Lincoln, Neb. — The Nebraska football team practiced for two hours with helmets and shoulder pads on Tuesday evening, splitting time between the Hawks Championship Center and the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields.
Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco spoke with media after Tuesday’s practice in preparation for Saturday’s game against No. 9 Ohio State. Coach Diaco talked about the biggest challenges the Huskers face against an Urban Meyer-coached offensive
“With as long as Coach Meyer has been doing it, and since Bowling Green, it has been his offense,” Diaco said. “He was one of founding fathers of spread (offense) before it was called the spread offense. I referred to it In the write up to our players not as a spread offense, but the spread offense, and I did it purposefully. They have really talented offensive players, a veteran offensive line that is long and athletic. They have a senior quarterback who just runs their offense with great efficiency. He feels he is an extension of the coaching staff out there, and they feel that way about him. He protects the ball, protects he plays and protects the edges. He just does a really nice job with working that offense. You have to defend all 53 and a third (yards). They create a lot of space, get the ball quickly to them and those guys do their thing.”
Coach Diaco also discussed a significant key to slowing down an Ohio State offense which is in the top-20 nationally in both passing and rushing offense.
“I think eye discipline and systematic clarity. I think that’s a big deal.” Diaco said. “Not trying to throw a bunch of stuff at things, but that the players know their job on each down because you need to have the dive and alley and the forced defend on every down. With their ability to throw the ball down the field as it looks like runs, that is be the next element. So, the defensive backs have to have clean eyes and be on their work as it relates to receivers. The front needs to be on their work as it relates to dive, alley and force.”
Diaco also talked about what makes Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins such a big threat. Dobbins has rushed for 669 yards and average 7.6 yards per attempt as a true freshman.
“He has elite start-stop speed,” Diaco said. “He is a jump-cut runner who can accelerate and get to full speed quickly. Some runner have building speed, some make people miss with quick cuts and some run people over. He (Dobbins) can do that, but he has great start-stop speed and contact balance.”
The Huskers will continue to prepare for the Buckeyes on Wednesday. Kickoff on Saturday is set for 6:30 p.m.