Husker practice report: Nebraska defense is bigger, stronger, smarter and creating more turnovers

Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander can already see the difference after four days of practice.

Nebraska's defenders are bigger and stronger. They better understand the scheme and their role in it. And they're doing the one thing Chinander loves most — creating more takeaways.

"Today, for instance, I think we grabbed three or four balls in interceptions and stripped a couple out," Chinander said. "What happens in practice shows up on Saturday. Right now, it's happening in practice."

The focus of defenders is "dramatically different" than it was last year, Chinander said. No wandering eyes or "poking my buddy, giggling in the back" during walk-through portions of practice.

Chinander is happy to have outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt back at practice full-time after he battled cancer during the winter and spring.

"Just having him out there is a high morale for all of us," Chinander said. "It's getting a member of your family back."

More quick hits from NU's practice:

» Junior inside linebacker Collin Miller is having a strong camp thus far, Chinander said. Bigger, stronger and faster. Miller said he's learning both inside linebacker spots and rotating on snaps with Mohamed Barry and Will Honas, who said he's 100 percent after recovering from his second ACL tear in four years.

» Outside linebacker JoJo Domann is not cleared to join camp at this point, Dewitt said. No reason was given, but Domann was not at NU's Fan Day last week.

Chinander said it's important to keep Domann healthy and added that, because Domann is up to 225-230 pounds, he can be versatile in Nebraska's defense.

» Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez and freshman receiver Wan'Dale Robinson are turning heads in camp, Chinander said.

"That guy is pretty special," Chinander said of Robinson. "I don't know what his role's gonna be or if he knows what he's doing — I don't coach that side of the ball — but when he gets the ball in space, it's a problem. Their skill guys look really good."

Chinander said Dedrick Mills has been a "nice addition at running back."

» At defensive back, the four freshmen have looked good, coaches said. Secondary coach Travis Fisher said Quinton Newsome in particular has been among the strongest players.

Sign Up for Email Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.