Erik Chinander talks to press
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Huskers Turn Attention to Illinois Game Prep in Last Week of Fall Camp

August 16, 2021

The Nebraska football team is less than two weeks out from its season-opening matchup with Illinois, which means fall camp has shifted gears. The Huskers are now focused on game install and solidifying the depth chart.

“Those are decisions that will be made this week,” defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said following Monday’s practice. “We need somebody to go out and grab it.”

As Nebraska turns to Illinois prep, the Huskers will also start utilizing the scout team but will continue with “good-on-good” on practice through the week. From there, Nebraska will transition into its top units going against the scout team.

“I think right now the plan is we’re going to stay with some ‘good-on’good’ and then try to help each other out by getting the correct scripts, so we can get some looks at some of the Illinois stuff on both sides of the football,” Chinander said. “Then definitely next week, probably the end of this week we will get true scout team looks.”

As for how much “good-on-good” to expect as Nebraska starts to shift its focus in practice, Chinander provided a little additional insight into how the Huskers will operate going forward.

“I think speed is important,” Chinander said. “If we can work together, which that’s our plan for right now, we can get some of those periods. A lot of people in college football have some carryover on offense and some carryover on defense. Whether that’s coverage or fronts and maybe a few run plays or pass plays, so speed periods are going to be really good. As we get closer, we’re gonna have to move more towards the scout period type things, but we will continue to have good speed periods.”

With a new staff at Illinois, that “good-on-good” could prove valuable for Nebraska as fall camp winds down. With the offense speaking with the media following Wednesday’s practice, we’ll certainly know more from that side’s perspective soon.

More news and notes:

>> The Huskers have a good rotation of three inside linebackers currently with Garrett Snodgrass making a push to get into that conversation. Determining the depth beyond that top group is still fluid at this point.

“Those are the decisions they’re gonna have to be made this week,” Chinander said. “I think right now, the four guys at the top are playing really well. Nick [Henrich], Luke [Reimer], Chris [Kolarevic] and [Garrett] Snodgrass. Then in that next few guys you got Jackson Hannah, Va [Mauga-Clements] and Grant Tagge. “To me, a little bit of that’s going to be determined by special teams. Some of those guys might have to be the next guy up even if they’re neck and neck just because purely they’re on special teams. They’re on the bus so we need to get them reps. So I think that next three is going to shake out here in this week and it’s going to be determined a lot by special teams.”

>> Another position battle that is still ongoing on the defense is at cornerback. Chinander mentioned three key players still battling for the spot opposite Cam Taylor-Britt.

“There are a lot of guys at the top,” Chinander said. “Quinton Newsome, Tyreke Johnson. Braxton Clark. You’re seeing a couple young guys really come on too. Marques Buford does nice things and so has Malik Williams over the over the last week. That position has got to shake out a little bit for us as well. Those top three Braxton, Tyreke and Quinton, they’re all getting reps with the ones right now. So that’s a good competition.”

>> The battles in the trenches this fall camp have been talked about quite a bit by players on the offensive and defensive lines. You can get interesting perspective from one group about the progress of the other. Defensive lineman Ben Stille has seen something in Cam Jurgens that makes him believe Jurgens is playing at another level.”

“Obviously, he transitioned to center close to two or three years ago,” Stille said. “So, it’s really been a learning process. With something like offensive line or defensive line you won’t be at your peak your first couple of years. It takes some learning curve. I think you’re going to see his peak this year. Just as far as his pass sets have been improved tremendously I think. In the run you know what you’re going to get from him. He’s an aggressive guy, strong kid.”

>> Mike Dawson wasn’t ready to say who Nebraska’s starting punter, kickoff specialist or returner will be just yet. Those spots are still up for grabs.

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