LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska's pass rush was inconsistent on Saturday against BYU and head coach Mike Riley was asked about it on Monday during his weekly press conference.
”Pass rush-wise, I think that one of the most important things is that we were not great on just lane integrity all the time," said Riley. "When you don’t blitz, you’d love to have somebody win and put pressure on (the quarterback), but the other thing you want to do is just make the quarterback throw the ball on time. We can do better with that and not give him extra time or extra lanes to step-up in. So whether you’re stunting or not, there’s two phases to a four-man pass rush. There’s outside containment and there’s inside containment and people don’t talk about the inside containment, but if the two inside guys, whoever they end up being, if they get out of kilter, then you’re leaving a lane wide open and we were guilty of that some the other day and when you do that with an active quarterback it can cause trouble. When you blitz, which we got killed on on a touchdown play, by not being in the right gap and not being balanced up in the rush, so we blitz a corner off the edge and we don’t get good movement toward the other side of the ball, and so they basically have a gap between the center and our defensive tackles on the other outside shade of the guard over there, so that’s a natural lane for the quarterback to step up in and because it’s basically a mistake by not having a balanced pass rush. So balance and lane integrity and our pass rush, whether it’s a blitz or not, is something we have to work on.”
So is the pass rush correctable?
“Oh I think it’s correctable," said Riley. "I think guys have to have a real good feel for where they are pass rush-wise. I mean, if they get off-kilter they have to fight back to it and for me it’s not always about… I’ve looked at it hard in the past, how many sacks do you actually get off a four-man pass rush? And so if you’re not going to get a lot of sacks then what you have to do is really force that pocket and make the guy just stay in the pocket and throw the ball on time because you should have more guys covering, you should be in pretty good shape that way. That’s things we just have to tighten down.”