Spring Game Recap: Defense

Defensive Line:

We said in our preview that we actually weren’t as worried about DL depth as we initially thought. And that shined bright in the spring game. Not only did guys like Hutmacher and show flashes of being better in just a short winter offseason and spring ball, but Jeudy showed some good movement, Rollins was holding his own in a position switch, and oh ya guys that should still be going to their prom like Noonan, Lenhardt, and Princewill were having their way.

Guys like Kai Wallin and Tagaloa even shined a bit with the new scheme. Blaise Gunnerson who has been hurt basically the entire time here, and Ru’Quan Buckley who I think has some work to do still, but at least those two add some more names to the depth chart for us.

So I didn’t want to blow up our OL in the offense thread as I try to stay positive, but i’ll use the joke again… a kid that is supposed to be at prom but graduated early to get here for spring did this to our guy that’s been in the program for 4 years and was the #64 player in the nation in his recruiting class:

That just shows our development, or lack of. I get that Corcoran has no business playing tackle, but a guy 4 years into a college weight program with 24 starts under his belt should own an 18 year old DL. It worries me for our OL.

But let’s get back to positives and some differences. We are an attacking defensive line now, which means our guys are going to try to shoot gaps and slash up field. While we are still technically a 3 man front like Chinanders defense, no longer will our DL be asked to just hold OL up so they can’t climb to our LBs. Our DL is going to be asked to go make some plays in the backfield. For me that’s exciting as a fan, but it also means good things for our recruiting. Imagine being a recruit and hearing “your job is to keep OL off our LBs” with the previous staff, and now you hear “get in the backfield and disrupt plays.” You are going to get a lot of kids’ attention with that. And we saw that during the spring game with the true freshmen mentioned before wreaking some havoc. Many times our offense was lucky to have Sims and Haarberg back there who could escape. Keep in mind, what we saw from the youngsters in the spring game doesn’t even include one of the higher ranked recruits in Van Poppel out of Texas. And I really like Carroll-Jackson who White was recruiting at Syracuse.

Oh and by the way, Ty Robinson is still around who could help while we get the youngins up to speed.

But it circles back for me to guys like Robinson, Hutmacher, and Wynn who is now departed. We don’t need them to be 330 pounds and eat up blockers. They need to be agile and quick to cut gaps, which is a reason I think Wynn took off on top of seeing that he may not play much. It’s also a reason a guy like Jeudy came here. And remember, Knighton talked about how Hutmacher losing weight was good for him and helping his game. For a guy like myself who preached we were getting too big because all our old staff cared about was putting on weight, that was music to my ears.

Let’s just bring it back to the fact that with all those guys I mentioned, it’s easy to see why a guy like Wynn took off. Look, I would have loved to have him for depth. But getting some of the young guns in earlier is going to make us better in the long run. Wynn was a stop gap who may not have fit anymore.


This is the position that Jimari Butler and MJ Sherman are battling it out for. You also have guys like Chief Borders and Kaine Williams working as well. I don’t have a ton to add here at this position, we all saw it. But I think this staff is wanting Butler and Sherman on the field more, so you saw us experiment with Butler at ILB.

Don’t forget about Maverick Noonan at this spot. I’ll be curious to see what we do with him and if we can keep a redshirt on him. Would be nice to keep him and a few other promising freshman back a little bit.


So this is the one that is really intriguing to me. Nebraska technically returns both starters in Henrich and Reimer, but part of me gets the feeling that what we asked from our ILBs with Chinander is much different than what White will want. Personally, I thought Reimer is exactly what White would want but then we put a ton of weight on him and he got slow. However, he was really good at blitzing and making some sacks/TFLs before that, so I think he fits well. The one i’m not sure about is Henrich. Bullock has been getting a lot of praise, and as we talked about in the previous summary, Butler got some run at ILB. I think we may have a surprise starter at ILB this year that’s not Henrich or Reimer.

Also, I am really pumped for the true freshmen coming in. If you haven’t watched his film, freaking enjoy:

That dude will start for multiple years for us. And that’s the kind of guy we are looking for at ILB in the future. Much different than Henrich and just a bit more explosive than Reimer.

