If defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and defensive backs coach Travis Fisher had to sit down and develop a two-deep for the defensive backs right now, it wouldn’t be an easy task. That’s a good thing though.
Fisher wants a room of players that can slot in wherever he needs them. He knows injuries and fatigue are always possible over a season, so having a room that can rotate in and out is his goal.
“Four or five guys is not going to be enough for me going into the season,” Fisher said following Friday’s practice. “I’m going to need about, you know, nine or 10 guys that are going to be available to keep guys fresh. I feel like by the end of camp, I should have . . . knock on wood the guys stay healthy, but if I can keep the guys healthy, I think going into the season I should have different groups, different guys I can put in the game to spare guys’ legs and stuff like that and not have issues.”
On the defensive fronts, Nebraska also has depth and pass-rushing options thanks to the addition of TCU transfer Ochaun Mathis. The defensive front is important too in the Big Ten—”I’d put it right at the top of the list,” defensive fronts coach Mike Dawson said—so that depth will play an important role throughout the season.
Could we ever see Mathis, Caleb Tannor and Garrett Nelson on the field at the same time as pass rushers?
“If you’re a good coach, you put your best guys on the field the whole time,” Chinander said. “So if they’re your best pass rushers, you’ve got to get them out there. We’ve already started that talk a little bit. You’ve got to have plan for when they’re all available and you’ve got to have a plan for when they’re not all available, whether it’s somebody’s tired or somebody gets nicked up a little bit.
“But you watch the NFL, there’s so many personnel changes and packages, we’ve got to adapt to that and have some packages as well.”
More news and notes:
>> Travis Fisher said Javin Wright has done a “great job” and that he got an interception on the first day of practice.
Wright has had to deal with significant health problems throughout his career, but he’s back on the field now. Fisher praised his film study habits.
>> The goal for 2022 is clear for Tannor. He said that Nebraska’s goal for the season is to have a top-10 defense.
>> Both Dawson and Ty Robinson praised the growth of walk-on defensive lineman and Yutan native Colton Feist.
“I remember the first day he was here trying to hit the sled and the sled was kind of hitting him back. That is another guy that’s an exceptional worker and he’s worked himself in position to be one of the guys that’s really playing pretty well inside and doing a nice job,” Dawson said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of camp with him and watching him kind of take the final growth in this journey and be an impact player.”
Robinson called him a “sleeper” and said he is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the defensive line room.
>> If Garrett Nelson is the vocal leader of the defensive line room, Robinson said he’s more of the “henchman.”
“I’ll be more like the bodyguard,” Robinson said with a smile.
>> You may have noticed a number of players have shaved their heads for fall camp, including Robinson and Nash Hutmacher. One player who hasn’t is Feist, but that’s only because he has a wedding to attend on Saturday. After that, the hair is gone.
>> We recapped more of what we heard on YouTube. Be sure to check that out below.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.