Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander and assistant coaches met with members of the media over video conference on Wednesday following practice. Nebraska meets Northwestern in Evanston on Saturday for the second game of the season.
Chinander discussed the changes that the team is preparing for in Northwestern’s offensive under a new coordinator.
“I think it is a little bit of a different running game,” Chinander said. “Even though they are still going to be in some spread, they are implementing more use of tight ends. I think they got a little bit better quarterback run game. We saw Peyton Ramsey last year. He is able to get out of trouble with the pass rush. He is able to create some real quarterback runs for himself. The passing game, it’s similar but different routes. I think Coach Bajakian has done a really good job in the first two games.”
Chinander noted the style of play he expects to see from the Wildcat offense on Saturday in comparison to what they have seen from the team in the past.
“It’s a good mix of pro-style and college football offense because they do implement some of the quarterback run game but then they are going to come back and have two tight ends and try to smash the ball a little bit. I think Coach Bajakian has done a good job of using the personnel that they have and getting those guys in the right positions and letting them make the plays that they are able to make and using their quarterback correctly.”
Discussing the improvements he has seen from the Husker defense this season, Chinander spoke on the progress that Myles Farmer and Noa Pola-Gates have made over their first year in the program and their potential this season.
“I think the gap that they have bridged is they are catching up in knowledge of the game, knowledge of the system. Just knowing what to be and being able to have the coaches trust them that they are going to be able to do their jobs snap in and snap out,” Chinander said. “They’ve taken it upon themselves to bridge the gap that they had. They have been taking reps with the ones and twos the entire fall camp and have consistently gained trust of myself, Coach (Travis) Fisher, Coach (Scott) Frost and everybody else in the program. I think those two have done a good job of taking it on their shoulders and showing us they are ready for some Big Ten action.”
Chinander also mentioned the versatility of the front seven and how they have embraced that role so far this season.
“That group has done a good job right now of embracing the fact that when we are in base personnel, they are outside linebackers and when we are in nickel personnel, they are defensive ends and they still have some dropping responsibilities. Those guys have embraced that role pretty well. So I think they have done a really great job,” Chinander said.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 11 a.m. (CT) and will feature television coverage provided by BTN and radio coverage by the Husker Sports Network.