Huskers looking for improved defense in Big Ten opener

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LINCOLN, Neb. The Nebraska football team practiced for roughly two hours on Tuesday in full pads and helmets, splitting time inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields.

Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander spoke to the media following practice and addressed the process of correcting mistakes.

"It's encouraging because you watch the film, and you're close," Chinander said. "It's disappointing that it's not getting done yet... but it's things we have got to fix."

When asked about the challenges that Purdue quarterback David Blough will pose for the NU defense, Chinander said Blough and the entire Boilermaker offense will be a challenge.

"I think he's an exceptional passer," Chinander said of Blough. "He's an adequate runner. He can run it a little bit...but I think he can throw it as [well] as anybody in the league. We're really going to have to be great in melting the zones, and we're going to have to be tight in man coverage."

Chinander was also asked how he felt his unit compared with No. 19 Michigan last weekend.

"I think physically, we have a ways to go," Chinander said. "We're in year 0.5 of the strength and conditioning program. But I don't feel like it was David and Goliath or anything like that. I thought the guys played hard when they were in the right fits and they were executing and we could hold our own.”

Chinander went on to speak about the impact junior linebacker Mohamed Barry has on the defense and his teammates.

"He made some critical errors in the game just like everybody else, but I think Mo can make up for it a little bit with the effort he plays with," Chinander said. "I think the guys feed off of him. He's a guy that really loves football, and we need 11 guys that love football out there. Eventually we need 105 guys that just love to play football. They've got to do academics and be good in the community but I want guys that love football, period."

The Huskers will be back on the practice field on Wednesday morning. Nebraska faces off against Purdue on Saturday, Sept. 29 in Memorial Stadium at 2:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on BTN.