Nebraska readies for Hoosiers by making defensive practice changes, ‘blocking out noise’
LINCOLN - Nebraska is coming off a bye week in which interim head coach Mickey Joseph was on the road recruiting, while his team was able to do some reflecting on the first four games and get some much needed rest. Now, the Huskers are back to work, preparing for Saturday night’s homecoming tilt with Indiana. One of the major themes this week, Bill Busch taking over as defensive coordinator.
Joseph says there’s been some changes for the defense in practice.
“We eliminated some things we did in the past,” Joseph said. “Bill’s not out there alone, the D-Line coach, the linebacker coach, and secondary coach are all working together. Bill’s a really good coach, he knows what I want, I saw him in action at LSU with Dave Aranda, so he knows what I want, and he knows what he’s doing.”
One of the biggest issues for the Blackshirts is Nebraska’s inability to stop the run, allowing 147 yards per game on the ground. For defensive lineman Colton Feist explained what the defense has seen in film sessions.
“It’s not been what we’ve wanted it to be,” Feist said. “When you look at it, it’s usually just one person out of their gap, one person did something wrong… We just need to tighten up and do our own job. If we tighten up and do our own job, everything will work out perfect for us.”
Even with eight games remaining on the schedule, there’s a healthy dose of rumors and chatter surrounding who could be Nebraska’s next head coach. Joseph says the team isn’t paying attention to the noise, but remains focused on winning the rest of the way.
“We’re not going to worry about who the search firm is talking to,” Joseph said. “Nebraska deserves to have a national search. Our interview is right now… these next eight games, that’s our interview. We can’t do anything about that and we also talked to them [players] about controlling what you can control. We can’t control that, so we’re going to block out the noise, and focus on Indiana.”
For players like Marques Buford, a simple way to do that, is not looking at social media.
“I don’t have any social media notifications on my phone,” Buford said. “That’s what I do to stay away from all the stuff. It’s not like everybody’s calling our phones or texting us, it’s really just, if you want to see it, you’ll see it… if you don’t you don’t.”
Joseph also says one element that could help Nebraska to a win on Saturday, is a big play from special teams.
“We have to hold up on the outside and force the return… We need one of those special teams to make a big play,” Joseph said. “And we challenged them with that.”
Nebraska also has a few changes on the offensive line as Turner Corcoran shifts to left tackle, and Ethan Piper to left guard. Additionally, Gabe Ervin. Jr. will become the second string running back in the place of freshman Ajay Allen who’s out for the year with a broken collarbone.
Nebraska’s tilt with Indiana kicks off at 6:30 pm on Saturday.