NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
Lincoln, Neb. - The Nebraska football team practiced for just over 90 minutes on Monday afternoon in sweats inside the Hawks Championship Center in preparation for its game against the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday.
Nebraska Defensive Coordinator Mark Banker spoke with the media following Tuesday’s practice and mentioned the difficulties Northwestern has faced the past few weeks.
"What's happened to Northwestern over the last couple of games is that they've gotten behind by a lot, early," Banker said. "They've kind of gone away from their run game. This past game they probably took 20 snaps empty, with nobody in the backfield. The only time they had anybody in the backfield was if they motioned either No. 4 or 21, one of the two running backs that's also used as a receiver. They motioned him into the backfield and their run game came from there."
Coach Banker also talked about Northwestern's early victory over Stanford and the Wildcats' early season success running the ball.
"Earlier on, you know, they beat Stanford," Banker said. "Obviously that was a good win for them to get the season started and then they were on a roll. As a part of that they were running the ball and they were running the ball well. As I said, the last couple of games they got behind early and they strictly went to throwing the ball."
Banker added that the defensive line has been steady and continues to grow.
"They've been real salty at the point of attack," Banker said. "They've shown a lot of physicality week in and week out. The last two games against Wisconsin and Minnesota have proven that. Prior to that, the Illinois game. They were very disruptive in the pass game. I think I mentioned that a week ago, against Wisconsin, they hit the quarterback 12 times. In this game (against Minnesota) they hit the quarterback eight times, plus the two sacks. They've been very, very disruptive in the run game."