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Nebraska Football: Early Look At Strengths And Weaknesses

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I am mostly going to continue making YouTube videos. I’ve found I can still do videos when I get neuro-fatigue, whereas writing is out of the question due to mental exhaustion.


In the previous video I talked about Nebraska’s offense with regards to production. And what we’re going to have in 2022. I’m Jon Johnston with CornNation. I’d appreciate if you’d subscribe to my channel, so that you can support me through the offseason. Otherwise, I’ll have to go off and do something else, like stare at a wall for nine months or something, which wouldn’t be fun for me or for you. So please subscribe. Thank you very much.

Let’s take a look at last year’s defense and how they did. Let’s look at some stats. 54th and passing nationally 58th and rushing.

Let’s take a look at Nebraska’s defense from last season. Some statistics and just to get an idea of where they were. So last season, they were 54th and passing nationally, obviously, they were 58th and rushing defense in terms of yards per game, the 72nd in yards per carry at 4.16 which is not that good 47th overall in total defense. But the stat I look to you, when I look at a defense is scoring defensive they were 36 nationally, eighth in the big 10.

You can look at different statistics that can tell you where the weakness of a team is, for example, Nebraska 72nd in rushing yards per carry. You look at Wisconsin, you kind of go well that could be in trouble there for Wisconsin can run the ball successfully against them, they’re going to have to adjust play more against the run, which could open them up to the pass.

And that’s how it works. You can move up and down the field all you want. We saw that for Nebraska’s offense last season. If you can’t score, that’s where the game is. And we could talk about takeaways and all that kind of stuff, turnovers and those things certainly are explosive plays, another big one that affects the game. But for me, it really comes down to very simply scoring defense 36th nationally. Probably I don’t know good enough to get to a bowl game. Maybe, probably yes.

But now, if you want an example of how good Nebraska’s defense was last season, I think you look at the Michigan State game. The fact that you saw them hold the Spartan offense with Kenneth Walker without a first down in the entire second half. And as the season went on, you started to realize just how phenomenal that was. Of course, it was all you know, blown up by one mistake. And we lost a one score game.

I don’t know if you heard that. But Nebraska lost a lot of one score games last season. Maybe slipped your mind.

So who has gone from last year’s defense?

On the defensive line you have Damion Daniels, DeAndre Thomas and Ben Stille, fairly significant losses, I think linebacker JoJo Domann. Now though he was kind of a more do it all kind of kind of guy was all over the field. And he was really fun to watch. I think if he had to pick one player on the defense that you’re going to miss next year. It’s either going to be him, JoJo Domann, or Cam Taylor Britt and the defensive secondary.

I did an earlier video about the defensive secondary and how we brought in players to retool it. But when you look at the secondary, what do you got? You got Cam Taylor Britt back there with 11 past breakups to lead the team. You have Deontae Williams had four interceptions to lead the team. And you also have guys that transferred out You have Will Honas , who transferred to Kansas State. He didn’t play in 2021 because of injury.

But then you also have to you also have Jordan Riley who was on the defensive line and on the two deep. In a moment, we’ll find out how important that is. But he transferred to Oregon followed his coach. So why do we talk about production? Well, I think when you look at a team, it’s how you determine how good the defense might be the next season from from really from numbers, right?

You can say, hey, these guys look great. I’m excited about this guy, and this new guy coming on, but really, what it comes down to is a lot of numbers, you know, and I’m not a stats guy, as much as I used to be just stuff happen in my life. I don’t do that anymore.

But basically, what you’re looking at is you got 12 games, you’ve got about let’s say 160 -170 possessions, and you got roughly around 850 to 900 plays maybe in a regular season. So somebody has to make 850 tackles, or 850 interceptions that certainly be interesting. Or tackles for loss, but they have to be a stat right? Somebody has to do the doin, do the tackle and do the forced fumbling, things like that.

So what do we got?

Bill Connelly is a guy who developed a statistical projection measurement system called SP plus. He started with SB Nation. And he’s now at ESPN and you know, build I think he’s done a really good job of kind of looking at football from a numbers standpoint. I think his projectors are kind of fun to look at but he has ranked us as 92nd in returning production on defense. That sounds terrible.

And I know from a lot of comments you guys make it’s like we’re going to be missing a lot of defense. And we are. The good news is we have the top two returning tacklers coming back. That’s Luke Reimer who had 108 tackles in total tackles and Nick Hein rich with 90. Garrett Nelson returns he was a sack leader with five and God knows we need more sacks and pressure on the quarterback. He was also the tackle for loss leader with 11.5. So what’s actually got that’s kind of roughly what we have coming back.

