Defensive differences: The Big Ten and Big 12
Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck has experience working at Big 12 conference schools at Nebraska, Kansas and Kansas State. The second year coordinator was asked by Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network about the defensive differences between the Big Ten and the Big 12.
Beck explained that while the Big 12 defenses were more multiple, the defenses in the Big Ten were much more physical and fundamentally sound.
"I thought Big Ten defenses were much more physical. In particular, the defensive lines were better. The Big Ten defenses didn’t do as many things; Big 12 defenses do a lot of things, different fronts, coverages. In the Big Ten, you don’t have that."
"I also thought the Big Ten defenses knew their systems a little bit better. In the Big 12, there are so many spread offenses, you have a lot of gimmick blitzes and gimmick coverages to try to confuse quarterbacks to get them to screw up. You could find holes in those defenses, or you could put something new in from week to week to beat those defenses."
"In the Big Ten, they seem to know their defense better. They adjusted to things better, they knew their weakness of the coverage or front. As soon as we started to take advantage of something, they knew how to fix things."
Looking back at the statistics from last season, an impressive five Big Ten teams finished in the top 25 in scoring defense (Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois) and Ohio State finished just outside the top 25 at #27. The Big 12 had no teams represented in the top 25, and their first team, Oklahoma, came in at #31 .