The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours on Tuesday in full pads and helmets splitting time between the Hawks Championship Center and the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields.
Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander addressed the media after practice and discussed his unit’s difficulty on getting off the field on third-and-long situations.
"Third and long. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me but we have way too many penalties, way too many rush lane errors, way too many busted coverage. That about sums it up,” Chinander said. “I think I read somewhere, and you guys (the media) know better than I do, but however many, I think there were like four penalties where we would have gotten off the field, two of them which negated turnovers. There's four times we let the quarterback out of the pocket which is directly attributed to rush lanes, and then there was some missed assignments that you guys don't see in the paper but most of it's that. Couple times there's a good quarterback, good receivers, they makes plays but a lot of it is directly related to us. We can't get out of our own way right now."
Chinander also talked about the challenge No. 19 Wisconsin will present on Saturday.
"They have a really good coaching staff and a championship attitude on their team,” Chinander said before turning his attention back to his team. “We are not a disciplined team right now, plain and simple. We bust (assignments) too much, we have too many penalties period, and I told the kids, your job is you need to execute better. You need to play harder. I need to coach you better and I need to love you harder. Sometimes loving you harder is hugging you and telling you how nice you are, other times it's putting my foot in your rear end and telling you the truth.
“So we need to get some things fixed. We're getting there but this is not an overnight process. I know everybody wants us to win right now and win big. It's just not where it is right now and we need to get to the discipline (level) of Wisconsin. We need to get the championship attitude that they have, the championship discipline that they have, the championship mentality that they have."
Chinander was also asked about how injuries – like those to linebacker Will Honas and nose guard Mick Stolenberg – can affect the defense.
"I think media, fans, look at it like, ‘somebody's out, what added pressure’. I look at it as ‘next guy up’. We practice a lot of guys, we get a lot of reps, ‘next guy up,’ ‘let's go’. Those guys aren't going to be seniors forever. That next guy's going to have to play eventually whether that's next year, whether it's two years down the road, whether it's next rep so ‘next guy up’. ‘Let's roll.’"
The Huskers will be back on the practice field on Wednesday morning. Nebraska faces off against Wisconsin on Saturday, in Madison, Wisconsin at 6:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on BTN.