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 Monday's episode, Adam Carriker talks about the youth on the Husker defense, their off-season additions and what realistic expectations are for the Blackshirts in 2019.
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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. And a happy Monday morning to you.
Now, today I want to talk about, what are realistic expectations for the 2019 Blackshirts, the Husker defense this upcoming season?
Now, if you missed it last Friday on Fast Friday, where each and every Friday we keep it quick and easy, I talked about the Huskers' offense. And I talked about the youth. They've got a lot of young players on that side of the ball, so if you missed that show go back and check it out.
So, I kind of figure if we're going to talk about the youth on offense or experience, or lack thereof, we should do that on defense as well. Let's start out, there's 74 players on the defensive side of the ball heading into 2019 for the Huskers.
There's 74 players. 19 percent of them are seniors, which is significantly more than we have on the offensive side of the ball. 15 percent of them are juniors; 16% are sophomores, 17% are freshmen — are redshirt freshmen — 33% are true freshmen.
That means that 50% of the players on Nebraska's defensive roster right now are freshmen, which is actually less than the offensive side of the ball, which had 55%. Seriously, go back and check that show out.
Now, realistic expectations...
Now, the difference between the offensive and defensive side of the ball at the moment is that — you look at the D-line for example, there's a lot more experience on this side of the ball. All right, the defensive line, the Davis twins, Carlos, Khalil Davis. They've been starting, they've been playing for years, all right, decades it seems like at this point, I'm just kidding, but for years.
Ben Stille, a lot of experience, Darrion Daniels, Damion Daniels, Darrion and Damion Daniels, they're brothers at nose guard. They have both played. They've started games between the two of them.
DaiShon Neal, I've been talking about him for three years now. He looks the part. He's got the ability. He's got all the potential. This is his chance to have a breakout season. It's his senior season. It's his last chance. He's got the ability.
And a guy who I feel has been a little forgotten about, in Deontre Thomas, who played a lot as a true freshman. Very undersized I might add, redshirted a year ago. He's going to be back in the fold, and he's got experience from that freshman season. He's going to be back in the fold. He's healthy going into this season.
Another guy to keep your eye on, a junior college guy who's going to be joining the Huskers. If you watch films, he's done some exciting things. He's got three years to play too, so we'll see if he plays or not, but keep your eye on Jahkeem Green as well.
Now, you look at the secondary. The secondary could potentially be the strength of this Nebraska defense. You look at a guy like Lamar Jackson. All right, he got benched last year, and then when he came back, he played some brilliant football. He has the potential physically — and if he keeps playing like he did — to be not only a NFL draft pick, but in one of the top rounds, being picked up there.
Then you look at Dicaprio Bootle, a guy who could potentially be one of the best in the Big Ten.
This year, the secondary could potentially be the strength of this Nebraska defense.
And you got a guy who has his own position basically created and named for him, the cinco position in JoJo Domann. A little bit of Mr. Do-It-All, if you will. A slash on defense, he can also get after the quarterback in certain cinco —I should say in nickel — and pass-rushing situations from that cinco position.
Now, you look at the inside linebacker position. We've got one of the best in the Big Ten, Mohammed Barry, potentially one of the best in the country.
Now, in a 3-4 you need another inside backer. A year ago, we had the No. 1 junior college inside linebacker in the country commit to Nebraska in Will Honas. The guy has got a motor. I mean, he's straight out of Detroit off the Ford assembly line, I'm telling you. He just needs a little bit more direction with where he's going. He got hurt a year ago, but he's going to be back in the fold. He's going to be ready to contribute this year. He's a guy who could be a really good football player for Nebraska up the middle.
Now, the question is, how good can this defense be? Obviously, I think they have the potential to be good. Are they going to be good? Are they going to be consistent? Are they going to be really good? Are they going to be really, really good?
To me, it comes down to the same thing I've been talking about for a long time, can we get after the quarterback? Those outside linebackers.
Now a year ago, Erik Chinander, this is an aggressive attacking 3-4. He likes to blitz. He likes to get after the quarterback. You could see he didn't do that a lot last year because he didn't trust the back-end. He didn't trust the secondary. He didn't want to leave them by themselves on islands because, if we didn't get to the quarterback, it was going to be deep balls given up.
This year, the secondary is going to be able to cover a lot better, so he's going to be able to be a lot more aggressive up front. But the question is, are we going to have to blitz to get after the quarterback? Or are we going to be able to get after the quarterback with four men? Or are we going to have to bring five or six all the time?
These outside linebackers, are they going to get pressure off the edge? Guys like Tyrin Ferguson, Alex Davis, Caleb Tannor — a young guy with a lot of talent — Garrett Nelson — who's a rock star in the making. People are going to love watching him when he plays. He's just a true freshman.
This is going to determine how good the Husker defense can be this year. I think they're going to carry the offense, at least for a while.
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.
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