Sports Magazine

NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Predicting the Blackshirts – Strong Safety

By Huskerlocker @huskerlocker

2011 Jul 29

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By Brandon Cavanaugh
A Bo Pelini-led defense is salty and vicious. Only a select few can call themselves starters and are rewarded by being part of a Nebraska tradition that spans over four decades. A simple black practice jersey denotes some of the nastiest young men in the country. We look at the into the crystal ball and see what's to come for the 2011 Blackshirt unit.
Strong Safety
Some of the most dynamic athletes on the entire Nebraska football roster are at the cornerback position. In Bo Pelini’s defensive schemes, while a player still has to be athletic to play safety, it’s more important to play smart.
Football IQ is an aspect of the game that’s consistently overlooked. While Pelini’s MIKE linebackers make adjustments for the entire defense, his safeties are the quarterbacks of the secondary. Not only does a safety have to be focused, if he’s going to play at the strong spot then he has to be physical. When asked about hard-hitting defensive backs from the 2010 season, Courtney Osborne’s name was brought up repeatedly.
Osborne grabbed the starting role against Missouri last season and never looked back. Fans fondly remember the lick he laid on Blaine Gabbert that caused the former Missouri quarterback to brace for impact. Osborne’s ability to blitz effectively is a valuable skill that gives him a mile’s head start in the 10K marathon towards wearing a black practice jersey.
Challenging him will be the likes of redshirt freshman Harvey Jackson and freshman Bronson Marsh. While talented, they simply don’t have the blend of ability and experience that Osborne possesses. He’ll be an excellent tutor for the both of them, but he’ll be back in black for another year.
Projected Blackshirt: Courtney Osborne
Other Predicted Starters:
Strongside Defensive End, Strongside Defensive Tackle, Weakside Defensive Tackle, WILL Linebacker, MIKE Linebacker, BUCK Linebacker, Cornerback No. 1, Cornerback No. 2

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