All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.
On Tuesday's episode, Adam Carriker diagnoses the problems with the Nebraska defense and provides some things he'd change to get the Blackshirts playing better.
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Here's a transcript of today's show:
Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show, where we check the pulse of Husker Nation, brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital.
On Saturday versus the Wisconsin Badgers, the Nebraska offense played better, they showed signs of improvement. There's reasons for excitement: the run game, Dedrick Mills, things of that nature.
The defense, obviously the defense has not played up to where the defense needs to play. Especially coming into this season, when I said a young Nebraska offense — young wide receivers, new offensive linemen, big question marks at running back — the defense really needed to carry the offense until the offense caught up.
The offense has slowly been improving, obviously not where it needs to be, but you saw signs of life on Saturday.
Now, with the defense, much has been said and rightfully so, that it's not where it needs to be at this point. When you give up 320 rushing yards to Wisconsin, when they average over seven yards per carry, when Jonathan Taylor averages 8.2 yards per carry that's almost a first down every time he rushes the ball.
All right, and I've said this before, but I'm going to reiterate it again cause it's a mind-boggling stat. For the third straight year — as a true freshman, as a sophomore and as a junior — Jonathan Taylor rushed for over 200 yards versus Nebraska. Now obviously, this staff has only been here for two of those years, still two years he rushed for over 200 yards versus this staff.
Now, here's the deal: How do we get Nebraska's defense to play better?
Let's put ourselves in the coaches' shoes, and obviously we're not the coaches. All right, but if I was in the coaches' shoes, and I like Erik Chinander, I really do. I like Coach Chinander, okay, but if I were in his shoes, what would I do? Everyone would do things a little bit differently.
The two things I would focus on: Number one, I would be more aggressive. All right now, a lot of people questioned the 4-3 defense, I'm sorry, the 3-4 defense versus the 4-3. A lot of people like the 4-3 defense. Won a lot of national titles here at Nebraska with the 4-3 defense, so I get it.
Now, there's advantages to both defenses, I've never been a major proponent of one defense over another. All right, now, different offenses can be vastly different as far as a team's success. In my opinion, the 4-3, 3-4, Super Bowls, national titles, Alabama runs a 3-4, Wisconsin runs a 3-4 — teams have had success with both.
The advantage of a 3-4 defense, and I have said it before, but bear with me, you walk up to the line of scrimmage and the nose guard is head up the center, the ends are head up the tackles, the two outside linebackers are outside of your offensive tackles and your middle linebackers are over the guards in the middle and everything looks the same. You can blitz three guys from the right, drop it into the left, you can do a single-man blitz from the left, you can do zone drops, man blitzes. You can mix it up, but when you walk up to the line of scrimmage everything looks the same to the quarterback.
Now in a 4-3, you kind of give things away. You've got your three technique to one side. You've got your, usually a six technique head up the tight end, you've got your nose back side, you've got the five technique back side typically. Some teams play a wide nine to the play side or to the strong side. It varies, but you can kind of see, hey, this team's strength of the defense is right here. They're a strong side blitzing team, they're a back side blitzing team, but you don't have to blitz as much because you've got that fourth guy already coming.
So, there's advantages to both. With the 3-4, you've got to be more aggressive in my opinion. The first thing I would do is be more aggressive.
Now, last year they were hesitant to be aggressive because in the back end, I believe they did not trust the secondary. This year, we've got Lamar Jackson — that's a first-round draft pick — Dicaprio Bootle — one of the best in the Big Ten a season ago in the back end. We can afford to be more aggressive. Teams are scoring anyways, so what do we got to lose at this point as well? I would be much more aggressive with the play calling. That's the advantage to the 3-4.
You've got guys in the secondary who should be able to hold up at least a little bit. So to me, I'd be much more aggressive with the play calling.
Number two, we've got to be more physical. It's that simple. All right, you don't give up those kind of rushing yards, if you're a physical team. You don't miss as many tackles as the Huskers have if you're a physical team, all right.
I mean, tackling is so much — the point of contact, what happens at the point of impact I should say. All right, you've got your speed, you've got your strength, you've got the explosion, boom you've got the physicality from a physical point of view, but at the end of the day, more often than not, do you want to get him to the ground more than he wants to run your butt over. That's a lot of times what it comes down to, and Wisconsin the past few years has wanted to run us over more than we've wanted to get them down.
They've been more physical. We've gotta be more aggressive in our play calling again. I love Coach Chinander, all right, but we've got to be more physical as well from a player standpoint and a lot of that is the six inches between the ears. Especially certain players. Maybe not everybody, but certain players.
All right, until next time Husker Nation. Go Big Red, and always remember to throw the bones!
Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.