04.08.2010 / With Suh Gone the Huskers Turn to Crick. Blog Posting by Mike Babcock, Huskers Illustrated Magazine.
The Nebraska football team will miss Ndamukong Suh, no doubt about that. He was a consensus All America defensive tackle and earned more conference and national honors in a single season than any Cornhusker defender in school history, among them the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award.
"You do not replace Suh one-for-one, anyway. 'You do it by committee,' said Pelini. 'You replace him with a good player and then the other guys around him keep getting better.'"
“Any time you graduate a great player, you’re going to take a step backward,” Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said following a recent practice. “You don’t replace him.”
You do not replace Suh one-for-one, anyway. “You do it by committee,” said Pelini. “You replace him with a good player and then the other guys around him keep getting better.”
Though Suh is gone, the Cornhusker defensive line will be deeper in 2010, with the possibility of as many as five interior linemen in the rotation, according to Pelini. The group includes Jared Crick, Baker Steinkuhler, Terrence Moore and Thad Randall, with true freshman Chase Rome and sophomore-to-be Justin Jackson among the possibilities for a fifth.
Steinkuhler was the third tackle behind Suh and Crick last season. Moore battled through injuries. And Randall redshirted, though he worked with the top units in practice.
Crick will be the leader. In fact, the junior-to-be from Cozad could very well become the face of the Blackshirts, as Suh was. He has that kind of ability and work ethic, though he’s not much for being in the spotlight. “I don’t think he worries too much about that,” said Pelini. “That’s not who he is. He’s just real workmanlike in his approach and (will) continue to be that way. He’s just such a hard worker.
“I know Suh didn’t go about things that way (seeking the spotlight) and neither does he. If those things come, fine. But all it is is about getting better every day.”
Crick, who earned first-team All-Big 12 recognition from the conference coaches, was credited with 9½ sacks, 15 tackles for losses and 16 quarterback hurries last season, evidence he could take over a game similar to the way Suh did. “The best advice I think I ever gave Suh was, 'Don’t press, let the game come to you and you’ll have opportunities.'” Pelini said.
He has given Crick the same advice. “Play within the scheme, let your opportunities come to you.” said Pelini.
The loss of Suh hasn’t changed the “dynamic,” Pelini said. “It’s not changing the way I coach. I’m going to ask the guys to do the same thing.”
So don’t expect a significant drop-off from a unit that led the nation in scoring defense last season.
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