Nebraska Defense Faces Third Down Woes Against Indiana
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Defense Faces Third Down Woes Against Indiana

October 29, 2019

Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander was clear following Tuesday’s practice that there were plenty of things that were cause for concern in Nebraska’s 38-31 loss to Indiana. One of those things was third downs.
"The problem was very clear: we didn't get off the field on third down," Chinander said. "We had a lot of chances. I want to say that 100% of the drives that they scored on, we had them in a third-and-medium or a third-and-long. We had a couple bad techniques, a couple of bad errors, but we didn't get off the field on third down. That's it.

“We did a good job [against the run]. We did a good job on second [down]. We couldn't get off the field on third down."

Part of the issue for Chinander was that Nebraska’s worst practice of last week was Wednesday. And of all days, Wednesday was the day to focus on third down. Senior linebacker Mohamed Barry shared the same sentiment on Monday.

“We practiced real good first and second down throughout the week, Monday and Tuesday were really good practices, so we did well on first and second down in the game,” Barry said. “Wednesday practice, which is our third-down day, wasn’t good and we didn’t do well on third down during the game.

“It’s up to the players. You can’t put all the onus on the coordinator. We have to go out there and execute.”

More news and notes:

>> Chinander commented on the praise he received from Coach Scott Frost on Monday.

"I love football. I love Nebraska, and I love these kids,” Chinander said. “I'm going to coach them as hard as I freaking can for as long as I'm here, and I hope that's for a really long time. This program is going to be really good. We have to find a way to make it better. There is no such thing as a quick fix. I know everybody wants it. I want it. The players want it. That's not realistic. We have to build this program to where Coach Frost wants it. If that happens in the next four games, great. If that happens next year, that's probably not good enough for everybody, but we're going to keep pushing until we do it.

“There isn't one person in this building that doesn't love Nebraska."
>> What does Chinander expect from Purdue?
"In the run game, they do a lot of things to get a lot of different groupings in there," he said "They are going to do many things to try to run the football. They have done a good job of finding many ways to run the football. They haven't had a ton of success. Some of that stems from that they're really good at creating formations to get you in a disadvantage passing."

He also said Nebraska will have to be ready for wide receiver Rondale Moore. It’s unclear if Moore will be available for Purdue at this time.

>> Quarterback Adrian Martinez has been out for four weeks now, which he said is beneficial to his health.

“There’s no doubt it helped,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m not happy about sitting out and being hurt. There is something to gain. It’s allowed my body to recover. I’m back and ready to go. I feel my arm is juiced up. Everything is recuperated I’m ready to be back and fired up.”

While he still has a brace on his left leg, Martinez doesn’t seem to think anything is holding him back from playing at this point.

“You know, I feel physically ready and expect to go.”

>> How’s the health of backup quarterback Noah Vedral?

“Imma be alright,” he said.

>> Vedral also offered his thoughts on the pass from JD Spielman.

“The picture I saw it looked a lot closer than it felt,” Vedral said. “When it was in the air, I was a little bit like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of out there.’ I sent him a picture of it and was like, ‘Dude I didn’t realize I was this close to dropping it.’ … We’d run it multiple times, I was ready for it. I played free safety for a little while.”

>> Nebraska had a meeting Monday morning, which Ben Stille said was ultimately to clear up some tension from Saturday around the mistakes that were made.

“There was definitely some tension on the sideline during the game, so it definitely just addressed the elephant in the room,” he said. “I think it really made a lot of people feel a lot better after that.”

Still also spoke about Nebraska’s goal to get to a bowl game.

“That’s what everyone’s going for,” Stille said. “That’s the most immediate and attainable goal for us. That’s what everyone’s playing for right now. Not being to one in two years is motivating us.”

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