going to take all 11 people to really have a successful season. While he’ll be missed, we’re excited about the group of people we do have.”

If there is any doubt about the importance of Suh and the rest of the defense’s importance last year, consider the 13-12 loss to Texas.

Nebraska mustered just 106 total yards and Zac Lee was 6 for 19 with three interceptions. Yet the Huskers led 12-10 before officials put one second back on the clock and the Longhorns’ Hunter Lawrence kicked a 46-yard field goal as time ran out.

Suh made 12 tackles, with seven for losses and 4 1/2 sacks. Barry Turner had another 2 1/2 sacks, and the Huskers limited the Longhorns to 202 yards, including 18 yards rushing.

Though they are unsettled at quarterback, the Huskers are confident they’ll be much improved on offense. Their 323 yards a game ranked 99th nationally and their 25-point average was 75th.

“Hopefully, we score a lot more,” receiver Mike McNeill said. “I think we can be a little more dynamic. The receivers have stepped up this summer, and we can spread the ball out a little more, hopefully run a little bit deeper routes instead of just packing it in and running.”

Niles Paul, Brandon Kinnie and McNeill lead a big and physical receiving corps that is being touted as one of the Huskers’ best in many years.

Five players on the offensive line have combined for 53 starts, and redshirt freshmen Jeremiah Sirles and Brent Qvale and junior-college transfer Jermarcus Hardrick will push for playing time.

Roy Helu Jr., who ran for 1,147 yards and 10 touchdowns despite a shoulder problem, and Rex Burkhead, who had 89 yards and a touchdown against Arizona, give the Huskers the makings for a strong ground game.

The big question is at quarterback. Taylor, who played with an injury to his right (throwing) elbow most of the season, was serviceable. Lee missed spring practice to recover from elbow surgery. Cody Green and Taylor Martinez did enough in the spring to make Watson and Pelini carry the competition for the starter’s job into preseason practice.

“Zac’s not surprised or caught off guard by anything,” Watson said. “He knows he has to earn it every year. That’s how we do our business. He’s got a real purpose to his work right now. He has to do it over the long haul.”

Nebraska opens the season Sept. 4 at home against Western Kentucky. The Big 12 schedule includes a home game against Texas on Oct. 16.