Defensive Backs

This one is all over the map… I have to apologize as i’m trying to figure out who is playing where and who is doing well. But I like what we have at CB, where Newsome will man one spot and i’d have to give the nod to Hartzog on the other. There is so much good in this room with so much depth, Coach Cooper has a ton to choose from.

You then just have to figure out the safety spot and “rover” or whatever they call it. Starting with Rover, I think you have a pretty good battle with Gifford and Stenger and obviously plenty of other guys that could fit the bill.

At safety, Myles Farmer seems like an obvious choice but i’m not ready to call that yet. Remember, Farmer had a ton of trouble early in Chinanders offense, he started asserting himself when he understood the scheme. Now he’s back to square 1 just like everyone else. Could Buford or Collier make a move?


I’m just so confused about what we do on defense that this is a bit bare, but we have way more options than I thought. The biggest question mark is can the 3-3-5 work in the B1G. While the league is changing as teams like Wisconsin are going more spread, we start with Minnesota who has the most patient coach in just trying to pound it down your throat.

Herbies Hangout Moving Forward

Things are going to get a bit less active through the summer. I have a post ready going over the Bill Busch season prediction for next week, but things get pretty quiet normally. I have another post pretty loaded for mid-July and that’s when we will launch our shirt, hat, tumbler, and other things website where you can support in ways that also get you something in return other than my rambling. Don’t worry, it’s Nebraska themed and not “I love SSO” all over it.

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12 thoughts on “Spring Game Recap: Defense

  1. The thing about that Corcoran play, it’s not like he’s getting manhandled, he just gets run by, which seemed to happen a lot last year for both our tackles. Don’t know if it’s technique, being too slow, whatever. But that has to be fixed somehow. Seems like that classic “shuffle step” tackles use to get back in position just didn’t even happen at all…

    I know this was a defense post, quite frankly it was hard for me to tell much from the spring game with so many new faces and scheme.

    But back in regards to the OLine, I’ve heard a lot of thoughts and talk about Rhule/Raiola’s OLine philosophy, and general ideas on physicality, but mostly in terms of the run game.

    Anything you know more in depth on this staffs handling of pass blocking (technique/drills/etc?). Maybe there isn’t much that differs across the board, OL is a position I don’t have much experience in with from the coaching perspective.

    1. There isn’t a ton different, it’s more hand placement and other things like that. At the end of the day you just have to move the guy in front of you. I don’t think it makes a huge difference one way or the other. I know other recruits have mentioned it, but they kind of mold it based on what a guy is good at.

      Reminds me of when Beck and Bo changed how our centers snapped the ball in shotgun. It was different but at the end of the day the end result just needed to be to get it back to the QB.

  2. Good info as usual, i was thinking about our ILb’s as well and if they fit the new style, can Remivers get back to his speed when he was younger type thing.. I too think we have tons of options now with this defense and with knowing that 11+ teams have gone away from the pro style offense this i fell is the time to be the innovators.. excited to see what you will have at the store, can always use some Husker gear!

    1. I’m really curious to see what happens there with Reimer. I think he can get there, i’m a little worried about Henrich. What i’m hoping though is those two can get the young guys ready to roll like Fields. Just buy us some time.

  3. That’s encouraging that you mentioned Stenger in the conversation for “Rover”. I saw him briefly in HS (mainly at QB) and his athleticism and likely football IQ is impressive. He reminds me of someone who Iowa would have looked to recruit. A buddy of mine who’s an Iowa fan has always told me Coach Ferentz recruits athletic, but undersized HS QBs to help fill in his defensive backfield. Basically, the best athlete on a smaller school team who clearly has FB smarts and tries to turn them into a Riley Moss.

    1. I think “liking” or just “being a football player” is a good way to look at these things. We’ve had numerous kids that blow up at camps only to find out they don’t really like football, they’re just really fast or strong or can jump high. I think Stenger is going to turn into a really good player. You can see why Kansas State liked him.

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