Nebraska's Marquel Dismuke answers questions from the press during the preseason football press conference
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Marquel Dismuke Giving ‘110%’ to Second Senior Season

July 30, 2021

As a collection of media members gathered around Marquel Dismuke to ask the sixth-year safety questions on Thursday, fellow super senior JoJo Domann walked by. He had just completed his own turn up front and decided to turn the tables on his teammate.

“Marquel, what’s your mindset going into this season?” Domann asked from the back, throwing a common cliche question his teammate’s way.

Players messing with their teammates is a common occurrence during informal press conferences, but Dismuke didn’t so much as crack a smile.

“My mindset coming into this season is 110% on everything — 110% on communication, 110% on the drills, 110% on film, getting extra film on everything that we do, showing who the leaders are and setting a standard so everybody else can follow so we can go do great things this year,” Dismuke said. “That’s what my mindset is.”

Domann’s response: “I love that. I’m on that.” Then he walked away.

The rest of Dismuke’s press conference followed the same tone. Each of the seniors who chose to return for an extra season of college football had his reasons. For Dismuke — like a few of his classmates — that reason was an opportunity to win.

“Me, JoJo [Domann] and Ben [Stille] have been here since 2016 and we really haven’t had a winning season because we redshirted in 2016,” Dismuke said. “With Deontai [Williams], with him having a kid and wanting to come back and have the best ability and opportunity to succeed at the next level. So we all had a conversation. We all got together and we all stayed.”

The 2020 season didn’t at all resemble what college football is supposed to be between the reduced schedules, strenuous protocols and empty stadiums. Now Dismuke is getting a second shot at having a big senior year, and he’s going at it with everything he has.

“Going into last season it was really like a mindset that this was all or nothing,” Dismuke said. “To have the opportunity to come back and better myself and better the team is really exciting. Now I can really maximize my ability to where I want it to be and come out on top this year.”

Dismuke recorded 47 tackles (fourth on the team) including 4.0 for loss (tied for third) and three pass break-ups while playing in all eight games last season, earning him honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. He’s started every game of the last two season — 20 in all.

“My biggest strength is my all-around ability to do anything and everything on the field — calling the play out, making sure that everybody knows what they’re doing, me coming in and making a difference or me coming in and making a tackle when it’s needed, giving that energy to the defense when it needs to be there,” Dismuke said. “I bring a lot to the table and I love this defense and I’ll do whatever it takes for us to succeed.”

Dismuke isn’t the only one that feels that way. Coach Scott Frost spoke about a change in attitude he’s seen in the program, and Dismuke said he’s seen it too.

“You can feel it,” Dismuke said. “You can feel it in the weight room, you can feel it in the workouts. There’s a whole lot more structure, more focus on details, more ‘All right, we’ve got to get this done. We can’t play right now; we’re on the green grass now so it’s all business.’ So yes, I see a lot of changed mindsets. It’s just getting the new guys and the young guys to have the same mindset as us old guys.”

Summer conditioning is over. Fall camp began on Friday morning, but there’s a different feel for the Blackshirts heading in with so much experience returning on the defensive side of the ball.

“Day one of fall camp this year is going to be more exciting than anything because now we’ve been here with each other for some years and we should already know what to expect from each other,” Dismuke said. “So day one of fall camp shouldn’t be a regular day one, it should be us already knowing what we’re doing. It should be like day 20. We should going on to the next level from where we left off.”

What’s it going to take over the next month to to reach that next level?

“The next step this month is really just keying in on the defense,” Dismuke said. “Having everybody know what everybody’s going to do, having everybody’s IQ so far ahead of the game that we should already know what the offense is going to come out in on second down and third down. More film, more paying attention to detail.

“That’s really the main focus is paying attention to detail.”

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