That Illinois defensive line. Whoa. When you see future All Big 10 offensive tackle Nick Gates hook a guy on the first play and hope he doesn’t get called for a hold, you know it’s going to be a long day. Gates has been an absolute animal this year, but he had his hands full all day with Illini end Carroll Phillips. And as Husker fans witnessed all too frequently, the other side fared even worse, with Dawuane Smoot living in the Nebraska backfield for a large portion of the game.
Nevertheless, offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf and his patchwork offensive line found just enough cards in the deck to play a few tricks on that impressive Illini line. In this write up, we’ll take a look at a new play designed to put Gates in motion, and we’ll touch base with another concept that the Huskers have cleaned up and modified substantially since the beginning of last year. Without these types of plays, Nebraska probably doesn’t beat the Illini by more than a handful of points. With them, they pour on 21 points in the 4th quarter to win going away.
We’ll also get some bonus footage on the defensive side of the ball, taking a look at one of the Blackshirts’ man coverage blitzes as well as the progression of Chris Jones, whose rapidly rising coverage skills makes blitzes like that one work.