Big Red Blitz: Erik Chinander and Mario Verduzco Columbus breakdown
COLUMBUS, Neb. - Husker Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander and Quarterbacks Coach Mario Verduzco stopped in Columbus on Wednesday for the Big Red Blitz.
Here is a recap of what the coaches had to say.
Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander
***He loves working with the athletic department. There isn't anyone he doesn't like working with. The fans make his job more enjoyable as well.
***He got chills the first time he came out of the tunnel at Memorial Stadium on a game day. He thought he knew what to expect, but he said it was the most special place in the country.
***He reminded the people that he can't comment on kids in high school saying there is a very special young man in Columbus that he is excited to work with in the future (Referencing class of 2022 commit Ernest Hausmann).
***Coaches are excited to get going. The offensive line group is big and strong including the tight ends.
***This is the most excited he's ever been with his defense. They're really young in some spots, but have leaders in others who have taken advantage of eligibility.
***The seniors lead by example. The rest of the team sees their attitude and love for the game.
***Coach Frost has done a great job with the team culture, and it may not always look like it from the outside looking in. The fans have been more than patient and understanding.
"Rebuilding a culture with 100-plus people on the team is dirty, nasty work. You can either do it right, or you can do it fast. I think coach has done it right."
***They're seeing more recruits from the 500-mile radius of Lincoln because those are the guys that really matter. It means more to play in Memorial Stadium to a kid from close, but others can learn.
***If they are going to be back as the real Blackshirts, they need relentless effort, competitive excellence and smart decision making.
***Older leaders are taking game reps in practice so they can set the standard.
***It's been really helpful to get to see all the players in summer workouts. The players are getting lots of reps and exposure.
***Zoom will likely stick around for recruiting as an extra tool. Getting them to Lincoln is the highest priority, but Zoom does a good job in the meantime.
***Said the new guys look the part and he's excited to work with them. Wynden Ho'ohuli came in the door looking like a million bucks.
***They've been able to recruit more local as they have settled into the job more. The roster is young enough that you can bring in local guys and develop them.
***Chinander believes they can have one of the best secondaries in the country. When they figure out who shakes out at the other corner, they'll be pretty close.
***Cam Taylor-Britt had something special about him in high school. He could tell he was going to be something no matter where that was on the field. He's not afraid to make mistakes.
***Nick Henrich was banged up, but after getting healthy he played as good as anyone for three weeks of spring football.
***Over 40 high school seniors have had individual workouts with the Huskers staff already.
Quarterbacks Coach Mario Verduzco
***Coach Greg Austin has a group of young guys that look like a Big Ten offensive line. All of them have bought into the culture.
***They believe they'll be vastly improved at running back and O-line.
***Really comfortable with the depth in the QB room.
***Adrian Martinez's fumbles are not a lack of effort, he just wants to do so much. He understands that if he cares about his teammates, he needs to take care of the football.
***When looking for a recruit, they look at athleticism and if they're a "quick blinker" meaning they can process information quickly. Next, they want to know if they're a hard worker and aligned with the culture.
***They don't get caught up on if a guy is "pro-style" or "dual-threat."
***They missed all the developmental work last spring with Logan Smothers. He was inconsistent at the point of release.
***Heinrich Haarberg is a sharp-cat. He just needs experience. He was hard on himself in spring ball, but settled in later.
***They are okay with athletes playing spring sports, but it is helpful for them to come in early to get things going learning the offense.
***Logan Smothers has innately good vision. He looks like he's figuring out the small issues.
***He wants Adrian Martinez to always give them the chance to win the game. That is trusting the defense and taking care of the ball.
***Martinez was benched last season because he wasn't doing things from an objective standpoint and the interception in the Northwestern game tipped the boat.
***The instability around Adrian shouldn't influence his decisions.
***Usually it takes a guy a year to learn more about himself and mature, but it shouldn't affect the way he is taking care of the ball.
***Getting benched has given Adrian motivation, but he's not a guy that needs much external motivation.