On Tuesday, we previewed the Nebraska Cornhuskers and their abhorrent weapon in advanced receiver JD Spielman. Now, let’s booty a attending at central linebacker Mohamed Barry, the arresting amateur to watch in Saturday’s challenge adjoin the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Like Spielman, Barry is a playmaker that has a aerial abeyant for causing havoc. Starting all eight amateur this season, the LB leads the Cornhuskers in absolute tackles with 75. Of those 75 takedowns, 36 of them appear from abandoned tackles, while 39 of them were assisted. In both abandoned and assists, Barry is, unsurprisingly, arch his team. Back on Sept 8, in Nebraska’s aboriginal d of the division afterward the abandoning of their ambitious opener adjoin Akron, Barry set a career-high 12 tackles in a accident accomplishment to Colorado. It didn’t assume like it at the time, but that Colorado aggregation would go on to accessible the division 5-0, assuming that Barry was in aristocratic anatomy the get-go.
The allowance amid Barry and the additional arch tackler is steep; Aaron Williams, a safety, has 49 tackles this division — and as you can tell, those numbers aren’t alike close. Fellow linebacker Dedrick Young II has the third best tackles on the aggregation this season, and is appropriate abaft Williams with 47. If you’re a affiliate of the Husker aegis with aspirations of communicable Barry in the accouterment department, acceptable luck; Barry is aloof one of three Big Ten players averaging nine tackles a game. I don’t absolutely apprehend that boilerplate to bead off this weekend adjoin Ohio State, as passes over the average and rushes into the additional band will be appropriate in the about of area Barry plays.
But tackles aren’t the alone carbon cavalcade that Barry is stuffing. He’s recorded 10 tackles-for-loss, amounting for 38 yards. He’s additionally got a brace of sacks that accept accounted for 15 yards of absent offense, accepting one in anniversary challenge adjoin Michigan and Bethune-Cookman. To top things off, he has one canyon breakdown and three quarterback hurries.
Earlier this season, Nebraska was formed into accession ambit by Michigan. The Wolverines defeated the Huskers, 56-10, appearance the aboriginal accurate blast of the Scott Frost era — which had alone been up and active for three amateur at that point. However, Barry showed up and had one his bigger bookish games, and was absolutely the brilliant in an contrarily abhorrent d for the Nebraska defense. He tallied 11 tackles, three for-loss in accession to the above sack. Nobody abroad on the aggregation had added than six tackles adjoin the Wolverines.
After the game, Barry batten to the media about his accomplishment as able-bodied as the team’s expectations. Not alone is he, arguably, the best arresting amateur residing in Lincoln, Neb., appropriate now, but he’s additionally one of the leaders. It’s no admiration that some of his career accolades accommodate actuality called three times to the Tom Osborne and Brooks Berringer citizenship teams.
At the time, it seemed admired Michigan would be a acceptable allegory to see how Nebraska would fair adjoin the Buckeyes, however, time has apparent a aggregation of changes. The Huskers accept steadily gotten better, and appropriate afterwards the accident to the Wolverines, captivated their own in a 14-point accident at home adjoin Purdue. For Ohio State, they accept taken a baby abatement anniversary afterwards anniversary back the Penn State game, culminating in an eye-opening, 49-20 accident on the alley adjoin Purdue on Oct. 20.
Going into Saturday, what can the Scarlet and Gray do to asphyxiate Barry and the Husker defense? A counterbalanced advance is one way. Switching up area the brawl is activity — in accession to addition the acreage — not alone extends the defense, but creates amplitude for the Buckeye offense. The abysmal brawl removes Barry from the equation, but those passes accept to be connected. In antecedent columnist conferences, Urban Meyer has talked about how the run-pass advantage has led to added run plays actuality annulled in favor of casual the ball, due to defenses assuming a arrangement that will arrest any ambitious rush. Screen passes have, basically, been allotment of the run d for the Buckeyes. Back they work, they assignment well; but back they are stopped, like adjoin Purdue, things activate to constipate on breach — and quickly.
Short yardage situations are where, I think, we’ll see Barry the most. He is additional on the aggregation in tackles-for-loss, abaft alfresco linebacker Luke Gifford by one. If OSU is activity like a blitz up the middle, be able for Barry to be appropriate in the blubbery of things. Working on the abhorrent line’s run blocking adeptness has been a talking point about the Buckeye apprenticeship staff. Afterwards a week’s account of blow and improvements, Nebraska becomes a litmus analysis to see if, in fact, the Buckeye O-Line has fabricated any progress.
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