LINCOLN, Neb. — How impressed is Nebraska coach Mike Riley with the development of his secondary this season? For the second straight day Tuesday, he made a point to talk about the group — and again specifically pointed to a pair of juniors.
“We’re playing a lot better than we did a year ago,” Riley said of the Nebraska secondary during Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference. “Our corners, (Josh) Kalu and Chris Jones, started in bowl game and we thought we had the makings of a pretty good group there. They’ve been playing fairly soundly up to this point.”
Riley also propped up Jones and Kalu, both juniors, in Monday’s news conference. And for good reason.
As a team, Nebraska has 11 interceptions, tied for the lead in the Big Ten and tied for fifth nationally. Through six games, Kalu has 1 interception, 4 pass breakups, 1 sack and 23 solo tackles. On the other side of the field, Jones has become a lockdown corner with 3 interceptions, 6 pass breakups, 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss and 14 solo tackles.
Jones only had 2 interceptions and 5 pass breakups all of last season.
On Tuesday, Riley explained a little bit of why Jones is so effective.
“He’s long, he’s got very good ball skills and he’s got great vision,” Riley said. “I think when he can play with his eyes toward the QB, he can make some ground and make a play on the football and see’s things very well.”
And he may get plenty of things to see this weekend, as the No. 8 Huskers (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) host (3-3, 1-2) and quarterback David Blough, the conference’s leading passer at 292.7 yards per game.