Looking at the final stats, one would think junior linebacker Lavonte David had one of the best defensive performances Nebraska has seen in recent memory.
When all was said and done, David finished with 19 tackles, including 11 in the first half, two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry in Saturday's win over South Dakota State. His 19 tackles were the most by a Husker since Barrett Ruud had the same total in 2004.
But when listening to both David and his coaches after the game, it would seem that his night was one to forget rather than celebrate.
"He's making progress, but he'd be the first one to tell you he didn't play nearly the type of football he's capable of playing the other night," NU head coach Bo Pelini said. "He didn't play a very good football game. I think if you asked him, he'd be the first one to say that. Regardless, he's in there because we know he's capable of doing things.
"He's not looking to make any excuses as to why that happened. He's fully capable. If he wasn't, then it'd be a situation where we'd have to find somebody else. We know he's capable, and he knows he's capable of playing at a higher level than he did the other night."
The major problems David had against the Jackrabbits came primarily from him being out of position on certain plays, especially against the run.
While he was able to make up for it by getting to the ball quickly and making numerous tackles, both David and Pelini said there was much left to be desired in David's overall performance, as well as the play of the entire defense.
"As a player, I feel like it was on us," David said of the mental mistakes. "(Pelini) gave us calls, we have to execute our responsibilities. Sometimes they came at us with things we'd never seen before, but still. We have to apply our rules and adjust to it. Coach Pelini did a great job preparing us this week; I just think we didn't execute the way he wanted us to."
David's miscues are obviously something both he and Pelini said need to be corrected, but there's still no denying his play through his first four games as a Husker has been as good as anyone could have hoped for.
Saturday marked the second time he reached double-digit tackles in a game, as he also had 13 in the season opener against Western Kentucky. Overall, the Miami, Fla., native leads Nebraska with 44 tackles, and he also ranks third on the team in tackles for loss (2-15) and sacks (1).
As long as he can clean up his game on the mental side during the bye week this week, all three of those stats are bound to continue to rise as a startling pace, and the defense will likely be that much better as a result as well.
"(I expect) very intense practices (this week)," David said. "We're just preparing like we would prepare for any other game. We still have to have a great week of practices, still have to go hard."
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial