Like many Husker fans, I was pleased with the win over FAU, but to a large degree, I was left with some lingering questions about the 2009 Blackshirt defense.
Most pressing to me is, "Where was the pressure on the quarterback during the Florida Atlantic game?"
No quarterback sacks, no hurries and frankly it looked very much to me as if the Florida Atlantic offensive line was physically superior to the Nebraska defensive line.
I expected the Husker defensive line to re-establish the line of scrimmage two yards in the FAU backfield. That didn't happen and often it looked like our guys were stymied completely at the point of attack.
Sure, individually a few of the guys made some plays, but as a whole, this group failed as a unit to cause the disruption and create the havoc that great defensive line groups do.
On Sept. 12, they will be facing an Arkansas State team that will be playing without four players in the offensive line who saw regular playing time in 2008.
Much of the offensive line playing time available in 2009 is going to be filled by red shirt freshmen and players that are just getting their first taste of regular playing time.
Knowing that, there is no reason the Nebraska defensive line shouldn't be able to dominate this group.
The Red Wolves do run some elements of the spread passing game, so getting sacks will probably be difficult.
I will be looking to see a defensive line that is dominant against the run, that stuffs plays for no gain and makes plays behind the line in the running game.
The Red Wolves will try to use the Nebraska line's aggressive nature against them by calling screens and draw plays. Will the Nebraska defensive line diagnose and stop these screens and draws before the running back gets down field?
I expect to see the defensive line force the quarterback into quick decisions that disrupt the natural flow of the offense. Do this, and they will disrupt the timing routes that make the spread offense very dangerous.
These are just a few of the things I will be watching for during the game on Saturday.