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Looking Ahead to 2012 Husker Football: Safeties

Here Daimion Stafford makes the play against Michigan. That wasn't always the case. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Here Daimion Stafford makes the play against Michigan. That wasn't always the case. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Returning: Daimion Stafford, Sr. (starter), P.J. Smith, Sr. (spot starter), Courtney Osborne, Jr. (starter 2010), Harvey Jackson, So.

Incoming: Alonzo Moore (LOI), Leroy Alexander (LOI)

Bo Pelini said on signing day that Moore and Alexander would initially start out in the defensive backfield. Let's assume safety for sake of argument. Are these guys who can help fix a secondary which didn't perform up to Pelini standards last season? In any event, Nebraska needs to find a replacement for Austin Cassidy. After the jump, the CN team talks safeties.

Jon: Stafford had an impressive season, ending up with 80 total tackles which was good enough for third on the team behind Lavonte David and Will Compton. Perhaps Stafford is the answer to the "guy always around the ball" question for 2012 as he lead the team in pass break-ups with 10.

Osborne was one of those guys who disappeared this season, only playing in five games, starting one. Smith played in 11 games, and ended up with 33 tackles.

Bill: Stafford was third on the team in tackles? Wow, I guess I never realized how big of an impact he was having. It's great to see yet another juco guy come in and make a difference right away.

Obviously, Stafford can hit hard. He announced that loud and clear during the first game of the season. Even though Courtney Osborne fell on the depth chart, he definitely made some memorable plays in 2010, including a couple huge sacks against Missouri and Texas A&M.

It's great to have safeties that can hit, but we need great pass coverage sometimes too. Stafford and Osborne have combined for one interception in their careers, and P.J. Smith had one in 2011 and three in 2010. Smith has plenty of experience, but has never really stood out during his Husker career.

Mike: Perhaps we'll find out that Courtney Osborne was suffering from some injury that limited him to just five games. Or maybe Dan Beebe somehow got a half-season suspension levied against Osborne just before he got sacked by the Big XII.

Heck if I know. One guy to keep an eye on this spring is Harvey Jackson. He made some contributions on special teams (like one Alfonzo Dennard) as a freshman and he caught my eye in last year's spring game.