D is for Defense at Nebraska
We are all aware that Nebraska coach Bo Pelini knows defense. That was one of the reasons that he was hired after the overall lack of success after installing Bill Callahan’s ideas. The question that has left Husker Nation dumbfounded is “where has that defensive dominance been the last two seasons?”
The Huskers definitely did not shine and earn an A-plus grade for their defensive performance in Saturday’s close victory over the Wyoming Cowboys. The Huskers have plenty of room to improve after their season opener, where they earned a D grade at best.
Big Red fans have known that there would be questions about the young defensive line this season. Let’s be honest — there have been questions about the defensive line since one Ndamukong Suh left Lincoln. The Huskers showed some talent on the line, but were not able to get their hands on the quarterback the way the coaches would like them to.
The Huskers need to find a way to not only pressure the oppositions quarterback, but to also put him on his butt. This may mean bringing an extra blitzer. If that’s the case, then so be it because the Huskers have experience in their secondary that they can hopefully rely on.
Coach Pelini’s teams consistently do very well in the secondary. The Huskers have proven they have good ball skills in pass defense. If the rush can get to the quarterback and force some bad throws, you can expect to see Nebraska continue to take the ball away.
This is a defense that is slowly coming together and learning to play with one another, and they will have to step it up sooner than later if the Huskers intend on contending for a Big Ten title this season.
While an overall D grade for the Husker defense may be fitting after game one, an A is fitting for Tim Beck’s offense. Everyone is well aware of what quarterback Taylor Martinez can do on the football field. What may have been most impressive is what the mature quarterback did not do.
This senior captain played within his role and did not try play beyond himself like he has attempted to do in previous years. We will definitely see Martinez’s skills throughout this season, but it was impressive to see his patience and composure in allowing backs Imani Cross and Ameer Ahbdullah opportunities to showcase their skills. This backfield will be something to watch this season.
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