Here are some quick takes and reactions following Tuesday’s Nebraska football post-practice availability.
Chinander takes a non-cermonial approach with the Blackshirts
There were no social media posts or graphics this week when Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander handed out the Blackshirts to his guys on Monday.
Instead, a few astute Husker fans picked up on the Blackshirts being handed out this week by seeing it on an Instagram story post. (Very little gets by Nebraska fan social media detectives.)
You get the sense this is the way Chinander wants to operate when it comes to the Blackshirts going forward.
It doesn’t need to be a big Twitter or message board debate on who got a Blackshirt and how many were handed out. In fact, Chinander wouldn’t even share that number on Tuesday.
I think he wants to make the handing out of the Blackshirts more business as usual going forward as we saw on Monday. It shouldn’t be a big ceremony every year when they get handed out. I think honestly that’s why it’s become an issue. Bo Pelini made the handing out of the Blackshirts based on performance vs. how the tradition was first started – to recognize the starting defense in practice.
The bottom line is Nebraska’s starting defense should have Blackshirts on in practice. That is what the tradition is down to its core.
Penn State may be the most athletic defense Nebraska sees all year
Judging by the tone of Nebraska fans in our Tuesday RSS chat, it almost felt like Nebraska lost the game on Saturday to Penn State.
The Nittany Lions gave the Huskers plenty of problems this past Saturday, particularly at the line of scrimmage.
I thought it was very interesting though to hear tight ends coach Sean Beckton say PSU was the most athletic defensive front the Huskers have seen all season – and that includes Ohio State.
If you think about, the Huskers have seen three very good defenses over the first four weeks. Odds are they won’t see a unit with anywhere close to the star power of PSU or OSU, or the discipline of Northwestern’s.
It will be interesting how NU’s offense will look going forward when they start to see Big Ten defenses that don’t quite have the overall talent level on the field we saw a week ago.
NU’s 2-4-5 nickel package has gotten a ton of mileage
Over the first three games, we’ve seen a completely revamped nickel package from defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.
The Huskers have gone to a 2-4-5 type look now, where they sub out a defensive lineman for an outside linebacker, then sub out an inside linebacker for another outside linebacker that can rush the passer. They move JoJo Domann to more of a nickel, and this has become their most effective scheme thus far this season.
Chinander has gotten much more creative with his package in order to match-up better and improve NU’s pass rush – which has been very inconsistent the past two seasons.
Chinander said what they are doing is something you see a lot of SEC teams do to try and get a better pass rush.
Husker nation some through for Connor Culp
The minute Nebraska kicker Connor Culp tweeted about his truck getting stolen from the Cornhusker Hotel on Saturday, you knew this probably wasn’t going to end well for the thieves.
Culp’s Tweet immediately got shared and engaged by thousands, and within 24 hours his truck was found.
What I also found interesting is Culp’s previous Tweet was last made on Nov. 10 of 2017. He’s a pretty low-key guy by nature, but in this case, he wasn’t afraid to reach out to his new fan base for help.
Meanwhile, on the field, Culp has been a big upgrade from a year ago, as he’s been nearly perfect on his field goals and he does a nice job of hanging his kickoffs up in the air to bait the return man to take it out, which twice led to Penn State starting inside their own 25-yard line.