Will Honas was unavailable to Nebraska Saturday against Northwestern. Though inside linebacker coach Barrett Ruud would like to have a rotation for his two spots, Nebraska again played with only two guys for the vast majority of the game.
Two weeks ago against Ohio State, Honas paired with Collin Miller because sophomore Luke Reimer was home nursing an injury. This week, Reimer was the guy in place of Honas.
Honas might not get his job back.
It took Reimer two plays to make his presence felt against the Wildcats, waiting for a run to develop and then shooting the gap to stand up Kyric McGowan at the line of scrimmage. A drive later, he and redshirt freshman d-lineman Ty Robinson blew up a third-and-3 swing pass. On Northwestern’s last possession of the first half, Reimer recorded a strip sack that cost the Wildcats eight yards.
His first career start ended with a team-best 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
“I missed Game 1 against Ohio State with an ankle injury but it felt good to get out there,” he said after. “Wish we came away with a win but it felt good for me to just get the nerves out a little bit on that first drive. It felt good.”
Throughout fall camp, Nebraska coaches raved about Reimer. He was placed on scholarship and dubbed one of the most athletic Huskers on the roster. As the spring turned to summer and the summer to fall, Ruud just kept heaping praise onto Reimer.
It might have been tough for the Lincoln native to live up to the billing.
Turns out, not so much. Reimer was everywhere, sticking to pass-catchers in coverage on a couple occasions and shooting gaps to apply pressure to quarterback Peyton Ramsey. He got caught out of position a few times, but such is the case when you’re inexperienced. Reimer will grow.
“We’ve known since early on when Luke got to campus what kind of player we had there and it doesn’t surprise me,” head coach Scott Frost said. “He’s going to make a lot of plays at Nebraska before he’s done.”
Another Luke, former Husker and current Dallas Cowboy Luke Gifford was impressed, too.
Luke is an NFL linebacker… no doubt about it
— Luke Gifford (@luke_gifford) November 7, 2020
Reimer after the game was more interested in talking about the team’s goal.
“There’s always stuff to improve on. I missed a couple plays I should have made,” he said. “We just need to win games. Plain and simple. It hurts right now. There are always things to improve on. We will be better.”
But, defensively, Nebraska was pretty good against Northwestern. It played well enough to win. The Wildcats earned 80 yards on their opening drive, a possession that spanned seven plays, but then were stymied for the rest of the first half.
The Blackshirts yielded a total of 54 yards on the next 24 plays, forced three three-and-outs, and picked off Ramsey twice.
“Our defense played their butt off,” Frost said. “Other than giving up a punt return and kick return and short fields, I thought the defense played really well. They created two turnovers that got us (10) points.”
Expect Reimer to continue to be a key piece for that unit going forward.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.