Nebraska Football: CB Quinton Newsome striving for more on the field, as a leader
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CB Quinton Newsome striving for more on the field, as a leader

As head coach Scott Frost put a bow on Nebraska’s spring following the Red-White game, he closed his post-scrimmage press conference by extending a challenge to one of his top defenders.

Many had already penciled in Quinton Newsome as one of the Huskers’ starting cornerbacks even before spring practices kicked off.

But Frost made it clear that, while the junior had made considerable progress since the end of last season, expectations had been raised for him higher than ever.

“I thought Quinton Newsome had a good day and he has had a really good spring, and we are going to have to count on him,” Frost said. “He has kind of been the No. 2 guy for us for a couple years here and he needs to step up.”

Cornerback Quinton Newsome (6) is working to become the leader of Nebraska's secondary on and off the field.
Cornerback Quinton Newsome (6) is working to become the leader of Nebraska's secondary on and off the field. (Tyler Krecklow)

Newsome was hardly caught off guard by Frost’s challenge, as NU’s coaches have been on him all offseason to raise his game on the field and to take command as a leader of the secondary.

Most importantly, Newsome has set a higher bar for himself than anyone going into his most important season yet as a Husker.

“What I wanted to get out of spring was just perfecting my craft and growing into a leadership role,” Newsome said. “We had three guys leave from the DB room that started last year. I was really just focusing on making myself better and bringing along everybody else…

“That’s what I’ve really been trying to work on, is being more vocal. I’ve got respect in the DB room, so it’s not just me; it’s other guys I’m trying to bring into that leadership role as well.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Suwanee, Ga., spent his first two years in Lincoln soaking up as much knowledge as he could from the veteran starting group of Cam Taylor-Britt, Deontai Williams, and Marquel Dismuke.

Newsome said those three players never took a day off, which set the tone for everyone else in the defensive back room.

“I learned that if they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, it’s like a domino effect,” Newsome said. “Everybody who’s below them of younger, they’re going to think that’s OK. I learned from them that they are the standard, and they made sure the culture in the DB room was held.”

With spring ball now in the books, Newsome said he planned to spend the summer dialing into the playbook and studying film as much as possible.

Physically, Newsome has all the tools to be an impact cornerback in the Big Ten Conference. But he knows the separator between being good and great is mastering the mental side of the game.

For NU defensive backs coach Travis Fisher, the drive to be great and become a true student of the game has Newsome on track to reach the same level as his predecessors and possibly even beyond.

“Quinton is starting to turn into a pro,” Fisher said. “When it comes to how he gets lined up, he’s always in his stance. You’re not going to catch him standing up. You’re always going to catch him knowing exactly what he’s doing. He’s going to be vocal; he’s going to be talking.

“I could move Quinton to safety tomorrow and never put him at corner again, and you will not know that he’s never played safety. So he’s beginning to be that guy…

“What I want to see is him being more of a leader in that room. He is a leader in that room, but I want to see him take over the room as far as holding guys accountable, and himself.”