NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
The Nebraska football team practiced in half pads for 90 minutes on Monday in the Hawks Championship Center and Outdoor Practice Facility, preparing for a Black Friday matchup against the undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes in Lincoln. NU looks to hand Iowa its first loss of the season and earn bowl eligibility.
Defensive coordinator Mark Banker spoke to the media following practice addressing many of Iowa’s offensive weapons.
"We know they’re a quality team,” Banker said. “It starts with their offensive line. They’re extremely well coached in the offensive line…they perform at a very, very high level. Their foot patterns are very good. They’re very strong upfront. Then you go back to the running backs. They’ve got a stable of four different running backs. They use them in various ways… [C.J.] Beathard as a quarterback does a great job of knowing where to go with the ball. He’s got a good sense in the pocket of timing. The do a nice job with the tight-end, more so on third-down with number 80 (Henry Krieger Coble). They just absolutely feed him the ball. Then 89 (Matt VandeBerg) is their go-to guy. He’s got 50 catches. So it’s just a methodical approach to football. They know what they are doing. They’ve got a good system and they do a great job of it.”
Iowais ranked third coming into Friday’s game and has yet to lose a game this season. Part of that is their efficiency on third-down plays. Banker acknowledged the importance putting Iowa in tough third-down positions.
“You’ve got to do a great job on first down to begin with,” Banker said. "Then, from there get to a third down situation that they don’t want to be in. This team, more than any other team we’ve seen this year — we break it down into third and medium and third and long and third and extra long — they have by far, more third and mediums than everybody we’ve seen all year. They get themselves on first or second down, not leaving anymore than somewhere in the range of…four or five yards that they find themselves on third down."