New faces will need to emerge for the Nebraska defensive line this year. It's a requirement for the team to continue moving the defense forward. The Huskers lost three starters from last year’s group. Carlos and Kahlil Davis, as well as Darrion Daniels, are now all on NFL rosters leaving a void to be filled.
Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti has a lot of bodies in his room to look toward. Ben Stille, Damion Daniels and Deontre Thomas have all played a lot of football for Nebraska. Keem Green, Ty Robinson, Casey Rogers, Tate Wildeman, Mosai Newsom and Colton Feist have been in the program hoping to make a move. Newcomers Jordon Riley, Nash Hutmacher and Marquis Black hope they don’t have to wait long to make an impact.
“Right now, for me, it’s just about trying to find the right combination of guys who can play together,” Tuioti recently said.
With so much competition to get on the field players have to stay sharp. Everyone worked hard in the offseason with strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval. That’s not the only way to get better though.
Last week redshirt freshman defensive lineman Ty Robinson mentioned his film study sessions. The rapidly rising player has been doing those with the veteran Stille.
Stille talked about the nature of those film sessions with his younger teammates on Tuesday.
“It’s usually me, Ty and Casey Rogers in there. Tate Wildeman and Colton Feist too,” Stille said. “I just tell them a lot of pre-snap stuff. What they should be thinking in their head play wise. The demeanor of the offensive lineman. Trying to get little tips. Just verbal cues the offense is giving. Signals and any of that stuff that I can put in their head so they can play faster.”
For Stille, these sessions are invaluable. It helps young players like Robinson who he described as “good as advertised.”
“So, it’s really just about helping them to recognize what’s in front of them so they can play even faster,” he said. “They are great. They take all the constructive criticism. It’s not easy to go in every day and have someone critiquing you. Me along with coach T [Tuioti], [defensive coordinator Erik Chinander] Chins and all those people. It’s just another person added to it. They take it and take it well.
“Anything those guys can do to get better they cherish that.”
This is a really a good sign for the present and future of the program. Having players eager to learn from veteran players is the mark of good culture. Having a veteran player who is willing to do it, plus many young players wanting to learn, is something found on good teams. We have also heard talk like this from the defensive backs and inside linebackers. Each group has a blend of older and younger players.
This will help the team on the field but chemistry within the team seems to be building. Scott Frost has to like the sound of having veteran players to pass down good habits as the team moves into Year 3 with him.