NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
Lincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours in half pads and helmets Tuesday afternoon. Both the defense and offense started with stretching and individual drills in the Hawks Championship Center. The offense moved to Memorial Stadium, while the defense practiced on the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields.
Defensive Coordinator Mark Banker met with the media following practice to touch on Saturday’s game against Ohio State.
“It’s the No. 1 offense in the Big Ten and they’ve got a ton of weapons,” Banker said. “Curtis [Samuel], No. 4, he was a back at one time [and] he was behind Ezekiel [Elliott]. They found a place for him out on the slot. Right now they’re using him both out on the perimeter, they use him in the backfield [and] they motion from perimeter back to the backfield. They get the ball in his hands.”
Banker briefly discussed Ohio State’s wide receivers and how the defense should execute.
“Their wide receiver core is like a track team,” Banker said. “You watch every game that they play and through the first 20-25 yards of the route, the defensive backs are covering guys and then you can see them start to separate. It’s a big challenge from the standpoint of the speed of the offense. The system itself lends itself to making sure we know how to cover down and fit the gaps properly because through the shifts, through the motions along with the actual play that goes with those formations. They give you a lot to chew on.
Coach Banker also talked about senior safety Nathan Gerry and his improvement since last season.
“Nate (Nathan) Gerry’s his own man,” Banker said. “He’s really played well through the seven games that he’s played. We’re seeing an improvement in him each week... Knock on wood and hope that continues with him. He’s like a lot of guys in our system. I don’t think we saw everyone’s best last year because of the learning process and the learning curve that went on within the group, but I’m pleased with some of the things he’s done obviously. He along with everybody else, there’s a ton of room for improvement. He’s capable of doing his job and then because of his awareness can possibly can make that exceptional play. He’s done that a couple times. I think back to the Northwestern game. He [was] covering the back out of the backfield to the flat and he was in good shape on it, but as he’s pushing, he’s also looking back and side and made a tip on a play to save a touchdown.”
The Huskers face the Ohio State Buckeyes on Nov. 5. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (CT) on ABC.