Nebraska Football: Erik Chinander needs to succeed in 2020

Scott Frost of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander walk (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
Scott Frost of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander walk (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

Chinander needs to put together a better for defensive philosophy for 2020.

Before I start this piece, let me be extremely clear. I’m not calling for the firing of Nebraska Football defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that 2020 is going to be a pivotal year for him.

Friday’s game against Iowa was one of their better showings. Nate Stanley, the Iowa quarterback, didn’t really come alive until late in the game. For the most part, they kept him at bay and were even able to secure a pick-six off him. However, in looking at the body of work the defense did throughout the entire season, they left a lot to be desired.

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One of the better games the defense had this year was against Northwestern. Granted, Nebraska Football won that game in  nail-biting fashion. However, the defense played solidly in that game. I also thought they put a good effort together against Northern Illinois. Let’s not forget about the Maryland game as well. Say what you want about the skill level of Maryland’s team, but Nebraska did put together a solid game.

However, there are other games where the defense looked completely lost. Indiana comes to mind, Purdue comes to mind, and even Ohio State was a game where the defense looked unprepared. The lack of in-game adjustments throughout the course of the season reared their ugly head more often than not. One of the things that I noticed with this defense is that they had trouble covering both underneath receivers and slant plays. The Hoosiers were able to pick apart the Nebraska defense doing just those things. They were able to find the open man in space underneath,

I am not sure if it is a scheme issue or the fact that Chinander does not have the type of players capable of running the defense quite yet. This year, I am putting it as a sign that he doesn’t have the players he needs in order for this defense to succeed. However, my gut feeling is that it’s a scheme issue. In that case, he may be in over his head. Heading into 2020, he definitely needs to look at his run defense, and what he can do to make that better. Maybe it’s just a question of putting players in better positions to fill gaps. Maybe it is something bigger than that.

Year Three will be pivotal for the coaches that stick around in 2020. There could be some coaching turnover, I don’t know for certain. However, Chinander is going to have to show some improvement next season. For all the times that Nebraska looked solid on defense this season, they also seemed to take steps back. I’ll give him one more year before I pass any major judgment, but he does have a lot of work to do if the Nebraska Football defense is going to succeed in 2020.