The Huskers worked out just over two hours on Tuesday, splitting time between the Hawks Championship Center and the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields, as Nebraska continued preparations for Saturday’s game against Minnesota.
Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander spoke to the media following practice, and talked about last Saturday’s overtime loss to Northwestern.
“No one likes the loss, no one likes how we lost,” Chinander said of last week’s game against Northwestern. “The kids played well, but we need to eliminate mistakes throughout the course of the game. They’re getting really, really close, and that’s encouraging.”
Chinander expanded on the costly errors in last week’s game.
“We really struggled in man defense, and to be a great defense you have to pressure the quarterback,” Chinander said. “We struggled in man coverage, we struggled with some alignment, we struggled with some techniques up front, otherwise it was good. We’re so close in all of these base defenses now, if we can make some of these pressures happen, you’re going to be there.”
On assigning roles to the pass rusher and man coverage, Chinander said “I think obviously, as you guys saw, we gave a role to CJ Smith in the coverage, and then he went down. Antonio Reed was the second guy, he goes down. My job is that I have to get the next couple guys ready, and they weren’t as ready as those guys were. Cam Taylor has got to take a big role in man coverage, Deontai (Williams) move him out of the secondary and put him on somebody in man coverage.”
Chinander gave a current assessment of the defensive personnel.
“There’s nobody perfect out there, there’s nobody that I’m ready to say is an all-conference player,” he said when asked of notable players. “We haven’t won games, we haven’t played good enough on defense. Mohamed Barry gives you the effort that you need to win. Luke Gifford gives you the effort that you need to win. I think the Davis twins (Carlos and Khalil) are playing at a high level right now. Antonio Reed had a great game, he’s had some games where he hasn’t, but last game before he got hurt he was playing at a high level. I would’ve said Dicaprio Bootle, but he’s had too many penalties for me to say that.”
“We have wins on the horizon, it seems like we’re finally turning the corner at practice.”
The Huskers return home to host the Minnesota Gophers at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 20. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.