The Depth Chart Puzzle – Defense
Earlier Friday we took our best guess at Nebraska’s offensive depth chart based on what we’ve heard out of fall camp. Now it’s on to the defense where the Blackshirts have a couple of intriguing battles going on.
DEFENSIVE END: 1A) Cameron Meredith, 1B) Jason Ankrah, 2) Eric Martin, 3A) Avery Moss, 3B) Joseph Carter.
The first three are pretty clear. Meredith and Ankrah are your starters with defensive coordinator John Papuchis looking to use Martin in passing situations. Putting the true freshman Moss in the two-deep is a bit of a projection at this point, but the fact that he’s being considered for playing time at all tells me that he’s not far behind Carter, if at all. A lot of people, myself included, predicted big things for Carter but it didn’t seem to click for him last year. Maybe things will be different in 2012.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: 1A) Baker Steinkuhler, 1B) Chase Rome, 2) Thad Randle, 3) Kevin Williams, 4) Aaron Curry, 5A) Jay Guy, 5B) Vincent Valentine.
Randle has had some lingering issues with the knee injury that kept him out of the spring, but I get the sense Rome always had an edge here. My feeling is that Williams will be the fourth man up early on, but true freshman Curry is providing a good push. Guy was forced into action late last year and during the spring. That experience might be enough to keep a redshirt on Valentine unless the Huskers think they need a big space-eater in conference play.
MIDDLE LINEBACKER: 1) Will Compton, 2) Trevor Roach.
Compton isn’t likely to leave the field very much but when he does Roach is the next man up.
WILL LINEBACKER: 1) Alonzo Whaley, 2) David Santos, 3) Zaire Anderson
The latest updates have Santos nipping at the heels of Whaley, but the senior is still likely to get the first look. Santos and Anderson are also both working some at Dime according to Pelini.
BUCK LINEBACKER: 1) Sean Fisher, 2) Max Pirman.
The staff has been quiet on challengers for Fisher’s starting spot, but if I had to guess — and it’s just that — at who’s behind him it would be Pirman. The coaches had some praise for him last year and at 6-5, 220, Pirman has similar profile to Fisher.
CORNERBACK: Andrew Green, Antonio Bell, Mohammed Seisay, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Josh Mitchell, Daniel Davie.
Papuchis said Thursday he’s in no hurry to settle on starters so, despite my inclinations otherwise, I didn’t rank the cornerbacks by number. With Green, Bell and Seisay all working on the same side, that likely leaves either Jean-Baptiste or Mitchell to start in the opener. Davie is also working behind Jean-Baptiste and Mitchell.
NICKEL: 1) Ciante Evans, 2) Charles Jackson.
Evans has the experience edge for now, but Jackson seems tailor-made for this spot.
SAFETY: 1) Daimion Stafford, 2A) P.J. Smith, 2B) Harvey Jackson, 3) Courtney Osborne.
Stafford has one safety spot locked up while Smith and Jackson battle for the other. Smith might have an early lead based on experience but Jackson had an impressive spring.
DIME: 1A) David Santos, 1B) Corey Cooper, 1C) Zaire Anderson.
This is intriguing. Nebraska could go with a more traditional dime set with the true safety Cooper or they could go big with hybrid linebackers in Santos or Anderson. That could make things very interesting once Big Ten play rolls around.