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2010 Oct 14

NEBRASKA-TEXAS: Position Matchup

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By HuskerLocker

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Breaking down the matchups of Nebraska-Texas game position-by-position:

QUARTERBACK: Taylor Martinez has, without warning, become one of the nation's most explosive offensive players. He appears to display maturity beyond his years – we can't tell if he's stoic or just camera shy – while UT's Garrett Gilbert is still growing into his role and gaining the trust of his position coaches. EDGE: Nebraska.

RUNNING BACK: Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead compliment each other and make a great 1-2 punch. UT uses as many as four running backs in the game, but none of them are close to the complete gamebreakers the Longhorns need. EDGE: Nebraska

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: Nebraska has size, experience and solid perimeter blockers. In a running offense, they don't get used too much. Texas, meanwhile, has a pretty good pass-catching corps of receivers who could stand to get a little tougher and stronger as blockers. We like Mike Davis and Malcolm Williams, though. EDGE: Even

OFFENSIVE LINE: This is the most active, physical, healthy offensive line Nebraska's had since 2007. UT's guys are athletic, but ill-suited for a power blocking game. They're better at the slap-and-tickle method.. EDGE: Nebraska

DEFENSIVE LINE: Given their sheer production, you could make a strong argument that Texas has the nation's best defensive line despite having to replace two starters. Defensive ends Sam Acho and Eddie Jones are great bookends. The Huskers counter with a solid front four of its own, anchored by Jared Crick. Right at this second, UT is perhaps playing slightly better. EDGE: Texas

LINEBACKERS: As good as junior LaVonte David has been early in the year, Nebraska has yet to find a suitable compliment for him, and it's too much to expect Will Compton to jump right back into it. Texas has one of the Big 12's best linebackers in Keenan Robinson, and Emmanuel Acho isn't far behind. Solid bunch that has the speed and size to make up for mistakes. EDGE: Texas

SECONDARY: Nebraska has the best collection of defensive backs in America. Texas is close, but not quite performing at the same standard. We like NU's safeties a bit more, and Alfonzo Dennard is having an All-America-type season. EDGE: Nebraska

SPECIAL TEAMS: Both units are pretty strong across the board. Nebraska has the better kicker in Alex Henery, while Texas covers kicks and punts a little better. EDGE: Even

COACHING: Texas coaches attempted to pound a spread offense peg into a pro-style peg in the offseason, and pretty much failed at it, but defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has few peers. One of them happens to be Bo Pelini. He and his brother Carl craft a simple-but-effective defense, while Shawn Watson coordinates the offense. Mack Brown is more of a gameday CEO at this point, but he has a pretty good pulse of the game. EDGE: Even

See also: Five Keys to the Game, Five NU and UT Players to Watch, and NU-UT Position Matchup and Guess The Score

Tags: texas game, position matchup

Comments (2)

Profile image for huskermaniac28Locker Pass member
huskermaniac28

I'm guessing what he means by "simple but effective" is that Nebraska has not used many crazy blitz packages or anything like that so far. So far they've been able to stay in their base defense the vast majority of the time and still be effective.

– Oct 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Profile image for huskerfanbb
huskerfanbb

Your characterization of Nebraska's defense under the Pelinis as "simple but effective" is WAY off base. It is NOT simple. It is one of the more complicated defenses to teach and learn--probably as complicated as any in college football.

The line runs a two-gap system that is rare in college. There are a ton of complicated blitz packages that he can employ (just haven't seen a lot of them this year as of yet). They play an aggressive man to man or match up zone scheme in the secondary.

VERY few true freshmen play in this defense. It is pretty hard to learn in one year (as Lavonte David is finding out).

– Oct 15, 2010 at 10:06 am

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