Preview 2018: Nebraska Cornhuskers. It's On, But Be Patient

Preview 2018: Nebraska Cornhuskers. It's On, But Be Patient

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Nebraska Cornhuskers. It's On, But Be Patient

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What You Need To Know About The Nebraska Defense

– Okay, Erik Chinander, good luck with this. The former UCF defensive coordinator is taking on the same gig with Scott Frost at Nebraska, and now it’s up to him to transfer the Big Ten’s worst defense into something passable.

The pass rush was non-existent at times for a D that had the second-fewest tackles for loss in college football. There weren’t any takeaways, there weren’t enough third down stops, the run defense was a mess and the secondary struggled, finishing dead last in pass efficiency defense. Besides that, everything was great.

12 of the top 15 tacklers are back, but it all starts with a pass rush that generated just 14 sacks – five of them against Illinois.

– The line is one of the team’s deepest areas. There might not be a sure-thing playmaker in the backfield, but at least there’s size.

Freedom Akinmoladun and Carlos Davis are tackle-sized linemen playing on the end, and 6-5, 305-pound Mick Stoltenberg is a big body on the nose. If Utah grad transfer Vaha Vainuku is healthy and can produce again after missing a year, the interior should quickly rise up and rock.

The plays behind the line have to come from the linebacking corps, with a decent rotation on the outside and leading returning tackler Dedrick Young needing to hold up on the inside. The Husker linebackers all look the part with the right size, but now they all have to move.

– Give the secondary a wee bit of a pass – it got no help whatsoever from the pass rush. However, the defensive backs came up with just five interceptions last season, and none came from the corners. Aaron Williams is back at one safety spot after finishing fourth on the team with 48 tackles, and Lamar Jackson is a 6-3, 210-pound free safety-sized defender playing corner.

Biggest Key To The Nebraska Defense

Pressure, pressure, pressure. Nebraska came up with just 44 tackles for loss last season, and 26 of those came in four games. There was nothing happening in the backfield most of the time, and the problems trickled down from there. By comparison, UCF generated 77 tackles for loss, and just two years earlier, the Huskers cranked up 72 plays behind the line.

The lack of pressure across the board meant no takeaways – just 12 total on the year with a mere three fumble recoveries – and games getting out of hand at times late in the year.

NEXT: Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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