For fans looking for an answer as to who will start at cornerback opposite of Cam Taylor-Britt, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander isn’t ready to say.
“I don’t know if that’s meant for public knowledge yet from the head coach so I don’t want to ruffle any feathers there,” Chinander joked during his appearance on Sports Nightly Thursday.
With that said, Chinander was willing to give a little insight into what Nebraska fans can expect to see at that corner spot against Illinois on Saturday. He named three players—Quinton Newsome, Braxton Clark and Tyreke Johnson—who all may see playing time opposite Taylor-Britt.
“Very competitive, one guys pulls ahead and the other guys picks up the ground,” Chinander said. “The next guy pulls ahead and the other guys come roaring back so it’s been a really good camp. And to be honest with you, I don’t think there’s a guy right now that’s a clear cut winner. I’m happy with what all three did during camp. We have an idea of who you will see out there first snap on Saturday but you’re going to see more than one face.”
He said that fans may see a variety of different packages on defense as well.
It’s also going to be a hot start to the season for Nebraska on Saturday, with temperatures in the 90s for kickoff in Champaign, Illinois. Chinander said the Huskers are ready for the heat, having spent time acclimating the players throughout fall camp.
“I think we’ve had a good mix of days out in the heat during fall camp and some days inside to get the guys’ legs back under them,” Chinander said. “Earlier this week we had some good practices outside. Tt was pretty balmy out there those days but I think those guys are embracing those elements and I think they’re realizing it doesn’t matter if it’s 90 degrees and sunny or if it’s negative nine and snowy.
“We have a job to do and we have to do it do the best of our ability and win football games.”
More news and notes:
>> Taylor-Britt wants more interceptions in 2021 than the number he wears: five.
“Everybody would be happy with that,” Chinander said, adding that turnovers on defense are king.
>> Chinander said Isaac Gifford isn’t being talked about enough, likely because he’s behind JoJo Domann on the depth chart.
“He’s a really good football player and he can play a lot of different spots,” Chinander said. He also said that he trusts Gifford to play any time, anywhere, whenever his number is called.
>> Could Nebraska fans see Will Honas back this season?
“That’s a tough one,” Chinander said, noting that he isn’t sure what the timeline is for Honas at this point. If he wanted to come back for one more season after this one though, Chinander would welcome him.
>> Nebraska is still finalizing the travel roster, so no update on whether someone like Nash “The Polar Bear” Hutmacher will make the trip to Champaign or not.
>> Every starting linebacker and defensive back is on at least one special teams unit for Nebraska this fall, according to Chinander.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.