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Nebraska Football: Tony White’s defensive philosophy taking shape



Nebraska football
Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska football defense is continuing to take shape as the Huskers began their second day of training camp. Defensive coordinator Tony White knows what he wants with this unit, and used the term “Husker Speed” in describing it.

“Husker Speed” appears to be more of a philosophy than anything. It involves running quick to the football, playing with dominant contact, and just being in a good position to make a play. It’s certainly interesting to think about, given that that White’s defense has the opportunity to create a lot of chaos and confuse offenses.

This philosophy sounds like it’s going to be more about attacking versus letting the play come to the defenders. This is a drastic change from past years. Nebraska football let the offensive players come to them. Coverage was often soft, and wide receivers had a field day last year. Things got a bit better when Bill Busch took over as defensive coordinator. However, the early days with Erik Chinander were a bit rough.

We got to see the “Husker Speed” philosophy a little bit during the Red-White game. The defensive units for both teams    only combined for two sacks on the day. However, the defensive line and linebackers for both teams were impressive throughout.

White establishing Nebraska Football defensive philosophy

In addition to the speed, White is impressed with the personnel he has. He knows that there is going to be a lot of catching up to do in terms of helping these players learn. Nevertheless, White is excited about the depth that this program currently possesses, as transcribed by Husker247’s Brian Christopherson.

“When you look up and you see Buck out there, you see Nash, you see Blaise and you see Cam. And then you see guys down the line – A.J. Rollins and Kai, and you see Sua out there. You’re just like, ‘Wow.’ Wave after wave, you’re trying to get those guys to know what to do. And there’s a point in practice where a guy makes a play and he did it the right way – and he used Husker Speed and he used dominant contact – and it’s like, ‘That was it.’ And you can see it in their face, ‘That’s what it feels like.’ We’re trying to get everybody to that point.”

It’s exciting to hear White be optimistic about defensive line depth. Depth at the position is something that has not been strong over the past couple seasons. It’s been a weak spot in the program. However, that looks like it’s about to change. Not all of the defensive line problems from previous years were because of depth. Coaching was a major issue too. Nevertheless, that appears to be fixed as well.

White’s “Husker Speed” philosophy is something that the program can undoubtedly work with and build on. It’s also a step in the right direction, particularly as the Big Ten gets more competitive with playmakers on offense. The Big Ten is changing. White appears to be the right guy to lead this unit for the future.

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Danny is a Nebraska athletics fan and writer. He also enjoys writing about recruiting in his free time. Danny has been following the Huskers for the last five years. Find him on Twitter @NebCornholio.