Life after Ndamukong Suh was difficult at times for the Nebraska Cornhuskers last season. Suh was a dominant inside force for the Huskers, and when he was not getting to the quarterback, his teammates were. Last season, Jared Crick was supposed to be that guy for the Huskers. Instead, it turned into a disappointing, injury plagued season for Crick.
Life in the B1G 10 was difficult for the Huskers, as many thought that it would be. Big XII offenses were built to run the spread, so big interior linemen were not necessary. But in the new conference lives good ol’ fashioned football. As adjustments are made for the second season, the Huskers have a lot of work to do.
Chase Rome and Baker Steinkuhler are looking to lead the charge on the inside. Rome was thrust into the spotlight much sooner than many thought he would be when Crick was injured. He filled in admirably at times, but his undersize frame and inexperience showed. Steinkuhler was looking for a big season, and also played well, but that was not enough. One key contributor for the upcoming season could be Todd Peat Jr, whose big body could clog gaps the Huskers had last year.
At the defensive end position, Cameron Meredith returns this season looking to make a larger impact. He also disappointed last season, never reaching his full potential. Eric Martin and Jason Ankrah are looking to start opposite Meredith, and both have the tools to be impact players again this season.
While the passing defense will be important, the key for the Huskers will be defending the run. The Cornhuskers were dominated at times by opposing offensive lines, and if that happens again, it could be a long season for the defense.
The Huskers do have a key advantage over last season for this year. Rick Kaczenski, the former defensive line coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes, took the same position fr the Huskers this fall. His knowledge and teaching ability will be a great asset.
The Cornhuskers must be ready to step up this season. Losing an impact player at each level will be tough, but coach Bo Pelini believes overall this unit will be better than last year. With football season just weeks around the corner, we will not have long to wait.