Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Patience, Steady Improvement Help Quinton Newsome Earn a Blackshirt

October 12, 2021

Nebraska’s newest Blackshirt hadn’t told his family the news before conducting post-practice interviews on Tuesday.

“I’m going to tell them today since the word got out,” cornerback Quinton Newsome said. “I think they’ll be really happy for me, especially my mom and dad. They’ll be happy and proud of me just because they know the sacrifices I took to be in this position.”

Newsome received his Blackshirt a week before Nebraska shared the news on Twitter.

Newsome said that it felt amazing knowing his teammates and coaches felt like he deserved to be a Blackshirt. It took a lot of hard work for him to get to this point. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander called Newsome a “young, maturing guy.” Chianander thinks Newsome has caught up with the other veteran defensive backs. Newsome has been doing things the right way on and off the field. Defensive backs coach Travis Fisher said dedication and an effort to get better led to Newsome getting that Blackshirt.

“Quinton’s been doing a great job. He’s steady climbing the ladder,” Fisher said. “Week in and week out, he’s just steady improving. I thought he played very good with tackling on the perimeter last game.

“That Blackshirt deal is all about earning that. He’s done a great job of being patient. He’s been trying to earn that Blackshirt. Now it’s all about him trying to keep that Blackshirt. He’s been doing a great job of showing up on Saturday, taking to coaching and preparing every day.”

Newsome was the only starter to not receive a Blackshirt when they were awarded to the team. That can be difficult on a young player, especially if he feels like it’s his time to do big things in the program. Fisher noted that Newsome took that news hard but not in a way that he felt entitled to be a Blackshirt. Instead he approached it as if he needed to work harder. He proved to his teammates and coaches that he belonged as a Blackshirt at Nebraska.

“I would say it motivated me a lot,” Newsome said. “It really made me go harder. I just knew that if I just kept working and kept going one day it would come.”

Deontai Williams was one of the teammates that kept encouraging him to keep pushing. Williams told media on Tuesday that he would tell Newsome that his teammates see the work he was putting in. They knew he could earn it if he kept going.

“He knows how to be a professional now,” Williams said. “Competing against all of us in the spring and fall, he knows how to be a professional, he knows how to stay on top of his game every day because somebody can easily jump up and grab that position from him and easily jump up and grab that Blackshirt away from him, or they could take it away from him.”

One part of the puzzle to Newsome’s rise has been tackling. Chinander noted that Newsome has done a good job of being physical out on the edge. Newsome did a good job of tackling in the game against Michigan. He also did well the weeks leading up to getting his Blackshirt. Newsome is fifth on the team in tackles (35), adding 12 in the last two weeks.

“It’s an everyday deal for him, and Cam, anybody that plays that position,” Fisher said. “We know the ball is coming out here, we’ve got to make that tackle. It’s something that you’ve got to work on. You’re not just going to jump out on the field and make those kinds of tackles out there on the perimeter. There’s just so much space and you’re doing it at a very high speed without slowing down.”

Newsome can become an effective example of how to handle the situation he found himself in. Twelve players got Blackshirts before the season. Newsome didn’t lose focus on improving his game after not getting a Blackshirt. He went to work and has started every game this season. Newsome will have a lot of credibility with future teammates if things go their way. He will be a valuable sounding bound to keep the culture alive in the defensive back room as long as he’s on campus.

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