Red Report: Jackson needs to ‘swing;’ emulating Wisconsin’s attitude; Weinmaster moving up
Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said his message to players that have seen their name move down the depth chart is a simple one: Be better in practice, and you’ll be a factor on gameday.
Chinander’s comments came in the wake of Monday’s depth chart release, which saw several changes after the 42-28 loss to Purdue. On the defensive side, that meant Eric Lee moving ahead of Lamar Jackson at corner, among other changes.
“The message to a guy like that, or anybody on our team, is practice better than anybody else and you’re the starter, period,” Chinander said. “I don’t have 11 starters. I don’t care who starts. Practice better than everybody else and you’re the starter. If you don’t practice as good as everybody else, you’re not the starter. You need to earn the team’s trust back. Not mine.”
Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher, asked how Jackson has responded to being demoted, said: “Right now, he’s not fighting.”
Jackson is practicing, though, and attempting to correct his mistakes.
“This is what he needs. This has been part of his development in a new coaching staff. This is just a tester for him,” Fisher said. “He needs to get up and swing. He’s practicing and not complaining. None of that is going on. He just needs to swing.”
Attitude adjustment: While Wisconsin may have turned to the Nebraska blueprint to revive its football program, the Huskers of today don’t want to look like the Badgers. At least in style of play.
“Do we want to be Wisconsin? No, that’s not our style of football. But we need to get to the championship attitude they have, the championship discipline that they have, the championship mentality they have,” Chinander said. They have a really good coaching staff, and they have a championship attitude on their football team. We are not a disciplined team right now, plain and simple. We bust too much, we have too many penalties, period.
Chinander’s message is similar to that of head coach Scott Frost, who praised Wisconsin’s discipline Monday.
“They are just a really well-coached team. They never beat themselves, which has been the polar opposite of what we’ve been,” Frost said. “You don’t see them make any kind of mistakes that will get them beat.”
Davis learning inside: Carlos Davis has played a lot of football for Nebraska, but he’s learning how to be a defensive tackle now in Mick Stoltenberg’s absence due to a knee injury.
In his first time playing defensive tackle full-time, Davis handled things OK, by defensive line coach Mike Dawson’s estimation.
“Carlos, I thought, played real hard,” Dawson said. “There were a couple of mistakes that he made which I think I kind of anticipated happening. I think they are things he knows and he can correct. The more experience he gets in there the better he’ll be. Sometimes when you’re that close to the ball and you’re right in front of it, things happen very, very quickly.
“It’s going to happen fast for him, but he’s athletic enough and strong enough to handle it and I think that he’ll be fine.”
Weinmaster must be ready: Junior Jacob Weinmaster moved from No. 5 to No. 4 at inside linebacker after Will Honas’ season-ending knee injury, meaning he’s that much closer to seeing the field Saturday at Wisconsin and over the remainder of the season.
“You can’t always know when your time is going to come, but you always have to be ready for it,” inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud said of Weinmaster, who was awarded a scholarship for the first time this fall. “He’s been working and he’ll be ready.
“Everybody that makes that trip up to Wisconsin has to be ready to contribute and play.”
Chinander said Weinmaster will be ready, it’s just a matter of getting the former walk-on more reps.
“He’s a kid that, it means a lot to him, so he knows what he’s doing, he just needs reps. He needs a lot of reps so he can get the speed of the game so he can get the reads at full speed,” Chinander said. “But he knows what he’s doing and he’s confident in what he’s doing.”
Chinander added that a pair of freshman walk-ons, Chris Cassidy of Lincoln Pius X and Joseph Johnson of Gretna, will also get a few reps in case they’re needed as emergency backups.