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HUSKER FOOTBALL: Defense Continues Preparations for Colorado

LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Sept. 3)–The Nebraska football team practiced for just over two hours Tuesday morning inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields.

Defensive coordinator Eric Chinander was pleased with the Huskers’ ball-hawking abilities, as NU forced five turnovers in the season-opening win over South Alabama, but knows there is room for growth.

“I was happy with that part of it. Guys played hard and got the ball out,” Chinander said. “We probably should have scored one more if the guys would have done exactly what we are coached to do. Lots of stuff to fix and lots of stuff to get better at, but I was pleased with the turnovers.”

Chinander talked about the challenges of facing a Colorado attack, which is different than previous seasons and was impressive in its 52-31 win over Colorado State last week. The Buffaloes have a new coaching staff under first-year coach Mel Tucker.

“One fear is you don’t know exactly what they are going to do,” Chinander said. “You got one game of work. You can look back at some of the other places the coordinators were at and see what they do, but you only got a small body of work to work with.”

Two players the Huskers are familiar with is the duo of quarterback Steven Montez and wide receiver Laviska Shenault, who hauled in 10 catches for 177 yards against NU last season.

“Obviously Shenault is one the top wide receiver in the country. I think (Quarterback) Steven Montez is a good quarterback who has a lot of experience,” Chinander said. ”They also got a couple of other receivers that can make it work. I think there personnel is a concern and not knowing exactly what to get ready for is the second concern.”

Chinander also commented on how he has seen the team adapt to the style of Coach Frost and the rest of the coaches.

“This group is dialed in,” Chinander said. “This group saw at the end of the year last year and in winter and summer conditioning that he’s (Coach Frost) has got a plan for us and that plan is going to work. So let’s follow that plan. Is there going to be some bumps in the road? Yeah, there’s going to be some bumps in the road, but right now, he has laid the plan out and they want to follow it.”

Chinander also talked about the development of junior safety Eli Sullivan, a Longmont, Colo., native who made three tackles in Saturday’s win.

“Unbelievable. For that guy, it is gonna be special for him being from Colorado, walk-on guy. [He] put his head down and grinded for three or four years. All he does is get better.  Through camp, he is out there making plays. You know, he intercepts a pass with the one’s and I’m like ‘Who is that Fish?’ [Defensive Backs Coach Travis Fisher] ‘That’s Eli.’ He has improved so much, and I’m so happy for that guy. He’s made some big tackles out there. I saw some of the stuff on Twitter. He is another coach on the field. Sure, he corrects me sometimes,” Chinander said. “He studies the football game. There is never a point where he is out of position. I am just proud of him.”

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