In its second practice of 2017, Nebraska’s defensive coordinator Bob Diaco and numerous assistants met with the media to discuss the how the defense looks early on in spring practice.
Learning a new scheme
Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said the defense is excited to learn and get better through the installation period, adding that Nebraska has the athletes to play in the 3-4.
“I think it fits well,” he said. “I’m pleased with the tangible skill of the defensive player, we can definitely get our work done.”
Defensive lineman Khalil Davis, who is moving to nose tackle in the 3-4, said he has picked up quickly on the defense, drawing on what he learned last season playing as both the nose and 3-technique in the 4-3. Defensive lineman Carlos Davis, who is moving from defensive tackle to end, added there are some similarities between the new and old defenses.
Diaco said communication is important so players can know exactly what they need to do and “cut it loose.”
“We’re kicking the tires on things,” Diaco said. “I’ve been able to get a lot of good ideas and information from the other staffers.”
There’s no doubt with the addition of Diaco and cornerbacks coach Donte Williams, the Blackshirts will have a lot of energy from its coaching staff.
“He’s high intensity, I love that,” Carlos Davis said when asked about his first impressions of Diaco. “He’s our leader, when he’s intense, we’re intense.”
Even new safeties coach, 63-year-old Bob Elliott, is always energetic and positive, according to Williams.
Williams said that Elliott also has the ability to calm him down when he gets too high-strung, likening it to having your grandpa around at all times.
In terms of first impressions, Williams said the group is big, long and athletic.
Nebraska returns both starting corners and two safeties who saw significant action, but Williams said he is treating Nebraska like it has the worst secondary in the Big Ten.
“I think we still have a long ways to go, a long ways,” Williams said, “when I say that I mean us as a group, even me as a coach.”
Corners Chris Jones and Joshua Kalu have been able to aid Williams and Elliott by being leaders and setting the standard for the younger DBs. Williams said the two are like brothers when they compete against each other.
“Everyone wants to outdo their brother,” he said. “If you tell one of them to watch 30 minutes of film, the other one is going to try to watch 31 minutes.”