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Husker Q&A: Jeremy Slechta - Playing DT For Nebraska

Former Husker talks about this year’s defense, Charlie McBride, and being a defender.

Nebraska v Oklahoma X Heupel

Jeremy Slechta, Defensive Tackle

Papillion, Nebraska


*In 1999 as a sophomore, he had 3 sacks and 22 tackles on a team that won the Big 12 Championship.

*In 2000 he started 6 games with 30 tackles and 6 pass break-ups and was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week vs Missouri.

*In 2001 he was a team captain with 44 tackles and was First Team

All Big 12 on a squad that played for the National Championship in the Rose Bowl.

*He played with the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans in the NFL.

Impressions of the Husker defense so far?

From last year to this they are getting better and more comfortable in the scheme overall. However, the Minnesota was disappointing and a step back, only 14 points at half but the yards on the ground Nebraska was giving up had you feeling they would take a toll and get bigger in second half of the game.

Player that stands out?

When he is in there you notice him in defensive end Ben Stille with pressure on the quarterback and getting in backfield. The Davis brothers are doing well though at same time, but he is just a bit lighter and quicker. And Khalil has a knack for knocking passes down and that is not all luck and really helps the D too.

The good thing Ben is a junior and basically a returning starter for next year as they will return most linebackers but losing a fair amount on the line.

Easy question, why did you pick NU in 1998?

The usual for a kid growing up here, it’s what you watch and kind of what is expected. I looked around a bit but Nebraska is where I wanted to be.

Remember about recruiting?

Just that Coach Osborne was recruiting me and then he retired that December, and then Coach Solich was in the stands at my basketball games. But overall the same program so I didn’t waver.

A freshman blues story?

Well they were hoping to redshirt me but we had some injuries early in 1998.

I remember playing in the game at Texas A&M in the first part of the year. I was really undersized and I got pinballed around that day pretty good. I knew I had to get bigger right then, plus I was young for my class.

Moment in a game you arrived a bit as a player?

I thought I had a good game at the end of that year versus Colorado in stuffing up the middle, but also recovered a fumble towards the end of the game.

Speaking of turnovers, easy as it looked with the pick of yours with a cast on hand?

I don’t know. I just stuck my hand up there and it stuck. I lumbered for a few yards too on that one in 2000.

Anything stand out about getting psyched up to go the field?

Chad Kelsey used to say something about getting your piss hot. It worked.

A Coach McBride story who you had for two years?

I always had this theory that when he wore his clips on glasses with the extra lenses, he was going to be mean that day.

And actually it held true. No idea why.

Best individual memory?

I sacked the Notre Dame quarterback in overtime pretty much stalling their drive and they settled for a field goal. And we scored a TD to win the game, so that was nice winning up there in that crazy comeback game.

And eventual Heisman winner Eric Crouch got that touchdown, first time he made you say “Holy ___!”

Probably the time he trucked that Iowa player at the start of 1999.

At the time we knew he was physical and a tough player and had done well when he played the year before, however, that play was another level and eye-opening as that guy went straight up in the air. Sorta funny too.

Toughest RB at NU you faced?

Big Dan Alexander but lots of tough guys. Dan was over 6-foot-2, 240 pounds and ran sub 4.5. Amazing. Just a trainload of muscle coming right at you in practice.

And in practice what OL held the most?

Now this guy was maybe the best offensive lineman anyway, but Dom (Raiola) was great at slight holds the coaches really didn’t see and you knew he was holding you! But he was so quick and tough and an awesome player for us. No surprise he went pro early and had a long and great NFL career.

Actually in Dom’s last game, you guys beat Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl like they owed you money, trick plays up 30, what was up with that?

We had a lot of events with them prior to the game and they were just continually talkin’ stuff. We knew we were supposed to be Nebraska-like and just kept it chill.

Some of us were irked already that we weren’t in a bigger bowl game to begin with coming off the last few years, so we just sort of shook our heads and said, “OK let’s get to this game.”

And yeah, Coach Solich may have sent a little message with the play-calling too.

Lastly, your guys’ piss was hot for the Texas rematch and big win in 1999 in the Big 12 Championship, what stands out about that game?

Not much. I watched it at home. I had a partially torn ACL a few weeks earlier.