Photo Credit: John Peterson

Quinton Newsome Talks Leadership, Consistency Heading Into Matchup With Iowa

November 22, 2022

In a single offseason, Quinton Newsome went from the least experienced starter in the Nebraska secondary to the most.

A strength of the Huskers’ senior-filled defense last year was the defensive back group. Newsome, then a third-year sophomore, started alongside fourth-year cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt and sixth-year safeties Deontai Williams and Marquel Dismuke. Those three had each started multiple games prior to 2021, while Newsome had just a single start to his name.

Heading into the 2022 season, Newsome was the only one left of the four. Williams and Dismuke had used up their eligibility, and Taylor-Britt opted to become a second-round NFL Draft pick. There were other players with significant game experience for the Huskers — Myles Farmer among them — but Newsome was the clear leader in that regard.

As this season winds down for the fourth-year junior, he said his leadership has been an area where he’s improved the most. The 2021 season helped prepare him for that.

“I had them older guys last year, a lot of sixth-year seniors and stuff. I really learned a lot from them,” Newsome said at Tuesday’s press conference. “Just knowing that you can’t have an off day because if you have an off day, then it’s gonna be like a domino effect with the younger guys and they’re gonna think it’s okay to slack off. So, just coming to work every day and just staying positive and keeping everybody going.”

He said his leadership was something he needed to work on heading into the season. Interim head coach Mickey Joseph has seen that growth happen since he was hired by the Huskers as an assistant last December.

“He was very quiet when I first arrived in December, but as the months went on, he’s gotten better and more vocal as a leader,” Joseph said. “I’m happy with where Quinton’s at right now.”

Where Newsome is at now is continuing to stand as the team’s top corner. He leads the team in pass breakups with eight, and has accumulated 41 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. Along with his leadership, the corner said he’s improved in man coverage this year.

He’s also provided value simply by being on the field consistently. Newsome is set to make his 24th consecutive start against Iowa on Friday, and has played in all but two games since his first season in 2019. He said that he’s taken steps to help him stay on the field.

“I would say just being smart in what I do outside of football,” he said. “Just being in the training room, taking care of my body, preventing stuff from hurting before it starts hurting, just hydrating and just being a pro. Knowing that this is my job, this is what I do, so I got to be available to play.”

The rest of the secondary has seen a bit more change for a variety of reasons. Tommi Hill started the first four games at cornerback as well, but then was benched and switched to wide receiver. Myles Farmer has 10 starts to his name this year, but was suspended for the matchup with Michigan. Marques Buford Jr. also had been a consistent starter at safety, but was carted off early against Wisconsin with an injury.

Newsome has seen these adjustments happen, and trusts whoever lines up beside him in the secondary.

“I would just say next man up you know, that’s how it usually goes when it comes to football,” Newsome said. “So you know, the guys who are labeled as twos or whatever, we don’t treat them as twos.”

Newsome, the secondary and the rest of the defense will look to turn in one more strong performance in a rivalry game against Iowa on Friday. While the Huskers are 3-8 and will receive news on next year’s head coach sometime after the season concludes, Newsome said ending the year on a strong note still has importance.

“It’s important. Just you know, going into the offseason just having that positive energy,” Newsome said. “Making guys want to come here, whether it’s recruiting or just guys just wanting to play for Nebraska on a winning note. Just trying to get this organization back to what it’s supposed to be.”

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