Outside linebacker JoJo Domann is not currently part of the Huskers’ 110-man roster for fall camp, according to outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt. He is not expected back in Lincoln until later this week.
Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander spoke about Domann after Monday’s practice, sharing what makes the junior so important to the defense.
“I think JoJo can do a lot of jobs. Last year, he kind of had to play that nickel position and now he’s 225-230 pounds, so I think he can play some true base outside linebacker,” Chinander said. “So he can allow us to get in a lot of packages because he hasn’t lost his cover abilities. You don’t always have to sub with him. You can get 4-down, 3-down, you can get into 2-down with him. You can blitz him, you can cover with him. He gives you a lot of flexibility in a lot of the schemes we want to run.”
With that said, Domann has not yet been cleared for fall camp. He was absent from Nebraska’s Fan Day last week, which prompted the questions about his current place on the 110 roster. From what’s been said, he’s currently recovering from an injury.
“If you’re not healthy you can’t play and you can’t help us,” Chinander said. “Keeping him healthy is probably No. 1 right now.”
Other news and notes:
>> Jackson Hannah is making early moves in camp, but he’s still learning all the physical habits position coach Barrett Ruud wants him to have. Ruud said inside backer is just a hard position to come in and play right away as a freshman. When asked who’s standing out in their group, Collin Miller mentioned Hannah, walk-on and Lincoln-native Luke Reimer and York product Garrett Snodgrass. Miller cited the work ethic for the three guys being the main reason they’ve been able to come in and make noise early.
Chinander also credited Miller for looking bigger this fall.
>> Nebraska has a few young defensive backs on its roster, specifically Quinton Newsome, Noa Pola-Gates, Myles Farmer and Javin Wright. Chinander feels good about those four after the first few practices and expects them to make early impacts on the team, even if he’s not yet sure where.
"Four days in, those guys have done some really, really good things," he said. "Now I think they've hit the rookie wall a little bit. You know, practicing like we practice and lifting and all that kind of thing, they might be getting a little heavy legged but I like where they're at. I think those guys are really good players and definitely going to help on special teams, and I hope some of them can help us on base defense or nickel defense or dime defense."
>> Which offensive players have been the most “problematic” for the defense? Chinander quickly credited quarterback Adrian Martinez, but also mentioned Wan’Dale Robinson as a “special player.”
With that said, Chinander was also clear that a lot of the skill position players “look really good.”
>> When it comes to where the Nebraska defense is at the start of fall camp this year versus last year, Chinander is pleased with the progress the Huskers have made.
"I think they picked up where they left off," Chinander said. "A lot of retention from the older guys, installs come a lot faster than last year. Interesting for me, kind of a different install. Kind of an older guy install and a younger guy install because there's so much retention because the kids worked so hard in the summer, but the effort has been awesome, communication has been awesome. Just their understanding of what we're trying to do has been really, really good."
He also credited the communication as a big improvement year-over-year, and said he can see a big difference in size and strength with the group.
>> It’s a big deal for Nebraska to have Dewitt back at practice, and Chinander expressed his happiness to have his outside linebackers coach back at it after a cancer scare this offseason.
“You don’t know what you have until you don’t have it anymore,” Chinander said.
>> Has the leadership improved for the Nebraska defense since last season? Yes, but the “followership” has too.
"I think sometimes you have great leaders and you have bad followers behind them,” Chinander said. “Right now we have really good followers and really good leaders. If it's a leader that's talking, people are listening, and if it's another guy that may not be a leader that's talking people are listening, and if it's another guy that maybe not be a leader talking, even the leaders are even listening.”
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.