Here is what former Husker and Hastings native Adam Carriker had to say this week about the Nebraska football team and their opponents:

How NU looks so far

“So far this year, Tommy Armstrong, who was a bit of a question mark, has proven himself to be not only the best quarterback on the team, but maybe the best player on the team and one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 10. As for our running game, I mean, it’s decent — we can run the ball — (but) it just lacks big play ability, where instead of getting 3 or 4 or 5 yards you get 25-to-30 yard bursts. It lacks that right now. (Junior) Terrell Newby does a decent job, but he lacks the pop, the explosive burst to get the big play. (Redshirt freshman) Mikale Wilbon has demonstrated he is probably the team’s most explosive runner (Nebraska’s Scout Team MVP in 2014). There’s a chance he’ll help with the big plays we’re lacking this week if he’s healthy (knee).”

Pass defense

“Defensively, they’ve done a good job stopping the run. There were a few lapses against Miami (which beat Nebraska 36-33 Sept. 19), but all of the other games have been really good. As for our pass defense, we’re 127 out of 127. Last. The corners have been struggling, but you’ve got to combine that with the fact that there’s been little to no pass rush. (Redshirt freshman) Freedom Akinmoladun has four sacks on the season, but outside of him, there’s been very little to no pass rush. That plays into a lack of pass defense, as well, because a corner can only cover a receiver for so long if you’re not putting pressure on the quarterback. It’s been a problem every game, so it’s not going to be an overnight fix. I’ve played with a lot of corners who were All Pro guys — fast in the 40-yard dash, with great vertical jumps and athletic ability — and they’ve told me that the mental aspect of the game has to be just as good as the physical side. A quarterback has to be mentally tough, with a short-term memory. It’s the same with cornerbacks. They need to gain confidence. My dad would say, ‘If you don’t have confidence, fake it until it comes.’ As far as getting pressure on the quarterback, I’d like to see them blitz a little more. Sure, it leaves the corner one-on-one, but we’re giving up big plays anyway. At least get some pressure in there.”

Coach Mike Riley

“A lot of Husker fans are already calling for his head because we’re 2-2. We’ve played a couple of decent teams already. (Former Husker) Scott Shanle had what I thought was the best tweet of the week on Twitter: ‘Don’t judge the meals he (Riley) makes with Bo Pelini’s groceries.’ Riley’s got talent to work with: They won nine games last year and have 15 returning starters, so that’s not the problem. I think what’s going on right now is Pelini’s defense was a lot more read and react, where this defense is just getting fellas up the field as fast as you can. It’s completely different. On offense, Riley likes to run a West Coast passing offense, where in the past years we’ve been run-oriented. This year, we’re actually better at passing, so it’s kind of learning to mix what the Huskers players can do well right now with what Coach Riley is used to doing.”

Penalties

“I think one of the biggest things we have going against us right now is that we have too many penalties, and they seem to come at the worst possible times. Nebraska just doesn’t look completely disciplined right now. Some of that may be that they’re thinking more with the new schemes. But that’s also got to come down on the coaching staff, as well. It’s almost like when parents get away from discipline and their kids keep doing the same wrong things again and again. They need to crack down on the penalties or they’ll keep doing them.”

Prediction vs. Illinois at 2:30 p.m. Saturday

“I really don’t know that much about Illinois, but I think the Huskers are incapable of blowing teams out right now, so no matter what happens, I think the game is going to be close, maybe even closer than seven points. I see a close game, with the Huskers winning.”

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