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Competition at Corner ‘Rough,’ Says Cam Taylor-Britt, and No Job is Safe

April 13, 2021

The DB room is competitive. Like, find out one guy is an artist in his free time and then draw all over the whiteboards in Travis Fisher’s office competitive. There’s a kinship in the room that is driven by wanting to better each other on the field by wanting to beat each other on the field. 

“These guys are so close in the DB room,” said DB coach Travis Fisher at the start of spring ball. “I can’t be more proud of how close they are. I’ve got about 15, 16 guys in my office during the day every day hanging out, watching film, talking about this, talking about that. They’ll watch practice maybe three or four times before it’s time to watch practice.”

Specifically at corner, Nebraska has one guy back from last year and one spot needing to be filled. 

As Fisher and then Cam Taylor-Britt this week tell it, there are two spots up for grabs every day.

“Those guys are competing. Sometimes you think with Cam Taylor they’re competing for one spot, no they’re not. They’re competing for both spots,” Fisher said. “We’ve got to make Cam Taylor better by competing against Cam Taylor.”

Added the fourth-year corner: “I do understand I pay rent just like everybody else, so I have to come out here and put forth my best effort.”

Taylor-Britt plans to be an every-down kind of player for Nebraska on defense this season and a stalwart on special teams. The decision to return to school, bypassing early entry into the NFL Draft, was an easy one, he said on Monday. 

In the Alabama native, Nebraska has one of the Big Ten’s premier corners motivated to show he’s one of the best in the country. 

Opposite him, Nebraska has what should probably be described as one of the fiercest competition for a spot on the team. 

“It’s rough right now,” Taylor-Britt said. “I believe the coaches are going to have a hard time picking who’s going to be our starter because we do have a lot of good guys.”

There are four guys at the top right now: Quinton Newsome, Braxton Clark, Nadab Joseph, and Tamon Lynum. 

Lynum is the youngest, a 6-foot-2 Florida native who appeared in every game last season with a prominent role on special teams. 

Joseph, another Florida product who arrived at Nebraska last summer by way of Independence Community College at the JUCO level, has made some nice gains this winter. The 6-foot-2 sophomore (by eligibility) played in two games in 2020, held out on the front end of the year while Nebraska waited for the NCAA to rule him eligible and then knocked out on the back end because of injuries. 

“Nadab is doing a great job. He’s doing a great job. He’s here early in the morning, sometimes before I get here,” Fisher said. “He’s learning, learning the defense, worked his behind off in winter conditioning with Coach (Zach) Duval and his staff. Helping himself out with that.”

Clark is entering into his fourth year in Lincoln. Aside from Taylor-Britt, he’s one of the “veteran” corners in the room. Limited to four games in 2018 because of a redshirt, the 6-foot-4 Florida native (sensing a theme) played in every game in 2019. He had 11 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, a his first career defensive start against Purdue. In 2020, Clark suffered a season-ending injury in fall camp.

“Braxton definitely would have had a role for us last year,” Fisher said. “Could have even had a starting role for us last year at some point. It’s very rewarding for me to have him back healthy and getting back into the swing of things.”

And then there’s Newsome, entering into his third year with the Huskers. The 6-foot-2 corner has played in 19 games in his first two seasons.

“It’s deep right there. Those guys come in every day and they’re looking at each other right in their face and letting you know, ‘I’m coming to work today and I hope you are because I want that spot.’ 

Because Fisher likes to cross-train his guys, everyone in the secondary will get looks all over the field. Third-year safety Noa Pola-Gates is someone Fisher says to be prepared to see. If Clark was pushing for a starting spot with a senior and a junior corner above him, it’ll be curious to see how Fisher handles the two spots this time around. 

Taylor-Britt will play, he’s too good not to, but it sounds as though Fisher might be able to say that about more than one other corner he has. 

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