Lincoln, Neb. — The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours on Tuesday inside the Hawks Championship Center in full pads and helmets.
Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander addressed the media after practice, commenting on the play of the defense in the team’s recent scrimmage.
“On our side of the ball, our plan was to play very basic stuff so everybody would have a chance to operate,” Chinander said. “We were just evaluating technique, effort, communication and seeing who could tackle. For the most part it went pretty well, we have some things to clean up and some moves on the depth chart to make, but it was just a good evaluation tool for our coaches and our defense.”
When prodded about the depth chart, Chinander elaborated that the coaches are evaluating what they have and thinking about how they can put their players in a position to be successful.
“So far it’s been a pretty flowing depth chart,” Chinander said. “We’ve been giving guys reps with the ones, twos and threes, whether they deserve them or not, just to see where they are at. That helps us evaluate each guy and see where they belong. Some of those guys, if they are with the twos and going against the twos, maybe they look better. Yesterday we were able to see guys who we thought were the ones go against the ones and see if they really should be there. I thought that was very important for us.”
In terms of guys that have established themselves as starters, Chinander said that there are several players who have stood out in fall camp and they are working to get the ones and twos their reps to prepare them for the season opener.
“We have another scrimmage on Friday, and I think that will help us solidify our depth chart on defense,” he said. “We have a good idea who is going to be on the field but after that scrimmage we will be able to make some decisions and be able to tell you where guys are going to fall.”
Chinander mentioned junior defensive lineman Carlos Davis as a standout in the scrimmage. He also praised the play of several members of his linebacker corps, including Mohammed Barry, Dedrick Young, Will Honas, Collin Miller and Luke Gifford. He also talked about bringing in former members of the Blackshirts to connect past Huskers with his defense.
“I’ve said it before, I think the Blackshirts is the greatest tradition in college football,” Chinander said. “Coach McBride started it and we thought it was really important to embrace the past. The bar was set really high when the tradition started. We are not there yet, but we wanted our guys to get a taste of what that standard is and how you’re are supposed to act as a Blackshirt.”
Former Huskers Grant Wistrom and Jason Peter came in last week to address the team. Chinander talked about the atmosphere when these two Blackshirts walked into the room.
“It was an electric atmosphere and the way they were talking and describing things it felt like we were practicing,” Chinander said. “It’s great for our kids to understand that it’s always on the line, whether we’re in the meeting room, lifting or stretching. You could tell when those guys were talking to us that it was on the line for them, and I think that was really cool for our kids to see. The next day we probably had our most impressive practice on defense and guys were flying around. I think that was a direct correlation to the talk that they gave to our defense.”
The Huskers will be back on the practice field on Wednesday morning. Nebraska kicks off its season on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Akron at Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. CT.