Nebraska appears headed toward a cornerback rotation at the spot opposite starter Cam Taylor-Britt, based on Tuesday's comments from NU defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.
Sophomores Quinton Newsome (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) and Braxton Clark (6-4, 200) are “fighting it out” for the starting job, Chinander said. After one pulled ahead early in camp, the other consistently caught up. Based on their “body of work," Chinander said the two are tightly bunched together.
“Braxton’s got ultra length, and Quinton’s got a little bit better transition skills,” Chinander said. “Both of them play the ball really well. Braxton plays the deep ball really well, Q can do some things on jumping some inside and under routes. They’re a little bit different, but they have really, really good attributes and really good skill sets.”
Chinander said defensive backs coach Travis Fisher would prefer to rotate three corners and three safeties, provided he has the depth to do so. Fisher did that in 2020 by rotating Taylor-Britt, Newsome and Dicaprio Bootle at corner and Deontai Williams, Marquel Dismuke and Myles Farmer at safety — until Farmer sustained a freak ankle injury while warming up at Purdue.
After spot duty in 2019, Clark missed all of 2020 with a shoulder injury. Newsome played in 2019 and had a larger role at corner in 2020.
Neither Clark nor Newsome received a Blackshirt on Monday. Chinander said he sat down with coach Scott Frost to determine the Blackshirts, and Frost got the final say. In the secondary, Taylor-Britt, Dismuke and Williams got Blackshirts, along with with four defensive linemen and five linebackers.