Out with the old, in with the new. That's been the mantra of the Huskers this offseason. After the hiring of defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, it was clear that the Blackshirts were going to scrap the old playbook and install a new scheme, the 3-4.
With all that change, many Husker fans fear an off year due to the learning curve that often comes with the installation of something so new. However, safety Aaron Williams said the base the coaches laid down during spring ball will help the defense when fall camp opens next weekend.
"At first it was difficult because it's new. Everybody had to get the understanding down," Williams said. "But now we have the basics down, and more than the basics. It's not that hard anymore because we're able to help each other out."
Linebacker Chris Weber's response to whether or not he knows the defense yet?
"Ask me after the end of fall camp," Weber joked. "I'm excited that we have the five weeks of fall camp to run it and to get more experience. I'm excited with the foundation that we have set. I think that's important."
Diaco is no stranger to the 3-4 defense, and Williams said his teaching abilities in this new scheme will go a long ways in preparing the Blackshirts for that first game September 2nd.
"Coach Diaco is a great teacher," Williams said. "They're preparing us and they're breaking everything down to us. It's not going to be a big shock to us or a big change, it's just going to be a lot more playmaking, a lot more intensity and a lot more swag."
Not only is Diaco an expert at the new scheme, but head coach Mike Riley's coaching roots are deeply entrenched in the 3-4 defense. Riley coached the 3-4 at his first job, and also during his four seasons in the CFL.
"What has been intriguing to me over the last few years about the 3-4 defense is that it is a versatile defense," Riley said. "Instead of three linebackers you have four mobile people that can adjust and play differently, and so the variables of how you change that up are increased."