Monday nuggets: Banker talks D improvements
Here are some quick notes and observations to pass along from Nebraska's helmets-only walk-thru practice on Monday afternoon...
***It might not mean much since it was just a walk-thru practice, but defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun (knee), defensive tackle Kevin Williams (groin), linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey (groin), and cornerback Daniel Davie all participated in some capacity. Linebacker Luke Gifford (hip) was not seen on the field at the end of practice.
***Defensive coordinator Mark Banker said he's seen steady improvements from his defense since the start of the season, with Saturday's win being one of the best showings yet. He said the front seven has been much better against the run even with a number of notable injuries, and the pass defense is slowly getting better as well.
***Banker was asked about the rough start NU's secondary had against Minnesota and how they were able to turn things around in the second half. Part of it was not being able to get off the field on third downs, as UM converted three of their six third downs in the game on the very first drive.
Another reason was the staff "jumped to a conclusion" about what Minnesota was going to do offensively and "completed failed at it." They made some adjustments as the game went on, including playing more Cover 2, which they ran on both of their two interceptions. Oddly enough, Banker said the Huskers had to stop using Cover 2 because the defense was struggling with it so much early in the year.
***Banker said Dedrick Young was in a tough spot against Minnesota because he had to practice at both inside and outside linebacker during the week, which kept him from fully locking in on his assignments against the Gophers going into the game. As a result, Banker said Young missed three tackles in the win.
***Defensive line coach Hank Hughes said Akinmoladun was moving around OK on Monday, but they're still easing him in this week.
***Hughes said they're also trying to limit how much they work Maliek Collins during the week in practice in order to not wear him down. Collins played 60 of Nebraska's 69 defensive snaps against Minnesota.
***Collins was asked which offensive scout team players have stood out to him, and he named quarterback Zack Darlington, running back Jordan Stevenson and offensive lineman Tanner Farmer.
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