We came into the 2021 season with an idea that the Nebraska defense could be pretty good with returning “super seniors” and promising young players. The defense has allowed 10 points in the last two games. That will get the job done no matter who the competition is.
The test against Oklahoma in Norman is more daunting. The Sooners offense provides a significant test for the Nebraska defense. But senior defensive back Marquel Dismuke said the Huskers are viewing it as an opportunity.
“I’ve seen a lot of smiles and I’ve seen a lot of people ready. I’ve seen a lot of energy,” Dismuke said. “You get the jitters when you get the opportunity now like we get this weekend. Just to go up there and play one of the top teams, you want to show what you can do.”
Anytime Nebraska gets to go against a big-time opponent it is a chance to impress on the big stage. That stage, however, hasn’t been kind to Nebraska in recent years. Nebraska has lost by an average of 38 points the last two seasons to Ohio State. Still, there is a confidence brewing with Nebraska’s defense. Dismuke believes this is the most confidence he’s seen the defense play with during his time at Nebraska.
“Towards the last end of the season we were getting a lot of three and outs and things like that,” Dismuke said. “The energy on the field when we took the field, we just knew we were going to get off the field. Everybody knew it.
“It’s on the defense as a collective unit. Everybody has to do their job for it to go good on defense. We just trust on each other. We lean on each other and we just believe in each other to get on and off the field.”
Linebacker Chris Kolarevic sees that confidence, too. He thinks playing with that confidence gives you an edge in football. He finds it necessary to be successful. There is more to it than just saying you are confident.
“That’s important to just to be a good defense, you have to have that confidence,” Kolarevic said. That just comes with reps. It comes with doing it every day and practice doing it the right way. It comes from understanding your assignment. Knowing that you can go make that play go and knowing that you can go make every play. You need that to go play football.”
The Huskers will get their opportunity to go play football this weekend. The Sooners have a talented offensive. Coach Lincoln Riley’s team is known for being explosive and it’s the identity of the program. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander is eager to show Nebraska has talent on defense.
“I’m really excited for these kids to go out and show the country that they can play with anybody,” Chinander said. “I don’t care who it’s up against. Oklahoma is really, really good. They’re a really good football team. I haven’t watched their defense much. On offense I know they’re an exceptional football team. But I think that we have exceptional kids too, and I’m excited for this game.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.