Kids at Kinnick: Thoughts on the Defense

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Yesterday I made it through my thoughts on the offense at the open practice on Saturday. Today...the defense.

Defensive line
The starting 4 are good...really good. Clayborn had numerous big plays including a couple of tackles for loss and a sack or two. He also blocked a Murray kicked field goal and probably would have returned it for a TD (biggest crowd reaction of the day). I also remember Klug breaking through a couple of times. As a whole both the first and second team defensive lines looked stout against the run.

Linebackers
I didn't notice the linebackers too much. So, yeah. Beyond the starters Lance Tillison was in there (he recent rejoined the team) and Dakota Getz moved over from TE. That's about it.

Defensive backs
There were actually some interesting things going on the defensive backfield. First off, Prater was out for most of the practice. He got burned deep by Nordmann during the 7-on-7s and I don't think I saw him play after that. I think it's just a minor leg injury. Castillo filled in for Prater on the 1st team and did a nice job. He had a pick-six off of Derby. Hyde was still the starter on the other side and I don't recall too many balls being thrown in his direction.

What was more interesting though was the use for Bernstine. He had been listed as Hyde's backup on the depth chart but he lined up at both safety and as the nickel back. The defense actually lined up in nickel for a large portion of the practice. I'm not sure if this was more for the offense to practice against different looks or if Norm Parker is planning on use a more varied defense this year. I would not surprise me with all the experience at corner back and the loss of Edds' coverage skills at LB, to see more nickel used this year when teams spread it out with 4 or 5 receivers. Anyway, I thought Bernstine looked good as the safety/nickel. He had at least one good tackle that I can remember.

Sash and Greenwood didn't play a lot on Saturday. Both missed spring after having surgeries, so maybe it was a protective type of thing. Tanner Miller saw quite a bit of time while the two starters were sitting, so he may be one of true freshman who will not red-shirt.

Okay, one more post on Kids at Kinnick later...special teams and maybe some pictures.
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