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3rd Down Problems on Defense

The Big Red Lebowski

A:Always, B: Be, C: Cornhusking
10 Year Member
We’ve all watched the trend of opposing players going 15 to 20 yards untouched on 3rd and short. It’s clear this goes beyond our LBs lacking speed or coverage skills. In a few of these clips, the defense is totally lost.

Either these guys forget how to communicate and play their assignments on Saturdays (and we simply hope their future replacements don’t have this issue) or what’s happening Monday through Friday needs to be seriously re-evaluated by the coaching staff.

https://hailvarsity.com/s/8270/husker-lbs-havent-been-great-3rd-down-coverage-another-problem
 
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CrabHusker

Alienating everyone, one post at a time.
5 Year Member
We’ve all watched the trend of opposing players going 15 to 20 yards untouched on 3rd and short. It’s clear this goes beyond our LBs lacking speed or coverage skills. In a few of these clips, the defense is totally lost.

Either these guys forget how to communicate and play their assignments on Saturdays (and we simply hope their future replacements don’t have this issue) or what’s happening Monday through Friday needs to be seriously re-evaluated by the coaching staff.

https://hailvarsity.com/s/8270/husker-lbs-havent-been-great-3rd-down-coverage-another-problem
It goes beyond the linebackers, but it is maddening to watch. Used to be third and 10 plus was an almost guarantee you were getting the ball back. Now it seems like a rarity.
 

Bigger Ed

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
We’ve all watched the trend of opposing players going 15 to 20 yards untouched on 3rd and short. It’s clear this goes beyond our LBs lacking speed or coverage skills. In a few of these clips, the defense is totally lost.

Either these guys forget how to communicate and play their assignments on Saturdays (and we simply hope their future replacements don’t have this issue) or what’s happening Monday through Friday needs to be seriously re-evaluated by the coaching staff.

https://hailvarsity.com/s/8270/husker-lbs-havent-been-great-3rd-down-coverage-another-problem
I think the lack of communication is because those guys don't know what they're doing; I vote re-evaluation of what's happening in practice.
 

Ackos

Heisman
15 Year Member
"Nebraska’s defense is not communicating. I would say, “Not well,” but there are times where it looks like they aren’t doing it at all. All 11 don’t appear to be on the same page all the time. And that’s an issue this far into the season. "
 

MadRat

God, Family, Football
2 Year Member
This is a revelation based upon an article. Just go to the game chats on game days. This is a topic that comes up frequently.
 
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To me the issue is a set of problems

1. No pressure/pass rush. Our front 3 (4 if you count Davis at the OLB spot) really don't get much pressure. The NT and DE's are solid players, IMO, but not dynamic enough to beat a guy and get pressure, much less a double. the OLB spot with Davis has been a gaping hole all year. Not only is he not an impact player, he's a guy who disappears for long stretches (almost entire games).

- I've been saying I want to see Nelson for Davis for a long time,. Hopefully the blackshirt means we're willing to go with youthful mistakes in exchange for his energy and much greater strength on the field
- I'd love to see Robinson and Green get some time also. I think they could provide a bit more pressure from the DL positions -- A bit more quickness on the field can help there also, but Wiscy and Iowa will go after our front 4 in the running game, so goal 1 is to set the edge and suck up blockers hoping the LB's and Safeties can tackle...

2. Our ILB's really can't cover much. It's another problem that they struggle to fill gaps (I'd argue that's a bigger problem), but they don't move well in space at all. Reimer was supposed to be prepping to play 3rd and long downs, but haven't seen much of him yet. Maybe after this bye week, we'll see more packages where we can do that, but we won't need them a lot against Wiscy and Iowa. Have to hope they can fill -- personally, the limited time I've seen of Reimer makes me think he's part of the future here. He has a nose for the ball and is explosive into the hole and the runner

3. Our DB's have several good players, but some have matchup problems against big receivers. The bigger problem on 3rd down is that we can cover 3 and maybe 4 guys, but the 4th and 5th receiver is pretty much running open every time.

- We have Domann in a hybrid role, but we need more depth back here and more coverage guys to pick up those last couple receivers. One of the other threads talked about Dejon Gomes, we need guys like him and we need longer and faster corners also.

I think we'll get a lot better when we get a pass rusher, and get the depth on the D a bit heavier in order to cover the matchup issues. B10 is tough because you go from Wiscy and Iowa to Indiana and Purdue and others that spread it out. You need a ton of depth and experience to deal with those matchup variances (I'm hopeful the walk-ons help with that. Guys like Stalbird and Reimer are athletic and talented enough to really add depth to the guys we recruit on scholarship. That should be a leg up for us in the next couple of years
 

Voice Of Reason

Scout Team
5 Year Member
I don’t know how they teach assignments in practice but I do know whatever they are doing isn’t working. Not being good enough to go to a bowl game for the second year in a row does not inspire confidence by the players or fans and I would think the coaches would start to rethink some of their methods.

I pray they used the bye week to make some changes and I am hope they use the 4 game redshirt rule to get a lot of redshirts some significant playing time in the last 3 games.
 

The Big Red Lebowski

A:Always, B: Be, C: Cornhusking
10 Year Member
To me the issue is a set of problems

1. No pressure/pass rush. Our front 3 (4 if you count Davis at the OLB spot) really don't get much pressure. The NT and DE's are solid players, IMO, but not dynamic enough to beat a guy and get pressure, much less a double. the OLB spot with Davis has been a gaping hole all year. Not only is he not an impact player, he's a guy who disappears for long stretches (almost entire games).

- I've been saying I want to see Nelson for Davis for a long time,. Hopefully the blackshirt means we're willing to go with youthful mistakes in exchange for his energy and much greater strength on the field
- I'd love to see Robinson and Green get some time also. I think they could provide a bit more pressure from the DL positions -- A bit more quickness on the field can help there also, but Wiscy and Iowa will go after our front 4 in the running game, so goal 1 is to set the edge and suck up blockers hoping the LB's and Safeties can tackle...

2. Our ILB's really can't cover much. It's another problem that they struggle to fill gaps (I'd argue that's a bigger problem), but they don't move well in space at all. Reimer was supposed to be prepping to play 3rd and long downs, but haven't seen much of him yet. Maybe after this bye week, we'll see more packages where we can do that, but we won't need them a lot against Wiscy and Iowa. Have to hope they can fill -- personally, the limited time I've seen of Reimer makes me think he's part of the future here. He has a nose for the ball and is explosive into the hole and the runner

3. Our DB's have several good players, but some have matchup problems against big receivers. The bigger problem on 3rd down is that we can cover 3 and maybe 4 guys, but the 4th and 5th receiver is pretty much running open every time.

- We have Domann in a hybrid role, but we need more depth back here and more coverage guys to pick up those last couple receivers. One of the other threads talked about Dejon Gomes, we need guys like him and we need longer and faster corners also.

I think we'll get a lot better when we get a pass rusher, and get the depth on the D a bit heavier in order to cover the matchup issues. B10 is tough because you go from Wiscy and Iowa to Indiana and Purdue and others that spread it out. You need a ton of depth and experience to deal with those matchup variances (I'm hopeful the walk-ons help with that. Guys like Stalbird and Reimer are athletic and talented enough to really add depth to the guys we recruit on scholarship. That should be a leg up for us in the next couple of years
This is a thoughtful post. I appreciate the time it took to dial it up. I just don’t agree that this is all a depth and talent issue.

Personnel limitations don’t lead to a guy being literally untouched for 15 yards on 3rd and short. That’s a blown assignment.
 
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