Chinander Talks Defensive Struggles and Northwestern

Chinander Talks Defensive Struggles and Northwestern

The Huskers practiced for a little over two hours this morning at the Hawks Championship Center. Afterwards, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander met with the media to talk Wisconsin, his defensive concerns, and Northwestern.

The Husker defense got gouged by the Badgers, giving up well over 500 yards of total offense. 370 of those yards came on the ground. “We have a long ways to go,” Chinander said.

Nebraska’s next opponent, Northwestern, is a pass first football team. Their senior quarterback, Clayton Thorson, is familiar with the Huskers, having played against Nebraska three times in his career. Thorson threw for 243 yards last season against the Huskers. In 2016 he threw for 249 yards and in 2015, he racked up 177 yards passing in his games against Nebraska.

Northwestern’s ground game will be less of a factor in the game but still present. Chinander said the Wildcats can use the run game like they would a “changeup.” The Wildcats lost their top running back, Jeremy Larkin, to cervical stenosis; a condition which causes the narrowing of the spine canal in the neck.

The diagnosis was serious enough for Larkin to need to retire from football. Through three games in 2018, Larkin had rushed for 346 yards. Larkin’s retirement has forced Northwestern to use “running backs by committee,” Chinander said.

The Huskers are familiar with having a lack of depth at key positions, especially on defense. With the loss of Will Honas to a season ending injury, players like Jacob Weinmaster have been asked to fill bigger roles.

“I’m just coming to work every day and preparing like a starter,” Weinmaster said. “When I get my opportunity to go, then [I’ll] take it.”

It’s an 11 A.M. clash between Nebraska and Northwestern on Saturday. The Wildcats enter the contest at 2-3, coming off of an upset win over Michigan State.

(Photo Credit: Kenny Larabee)