4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEBRASKA DEFENSE
– The offense should be sharper, better, and more explosive. Early on, it’ll have to be considering the new parts needing to rise up on the defensive side with five of the top six tacklers gone.
However, the talent level and speed are undergoing an upgrade, and there are some fantastic parts to work around after finishing 12th in the Big Ten allowing 434 yards and 31 points per game. It all starts with …
– The defensive line in the 3-4 should be stronger against the run. 6-3, 320-pound senior Darrion Daniels is transferring in from Oklahoma State and should own the nose as one of the Big Ten’s top tackles. Behind him is “little” brother Damion, a 340-pound sophomore who got his feet wet.
The ends are more like tackles, but 290-pound junior Ben Stille, 310-pound Khalil Davis and twin brother 325-pound Carlos Davis will rotate at one spot.
– The linebackers have decent options around leading tackler Mohamed Barry, who came up with 112 tackles from his spot on the inside. There’s speed in the rotation at one outside spot – 225-pound junior JoJo Domann has a world of pass rushing upside. He’ll work on the other side of 6-5, 255-pound Alex Davis, a senior who has yet to breakout, but has hybrid pass rusher size.
– The Huskers are solid at corner and need new options at safety. The pass defense was okay at times, and it should be fine on the outside with the return of junior Dicaprio Bootle and 6-3, 215-pound senior Lamar Jackson. There’s great size and a whole slew of young options to play around with in the rotation.
JUCO transfer Deontai Williams and junior Marquel Dismuke are solid-sized tacklers taking over the safety gigs, but they have to settle in their roles and the depth needs to be developed.