So what’s actually gone?

Well, we have those guys in the secondary right? Cam Taylor Britt, Deontae Williams, Marquel Dismuke. JoJo Dohmen and Ben Stille in between all of those guys, that’s 215 Total tackles. So that’s a lot you know, Jojo Dohmen had two interceptions and two forced fumbles. I mentioned Williams earlier four interceptions you know, that’s the kind of stuff that you need to reproduce.

Then you’re looking at the guys that are up front in a 3-4 defense you’re not typically you don’t depend on like your nose tackle to make tackles that guy’s there to occupation. That guy is there to occupy space. He’s there to hopefully consume two blockers right, he’s there to hopefully can consume two blockers and just be a big man the holds the line intact up front. And then the defensive tackles typically do the same thing you don’t expect them to get a lot of pass rush going there just to hold ground and to make sure that the run game stays and tack and really what they want to do is consume blockers for so your linebackers are free to make plays.

By and large looking at an Nebraska’s linebackers we have pretty much all everybody coming back and then it’s, that’s where the defensive second or the defense’s got its like core is the linebacking returning. So you got Luke rhymers Luke Reimer you have your linebackers returning you Luke Reimer Nick Heinrich Garrett Nelson Caleb Tanner, and Pheldarius Payne, who we didn’t start we saw him sometimes. I just loved the name Pheldarius. Just looks like a guy who’s always gonna look goodness suit no matter what’s happening.

Right. So you got to revise secondary. I mentioned their video I did earlier, but you got Newsom and Isaac Guilford back in the secondary and then you’ve got Tommy Hill, Omar Brown coming in. Then you’ve got JUCO transfers Javier Morton And DeShon Singleton. DeShon Singleton is the guy I actually left out of that previous video on the defensive secondary.

So far this doesn’t sound too bad. This sounds like a serviceable defense that we can put together. And you know, maybe there’ll be decent and we’re looking at the offense scoring a lot, right because we have 14 scholarship wide receivers and seven scholarship running backs.

But then we look at the worst part of the defense.

And that is we have three defensive tackles on scholarship. Three. Okay, we’ve got Nash Hutmacher. I’m probably gonna destroy these names, Jalen Weaver and Marquis Black. And that’s it. Three defensive tackles. Six defensive ends on scholarship, Casey Rogers, Tate Wildeman, Ty Robinson and Mosai Newsome.

That’s really where you should look at and go. Gosh,you weren’t that great at stopping the run last year. And you have a real shortage of defensive linemen. I mean, think about 14 wide receivers on scholarship, seven running backs, and you have nine total defensive linemen, you have 14 offensive linemen on scholarship.

So I would hope or look to Nebraska still picking up some players out of the transfer portal. Because remember that some guys are going to remember that some guys are going to go into spraying, find out where they are with their team, and then they’re going to be transferring and moving around when spring football gets done. So we could pick up some defensive linemen before fall starts.

You would hope although I don’t know where they’re going to fit, because we have we’re already Oh, they’re over scholarship numbers. So all of this stuff is really dynamic right now. I mean, we’ve all looked at this, you know, what the recruiting the transfer portal, how things have changed. Get ready for more change. In more players leaving, and maybe more players come in? We’ll see what happens. What do I think overall, the defense?

I think that the fact that we’re missing that defense up front is kind of troublesome because I mean, we play in the big 10 West. So who do we have to beat? We have to beat Wisconsin who’s known for running the ball. We have to beat Wisconsin, they run the ball, we have to beat Minnesota, they love running the ball, they have to beat Iowa, they like to run the ball, we have to beat Northwestern, and they like pulling people into a rock fight.

So you kind of hope you kind of look at this team overall on the offense and the defense and you’re going back to the offense and going Could you please score 35 points again, minimum, because you’re probably going to need it unless something drastically changed before the fall.

I certainly am looking for your comments about what you think where the team is, and what you think is going to happen. Or what you’re looking at right now and what worries you and what makes you happy I think that’s good enough for now for the defense. I mean, we’re gonna we will do some status updates as time goes on.

We’ll do this again, probably as spring approaches, you know, and after we get over the spring game and probably one more time in August that I for me personally, I like looking at position groups because that’s how I learn all the names. Because every year we have to replace guys and you got to know who the new guys are. And this is the best way I found to learn names.

Look at the position groups who’s weak who’s strong.

That’s it for now. Thanks for watching. Please subscribe.

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