Published Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 10:26 pm / Updated at 10:31 pm
Purdue plan: get physical with NU
Nebraska at Purdue
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 1110 AM KFAB

LINCOLN — The 2013 Nebraska offensive line seems to fit the profile of the legendary Husker units that Bruce Gaston's heard about.

The Purdue senior defensive lineman is no expert on NU tradition. But he turns on the game film of this year's Husker offense and sees a group of big, strong linemen who work well together to control the line of scrimmage. Sounds like a typical Nebraska O-line to him.

“If you were to imagine what a Nebraska offensive lineman looks like, that's them,” Gaston said. “The main thing I pay attention to is their physicality.”

And matching that physicality concerns a Purdue defense that has struggled at times this season against opposing rushing attacks.

Purdue is allowing 4.82 yards per carry, second-worst in the Big Ten behind Illinois. Wisconsin ran for 388 yards against the Boilermakers two weeks ago. Northern Illinois ran for 177 Saturday.

What was missing? Gaston said it was obvious. The Boilermakers need more tenacity against Nebraska Saturday. They need to be relentless.

That's what they spent all of their bye week focusing on, Gaston said.

“The main thing we have to do is be physical,” he said. “Because when you're physical, it sometimes shakes and stirs some things up.”

It could be easier for Gaston to wreak havoc if he gets some snaps in his new role.

Join the conversation on the Big Red Today Facebook page.

Purdue wants to experiment with his 6-foot-2, 310-pound frame out on the edge against offensive tackles. Gaston is tied for the team lead with two sacks and ranks second with 3Ĺ tackles for loss.

But he's faced lots of double teams early on, according to coach Darrell Hazell. Lining Gaston up at D-end is something the Boilermakers may try Saturday.

“He's going to get some one-on-ones plays with some tackles out there,” Hazell said. “I think that can create some issues.”

Anything to provide the NU offense with a different look.

Gaston said the experience of the Huskers up front is easy to spot on film — Nebraska's eight-man rotation on the offensive line is made up of five seniors and three juniors. He said it's their ability to release to the second level at the right time or their effectiveness when sliding over and covering a spot left vacant by a pulling guard.

“They've got chemistry together,” Gaston said.

But then again, the members of Purdue's defensive line have played alongside one another for a while, too.

Junior defensive end Ryan Russell has 29 career starts. Gaston, a third-year starter, is one of four seniors in the Boilermakers' two-deep up front.

They're the ones who'll have to stand their ground at the point of attack, ready to react to the variety of running plays that the Huskers will utilize, according to Gaston. No margin for error Saturday.

“With the way Nebraska runs that scheme,” he said, “we can't afford to make mistakes.”

* * *

Video: The Big Ten Preview Show, Oct. 9

Video: The Big Red Today Show, Oct. 8

Contact the writer: Jon Nyatawa    |   402-473-9585    |  

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football and baseball, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008.



< >
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.'s Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Steam-A-Way Carpet Cleaning
$50 for 3 rooms and a Hallway up to 600 square feet
Buy Now
< >