Nugent: Huskers should run first, ask questions later
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The idea of running the ball over and over is nothing new, but for good reason I bet both the Huskers and Buckeyes will be using the same strategy.
For Nebraska, it’s the best way to use a line that returns every starter for the first time since the mid 60′s. Doesn’t mean all five starters last year will start this year, and even better you hope not. That means somebody like Bryce Benhart beat someone out. Instantly makes the line better.
There’s more reason for the Huskers to focus on the ground game, how good is the receiving corps outside of Wan’Dale Robinson? I guarantee Ohio State is asking the same question which means they’ll probably roll coverages toward the electric sophomore receiver and make the rest of the younger, newer receivers prove themselves.
Also if Ohio State has a weakness it’s probably defensively, only four starters are back. Including just three in the front seven, that also means there’s only one starter back in the secondary. Still doesn’t mean you sling it all day. With what Nebraska has up front it can set itself up, using an experienced line run blocking a mostly inexperienced front seven. When the Huskers throw you’re basically looking at inexperienced receivers trying to separate against inexperienced defensive backs. It feels like a neutral situation.
Also important to consider Ohio State has the type of talent that can makeup for a lack of experience. There’s going to be a lot to learn Saturday.
On the flip side, the Huskers defensively are stronger in the back half of their defense, the secondary. To their credit they are big up front, but are also replacing three defensive tackles who today are on active NFL rosters. Those guys last year, who were NFL caliber lineman, gave up 368 rushing yards to Ohio State. Why would the Buckeyes think twice about a heavy dose of throwing the ball? Run first, mix in some passes, go from there.
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