You have to feel fortunate to be
3-0 no matter who you are. When you are a team that ranks amongst the worst in
the country in offense, if you are 3-0, you have to feel darn lucky.
It’s doubtful the staff will
admit to feeling lucky, because they have a defense that is dominating perhaps
more than the offense is struggling right now.
The staff hit the field, meeting
rooms and film room to see if they could get those kinks worked out during this
off-week as they get ready to open conference play. “We reviewed the objectives
today as a staff, and everything we set out to do in terms of improving
ourselves fundamentally, we accomplished that,” head coach Bill Callahan said.
“Every drill we set up to that end, we completed.”
That’s a lot of work to get done
in just a week, the Huskers trying to correct a bevy of problems that have
plagued an offense that has been outscored by their cohorts on the defensive
side. From a poor third down conversion rate, to completion percentage to
protecting the QB, there wasn’t a lack of things to do.
Coach Callahan realized this as
did everyone else, so it was pick each aspect apart and see just how much they
could fix. “We worked on a lot of third down,” Callahan said. “(and) I really
thought we took a step in our pass-protection today. That was positive against
“That was huge and as long as we
can answer the blitz question and get better against the blitz, I feel that
we’ll have success. But, we’ll have to do a better job in that category.”
The head coach is referring to
the seven sacks given up by the offensive line thus far this year. That compares
to just two given up at this point last year. In addition, Zac Taylor has been
chased out of the pocket three separate times.
All that is a factor against
whoever you play, but with 22nd ranked Iowa State Cyclones soon
coming to town, there’s loads of new ideas on defense to face. “They mix it up,
they do a nice job,” Callahan said of Iowa State utilizing blitzes along presenting a
host of other problems for the offense. “They play a lot of coverages, they like
to play a lot of “zone dogs”. A year ago they gave us a lot of heat up
“They will mix it up externally,
internally, they have a very good core of linebackers that they bring and they
mix the coverages; man and zone up with it. And they will bring the perimeter
blitz, the safeties or the corners, so they will bring a full repertoire.”
“They make you play alert and
they force you to pick up, so our protection will be tested.”
The offensive line will get a
little more help, redshirt freshman Lydon Murtha expected to see even more duty
than he did against Pitt, Murtha taking a reported 12 snaps during the game.
Over the course of practices in the last week, Murtha said that he’s been
trading reps with fellow left tackle Cornealius Thomas-Fuamatu, 2 reps each,
alternating throughout the session.
On the defensive side, the team
can expect a little more help as coach Callahan indicated that Zack Bowman
should be ready for the Iowa State game as will linebacker Lance Brandenburgh, who’s been sidelined since before the start of the season.
On the negative side, true
freshman defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will be out for an estimated two weeks,
Suh having undergone arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday. While Callahan
couldn’t give an exact date for his return, Suh’s quick recovery just hours
after surgery has him optimistic. “A few hours after surgery, he was walking
into the football office with no crutches,” Callahan said. “So, I was optimistic
Nebraska will take the next two days off, the players out
on their own for the first time since before Fall camp began and many will be
taking in the Iowa
State game this weekend, as
the Cyclones face Army. As for Callahan, he said he would be taking the game in
and relaxing or at least, relaxing for him.
“Yeah, I will be
Nebraska resumes practice Sunday
Make sure to check out our latest
edition of Sound Bytes as we give you the FULL
post-practice interview with head coach Bill Callahan, plus
one-on-ones with offensive tackle - Lydon
Murtha, defensive end – Jay Moore and defensive tackle
Le Kevin Smith.