Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Husker Defense Shifts Focus to Wildcats

By NU Athletic Communications

LINCOLN, Neb. - The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours on Tuesday in full pads and helmets inside the Hawks Championship Center.

Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander spoke to the media following practice and addressed some of the struggles the Huskers faced last week at Wisconsin.

"We were playing decent early and then we kind of got worn down as the subs came in," Chinander said. "We've had some injuries and attrition on the team. We're lacking a little depth right now so we need to find some guys that can step up and do that, but that's not an excuse. We need to coach them better and get some guys ready."

Chinander went on to talk about the physicality of the team and the need to continue to improve.

"I don't have concerns for our team going forward, but we have a long ways to go football-wise and strength and conditioning-wise," Chinander said. "If we're going to catch up and be able to beat teams like Wisconsin and Michigan and teams that are going to be physical and run the ball, we have a long ways to go in all those aspects."

Chinander also talked about the importance of creating more takeaways.

"Right now, we're OK with knocking balls down," Chinander said. "We're celebrating after a knockdown pass. Passes are supposed to get knocked down and supposed to get intercepted. Eventually we've got to be disappointed with a knockdown and mad that we didn't get the pick. We've got to do a better job of stripping the ball. A lack of speed and getting more people to the ball is really what's [not] causing turnovers, and we need to fix that."

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game at Northwestern, Chinander said the defense will face an entirely different Wildcat offense than the one the Huskers saw at Wisconsin.

"They probably couldn't be much more different," Chinander said of comparing the Wisconsin and Northwestern offenses. "Wisconsin is going to line up, beat people, pound it and throw it 10 times a game while Northwestern is going to throw it a lot more and use the run as the change-up. They've had to kind of do running back by committee, and they've done a good job with their scheme.”

The Huskers will be back on the practice field on Wednesday morning. Nebraska faces off against Northwestern on Saturday in Evanston, Illinois at 11 a.m. (CT). The game will be televised on ABC.

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