Nebraska Cornhuskers College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense desperately needs difference-makers. It has experience – nine starters are expected to be back – and it has some strong talents.
Be shocked if this isn’t the best D in the Scott Frost era. Last year it allowed a not-that-bad 387 yards and 29 points per game – the 3-5 record was more on the offensive side.
The pass rush wasn’t great, but the line generated pressure into the backfield. The run defense was just okay, but there weren’t enough takeaways. All of that should should change for the better.
– The defensive line has live bodies to use in a good rotation. 6-5, 295-pound Ben Stille is one of the team’s best players, but he’s not really a pass rusher.
However, Stille’s a strong force on the end in the 3-4, 310-pound Ty Robinson is growing into tough guy against the run, and 335-pound Damion Daniels is a big body on the nose. Start with those three, and there’s plenty of depth to rotate in.
– The linebacking corps doesn’t have any sure-thing all-stars other than JoJo Domann, but it’s got plenty of returning production starting with second-leading tackler Will Honas – he also tied for the team lead in tackles for loss – to go along with veterans Luke Reimer and Garrett Nelson.
Domann didn’t do a whole lot to get to the quarterback last year, but he led the team with 58 stops in his hybrid outside linebacker gig.
– The pass defense was roasted just enough to be a problem. Nebraska was able to get by Purdue despite being ripped up, but Justin Fields went 20-of-21, Illinois won hitting 72% of its passes, and there were just five picks.
Corner Dicaprio Bootie left, but the safety situation is potentially outstanding with Deontai Williams and Marquel Dismuke two super-seniors who combined for 108 tackles.
The corner situation is interesting with a slew of tall options – 6-4 Braxton Clark is like a safety working outside – to go along with veteran Cam Taylor-Britt.