Husker Spring Position Battles: Defensive Backs


One of the deeper position groups for the Huskers is defensive back. Outside of offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, new defensive backs coach Brian Stewart’s group is the next biggest and deepest position. It’s not quite clear how many players will get into the games this fall. Defensive coordinator, Mark Banker likes to run an attacking 4-3 scheme with quarters coverage. This means we know we’ll mostly see 4 guys in the secondary, at corner and safety.

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What we don’t know is how much nickel and dime Banker will play. If depth at linebacker doesn’t develop over the summer and into fall camp, I would think we’d have to see a good deal of it. Banker might not want to play it as much, but the depth at linebacker may dictate just how many defensive back’s play each week. Gone are Josh Mitchell and Corey Cooper, but the Huskers have plenty returning. I’ll do my best to make sense of who may be in the running once fall camp opens up.

Defensive Backs

Gerry is the top returning tackler from this group of Huskers and is likely to begin this season starting at safety again. Joining him at safety could be Leroy Alexander, who’s coming back from serving a team suspension, last season.  Byerson Cockrell has seen some time at safety, but has also been spending a lot of time at nickel, as has Kieron Williams and Aaron Williams.

Huskers Daniel Davie and Charles Jackson have both been hampered by injuries. Jackson has been out for the majority of the spring with a minor ACL clean up procedure but should return in time for fall camp. Jonathan Rose is facing a very important spring. He needs to take that step forward in order to fend off a very talented group at corner. Nipping on his heels, and in no particular order are Joshua Kalu, Boaz Joseph, Trai Mosley, Chris Jones, Eric Lee and Avery Anderson.

Oct 4, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA;Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Keith Mumphery (25) is tripped up by Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive back Joshua Kalu (2) during the 1st half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Lee, Avery Anderson and Aaron Williams are all early freshman enrollees and have done a good job thus far, especially Williams. He has seen some time with the 1’s opposite of Nate Gerry. This is impressive considering Williams could still be in his final semester as a high school senior. Kalu also made some plays for the Big Red last season, including his lone interception which came against Brett Kaiya and Miami, and then 7 tackles against Illinois the following week.

Husker spring game tomorrow will be fun to watch! Not just because there’s a new staff here and a new scheme in place, but also because there are so many positions up for grabs. Whether you are going to the game or sitting in the comfort of your living room, you may want to consider recording this game. With so much going on, you may want to re-watch it a few times in order to pick up things you may have missed out on the first couple times.

Another reason to watch the spring game was said perfectly by new Head Coach Mike Riley: “You only get one chance to have a first start”.

In case you missed any of our previous spring position battles, you can find a link to them below.