The Nebraska defense played well in the season-opening 35-21 win over South Alabama.
The Blackshirts came up with five turnovers in the game, including a pick six by safety Eric Lee and a fumble recovered in the endzone by linebacker Alex Davis.
But now, the competition raises up a notch when the Huskers travel to Boulder, Colorado, Saturday to face the Buffaloes.
Colorado has a new head coach in Mel Tucker and the Huskers got a look at the Buffaloes film from their opening win over Colorado State.
“One fear is you don’t know exactly what they are going to do,” Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said. “You got one game of work. You can look back at some of the other places the coordinators were at and see what they do, but you only got a small body of work to work with.”
But the Huskers already knew plenty about Colorado quarterback Steven Montez and receiver Laviska Shenault.
Even though Nebraska sacked Montez seven times a year ago in Lincoln, the quarterback still managed to complete 33-of-50 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-28 Colorado win. Shanault caught 10 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in that game.
“They’re pretty tough, they know how to play their game and they’re very physical, especially (Shenault),” Nebraska defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt said. “He’s going to come out there and try to break tackles and go up high for every ball. They’re going to try to lay out and put it all on the line, but we have to come out and play our game and Blackshirt defense.”
Shenault, at 6-2 and 220, is a big, strong receiver. The Huskers will try to keep an eye on him Saturday.
“He is a talented individual,” Lee said. “We got to see him last year, and he made some incredible plays. This time around we’ve just got to make sure we detail in film.
“Where he is lined up can tell the whole story. Just make sure we know what we are doing, know who we are going against and execute the game plan.”
Shenault has impressed Chinander.
“Obviously Shenault is one the top wide receiver in the country. I think (Quarterback) Steven Montez is a good quarterback who has a lot of experience,” Chinander said. “They also got a couple of other receivers that can make it work. I think their personnel is a concern and not knowing exactly what to get ready for is the second concern.”
Montez presents problems for opponents as well. He had five carries for 39 yards against Colorado State last week.
“Montez is a talented quarterback,” Lee said. “He can run. He can throw. He can throw on the run. Just having eye discipline and just making sure we condense that pocket because that is going to be big for us this week.”