With only 13 days until The Nebraska Cornhuskers kick off their 2013 season, position battle are still raging on the defensive side off the ball. A few minor injuries have kept players off of the field for a few day, and yesterday the Huskers lost sophomore defensive end Kevin Williams for the season with a knee injury.
With camp half way done, we grade the defense positions.
Defensive Line: Bo Pelini keeps telling us that this years D Line has depth. What we don’t know is who will be starting on August 31st. Defensive End Jason Ankrah and defensive tackle Thad Randle look to lead the way with a lot of untested young players behind them. Randy Gregory has gotten a lot of hype from both the coaching staff and media through two weeks of camp. He could be the guy who takes this unit to the next level. Avery Moss could make a push for playing time at end as well. Vincent Valentine and Aaron Curry are making a push for a spot in the rotation at DT.
Linebackers: While Nebraska is replacing all three starting linebackers from a year ago, the group that will replace them could be underrated. David Santos, Zaire Anderson, Michael Rose, Jared Afalava, and Josh Banderas have all looked good thus far in camp. Nathan Gerry moving from DB to linebacker was a surprise that is also welcome. While he still has a long way to go, he could prove to be valuable as a backer in pass coverage. Indications are that this group of linebackers are much more athletic than last years, which could play a huge part in the success or failure of The Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2013.
Defensive Backs: This will be the strength of The Blackshirts in 2013. Ciante Evans leads a very athletic group that has game tested veterans. Coach Pelini has said that Stanley Jean-Baptiste had his best week of practice ever as a Husker. Mohammed Seisay, Josh Mitchell and Andrew Green have also made strides in the last two weeks. Factor in Charles Jackson, Harvey Jackson, and Corey Cooper at the safety spot and you have one hell of a defensive backfield. This could be the best group of defensive backs Nebraska has seen in the past three seasons.