Blackshirts look to stay intense, offense looking to pick up slack against Purdue
LINCOLN, Neb - As the Huskers prepare for Purdue, it’s yet another week where they see themselves short-handed due to injuries, primarily on offense.
With two lineman out for the year in Ethan Piper and Turner Corcoran, plus, another wide receiver in Billy Kemp IV out for several weeks, Nebraska faces another challenge, BUT, injuries or not, one thing offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield says has to improve, is ball security.
“It’s terrible, the amount of times the ball is on the ground right now,” Satterfield said. “With a defense like ours, if we can just win the turnover margin you’ve got a chance to win some games.”\
While Satterfield would like to see more from the offense, that’s not to say they still haven’t helped out their defense. In the 17-9 win against Northwestern, the Blackshirts totaled eight sacks and held an opponent to less than 100 rushing yards for the sixth time this season. One of the keys? For Tony White, facing Nebraska’s offensive line in practice.
“There’s a reason they’re able to run for 100 yards a game and why we’re able to play good enough run defense,” White said. “They prepares us, they sharpened us. And hopefully as we continue to play well, it’s because of them.”
A part of that effort for Nebraska was defensive lineman James Williams. He recorded a major sack in the fourth quarter, and Quniton Newsome and Ty Robinson say they were happy for him, but also not surprised.
“James was on scout team a couple weeks ago, but he goes out and makes plays on the D-Line when we need him to,” Newsome said. “We don’t really have 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, we just put whoever out on the field.”
“It just puts the biggest smile on my face, we literally called him sack man throughout fall camp,” Robinson said. “He’s able to bend the corner, get by guys, has great pad level… We’ve got to work on his celebration a bit, but he’s got some time.”
Offensively, Nebraska will look for a better week then against the Wildcats. Quarterback Heinirhc Haarberg threw two interceptions in the first quarter, but Marcus Satterfield says, they never thought about taking him out.
“We just discussed ‘what can we do to get you in rhythm’,” Satterfield said. “Like any quarterback, they just need one play to get them back in tune and back on track.”
Purdue’s defense sits 13th in Big Ten and Haarberg says they appear similar to Illinois, a team Nebraska beat just a few weeks back.
“It’s another shot at an Illinois type defense,” Haarberg said. “We had a lot of small things in that game down in the red zone, so we need to execute every play this week.
Saturday will be the second straight season where Ryan Walters will face Nebraska, having served as the Illinois Defensive Coordinator last season. It's been a trial by fire year for the Boilermakers' first year head coach as Purdue has faced five power five opponents in their first six games.
Nebraska and Purdue kick off Saturday at 2:30 p.m. central time on FS1.