LINCOLN, Neb. - With just 17 starts between the four of them, there might not be a position group in college football getting more love entering the season with less experience.
Nebraska’s defensive line has been one of the biggest storylines during the Huskers’ fall camp. There is a lot to like about the front four – including potential All-American defensive end Randy Gregory.
But, before we “crown them,” to quote former NFL head coach Dennis Green, let’s see what they can do on Saturday. Actually, let’s see what they can do during the non-conference portion of the schedule.
“I think we know what we can do and what we need to do on the field,” said Gregory. “As far as me, I don’t do a lot of talking, I just go out and do it. Everyone can talk about it, as long as we go out on the field and execute, it’s all that matters.”
“Well I think the light turned on for those two during spring practice,” said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. “There were some good things last year, but also a lot of things they needed to get better at. They needed to progress. And every guys comes along at a different pace.
“For those two, if you put on the film and look at how they were last year, they’re not even close. They’ve made significant jumps.”
It’s actually not just the defensive line, the Blackshirts as a whole are getting quite a bit of love entering 2014 (a large part of that because of the front four).
They are a young group, a group that got some valuable experience last season, a group that has given the offense in fall camp fits often, a group that flies to the football. The potential is there for a great season, but is it fair to call them one of the top two defenses in the Big Ten with no proof of results? Shouldn’t we see a little something on Saturdays?
“I think we have tremendous potential as a unit,” said Pelini. “I like what I‘ve seen from those guys. I think our backups have come along. We’re a lot deeper than we were.
“There were times where we could see that talent last year, but there were also times where we weren’t very good. It’s just the situation we were in. I thought we got better as the year went on and we continued to get better through the offseason. And I think that’s what we’re seeing right now.”
The Nebraska defense is going to be fine and eventually grow into one of the best units in the Big Ten, but the hype train needs to slow down. It is weeks ahead of schedule.