Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley on Tuesday said he’s impressed with Nebraska on both sides of the ball.
Riley, widely considered one of the best offensive minds in college football, brought up NU’s secondary first.
“They do everything pretty well. They’re pretty experienced in the secondary, guys that have played a lot of ball,” Riley said of the Nebraska defense during his weekly news conference. “They’ve got a big, physical front. They do some things schematically that really challenge you. They do a good job mixing it up. They’re a good group, they really are. I think they’ve really improved looking at some of last year’s tape and on to this year.
“I think it’s a much better unit and they’re playing at a high level, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a challenge. They’ve done a nice job with that group and you can see it heading in a positive direction for them.”
The fifth-year Sooners head coach also said he recruited Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez “a little bit” and had high praise for the Huskers’ signal-caller.
“The interior pass rush any time you play a really athletic quarterback is important,” he said. “Obviously you’d love to get rush on the edges and all that, but if you really wide up the edges, you can really open up big holes, whereas that interior pass rush is sometimes hard to get away from. You’ve got to be really disciplined when you rush the passer against this guy, and obviously Perrion (Winfrey) and all of our inside guys, any inside push and pressure that we can get is going to make life tougher on any quarterback, especially one as athletic as Adrian.”
Big test for CBs: Just about everybody on Nebraska’s defense will be tested by Oklahoma’s offense, but the cornerbacks might be near the top of the list.
Against Buffalo, Nebraska showed a little bit more three-corner look with Braxton Clark joining starters Cam Taylor-Britt and Quinton Newsome on the field. Clark has gotten reps each of the past two weeks and gives NU what they feel like is essentially a third starter. And one who stands 6-4 at that.
“Quinton is playing some good football and he’s working his tail off every day,” secondary coach Travis Fisher said this week. “Braxton is coming in right now, you’re starting to see more of Braxton in these football games and he’s doing a good job as well.”
“Braxton had a good day of practice today and he’s coming along really well,” defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said Tuesday. “Coach ‘Fish’ has done a great job with him. I like where he’s heading and he’s got a bright future.”
Moving on up: Nebraska freshman left tackle Teddy Prochazka has moved up the depth chart to No. 2 behind Turner Corcoran. As a newcomer, he started from the bottom.
Actually, he’s still in the basement in at least one way.
“Me and (freshman offensive lineman Henry Lutovksy), we were roommates back in the suites and now we live with Broc (Bando), Matt Sichterman, Hunter Miller and Levi Falck,” Prochazka said Monday. “We share the basement. So you know, we kind of hold it down there. Keep it clean, obviously.”
Prochazka, the 6-foot-9, 310-pounder, was no bottom-dweller on Saturday against Buffalo. In fact, the first two snaps he played resulted in touchdowns.
He lined up at tight end on Gabe Ervin Jr.’s scoring run early in the fourth quarter on the first play following Luke Reimer’s interception.
“I just set the edge. I didn’t really hit anybody, because all my guys weren’t in front of me, so I just kind of stood there,” Prochazka said. “I turned around and we were in the end zone.”
Then he returned to the field with some of the No. 2 unit midway through the fourth quarter, only to see Martinez throw a first-play, 68-yard touchdown pass to Samori Toure.
“That’s how I like it. Get out there, two plays maybe, get a big play, touchdown, right off to the sideline,” Prochazka said, smiling.