It’s a cliche in sports these days, but it’s also a very true statement: defense wins championships. That’s the type of message that Bo Pelini is trying to instill within his team during spring practice.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are coming off of a season in which they won 10 games and came up one short of a Rose Bowl berth. The reason for coming up short was due, in large part, to their lack of defensive intensity. Although the team wasn’t terrible on defense for the entire 2012 season, they allowed 70 points to Wisconsin in a total embarrassment of a Big Ten Championship game.
Pelini was not happy. The effort didn’t seem to be there and that carried over to the Capital One Bowl where the Cornhuskers faced off against Georgia, giving up another 45 points in a loss.
Their effort seemed to be lacking most of the season and it showed, especially in the games that they lost. In the Cornhuskers’ four losses in 2012, they gave up an average of 53.5 points a game. If you want to win games, you cannot be giving up what should be two or three games worth of points.
Although the Cornhuskers were not near the bottom of the barrel when it came to points given up per game all season long (ranked 58th in the nation) they still had lapses and games in which they just forgot to show up.
Defense used to be a specialty at Nebraska. Back in the day when they won national titles, they were known for putting the beat-down on teams. It’s time for Pelini to bring back that style of play and stop relying on Taylor Martinez to bail you out with explosive offense.
When a coach calls his own defensive unit ‘mentally weak’, then it’s time to start doing something about it.