Practice report, Sept. 10: Nebraska defense in process of growing up, Erik Chinander says

LINCOLN — Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander didn't want to talk about Colorado.

The defense has moved on. They have to. So does he. But, because of media obligations, Chinander had to talk about the 34-31 loss on Saturday, a game he said shouldn't have been as close as it was.

"That's a good football team but they should've had 7 points, 14 points, should have never came to that," Chinander said. "We played three quarters of really good football, then didn't finish the football game. We've gotta be able to finish."

Nebraska's now lost four straight road games by five or fewer points.

Finishing games, Chinander said, is something his team has to learn how to do. And it's a painful process of building a football team.

"Hate to say it, but that's part of growing up as a program. Gotta finish on defense," Chinander said.

Head coach Scott Frost said on Monday he thought the defense looked tired. Coaches have deflected that it was because of the altitude. Chinander said he could tell his guys were gassed because of the lack of urgency to get lined up and make calls.

Chinander said he wasn't sure if part of the issue was because of Nebraska's lack of depth and practice of cross-training positions, that guys didn't know exactly what to do in crucial moments.

"We gotta get that fixed. I gotta find a way."

Some more notes from practice:

» Kicker Barret Pickering is on a pitch count this week, special teams coordinator said. The sophomore starter has not played in a game this season, dealing with a particularly odd injury, special teams coach Jovan Dewitt said.

Pickering has hardly kicked the last few weeks. He's in the process of coming back, though. The plan remains to have Isaac Armstrong as the kicker.

» Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti is more heavily involved in the game plan this week because of his relationship with Northern Illinois quarterback Ross Bowers. Both were at Cal the last two seasons.

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