Pelini expects another big year from Crick
Nebraska’s Jared Crick put up big numbers last season because
opposing offenses were so preoccupied with trying to contain
The popular argument is that Crick can validate his 9 1/2-sack
season only by doing it again this year without Suh at his
Coach Bo Pelini disagrees, saying game films show that opponents
schemed against Crick as much as they did against Suh.
”I don’t think he has anything to prove,” Pelini said. ”The
only thing he has to prove is that he can get better. You can also
say the argument that Suh benefited from having Crick next to him.
It’s a two-way street.”
Suh, a high-profile rookie with the Detroit Lions, and Crick
teamed up to make the Huskers hard to handle in the middle last
With Crick as the anchor and more seasoned players available,
Pelini predicts the defense can be even better than the 2009 group
that allowed a nation-best 10.4 points a game and ranked among the
top 10 in stopping the run and total defense.
An All-Big 12 first-team pick a year ago, Crick comes into his
junior season as a preseason All-American and conference
co-defensive player of the year.
”If at the end of the season I have the same credibility or
same hype as at the beginning,” he said, ”then I did my
The Crick hype is fueled by eye-popping statistics for an
interior lineman, including: 73 tackles, 15 for loss, 16
quarterback hurries. And don’t forget the 9 1/2 sacks.
A school-record five came against Baylor, the top single-game
sack total in the nation last year.
Pelini said he doesn’t want Crick to feel pressure to produce
”It’s about playing well within the scheme,” Pelini said.
”Sometimes you’re going to get stats, tackles for losses.
Sometimes that’s not going to happen but you can play a really good
”If he keeps it in perspective, plays within the scheme and
does the things he’s been taught to do and improve on what he did
last year, he’s going to have a great year. How that measures up to
expectations outside, that’s not something he needs to concern
Even with Suh gone, Crick should get more help this year. Baker
Steinkuhler is the front-runner to start alongside Crick, with
Terrence Moore and Thaddeus Randle joining them in a rotation.
The Huskers also like their depth on the ends. Pierre Allen and
Cameron Meredith are backed up by Josh Williams and Jason
”We’re going to be fresher and healthier, and they’re all going
to contribute,” defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said. ”You may
not see one guy with those kinds of stats, but I expect our
defensive line as a whole to not have any drop-off.”
Crick flourished early last season while offenses double- and
”That just gave me the freedom to rush one-on-one with the
blocker,” Crick said, ”and every time I won, I either made a play
or helped the defense out in some way.”
The stats bear that out. In the first eight games, Crick had 8
1/2 of his sacks, 49 tackles and 13 tackles for loss. In the final
six games, when he drew more attention, he was credited with half a
sack two times, 24 tackles and two tackles for loss.
Crick said he has improved his strength since last season, which
should enhance his game.
”Last year I used my speed to my advantage more than anything
else,” he said. ”This year I feel stronger. I’m still going to
use my speed, but being stronger is going to intensify my game and
help me out in other ways.”
Whether Crick clogs the middle and funnels traffic to the
outside, or whether he piles up another stellar number of sacks and
tackles, the 6-foot-6, 286-pounder from rural Cozad won’t
disappoint, Allen said.
”He dominated a lot of guys one-on-one and in double teams, and
you can credit some of it to Suh because Suh is who he is and they
had to triple-team him sometimes,” Allen said. ”I don’t think Suh
being gone is going to make Crick fall off at all. If anything, I
think he’ll have a better year than he did last year.”