Blitzes against USM give rush ends big game
By Joshua Camenzind
September 20, 1999
With the two-interception performance of Keyuo Craver and the two-touchdown performance by Julius Jackson against Southern Mississipi, one group of the defense might have been overlooked - the rush ends.
Junior Kyle Vanden Bosch and senior Aaron Wills played a big part in the win over the Golden Eagles with 17 tackles combined. Rush Ends Coach Nelson Barnes said he was pleased with the play of his two young starters.
"We got a little better pressure on the quarterback than I had expected," Barnes said. "We hit him, knocked him down and sacked him quite a few times."
Defensive Coordinator Charlie McBride agreed that the Huskers did a good job of pressuring USM quarterback Jeff Kelly.
"We did blitz a lot," McBride said. "It worked out; they had some trouble protecting the weak side."
Vanden Bosch had only two tackles in the first two contests but had two sacks and a forced fumble that resulted in a first-quarter touchdown for Jackson.
"I knew my time would come," Vanden Bosch said. "The quarterback just looked like a big hamburger out there. He didn't see me coming, and the ball popped loose."
Barnes said Vanden Bosch has improved each game.
"He has shown improvement in both playing the run and rushing the passer," Barnes said. "So I guess it was anticipated that I expected him to get better.
"He's strictly business when he gets on the field, and you can see on game days that he plays with a tremendous amount of emotion," Barnes said. "He does not show that type of emotion during the week."
The inefficiency of the offense to sustain a drive forced the defense to suck it up when it was tired and worn down.
While Barnes admitted that the defense did nothing "exotic" to stop Southern Miss, he did say that the defense dealt well with the shifts and formations that the Golden Eagles threw at them.
The various blitzes that NU brought against the USM offense allowed the rush ends to have a big game. That included Wills, who now has 18 tackles this season to rank third on the team.
Wills has been the surprise of the defense this season, Barnes said, if there has been one.
"Aaron is probably doing a little better than I anticipated," Barnes said. "He came over to the rush ends when I got here, and prior to that he was a tight end."
Along with Vanden Bosch and Wills, the play of freshman Chris Kelsay has impressed Barnes.
"Chris is the first guy to get onto the field," Barnes said. "Chris has demonstrated that he is a little bit ahead of some of the younger guys."