The Husker defense is looking ahead to this Saturday's matchup with Northern Illinois. Nebraska Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander spoke with the media, after the Tuesday morning practice.
Coach Chinander said: "It's a really good football team, experienced line up front. They have a receiver No. 14 (Spencer Tears) that makes some really good catches, and a junior college transfer No. 3 (Tyrice Richie) that can really run and a grad transfer quarterback (Ross Bowers). So they have a good football team and I think their offensive coordinator (Eric Eidsness) does a good job. We watched film from when he was at South Dakota State and they did a lot of nice things on film."
Coach Chinander also looked back at the 34-31 overtime loss to Colorado last Saturday.
Chinander said: "Especially in the first half, the first three quarters, you take the ball away, you get a lot of TFLs and you sack the quarterback, zero points on the board is probably the best stat. A lot of good takeaways and you just have to find a way to keep doing it. Maybe we need to get some more guys ready. I take the blame. I have to get those guys ready to play four quarters. I've got to get more guys ready if those guys get gassed so we can get them in the game, but we've got to finish."
Chinander says the Huskers are developing depth on defense.
Chinander said: "I think the depth is good, defensive line is good, linebackers we're rolling three. With Deontai [Williams] going down, it's a little thin in the back end, especially with a couple of those guys. Lamar [Jackson] had some cramping issues. Marquel [Dismuke] went down for a series. So the issue there is, you're cross training guys to play so many positions and I don't know if that has a little bit to do with them not knowing exactly what to do at crucial moments in the game, but we've got to get that fixed. I've got to find a way."
The Huskers have lost five of their last six games that have been decided by 7 points or less,
Chinander said: "Coach Frost puts us in situations in practice, that's great, but it takes being in live bullets and you'd like to come out on top of them. Sometimes you don't and you learn. Sometimes we have to do things differently as coaches. Sometimes I have to manage the game better on defense. Sometimes I have to put the guys in a safer position because they're not as experienced. You can't gamble with some of those kids as much as you can with guys that are really experienced and have been in the system a little longer. I think those live situations help you grow, win or lose. I'd love to win them absolutely, but it's going to help us."
Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Memorial Stadium with television coverage provided by FS1.