LINCOLN — Troy Walters wasn't sure where to start.
No. 5 Ohio State? They're far and away the best defense the Huskers have faced this year.
"They probably have five or six first- or second-round (NFL draft) picks on that defense," Walters said. "Overall, they fly around to the ball, they're physical, athletic."
It starts up front for the Buckeyes with defensive lineman Chase Young. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound junior has seven sacks through four games and two forced fumbles. Offensive line coach Greg Austin said you can tell Young's motor runs higher this year than last.
"He's a special kid," Walters said. "He can rush the passer, he can be disruptive in the run game, so you've gotta make sure that you put bodies on him. You gotta make sure you account for him in the pass protections and know where he's at because he can disrupt the game."
Austin said the key is to get one-on-one matchups on Ohio State's defensive front.
Nebraska fumbled the ball four times against Illinois. All four were in Nebraska's own territory, too. If that happens against OSU, it'll be a long night, Walters said.
"The guys have to realize the hopes and dreams of this program is that football," Walters said.
Running back Dedrick Mills was seen after practice still holding a football under his arm. He said on Monday he'll do that all week as punishment for his fumble on Saturday.
Walters said he does worry a bit about wear-and-tear on freshman Wan'Dale Robinson and sophomore Maurice Washington. Washington missed the second half of Nebraska's win at Illinois with an apparent injury. He has been seen in pads after practice this week. Robinson had more than 25 touches on Saturday against Illinois at both running back and receiver. Running backs coach Ryan Held said Wednesday that Robinson's performance — more than 150 all-purpose yards, 89 yards on the ground — won't have an impact on where he'll play against Ohio State.
But Walters said the key to knocking off top-rated teams is getting the ball in playmakers' hands however you can. So if that means more touches for Robinson in the backfield, so be it.
"You wanna spread the reps around but at the same time they're special kids and special players," Walters said of Robinson and Washington. "So you want them to have as many opportunities as they can because when they get the ball in their hands they make plays."
More quick hits from practice:
» Austin opened his time with the media giving condolences to the Gaylord family. Offensive lineman Christian Gaylord is out for the season with an injury. His father, Scott, was killed in a car accident late last week.
» Quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said he has seen even more improvement from Adrian Martinez from last week to this week.
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