Just as Nebraska has heard all about how explosive Texas's offense is heading into Saturday's Big 12 Championship in Dallas, the Longhorns are also well aware of the reputation of the Blackshirts.
Led by the stellar play of senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the Huskers have put together one of the nation's best overall defenses this season. As a result, that has been the primary focus for Texas head coach Mack Brown and his offense as they get ready for Saturday's showdown.
On Monday, Brown and Longhorn senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Colt McCoy talked about the challenges of facing Nebraska's defense during the Big 12 Championship teleconference. Brown credited NU head coach Bo Pelini and defensive coordinator Carl Pelini for putting together such a talented unit.
"I think they've got a great defense," Brown said. "They are not complicated because they're talented and they're being very well coached. Bo and Carl have been great defensive coaches their whole lives, so they've lined up and built this whole team around the defense. We think they're as well coached as anybody we've seen."
Brown went on to talk about Suh, a potential Heisman candidate himself, and the season he's been able to put together for the Huskers. Brown said Suh is a player offenses have to account for on every play, and that his ability to drop back into coverage has been what's really made him such a special player.
As a defensive tackle, Suh ranks 48th nationally with 11 pass breakups and is just one of two lineman to rank in the country's top 100 in passes defended.
"When you look at young Suh, what you see is a player that can dominate a game," Brown said. "Our offensive staff will have to look at every play that we run to make sure that we have some help on him, and what makes that very difficult is that their other players are really good as well. That defensive front is as good as anybody in the country, and he is as good of player as there is in America. He's unbelievable."
However, Suh was far from the only player who has worried Brown and McCoy the past few days.
Nebraska's secondary has apparently really impressed the two after watching film, especially McCoy.
McCoy said he noticed right away how physical the Huskers' defensive backs have been and how much they like to use bump-and-run and man-to-man coverages to throw off the timing of offenses.
Even for an offense that's put up an average of more than 450 yards per game, McCoy said the Longhorns would have to play some of their best football if they were going to have any success against the Blackshirts.
"We're just going to have to come in to the game ready to play," McCoy said. "We've seen a bunch of secondaries that are pretty physical, pretty strong. For us, we've got to be ready to go. They're not afraid to play man-to-man, and they're not afraid to play bump and run man-to-man. We're going to have a tough week ahead of us."
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