Five quick takes on Nebraska wide receiver and punt returner De'Mornay Pierson-El being out six-to-eight weeks because of a foot injury:

>> NU takes the biggest hit in the punt return game. Pierson-El was a game-changer back there, a guy you didn't want to punt to even if you uncorked a beauty. That's gone for at least the non-conference season, and that hurts. Prior to Pierson-El's arrival, the punt return game was a grease fire, and while some of that was on faulty schemes — that Bo Pelini corrected last season — some of it was the individual returners, too. Who takes that role? Jordan Westerkamp? As savvy as he is at wideout, he has been less so as a returner. Can one of those running backs do it? Can a defensive back?

>> We're about to see just how good Stanley Morgan is. The freshman from New Orleans has often looked like Nebraska's best wideout in practice — yes, even better than Pierson-El. There's no avoiding it now: He's going to play, and perhaps quite a bit. Not many freshman wideouts have done much in Husker history — the most famous is probably Matt Davison — but Morgan will have a chance to be one of the Big Ten's top newcomer receivers.

>> Don't forget Jamal Turner. Here's his chance. Turner, who has been sidelined by his own injuries for much of his career, has had an up-and-down camp. But he can run with the ball, and he may be an option on the jet sweep. Turner has the gifting, the talent. He has to be more consistent and precise in his route running. Here's his chance.

>> If Nebraska need more of a reason to rely on Tommy Armstrong's legs, here it is. In an odd stroke, the Nebraska offensive line has remained as healthy as I can recall it. NU may have to lean on it — plus Armstrong's running ability — to muddle through for a month.

>> Don't be stunned if the full recovery takes longer. That's not a medical opinion. That's watching athletes over a decade struggle to come back from foot injuries regardless of who they are and what sport they play. They can get injured again. The healing may be slow. The form may not easily return. Ahman Green, one of the best backs in Nebraska football history, battled a foot injury in 1996. Taylor Martinez was ultimately sidelined by it in 2013. Just don't be surprised.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.