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Nebraska Football Practice Report: By Himself, Erik Chinander Is A Vast Improvement

You’re getting exactly what you want to hear out of fall practice. That’s okay, though.

Jon Johnston

The best news ever is still coming out of fall camp at Nebraska. No one has been arrested, and no one, knock on wood, has been injured (that we know of).

New defensive coordinator Erik Chinander talked about his defense after practice and said nice things.

They are trying to figure out a depth chart, ala this quote from the athletic department:

“So far it’s been a pretty flowing depth chart,” Chinander said. “We’ve been giving guys reps with the ones, twos and threes, whether they deserve them or not, just to see where they are at. That helps us evaluate each guy and see where they belong. Some of those guys, if they are with the twos and going against the twos, maybe they look better. Yesterday we were able to see guys who we thought were the ones go against the ones and see if they really should be there. I thought that was very important for us.”

Already we see improvement in that Erik Chinander does not mention strain, nor ask us if we can see it.

In another huge change from last season - there has been absolutely zero discussion about whether Chinander looks damned good with his shirt off. I’d say this is a vast improvement. Put Chinander and Scott Frost in a bar fight, and I’m sure that none of us would have problems going in and by that I mean - if you’re on their side. Add to that defensive line coach Mike Dawson, who looks like Tony Soprano, and you’ve got a defensive staff that at the least looks like they can kick some ass.

Another note - Chinander makes this entire statement tracking his “ones vs ones” and “twos vs twos” without meandering off into relativity or statistics about the number of people who died last year from getting tangled in their own bed sheets. This too, is a welcome change.

It is a sign that he can articulately describe how his defense works to his players.

And then this Chinander guy threw all of the media and everyone a giant bone!

“We have another scrimmage on Friday, and I think that will help us solidify our depth chart on defense,” he said. “We have a good idea who is going to be on the field but after that scrimmage we will be able to make some decisions and be able to tell you where guys are going to fall.”


Here are names of players you should feel good about:

Chinander mentioned junior defensive lineman Carlos Davis as a standout in the scrimmage. He also praised the play of several members of his linebacker corps, including Mohammed Barry, Dedrick Young, Will Honas, Collin Miller and Luke Gifford.

Chinander talked about having Grant Wistrom and Jason Peter address the defense about the Blackshirt tradition:

“It was an electric atmosphere and the way they were talking and describing things it felt like we were practicing,” Chinander said. “It’s great for our kids to understand that it’s always on the line, whether we’re in the meeting room, lifting or stretching. You could tell when those guys were talking to us that it was on the line for them, and I think that was really cool for our kids to see. The next day we probably had our most impressive practice on defense and guys were flying around. I think that was a direct correlation to the talk that they gave to our defense.”

I don’t mean to poop on a parade, but you how motivational speakers are. You leave the room, and if they’re good, you’re motivated... for a while. Long term motivation is all up to you, the individual. Key is, and if you go back and read more about the teams involving Wistrom and Peter, is that they motivated each other all of the time, and would have damaged someone had they let them down.

That’s the culture change that really has to happen long term. Hopefully Wistrom and Peter were able to make that long-term impact as teachers instead of just motivation speakers.

It still seems like forever to the home opener, doesn’t it? We’re trying to hang on through these last few weeks, too.

The time will go faster than you think. There’s still time to get the garage cleaned out. Get to work, you lazy sumbitch, lest Jason Peter come to your place and give you the WHAT’S FOR.