DEVELOPING NICKELBACKS

Wisconsin cornerback Faion Hicks (1) tackles Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette in a game last season. 

UW cornerbacks were short on highlights in 2020. None of the team’s seven interceptions came from corners, they were beat for big plays on multiple occasions in rivalry games at Northwestern and Iowa, and they didn’t take the step forward one would expect from a group that had between six and seven players with significant playing time under their belts.

New cornerbacks coach Hank Poteat inherits a room with multiple starters back, including Faion Hicks and Casear Williams, and young players needing to become more consistent like Donte Burton, Deron Harrell and Semar Melvin.

One position in this group that is of key importance this spring is the nickel back, or slot corner. Hicks filled that role most of last season, and he could once again, but UW needs to have more options to move inside other than one of their better outside corners. Or, if one of the younger corners can improve on the outside this spring, UW can feel more comfortable having Hicks move to the slot in sub packages.