LINCOLN, Neb. — Names, numbers, jerseys, it doesn’t really matter with Ohio State, Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker said.
The Buckeyes are fast, and there are 100 ways they can hurt you, Banker said.
For Nebraska, it’ll be a matter of just trying to slow it all down.
“It’s just a matter of understanding what their capabilities are and what they do and executing our defense and being able to contain them,” Banker said.
Ohio State is No. 1 in total offense in the Big Ten, No. 1 in rushing offense and second in scoring. The Buckeyes offense revolves around junior quarterback J.T. Barrett, who is second in the conference in total offense. But behind him are two quick backs, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel, who is third in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards.
And with those two, it’s not necessarily a change of pace, Banker said. Well, in a way it is.
“I don’t know if it is a change of pace if it goes from fast to fastest,” Banker said. “That’s the thing, with 25 (Weber) he is a quality running back. And then all of a sudden they take him off the field and all of a sudden you have Curtis Samuel back there.”
Ohio State has a lot of what defensive backs coach Brian Stewart calls “elite runners” — players who can do something with the ball in their hands in space.
“Every game has its own challenges,” Stewart said. “The key for us is keep our depth, be able to still have ball production.”
Stewart said he wants his defensive backs to be up on the ball and to keep as little separation between his secondary and the receivers as possible.
“Ball production is key and that’s one of those things we’ve done a great, great job of up to this point,” Stewart said.
Nebraska has not faced an offense like this in 2016. Linebackers coach Trent Bray said there’s a little of everything. A little of Indiana, a little of Oregon, maybe a little of Wisconsin.
“These guys kind of scare you,” Stewart said.