Nebraska linebacker JoJo Domann isn’t going to forget the lesson he learned against Purdue.
Late in the game, Purdue ran a reverse inside the Husker 10-yard line and with no outside containment, David Bell cruised in for the winning touchdown with 1:08 left on the clock. Domann said it was his fault for not doing his job on the play.
“Everyone has to do their job and I didn’t do mine and we paid the price for it,” Domann said. “I was supposed to go to quarterback, and if I would’ve gone to quarterback and strictly just the quarterback, I would’ve seen the reverse and been able to make a play on that. Definitely a learning experience moving forward and definitely got a fire inside of me.”
Domann admitted he got caught up in trying to make a play and neglected to take care of his own responsibilities.
“I really got caught in the moment thinking, ‘We gotta make a stop, we gotta make a stop, we gotta make a stop,”’ Domann said. “Instead of thinking ‘I gotta do my job, I gotta do my job, I gotta do my job.’ That thought process right there snipped me and we paid the price for it.”
You can bet next time, Domann is going to be intent on doing his job, no matter the situation. That’s what all the Huskers need to do.
“Once we can do that consistently, those close games are going to start to turn in our favor,” Domann said.
Hickman listed on depth chart at receiver
For the first time this season, true freshman Chris Hickman is listed on the depth chart at third as a wide receiver behind Wan’Dale Robinson and Kade Warner. The former Omaha Burke standout has been listed on the roster as a tight end.
Frost said he’s excited about players like the 6-6, 215-pound Hickman.
“He is going to be a good player. I get really excited,” Frost said. “One it is good to be back on the field with the guys again after a bye week. I think everybody just needs to get back out there. It is a lot of fun.”
Frost said he gets excited about many of the freshmen on the roster. Hickman has played in two games so far, so he could play in two of the final three and still redshirt.
“I have a lot of excitement about the future when I see a lot of the young kids and Chris Hickman is one of them,” Frost said.
“He hasn’t played a lot this year, but he has really shown us some things in practice and on the game field. We are going to use him as much as we can and still try to save his year.”
Hickman played against Purdue on Nov. 2 even though he was sick, possibly with the same bug that kept defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt out of the game completely.
“It is one of the things I love about Chris,” Frost said. “He was sick as a dog against Purdue. But, he wasn’t going to tell anybody and he was going to be out there. We didn’t play him as many snaps as we wanted to because of circumstances in the game and because of him being sick. But when he was out there he did a great job.
“He has consistently been one of our best, if not our best perimeter blocker in practice so he was just able to show that in the game.”
The Huskers know that in order to beat Wisconsin Saturday, the first thing they have to do is slow down the Badgers’ running game.
That means slowing down junior running back Jonathan Taylor. That will not be an easy task.
Taylor has 1,259 yards this year. Earlier this season, he became the fourth player in history to rush for over 5,000 yards for his career before the end of his junior season.
In the past two seasons, he’s gone for 249 and 221 yards against the Huskers.
“He’s a great back, you could say that,” Taylor Britt said. “We just need to fill our gaps and keep our eyes clean, and play great football because you know they want to mess with our eyes and put us in different situations where we mess ourselves up, and we need to just make the right play.”
Frost said failure to fill those gaps last year contributed to Taylor’s success against the Huskers. The Wisconsin offense forces defenses to adjust those run fits.
“You get used to, on defense, the one back running game and the one back run fits,” Frost said. “The run fits are quite a bit different with two fullbacks.”
True freshman linebacker Garrett Nelson and sophomore lineman Damian Jackson were awarded Blackshirts this week. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said both players are deserving of that honor.
“Garrett has done a good job to get on the field a lot more,” Chinander said. “Being a Blackshirt is more than just performing on Saturday. Coach Frost and the staff felt like those guys were deserving of doing things the right way on the practice field, off the field, on game day and taking a little more of a leadership role. Those guys were deserving of it.”
Bob Hamar is sports editor for The Independent.