Husker Defense Prepares for Illinois

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The Nebraska football team worked out in full pads for just over two hours on Tuesday, splitting time between the Hawks Championship Center and the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields.

Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander addressed the media after practice, talking about what the defense is expecting from Illinois’ offense on Saturday.

“They have some speed on offense,” Chinander said. “No. 2 [running back Reggie Corbin] is obviously a very dynamic back, a lot of cutback yardage. Their other running back has been almost as good, not quite as good. [Quarterback AJ] Bush [Jr.] can run it himself. So, [there are] a lot of triple option elements involved in that offense and I think they are doing a really good job in their running game.”

Chinander also talked about the defense’s mentality at this point in the season.

“[For] most of the guys on this team right now, if I say ‘hey you’re going to play here, we need you to play here’ they say ‘absolutely, I am here for the team, I am ready to go,’” Chinander said. “The culture is changing. There is no magic to this deal. It is just the process that [Head] Coach [Scott] Frost talks about. It is the culture that keeps building and right now the kids are in a really good place. If we need them on special teams, if we need them on a different position in the defense or offense they are willing to help the team.”
Chinander went on to explain why he think the defense is causing so many turnovers.
“It is happening in practice,” Chinander said. “They are taking those drills seriously. If you watch the film from those turnover drills from the beginning of the year, it looks like ‘The Bad News Bears’ running around. Now, it looks like a real football team. It looks like guys are trying to get the football. You can see they are more ball-aware in team settings. They are more ball-aware in individual settings, and obviously they are becoming more ball-aware in the games which is good.”
Chinander also talked about the team’s progress and how he’s looking for them to continue to improve.
“Losing is never acceptable,” Chinander said. “The process for me is that I feel good energy coming into work every day because I see the improvement on a daily basis, but I also feel hungry because we’re not even close. I want the defense to go out and win it. So I feel hungry, I feel good energy, but I also feel like we have a long way to go. Being in position is not good enough. Anyone can be in position. If you want to be great, you have to go get the football.”
The Huskers will host Illinois at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. and the game will be televised on BTN.