In preparation to face Ohio State, the Nebraska defense is keeping a pretty close eye on the Buckeyes’ quarterback J.T. Barrett. Speaking to the media after Tuesday’s practice, the Blackshirts talked about the importance of limiting Barrett and how he reminds them of a certain Husker.
“He’s a real good player,” safety Nathan Gerry said. “I compare him to Tommy [Armstrong]. He can beat you with his feet and he can beat you in the air. Their offense runs through him so if he doesn’t have a good day, the offense doesn’t have a good day. If we can cut the head off the dragon, I think we’ll be alright.”
Safety Aaron Williams agrees.
“When you look at it, he controls the game,” Williams said. “They do a lot of run pass options so he’ll run or he’ll pass so if we can get stop him, we’ve got a good shot.”
As for the comparison to quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr.?
“Coaches compare him to Tommy,” Williams said. “They do have similar playing style because Tommy controls the offense too. He’s the run-pass guy. They’re both mobile. They make plays. They kind of play the same.”
Linebacker Josh Banderas has watched Barrett play before and knows what he’s capable of. As a result, he’s working hard alongside his teammates to try and contain Barrett as much as possible on Saturday.
“You watch him all year and you watch him in past years, the dude is just a gamer,” Banderas said. “He makes unorthodox plays and makes the plays he’s supposed to make. He’s big and he’s fast and he’s quick. It’s going to be a challenge just to contain him and keep him at bay but we’re up to the task and I know we have a good game plan going.”
More news and notes from Tuesday’s practice:
>> What keeps defensive backs coach Brian Stewart up at night? The chance that Barrett starts connecting on his downfield passes (https://hailvarsity.com/s/354/blackshirts-set-on-keeping-buckeyes-big-pass-plays-to-a-minimum).
>> Tight end Cethan Carter returned to practice Tuesday with a brace on his left arm and elbow. He participated in individual drills.
>> Offensive tackle David Knevel, offensive guard Tanner Farmer and linebacker Dedrick Young III all did not practice on Tuesday.
>> Defensive coordinator Mark Banker compared Ohio State’s wide receivers to a track team, which will create some interesting situations for the Nebraska defense.
“Their wide receiver core is like a track team,” defensive coordinator Banker said. “You watch every game that they play and through the first 20-25 yards of the route, the defensive backs are covering guys and then you can see them start to separate. It’s a big challenge from the standpoint of the speed of the offense.
“The system itself lends itself to making sure we know how to cover down and fit the gaps properly because through the shifts, through the motions along with the actual play that goes with those formations. They give you a lot to chew on.”
>> With one of the best lines of the night, Gerry had a unique comparison point for Wisconsin and Ohio State.
“They’re a good football team,” Gerry said. “It’s a lot different than what we were used to last week. Last week was a lot of guys kind of like robots. This week is like playing basketball in grass. A lot of talent on their team and we have a lot of talent on our team so we just have to stay disciplined and play with a lot of attitude and effort.”
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.